Eleanor Tinsley Park
Eleanor Tinsley Park, a section of the 124-acre Buffalo Bayou Park, is easily one of the best parks in Houston, Texas with beautiful scenery and skyline views. This write-up by AoxoA focuses on Tinsley Park Proper, which is south of the bayou.
It has wide-open spaces that are perfect for festivals, flying kites, picnics, Frisbee, playing musical instruments (acoustic guitars, hand drums, etc…), exercising or just relaxing. Basically there are no crowds, so you have the place to yourself to gather with friends, your children or in solitude.
Brief History / Park Borders
The Buffalo Bayou Park was built in 1926. This premier greenbelt stretches alongside the winding Buffalo Bayou to the north and Allen Parkway (one of the nicest auto routes in town) to the south. Shepard Drive borders to the west and the east border is at Bagby Street. Eleanor Tinsley Park is within this greenbelt between Taft and Sabine Street. It was designated on April 20, 1998 in honor of Eleanor Tinsley, who served as a member of the Houston City Council At-Large for 16 years.
Features / Uses of Eleanor Tinsley Park
With downtown’s skyline as its backdrop, the park features hike, bike and jogging trails, sloping terrain, soft grass, lush trees, a launch for kayaks/canoes, a sand volleyball court and a playground with swings as well as standard park amenities (benches, trash receptacles and drinking fountains). It also features many sculptures and art pieces such as the “Large Spindle Piece” by Henry Moore (south bank east of Taft Street).
Its location and limited parking along Allen Parkway or Memorial Drive make it more difficult to visit, guaranteeing thin crowds on a normal day. However, the park is the site of major festivals and events wherein the city closes Allen Parkway to make it safe for tens of thousands of Houstonians and non-locals to flow into the park.
Festivals and events held at the park include the Freedom Over Texas 4 of July celebration (the largest land-based fireworks show in the nation), Free Press Summer Fest, Houston Art Car Parade, Bob Marley Festival and the Westheimer Street Festival in Exile.
How do you get to Eleanor Tinsley Park in Houston, TX.? The parks street address is difficult to define because the parks imprecise shape spans three ZIP codes (77002, 77007, and 77019). The City of Houston may list the address as 1800-3600 Allen Parkway/Memorial Drive, 77019. Alternatively, the City may list the address as 500 Allen Parkway, 77002.
View map and get directions. From I45 exit Allen Parkway. The park is to the right.
These are my favorite places to park a car:
- Look for the few turn-ins along Allen parkway. The first turn in has a small parking lot and is where the playground is located.
- Or, U-turn at Taft, stay on the feeder (heading to downtown) and make a right on Gillette St to park. If you park here you will have to cross Allen parkway on foot (you can do it, be careful). This will place you at the west end of the park by the Henry Moore Sculpture.
- Or, follow Allen Parkway to Waugh and make a right. Take the Memorial east exit (on right) and look for the few turn-ins along Memorial Dr.
Eleanor Tinsley Park
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