Set in the heart of downtown Houston where the city was originally founded, Market Square Park is the greenest, hippest—and most historic—one square block in Houston. Three different versions of City Hall all stood on this open plot, but all were either destroyed by fire or eventually demolished and removed. The tall, four-sided clock tower, however, that still swings its arms in the park, dates all the way back to 1904 when it hung on City Hall. The history of the park aside, however, visitors are drawn to Market Square Park by the large amount of open green space and strong sense of community. Large displays of public art are scattered throughout the park, and Houston residents with four-legged friends can always be found at the dog park.
Market Square Park is known for its festive outdoor events—particularly community bike rides—although it’s also a place for pensive reflection in the middle of the bustling city. At the memorial known as “Lauren’s Garden” flowing water and seasonal flowers combine with a large, stone-filled fountain that’s dedicated to the memory of lives that were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. The garden is named for Lauren Grandcolas—a passenger on United 93—and is a peaceful, yet somber, piece of history that accompanies the centuries-old Texas heritage in Houston’s Market Square Park.
Market Square Park is open daily from 6am-11pm, and there is no admission to visit. Parking, restaurants, bars, and shopping are all within a five-minute walk.