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11 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Houston

Nicole Freer  |  September 13, 2022

11 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Houston

11 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Houston

With mild winters and consistently warm summers, the city of Houston offers a myriad of outdoor recreation options to residents of all ages. Houston boasts over 360 parks, more than 200 green spaces, and over 125 miles of trails, in addition to the thousands of other businesses offering their own ways to enjoy fun in the sun. From active to passive, and dressed up to dressed down, here are just a few ways the Nicole Freer Group likes to spend their free time enjoying Houston’s great outdoors.

1. Parks

Again, residents of Houston enjoy access to over 360 parks, more than 200 green spaces, and trails totaling more than 125 miles. Memorial Park is the city's most prominent park, stretching across 1,500 acres, making it twice as large as New York City’s Central Park. The park consists of 30 miles of trails and a 600-acre urban forest. Memorial Park also sees more than 42,000 tennis court reservations made each year and 65,000 rounds of golf played on Memorial Park Golf Course, one of the best municipal 18-hole courses in the nation. On a daily basis, the trails of Memorial Park see more than 10,000 visitors, with some of Houston‘s most famous faces, like professional athletes and former First Lady Barbara Bush being prominent users of Houston’s favorite public amenity.

2. The Houston Zoo at Hermann Park

Located just south of downtown lies Hermann Park, a 445-acre urban green space first opened in 1914. Park patrons also enjoy botanical and Japanese gardens, one of the best municipal golf courses in the nation, a consistent string of fun events for everyone, and immediate access to the Houston Zoo. The Houston Zoo features more than 6,000 animals from all four corners of the globe, ranging from giraffes to bats and alligators to bald eagles and other exciting species from the world’s seven continents. Some of their exhibits and habitats consist of the African Serengeti, a reptile house, a sea lion habitat, a few native Texan species, and the much-anticipated Galápagos Islands exhibit.

3. Outdoor Dining

From brunch to happy hour and all of life‘s special occasions, Houston’s culinary scene is home to thousands of patios and rooftops to enjoy alfresco dining and drinks. La Lucha, located in The Heights, is a great place to enjoy local Gulf seafood and other southern specialties. Fried chicken and deviled eggs are some of their downhome favorites, in addition to their grilled oysters, shrimp tacos, and the Louisiana crawfish sandwich, a lighter take on the po’ boy. Their patio is protected by an elaborate oak tree, providing shade and ambiance, with lanterns hanging from its limbs. Musaafer is the city's most grand Indian restaurant, with an equally stunning patio to match. Their outdoor bar is lined with cabana tables and adorned with white drapes, looking down upon Houston’s buzzy Galleria district. Z on 23, located on the 23rd floor of downtown’s Le Méridien, offers sweeping views of downtown Houston to guests, enjoyed in stylish surroundings. The highest rooftop bar in Houston also features daily specials, both creative and classic cocktails, an unmatched aura, and immaculate vibes.

4. Shopping

Houston is home to some of the best shopping destinations in the southern United States, with several being found within sprawling outdoor plazas. Houston’s River Oaks District is one of the best spots to find well-heeled locals seeking out designer duds at Dior, Hermès, Cartier, Bacharach, Harry Winston, and many other internationally renowned luxury houses. Uptown Park is another expansive option featuring some of Houston’s best dining experiences, shops, and other businesses. Within Uptown Park, cold beer and live music can be enjoyed at The Rustic, relaxing blowouts can be found at Dry Bar, and a freshly baked dessert can be savored at Crave Cupcakes.

5. Hotel Pools

Houston summers can get toasty, and residents without a pool in their backyard are never far away from aquatic activities of all sorts, guaranteed to melt away any worries you may have about the heat. One of the best-known options in the city is Marriott Marquis and its rooftop lazy river, shaped like the state of Texas. An adjacent infinity pool, hot tub, and poolside cocktail service make this one of the more scenic options to let all your cares float away. The Houstonian Hotel, Club, & Spa has actually been named the best spa in the state for several years running. While poolside, you can enjoy cocktail service at one of their three temperature-controlled pools, surrounded by nearly 30 acres of meticulously maintained native greenery.

