Most major cities in the United States feature some sort of sprawling green space near the epicenter where urban dwellers can find a bit of a respite from the daily grind -- and in Houston's case, the heat emanating from the concrete. Our most central slice of nature runs along both sides of Buffalo Bayou between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive on the north and south, and between the western edge of downtown and Shepherd. The simple course allows for either a relaxing, recreational jaunt or a full-on workout. The winding path zigzags in and out between a lush array of trees, sloping down to the water's edge and back up to street level throughout the course. It's the closest thing you'll find to a hilly terrain for miles. Stop off at any number of exercise stations for a complete workout, or take a break in Buffalo Bayou ArtPark and view works from some of our city's most innovative artists.
Readers' choice: Memorial Park