Discover the hidden beauty of Houston with this article that highlights the prettiest places to visit right now. Despite its reputation for endless construction and lack of zoning regulations, Houston is home to breathtaking attractions and scenic spots that will leave you in awe. From the Museum of Fine Arts Houston with its visually immersive campus to the Memorial Park’s lush gardens and newly completed Land Bridge, Houston offers a myriad of eye-pleasing locales that prove the city is undeniably beautiful. So, get ready to explore stunning gardens, picturesque parks, and architectural marvels that will make you appreciate the aesthetic appeal of Houston.
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
If you’re looking for a truly stunning experience in Houston, look no further than the Museum of Fine Arts. This modern arts museum not only features breathtaking art exhibits like the Yayoi Kusama “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity” and Pipilotti Rist “Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanish,” but also boasts a visually immersive campus. Take a stroll through the tranquil Cullen Sculpture Garden, admire the distinguished Glassell School of Art, and relax in the one-acre public greenspace Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza. Make sure to visit Cloud Column, Houston’s version of Chicago’s famous Bean in Millenium Park. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is truly a feast for the eyes.
Located across from the neighborhood of Memorial, Memorial Park is a nearly century-old urban park that covers around 1,466 acres. This park is a must-visit if you’re in search of natural beauty. Take a walk through the lush 155-acre Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, explore the gorgeous new Eastern Glades, and marvel at the just-completed Land Bridge and Prairie. If you’re up for some outdoor activities, you can also enjoy the top-rated 18-hole golf course, crushed granite running trail, sports fields and facilities, picnic spots, and playgrounds. And of course, make sure to grab a delicious burger from Beck’s Prime while you’re there.
Houston Botanic Garden
Less than 10 miles southwest of the city, the Houston Botanic Garden is a true oasis of beauty. This curated collection of plants showcases a diverse array of global and regional flora across its 132 acres. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails, pack a picnic and relax in the picturesque Picnic Grove, and immerse yourself in the beauty of highlights like the Global Collection Garden, Woodland Glade, and Coastal Prairie. This botanical garden is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and take some stunning selfies along the way.
Just north of Rice University, you’ll find the historic neighborhood of Boulevard Oaks. This neighborhood is known for its charming beauty, with the North and South Boulevard esplanade lined by towering, century-old live oak trees. The street has become so popular that you may see “No photo shoots” signs from its civic association, but you can still capture a quick snapshot as you walk the streets. Boulevard Oaks is a picturesque area that showcases Houston’s rich history and natural allure.
The Skylawn at Post Houston
For a truly breathtaking view of the cityscape, head to the Skylawn at the new Post Houston. After indulging in the delicious food options at the downstairs food hall, make your way to the five-acre rooftop park for one of the prettiest strolls in the city. The Skylawn offers panoramic views of Houston’s skyline and is the perfect spot to relax and take in the beauty of the city from above.
University of St. Thomas
If you’re in the mood for some architectural beauty, the University of St. Thomas is a must-visit. This 75-year-old campus, set in Neartown and designed by award-winning American architect Philip Johnson, features historic houses like the Link-Lee Mansion and the statuesque Chapel of St. Basil. Take a leisurely stroll along the Academic Mall, pay a visit to the chapel, or pack a picnic and enjoy a peaceful lunch in the courtyard. The University of St. Thomas is a hidden gem of beauty in the heart of Houston.
Bayou Bend Gardens
For a taste of American landscape design, visit the Bayou Bend Gardens. Miss Ima Hogg and her brothers worked hard to transform the 14 acres of natural woodlands and winding ravines around their River Oaks home into a Secret Garden-esque sanctuary. The formal gardens are a sight to behold, with garden “rooms” that seamlessly blend into the house and take inspiration from classical muses. Admission to the gardens is $7.50, and it’s worth every penny to bask in the glory of this stunning oasis.
Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
Formerly known as the Williams Waterwall, the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is a true masterpiece of design and engineering. This cascading fountain soars 64 feet into the sky, making it a guaranteed Instagram hotspot and a welcome respite from the Houston heat during the summer. Designed by the same team that created Houston’s Pennzoil Place and NYC’s former AT&T World Headquarters, the waterwall is a must-see attraction that combines art, nature, and architectural brilliance.
Rice University campus
If you’re a fan of stunning architecture and beautiful landscapes, spend some time exploring the Rice University campus. Nestled among twisting, towering oak trees and blooming azaleas, this more than century-old campus is a true gem in the heart of Houston. Take a leisurely stroll through the campus, which spans over 300 acres, and discover impressive public art collections and installations along the way. End your visit with a visit to Valhalla, a hidden, student-run bar where you can enjoy a cheap brew and toast to the beauty of Rice University.
Brenner’s on the Bayou
If you’re looking for a restaurant with both incredible food and stunning grounds, look no further than Brenner’s on the Bayou. This local standby offers delicious Texas steak alongside eye-catching views. The restaurant is set on a lush, landscaped garden along the Buffalo Bayou, providing a serene and picturesque dining experience. Make sure to visit during happy hour and enjoy a drink at the gorgeous al fresco bar. Brenner’s on the Bayou is the perfect place to indulge in both culinary delights and natural beauty.
Houston may not always be recognized for its aesthetics, but these stunning places prove that the city has plenty of beauty to offer. From art museums and botanical gardens to historic neighborhoods and scenic parks, Houston is a haven for anyone seeking beauty in their surroundings. So the next time someone calls Houston ugly, you can confidently point them in the direction of these prettiest places and show them the true beauty of the city.