On a hot summer day in Houston, there is no better way to spend your time than enjoying the city’s beautiful parks. Whether you visit during your lunch hour or on a day where you can do anything you please, Houston’s parks offer beautiful scenery and plenty of fun activities. Whether you are new to the Houston area or are a long-time resident looking for a new park to explore, here are a few of the coolest parks in Houston where you can spend your summer days.

1. The Menil

The Menil in Houston

If you are an art lover, you’ll love strolling around the beautiful grounds that comprise the Menil campus. Spanning 30 acres, you can not only view some of what is often called the greatest collection of art in the world, but also stick around for some music, dance, and poetry performances as well. And of course, you can enjoy the gorgeous grounds while you find a quiet spot for an afternoon picnic.

2. Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park Houston

Located near the heart of downtown Houston, Buffalo Bayou Park is perhaps the city’s most popular park for its residents. With numerous trails that are self-guided and go on for miles and miles, nature lovers can take a stroll and see birds and plenty of other wildlife. Along with this, the park also has bike rentals, a skate park, and even a dog park where you and your best furry friend can spend quality time with one another. Offering many activities, you can even enjoy some meditation sessions by visiting the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Using wind chimes and singing bowls, you can find peace of mind and reconnect with your inner-self.

3. Smither Park

Considered by many Houston residents to be the city’s most beautiful park, Smither Park will dazzle you with its vast collection of sculptures and mosaics, all of which were created by local artists. Kid-friendly as well as very welcoming to dogs, you can spend your time walking around and admiring the artwork, or just find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy your lunch. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there at a time when some of the artists are actually working on their latest creations, letting you get an up-close and personal view of how art comes to life.

4. Memorial Park

Memorial Park Houston

Without a doubt the most well-known park in Houston, Memorial Park is fun for the entire family. Comprised of almost 1000 total acres, you can choose to run or walk the three-mile loop around the park. If you are like many people, you can enjoy a bike ride, hike one of its many trails, or play a game of volleyball or tennis on the many available courts. For those of you into golf, you can even spend time at the park’s driving range and golf course. Once you’re done playing or exercising, you can sit down at a picnic table and enjoy some good food with family and friends.

5. Hermann Park Conservancy

Hermann Park Conservatory in Houston, TX

With its nearby zoo, train rides, paddle boats, numerous outdoor concerts, and beautiful scenery in every direction, there’s plenty to love about Hermann Park Conservancy. With so many different activities it is very popular with families since kids and adults of all ages can find something fun to do on a summer day. Offering free parking, it is a popular spot for Houston residents who are looking for the perfect backdrop for their wedding and graduation pictures. As an added bonus, it is also famous for its variety of ducks, all of whom are quite friendly and willing to accept a free meal now and then.

6. Eleanor Tinsley Park

A prime location for many of Houston’s most popular festivals and concerts, Eleanor Tinsley Park is always rated by residents as the city’s cleanest park. Whether you want to get some sun while reading your favorite book, find a quiet spot to do some Pilates, or just sit down and do some serious people-watching, you can do all that and more at this park. A gathering place for many of the city’s youngsters, it’s no surprise that biking and roller skating are two of the park’s most popular activities.

Since it will be impossible for you to only select one of these parks to visit, you’ll have to find time in your busy schedule to visit each and every one along the way. Once you do, you’ll quickly discover why Houston residents always tell others there is simply no better place in the U.S. in which to live.

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