When the weather is nice in Houston, you have to take advantage of it. Houston has many outdoor gems, so you can’t stay inside all summer. Whether you like movies, sports, or trails, these picnic spots have more to offer than a few tables. You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to have a great meal. So pack a basket, grab a blanket, and have a picnic at one of these great locations.
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Memorial Park is a great spot if you want to explore nature or play some sports before you eat. This huge park has running and bike trails, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and hiking paths. You can also stop by the arboretum and take a tour of native Texas plants and wildlife for free. Memorial Park has a designated picnic loop with tables that can be reserved for a small fee. Memorial also has plenty of greenspace to bring a blanket and picnic on the lawn.
Discovery Green is located in the center of downtown and always has a unique event going on. Discovery Green hosts movies, yoga classes, kayaking, and musical events. There are several restaurants in the park where you can grab a bite to eat if you don’t want to pack a meal. During events, you can usually bring a picnic and sit up on the hill to watch the show. There are also a few permanent picnic tables.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
Miller Outdoor Theatre produces several free shows throughout the year. This is a popular spot for symphony shows and summer musicals. Most shows require tickets to sit under the covered pavilion, but visitors are free to bring a blanket and sit up on the hill. Lawn chairs are permitted on the left side of the hill. You can pack your own picnic or buy concessions from the stands behind the stage. Proceeds from the concession stands go towards supporting the free performances at Miller.
Hermann Park is located at the center of several popular Houston attractions. Several museums, the zoo, the Japanese garden, and the reflection pool are located in and around the park. For kids, there are several playground spots to choose from. Ride around on the train or rent a Bcycle to take the full tour of the park. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, rent a boat and pedal around McGovern Lake. There are acres of lawn to choose from and picnic tables available on a first come, first served basis.
Buffalo Bayou Park
This park stretches along Buffalo Bayou for several miles. Buffalo Bayou Park was recently renovated to include improved bike and jogging trails, public art, performance spaces, activity lawns, and more. This spot is great for dog owners who want to bring their pets along because Buffalo Bayou has a fantastic dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs. The Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion offers a nature-inspired playground and plenty of picnic space.
Stop by The Menil Collection to find this park. This park is located on the campus of one of Houston’s largest collections of free art. The center features rotating exhibits and permanent collections in four buildings. Check out the art and stop in at the Rothko Chapel before your picnic. Spread a blanket on the lawn and enjoy the sculptures and art installations around the lawn. If you forgot to pack lunch, the museum has a bistro café on the property.
Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
Located just south of the Galleria, this park is a great spot after a day of shopping. The park is a long stretch of lawn in the center of several office buildings. At one end is the famous Waterwall fountain. Be sure to snap a photo in front of the Houston landmark. Enjoy the rush of cool mist that comes off the fountain on a hot day. Bring a blanket to sit out on the lawn. There are a couple of benches, but it tends to get full on weekends and seating is not guaranteed.
Market Square Park
This is a great little park in the center of Houston’s Theater District. If you’re looking for a romantic date spot, head over here. Bring a picnic and sit out on the lawn. Stick around for a free movie screening, or head to a show at one of the theaters in the neighborhood. Architecture buffs will enjoy the beautiful, historic buildings surrounding the lawn. If you don’t want to pack your meal, Niko Niko’s food truck serves up Greek food and coffee in the park.
Elizabeth Baldwin Park
Elizabeth Baldwin Park has been a Houston picnic spot since 1910. This historic park is known for its shady oak trees that arch over a winding granite pathway that is great for jogging. This park has chess tables, tennis courts, fountains, and plenty of picnic tables. The park sometimes hosts events like art walks and markets that are great to browse before having lunch. The park is located in Midtown—one of Houston’s most popular neighborhoods with plenty of art, culture, and recreational options.
Terry Hershey Park
Terry Hershey Park is a beautiful park in west Houston. The park is perfect for bikers and joggers who really want to get the distance in. The park stretches along Buffalo Bayou from Beltway 8 to Highway 6 and covers 500 acres. The park has paved pathways that wind underneath shady trees. Get your workout in and then celebrate with a nice picnic. Or just go on a scenic walk and have lunch under a tree in the lawn space.
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