6. Natural Waters

For a more rustic experience, a kayaking session down Buffalo Bayou is a must on the bucket list of any Houstonian. The Buffalo Bayou flows through the center of the city, allowing inner-city residents a great chance to enjoy some peace and tranquility. Several local businesses offer kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals conveniently found along the shores of the river. A few of these companies also offer surfing lessons and equipment for rent at Surfside Beach and in Galveston. A short drive southbound on Highway 288 leads to Surfside Beach, while Interstate 45 leads to Galveston, both nearby coastal gems situated on the Gulf of Mexico. Stand-up paddleboarding and other similar water sports can also be enjoyed by those residing on the north side of the city in The Woodlands and on nearby Lake Conroe. Lake Conroe is one of the area's larger bodies of water, spanning 21,000 acres and deep enough to enjoy boating and quality fishing. Those visiting or residing on Lake Conroe can specifically enjoy close proximity to lakefront resorts, marinas, and waterfront dining.

7. Also found just outside of the city…

Located just 30 miles from the center of Houston, Kemah Boardwalk is a summer day trip staple in the life of every Houstonian. Kemah Boardwalk has all the quintessential summer bucket list activities, like a ferris wheel and other carnival rides, games, a seaside boardwalk with restaurants and bars, an aquarium and other wildlife exhibits, shopping, and is a takeoff point for ocean excursions, fishing trips, and other adventures.

8. Take me out to the ballgame!

The Houston Astros
, the city's local Major League Baseball team, play at Minute Maid Park from March through October. When the weather is nice, and Houston is being treated to a beautiful sunset, the park's retractable roof opens up for fans to enjoy incredible downtown views, tasty ballpark eats, and the game, of course. Houston enjoys sports throughout the course of the year, thanks to the city‘s high number of minor league and collegiate sports teams, like The University of Houston and Rice University’s athletic departments, to name a few others.

9. Theme Parks

When summertime hits Houston, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown is the place to be. Situated in the northern Houston community of Spring, this 48-acre water park offers both family-friendly rides and more adventurous options for thrill seekers. Water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and other exciting attractions are guaranteed to help you beat the heat. The park also has several dining options, picnic areas, ice cream stands, and a few spots serving cocktails for a special adults' day out.

10. Urban Harvest Farmers Market

Open year-round, rain or shine, the Urban Harvest Farmers Market is one of the very best of its type in Houston. Situated in the River Oaks neighborhood just north of Interstate 69, the farmers market first began in 2004 with just seven vendors. Today, the market has grown to include well over 100 vendors setting up shop every Saturday with a wide array of offerings from produce to flowers to baked goods and olive oils, and much more. The market is open from eight in the morning until noon on Saturday mornings every week of the year.

11. Holiday Celebrations

Holidays in Houston are celebrated with spirit and vigor, with neighborhoods all across the city putting on vivid firework shows, putting together dramatic holiday light displays, and celebrating even the most simple of everyday happenings. During the summertime, Market Square Park puts on free movie screenings, with guests welcome to bring blankets, lounge chairs, and picnic snacks. For live-action entertainment, Miller Outdoor Theater is a great place to catch all sorts of performances, from Shakespeare to hip-hop and everything in between. Miller Outdoor Theater put on productions from March through November, providing great entertainment for Houstonians of all ages.

Find Houston real estate for sale

Whether you live downtown, uptown, up north in the Woodlands, or in Katy to the west, Houston offers a vast array of outdoor activities for residents from all walks of life. The Nicole Feer Group has found a home sweet home in Houston and looks forward to sharing their favorite outdoor adventures with you. Contact the team today to find Houston homes for sale and learn more about the Houston real estate market.