Discovery Green is a 12-acre (five-hectare) park in the heart of Houston. There’s a lake, art spaces, playgrounds and picnic lawns. Locals and tourists alike come here to see live music and other performances, outdoor films and ice skating. You’ll even find the Houston Public Library here.
The Andrea and Bill White Promenade (named after the city’s former mayor and his wife) runs through the center of the park. It offers views of the city’s skyline and is lined with flea markets and arts and craft fairs on weekends. Go for a stroll, jog or bike ride beneath the park’s 100-year-old oak trees along the Brown Foundation Promenade and McNair Jogging Trail.
Work your way to Kinder Lake, on the northern end of Discovery Green, and rent a remote-controlled sailboat. November through January the lake is also the site of an ice-skating rink. It’s open until late (weather permitting) every day of the season, including Christmas Day. Buy tickets in advance online, or line up at the rink.
In summer, cool off under one of several large water fountains. Typically, you’ll find hundreds of children playing under the high arcing jets of the Gateway Fountain. There’s also an interesting bird-themed playground for children under 12. For some easygoing entertainment, spread out a picnic blanket on one of the three large lawns with plenty of shady trees and watch the world go by.
A natural grass amphitheater provides seating for 2,000 people. Hundreds of events are hosted here each year. Check the Discovery Green website for details on films, concerts, dance and theater.
Head to the park early and try out one of the popular daily fitness classes, including cycling, yoga, Zumba and hoop dancing. There are also sports activities for seniors. These classes are generally free and don’t require booking in advance; just turn up with a towel and a water bottle.
Discovery Green is open every day, and is easily accessible by public transportation.