The Rest of the Best 2014: Houston's Top 10 Parks (Inside the Loop)

Courtesy of GHCVB
7. Tranquillity Park
400 Rusk Street, 832-394-8805

A two-block section of downtown, with City Hall on one side and the Federal Courthouse on the other, Tranquillity Park was named after the spot of the first landing on the moon, the lunar Sea of Tranquility (yes, it's spelled differently). The park opened in 1979, a decade after that historic moment and indications of its space age origins are still visible. There's a plaque with the words first transmitted from space ("Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed") and reportedly a replica of one of the footprints left on the moon by Armstrong.

Designed to resemble the moon's surface of craters and mounds, with the steel cylinders of the Wortham Water Fountain echoing the Apollo rocket boosters, Tranquillity Park is an oasis for downtown workers and the site of frequent family and music festivals.

Courtesy of GHCVB
6. Buffalo Bayou Park
1800-3600 Allen Parkway/Memorial Drive, 832-395-7000

Buffalo Bayou Partnership has continued to improve and restore the Buffalo Bayou Park waterfront, adding trails, public art and pedestrian bridges. Houston's largest bat colony calls the Waugh Street bridge home. Annual events include festivals, boat rides and canoe competitions.

Courtesy of GHCVB
5. Sam Houston Park
1100 Bagby, 713-655-1912

Started in 1899, Sam Houston Park is the oldest official green space in the city and among the loveliest. The Heritage Society has several restored homes of Houston's earliest residents (among them a 1823 cabin and the Jack Yates house, built in 1870) on the grounds. There's also a museum with some standing and touring exhibitions. Recent exhibits included a look at the history of the Foley's department store, vintage rag dolls and Houston eateries.

There are several large festivals and events held in Sam Houston Park throughout the year. (Our word of warning here: parking can be scarce during large events. Plan accordingly.)

Courtesy of GHCVB/Photo by Everette Taasevigen
4. Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark
103 Sabine Street, 713-222-5500

Okay, okay, we admit it. Lots of the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark is covered in concrete, which means it's not such a great green space, but it is a terrific venue for skateboarders and their friends. Most of the time you can find a nice mix of beginners and advanced athletes. Unlike some of the city's soccer fields, the competition here is friendly as well as fierce. Several events, including concerts and fundraisers, attack pro-skaters.

This story continues on the next page.

Location Info


Discovery Green Conservancy

1500 McKinney, Houston, TX

Category: General

Hermann Park

6001 Fannin St., Houston, TX

Category: General

The Heritage Society

1100 Bagby St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Valdo's Mexican Cafe - CLOSED

804 Preston St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Memorial Park

6501 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX

Category: General

Tranquility Park

400 Rusk St., Houston, TX

Category: General

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