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The Best Parks in Houston, TX

When staying in an unfamiliar city for a great length of time in the COVID era, getting to know your surroundings can be particularly challenging. Premier Corporate Housing’s short-term rentals make it easier than ever to create a comfortable home away from home for the duration of your stay, but to really get a pulse for the local culture and dive into living like the locals do, look no further than your city’s parks!

Parks present an affordable, COVID-friendly way to entertain yourself and get immersed in your temporary surroundings. Especially in 2020, when most outings require advanced planning, there’s nothing quite as simple and relaxing as an impromptu trip to the park, where you can just kick back, relax and watch the passersby. Did we mention cocktail trucks?

Read on below, where we’ve put together a list of the best parks in Houston, TX for your next extended stay in Space City.

Hermann Park

Nestled in the heart of Houston between Rice University and the Museum District, this 445-acre urban park is a haven for Houstonians of all walks looking to spend a day in fresh air. Walk or jog along the many winding trails, feed the geese at the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones reflection pool, ride the choo-choo along the Hermann Park Railroad, or take a pedal boat out for a spin on McGovern Lake. Stop to admire the cavernous Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston’s beloved outdoor performing arts venue situated on a man-made hill, or pick up a day pass for the Houston Zoo. With so many opportunities to relax and explore, Hermann Park ranks at the top of our list of the best parks in Houston.

Menil Park

For lovers of art and architecture, Houston’s Menil Park is a must-visit destination. A vast expanse of green campus nestled in a quiet and shady residential neighborhood, the park surrounds Houston’s esteemed Menil Museum, which features the private art collection of founders John and Dominique de Menil. The 30-acre grounds of the Menil campus are shaded by towering oaks, speckled with sculpture, and frequented by locals and museum visitors alike. Do as the regulars do and bring a blanket and a book, keeping your ears out for the local jazz buskers and your eyes out for the to-go cocktail truck that’s been making a much-buzzed-about appearance on weeknights.

Levy Park

For a family-friendly destination, Levy Park near the Galleria ranks highest on our list. Featuring one of Houston’s best playgrounds (complete with a rock wall and modern merry-go-round), along with food trucks, restrooms, a dog park, and a splash area, a day trip to Levy is an easy outing the whole family can enjoy. For the lone adult, Levy Park offers one of the best deals on fitness in the Houston area. Free, weekly high-intensity interval training classes held by The Preserved Gym offer a boutique fitness experience al fresco.

Discovery Green Park

Another icon of Houston’s thriving cultural scene is Discovery Green Park in the downtown area.  Boasting more than 600 free events each year for Houstonians to enjoy, Discovery Green has attracted over 1.5 million visitors each year since it opened in April of 2008. Locals enjoy film screenings on the lawn, concerts, and fitness classes, as well as community events geared toward celebrating diverse audiences, including cultural festivals and community-organized marches and rallies. Visit the green to marvel at the surrounding Houston skyline while getting a firsthand feel for downtown Houston’s cultural beat.

Memorial Park

For fitness enthusiasts, and those who love to golf, look no further than Houston’s sprawling Memorial Park. The largest of all the parks in Houston, Memorial features an 18-hole golf course, a popular three-mile running track, and a variety of sporting facilities, from tennis courts to softball fields and more. Refuel with some post-sweat protein at the beloved Texas burger house Beck’s Prime, situated on the golf course, then take a cool-down stroll through the trees at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center nearby.

Kemah Boardwalk

Adrenaline junkies and thrill-seeking locals have a unanimous favorite amongst the theme parks in Houston, Texas. That would be the dazzling Kemah Boardwalk, situated on the Galveston bay just 20 miles from Downtown Houston. Like a more robust, Texan Coney Island, Kemah offers a carnivalesque atmosphere and a towering Ferris wheel that rises from a sparkling boardwalk flecked with destination restaurants and glowing lights. Treat yourself to a little enchantment and a great coastal getaway.

Brazos Bend State Park

For a nature-filled escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Houstonians love Brazos Bend State Park, one of the most beloved state parks near Houston, situated just 45 miles from downtown. Make sure to read the alligator safety tips on the state park website prior to your departure, and be prepared for some up close and personal animal sightings! A day or weekend trip to Brazos is an easy drive, and once there you can enjoy the many activities offered to visitors, including horseback riding, camping, hiking, biking, and fishing. Best of all, you don’t need a license to fish in a Texas state park, making a visit to Brazos a great light-planning weekend trip. Becoming familiar with a new city during COVID-19 is both exciting and challenging. Luckily, with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department boasting over 39,000 acres of greenspace for Houstonians to enjoy, there are plenty of options for an easy and safe way to get out of the house and start exploring.