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6001 Fannin St., Houston, TX 77030, United States

Rearing up at the main gateway, an equestrian statue of Sam Houston keeps watch over the 445 acres of Hermann Park, which is nearing completion of a major renovation. This is the green heart of the Museum District, the city's oldest and most urban park, laid out in 1910, when its neighbors, Rice University and the now-sprawling Texas Medical Center, were just beginning to make their own history. A new generation of Houstonians—a diverse and dazzlingly international population from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond—now enjoys the enduring attractions: soaring pine trees; a three-mile running trail; free performances at the Miller Outdoor Theatre (www.milleroutdoortheatre.com); paddleboating on the eight-acre McGovern Lake; an exquisite Japanese Garden, complete with a teak teahouse; and the Houston Zoo (www.houstonzoo.org). Grab a box lunch from Picnic (1928 Bissonnet; (713)524-0201) or Kraftsmen Baking (4100 Montrose; (713)524-3737; www.kraftsmenbaking.com), settle into a park bench, and watch the ducks and model boats ply the reflecting pool, which extends from the base of a white marble obelisk.

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Hermann Park

Rearing up at the main gateway, an equestrian statue of Sam Houston keeps watch over the 445 acres of Hermann Park, which is nearing completion of a major renovation. This is the green heart of the Museum District, the city's oldest and most urban park, laid out in 1910, when its neighbors, Rice University and the now-sprawling Texas Medical Center, were just beginning to make their own history. A new generation of Houstonians—a diverse and dazzlingly international population from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond—now enjoys the enduring attractions: soaring pine trees; a three-mile running trail; free performances at the Miller Outdoor Theatre (www.milleroutdoortheatre.com); paddleboating on the eight-acre McGovern Lake; an exquisite Japanese Garden, complete with a teak teahouse; and the Houston Zoo (www.houstonzoo.org). Grab a box lunch from Picnic (1928 Bissonnet; (713)524-0201) or Kraftsmen Baking (4100 Montrose; (713)524-3737; www.kraftsmenbaking.com), settle into a park bench, and watch the ducks and model boats ply the reflecting pool, which extends from the base of a white marble obelisk.