Best Scenic Park - 2013
Organizers like to boast that it was mostly private funding that built Discovery Green, Houston's multipurpose downtown park. Visitors don't much care how it got built, only that it did. Set in the shadow of area skyscrapers and hotels, it seems deceptively small — until you try to walk around it, that is. Kinder Lake anchors the 12-acre space (it doubles as a skating rink in the winter). There's a stage for performances (everything from blues concerts to ice sculpting), lots of lawns, a dog park, a corridor of 100-year-old heritage oak trees, public art, more lawns, restaurants, water gardens, even a mini-library! Shrubs and trees help to separate the areas without any fences or walls. Every spot offers a carefully cultivated view of lawns, gardens, or tree groves. And then there's that spectacular Houston skyline for a background.