If you’re getting to know Houston, Discovery Green, the 12-acre park by the Convention Center downtown, is a great place to start. It’s a fairly new landmark but a very popular one. The Green was funded by a group of local philanthropists and built in 2002 on city and private land that previously contained parking structures and a smaller green space. An estimated 250,000 people visited in the first two months. Since then, about 1.5 million people visit each year, and it’s been credited with drawing more conventions to the Convention Center. New buildings have sprung up in the area, and the park has been a catalyst for an estimated $1.25 billion in development.
The landscape features gardens, a lake for kayaking (and ice skating in winter), a playground, a putting green, dog runs, bocce courts, and a jogging trail. There are also two restaurants here: the family-friendly Lake House and the much fancier Grove.
The park hosts free events nearly every day, including concerts, movies, fitness and yoga classes, and story time on “Toddler Tuesday.” It’s open until 11pm, and evening activities include flea markets and stargazing.
If you’re not in the mood for any of that, this is also a great place to wander, relax, or check out several interesting pieces of public art. If it’s a hot day, be sure to visit the Mist Tree.
Cover image: Paul Duron, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.