In our Park Spotlight series, we take a closer look at Houston’s vast array of public recreational areas to shine a light on hidden and not so hidden gems. This week we’ll be spotlighting Midtown Park. Join us as we take a trip through Houston, park by park.
Located in the heart of its eponymous neighborhood, the newly-opened Midtown Park offers elated Houstonians a both a break from the hustle and bustle of the area in a scenic, mixed-use urban park space and a chance to unwind with a wide array of park festivals, performances, markets, and more throughout the year.
Strategically located on Main Street adjacent to a Metrorail Station, the full 6-acre site bounded by the “SuperBlock” of Main, McGowen, Travis, and Anita, offers visitors three acres of public urban park filled with open pedestrian-oriented streetscapes, a larger green space located on the 2.5-acre site on the south side of the park and more.
Outdoors in the Heart of Houston
If you’ve ever found yourself at a shortage of outdoor activities in the heart of the city, look no further. Guests checking out the 2.5-acre green space can relax on the “great lawn” or near the wetland stream/trail, shade under the flexible pavilion, or take in the native landscaping and public art.
If you’re bringing the family you’re in luck, too. There is plenty to keep the kids busy with features including an interactive water feature, swingsets, game courts and more. And if you’re bringing Rover there’s even an enclosed “dog run” area designed with both flat surfaces and sloped surfaces for a variety of dog agility to enjoy.
Amenities at Midtown Park
With everything that’s sprouted up since the park’s opening it’d be very easy to lose track of what all Midtown Park has to offer. Check out a list of notable features below or click here for a full list of park amenities on Midtown Houston’s website.
- Reflecting Pool & Entry Plaza – A pool of water at the southwestern entrance invites people into the park and provides a dramatic view of the bayou landscape and waterway. The placid water flows north and then falls over a 10’ cascading waterfall.
- “Bayou” Landscape & Waterway – As part of the green stormwater infrastructure of the park, a recirculating water system mimics the bayous and wetlands of this region, with native species including bald cypress, sweetgum, and red maples. During rainy days, this bayou fills with water utilizing plants and soils to help ensure water quality before it leaves the site. Look for birds and butterflies along this ecologically-based corridor.
- Sloped Lawn & Prospect – Anchoring the southern end of the park is a large sloped lawn dotted with native pines. This dappled shaded landscape provides for elevated prospect views of performances at the pavilion and dramatic downtown skyline to the north. This is the perfect spot to sunbathe, picnic under the pines or view a concert. The lawn is even irrigated by water recycled from a rainwater collection system.
- Limestone Outcrop Wall – This wall cuts through the sloped lawns, allowing for a secondary entry into the park. This space includes an interactive chalkboard to engage park visitors to make their mark. The stones step out of the wall to act as seats for visitors and outdoor classrooms, too.
- Art Wall – This gateway into the park from the southeast showcases a 16-foot-tall mural depicting Houston’s flora and fauna by noted mosaic artist Dixie Friend Gay.
- Great Lawn – Situated between the pavilion and the sloped landforms that will be the main gathering area for park users to take in a performance, play informal games, or bask in the sun.
- Garden Walk – Connecting to the various playground rooms is a nature garden walk. This small loop allows for the discovery, interaction, and education of local plants as well as a small water runnel and waterfalls. Look for birds and butterflies along this walk.
- Playground & Social Games – This unique playground encourages exploration and adventure play, with a climbing sphere, sound tubes, misting stations, swings and interactive pipe sections. This is a hands-on experience for kids to experiment, play, and interact with the outdoor environment. Or enjoy an evening with friends playing bocce or washers in the social games room. This space, surrounded by gardens is also a great place to relax and enjoy the park setting.
- The Cube – As the western anchor of the pavilion, the cube is internally illuminated glass building that houses the elevator, stairwell, and informational kiosk that links the underground parking garage and park together.
- “Rain” Interactive Water Feature – Inspired by the rain events typical to the Bayou City, this water feature invites all ages to splash amidst jets and intermittent bursts of water to cool off from the Texas heat. A thin sheet of water on the granite paving cools off feet, while choreographed water droplets pop up and fall along with flashing lights, mimicking a rainstorm.
- The Camden Pavilion & Stage Area – This open-air pavilion and stage area provides a flexible space for concerts and performances, public events, and exercise groups. When not in use for events, it serves as a casual gathering spot with movable seating and large fans above overlooking the Rain interactive water feature and great lawn.
- Main Street Promenade – A wide, Live Oak tree-shaded promenade allows tents to be set up on weekends for a variety of markets. This is a great spot to get local vegetables and homemade treats. At night, this is a beautiful stroll under the up-lit Live Oak canopy.
- Reflecting Water Feature – This circular reflecting water feature is designed to house a signature art piece. The water feature also includes small waterfalls to create a comfortable backdrop noise in the plaza.
Before You Visit
Though the park is open dawn to dusk 7-days-a-week and is generally lax, it is worth noting the best practice for securing a parking spot at this popular Midtown destination.
To allow for easy access to the park, parking is conveniently located below the park at 2811 Travis St. This covered parking facility holds up to 400 vehicles, is well lit, and provides 24/7 security.
The facility has an exit that leads directly to the park grounds, two exits that lead to Main Street, and another two that lead to Travis Street. All access points are located within walking distance to many Midtown destinations. Both credit cards and cash are accepted.
Parking Rates at Midtown Park
- Monday to Friday | 7am to 6pm – $1/hour with an eight hour maximum
- Monday to Friday | 6pm to 7am – $5 flat fee
- Saturday and Sunday – $5 flat fee (weekend and evening rates subject to change based on local events)
- Location: 2811 Travis St, Houston, TX 77006
- Hours: Open daily dawn to dusk
- Parking: See the parking rates listed above