You may have heard of Gerald D. Hines Waterwall park or taken pictures at Discovery Green downtown, but Houston is full of beautiful scenery that often goes unnoticed. This is not a comprehensive list, however here at Visit Houston we have put together just a few of our under-appreciated picture perfect places in the area. What are some of your favorite Houston views?
At the corner of Leeland and St. Emanuel in EaDo, you can find a stunning display of talent from some of Houston’s premier graffiti artists. The array of art varies widely between subjects, sizes, and styles. Houston’s focus on heralding impressive graffiti sets it apart from other destinations. Graffiti Park is central to the annual HUE Mural Festival which brings internationally acclaimed graffiti artists to town to leave their mark on the city.
Within Houston city limits is a 155-acre nature sanctuary aimed at protecting native plants and animals. Learners of all ages can enjoy the beauty of meadow, forest, pond, and wetland habitats outdoors on nice days, or explore information about the inside when the weather is less agreeable.
Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park
This smaller scenic destination is easily overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the city. Gus and Lyndall Wortham Park sits at the corner of Holcombe and Main, right next to the Texas Medical Center. The park provides a refreshing and unexpected change of scenery, and the calming sound of the fountains could be just the break you need after a stressful day.
The iconic Texas Bluebonnet makes a picturesque appearance in Kingwood (North Houston) for about a month between April and May. Although many families and family photographers anxiously wait for Bluebonnet season to return, much of Houston remains unaware of their brief yearly appearance. These tiny flowers have also been known to dazzle other parts of the city, like the corners of T.C. Jester and White Oak Bayou and parts of Kemah. Where will you spot them this Spring?
Most Houstonians are familiar with the Kemah Boardwalk, but often get caught up in the traffic and miss the view of the Marina from the bridge. Marina Bay has the third largest number of recreational boats in all of the United States, and has has the greatest concentration of boats of any region in Texas. It is beautiful at any time of day or night, but particularly at dusk. If you are heading to Kemah Boardwalk at the same time as everyone else, don’t miss the view on the way down.
Biscuit Paint Wall
The Biscuit Paint Wall may be well known to Houstonians, but is less so to Houston visitors. It was created to be enjoyed and shared by those who are social media savvy, and adds a unique flavor to the city. The wall is accessible at all hours, but if you are looking to get a picture without cars, you may want to try sightseeing at a slower time since parking spots are directly beneath the painting. Biscuit Home is an American-made designer bedding brand, which began in Houston.
Cullen Sculpture Garden
The Cullen Sculpture Garden is an outdoor extension of Houston’s Museum of Fine Art in Montrose. This acre is a vision of trees, sloping walls, and outdoor sculptures from artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Henri Matisse, and even Pablo Picasso. The Garden was in the making for a full decade, from 1976 to 1986, by some of Houston’s own sculptors and architects. It is open all year; a perk of living in and visiting Houston’s tropical climate.
It was Armand Yramategui’s vision to preserve this area in the 1960’s, knowing that urban growth would soon surround it, and now it is the largest urban wilderness preserve in the country. We can all enjoy and preserve the fruit of Armand’s insight by “reconnecting with nature,” as the mission of its presevation states. Armand Bayou features a boardwalk through marshes, trees, butterfly gardens, and an 1800’s farm site.
Waugh Bridge Bat Colony
A colony of 300,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerges at sunset near the well-loved Buffalo Bayou. The time of flight each night is not precisely predictable since bats aren’t known to carry wristwatches, but those who go to catch the breath-taking view normally arrive 15-30 minutes before the expected sundown. The bat population tends to peak late summer.
Many people are drawn to the quiet reverence and beauty of cemeteries, and Glenwood Cemetery off Memorial Drive is no exception. Headstones in Glenwood date back to the Summer of 1872, when Houston was still mostly rural. Glenwood Cemetery was landscaped to include winding pathways to compliment the natural curve of the land, and is home to a striking Oak tree, estimated to be about 130 years old. The Oak stands prominently in the middle of a walkway, and no one is completely sure how it got there: some believe it was planted before graves were dug, and others believe it was planted intentionally. Regardless of its origin, there is no denying that Glenwood Cemetery is an awesome beauty.
Hidden between the YMCA and McGovern Library, Helen’s Park could be considered the Secret Garden of Houston since even Google Maps was unaware of its location until mid-2015. It is not a typical park with swings, slides, or bike paths. Instead, it is intended for personal meditation and contemplation. Helen’s Park is made up of trellis covered walk-ways and a small, winding brook. It is the perfect place to take a break from everyday life and revel in the scenic view.