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Best Picnic Spot Houston 2007 - Bell Park

Readers' Choice: Hermann Park

Bell Park, a tiny slice of green space on Montrose just north of Hermann Park, is both romantic and soothing. A wall of lush, well-kept greenery keeps the traffic out of sight and cuts down on the noise, giving visitors a respite from the busy hustle-bustle of everyday life. Tall trees provide shade, while the soft lawn is a perfect place for spreading out a picnic blanket. There are benches, a few foot paths and a bridge over a tranquil pool, all adding to the peaceful setting. The best thing is that you don't have to drive an hour out of town to find some quiet. Perfectly situated between the Museum District and downtown, Bell Park is just a quick five-minute ride away from downtown and the Medical Center.

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Larry Butler
Larry Butler

Whoever decided that Bell Park is the best picnic spot is sadly mistaken. I live in the neighborhood. It was true maybe four years ago but in the past two years is has become potentially very dangerous as it is a daily hang-out for vagrants and others who appear to have serious mental or drug problems. They can be seen anywhere from 6:30 AM to past 9:30 PM. During the past year the number of these people as increased dramatically and now they can be found there sleeping on benches, cleaning their clothes in the ponds, bathing themselves in the pond and the water fountains on the edge of the park, drinking alcohol and who knows what else as there are no public bathrooms on site. There have been numerous complaints to parks department by neighbors but their only apparent action has been to post signs with park rules, which have nothing to do with the vagrancy problem. The park is within a thousand yards of at least three pre-schools and grade schools whose children come to the park in groups with their teachers. Many others frequently use the park including attendees of the several churches in the neighborhood, Museum District art students etc. It is such a shame that this park is not the jewel it used to be.