Sesquicentennial Park along Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston – Visiting Houston’s Parks, One Week at a Time

Address:  400 Texas Street, Houston, Texas 77006

Cost: Free

Appropriate Age: Any age

Sesquicentenial Park Houston Texas
 Sesquicentennial Park on Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston was created to commemorate Houston’s 150th birthday in 1986. It runs along the bayou, in the theater district and is a great place to explore. It is steps away from the theaters and skyscrapers but feels completely different than the rest of Downtown.

Sesquicentennial Park is a long thin park that stretches along the water.  You can access it from many points, but the easiest may be from Preston Street.  On the Wortham Center side of the bridge, which crosses the bayou, you will see the a statue of James Baker III and big hill leading to the bayou.  Here is a nice ramp that you can easily push a  stroller down.

Kayak on Buffalo Bayou at Sesquicentenial Park
This location also happens to be where our favorite mysterious red button is.  Be sure to Burp the Bayou before heading down to the park.  This goofy little thing is one of our FAVORITE things to do in Houston.

Sesquicentennial Park (which I can barely pronounce) has a trail along the bayou, lots of ducks, lots of bikers, some runners, a few kayaks, promenades and waterfalls.  Go here for a map.  You can wonder along the trail, feed the ducks and relax on the benches.  Be sure to also visit the waterfall outside of the Wortham Center.  There is also an audio tour, accessible by cell phone.

Ped Bridge at Sesquicentenial Park
 

When we went, we parked closer to the Hobby Center and Sam Houston Park.  I think this is technically outside of Sesquicentennial Park, but the same trail connects all of Downtown.  On this part of the trail, there is a cool pedestrian bridge and lots of highway overpasses.  The view is great but the traffic is pretty noisy, making it hard to hear the cyclist.

We walked up the trail, towards Preston Street Bridge and it got a lot quieter.  We easily pushed the stroller, with 2 sleeping kids, along the path and enjoyed the scenery.  At the Wortham Center, Joe was especially excited to find the waterfall cascading down from street level.  He also found a few spots along the trail where he could get dangerously close to the bayou… and added plus.

Fountain at Wortham Center in Houston Theater District
 

We ended at the Baker Common and pushed our stroller up the ramp.  (Since this was the best part of the walk, I recommend you start here.)  We Burped the Bayou and then headed to Market Square Park for some Niko Nikos for lunch.

Metered parking is available on the streets of Downtown Houston.  It is free after 6:00pm and on Sunday.  There are no restrooms at Sesquicentennial Park but Market Square Park does have one that the Niko Nikos staff can open.

Joe on Buffalo Bayou
 Like all of the bayou trails, this park is down below street level and does not have the whole city looking over it.  I personally like to have lots of eyes on public spaces to make them safer.

That said, Sesquicentennial Park is much less secluded than other parts of the bayou, with many overlooks and bridges crisscrossing over it, and it was quite busy with people exercising.  I felt comfortable on the stretch by Preston Street Bridge, but would recommend taking another adult along for a longer adventure.  Just in case.

I love urban spaces and I feel very comfortable in Downtown Houston, so don’t let my comments discourage you.  I love the bayou trails and think it is a treasure that more people need to know about.  Be sure to visit!


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