Houston is the largest city in Texas, the fourth largest city in the United States, and a diverse location with much to offer in terms of photography. From beautiful parks and green spaces to stunning temples and bustling boardwalks, Houston features something for every type of photographer.
In this article, we look at the best places to take pictures in Houston. By the time you’re done, you’ll know where to go for great photo opportunities – and you’ll feel plenty inspired!
11 Great Locations to Take Photos in Houston
1. Buffalo Bayou Park
If you want to take photos of parkland and Houston’s skyline, Buffalo Bayou Park is perhaps the best location to visit. It’s a gorgeous park that stretches for over two miles along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou River. It spans an area of 160 acres, starts at Shepherd Drive, and ends at Sabine Street.
The park offers trails that run alongside the Buffalo Bayou River, and these make for a peaceful and relaxing experience in good weather. There are also some interesting sites to photograph inside the park, such as the Houston Police Department Memorial, the Vale-Asche Foundation Spring, and the Spindle sculpture.
Many photographers love the eastern side of the park (next to Sabine Street). You can take some amazing photos of the high-rise buildings and skyscrapers that form the Houston skyline. And the trails surrounding the Sabine Street Bridge offer some excellent views of the skyscrapers, too.
2. Hermann Park
Hermann Park is one of the most popular urban parks in Houston. It is located in the southern region of the Museum District and covers a huge area of 440 acres. The park itself is beautiful, well maintained, and picturesque.
It is also home to a host of additional photography locations. These include the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. You could easily spend a day or two exploring the grounds with your camera.
The main areas for photography in Hermann Park are near the outdoor theater and McGovern Lake. These spots are located in the northern part of the park, past the Zoo. One of the most impressive sites to photograph is the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, an immense pool similar in style to the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington D.C.
Don’t miss a stroll to the Japanese gardens west of the pool, and be sure to photograph the iconic Sam Houston statue at the far end of the pool. If you’re after a leisurely day of photography and walking, Hermann Park is a great place to go.
3. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Houston also offers some amazing religious structures, and one of the best known is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, which is located in the Stafford District.
It’s a Hindu temple that was constructed in 2004. Despite the recent construction, it looks incredibly old and features a traditional design. The façade, entrance, gateways, and minarets all look superb and decorative. And once you are inside the temple grounds, you can easily forget that you are in the heart of a major city.
The temple is a great place to experience different cultures and religions without traveling abroad. Of course, if you do visit, please be respectful of the rules and any worshipers.
4. Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
No photographic trip to Houston would be complete without a visit to this park. It includes a stunning waterwall, which is an impressive feat of human engineering and is beautiful to see. It provides some excellent photographic opportunities that’ll allow you to work on your long-exposure skills.
Waterwall Park is located in the Uptown District. It sits at the base of the iconic Williams Tower, which is also a great photographic subject. The Williams Tower is one of the best-known skyscrapers in Houston and has an amazing Art Deco façade that’s visible for miles.
The park is relatively small in size and features a simple rectangular pathway surrounded by beautiful trees. At the bottom end is the waterwall, a tall waterfall that cascades down a semi-circular wall.
Be sure to take a tripod to photograph the waterwall; that way, you can experiment with long-exposure techniques. You can make the water appear smooth and velvety as it cascades down the wall.
5. Mercer Botanic Gardens
If you love nature photography, then the Mercer Botanic Gardens is a must-visit location. This epic attraction is split into two halves on each side of the Aldine Westfield Road in the Humble area of Houston.
On the west side of the road is a series of walking trails. These stretch for miles and are great for walking and cycling. You can get some interesting forest photos in this section of the gardens.
But the most interesting part of the gardens sits on the eastern side of the highway. Here, you’ll find over 60 acres of superbly landscaped gardens – and during the spring and summer, you can view an explosion of color created by blossoming flowers, plants, and trees.
You can find a range of exotic species, including bamboo, ferns, gingers, and herbs. There is also a fantastic arboretum and a tropical garden section. You could easily spend hours photographing the different plants, trees, and flowers and practicing your nature photography skills.
6. Graffiti Park
Houston has a few unofficial tourist spots that are incredibly popular; one of most famous is Graffiti Park, made up of a series of buildings located on Leeland Street in the East Downtown District of Houston.
If you love street art, graffiti, and urban culture, this is the place to go. The graffiti is often changed, but the quality and variety is fantastic. Local artists come to add their own creations to the walls, and you can find everything from typical text graffiti to artwork with political motivations.
At night, Graffiti Park bursts with energy. You get hot rods and motorcycles revving their engines, makeshift boxing rings, and a real retro block-party atmosphere. It’s a great place to try your hand at street photography!
7. The Biscuit Paint Wall
As you might expect, the Biscuit Paint Wall is a building wall that’s been painted. That doesn’t sound very exciting, right? Wait until you see it! The wall has been carefully covered in multicolor paints, and it looks like the paint is literally dripping down the walls. The effect is fantastic, and the bright array of colors makes for the perfect portrait backdrop.
Really, the Biscuit Paint Wall is a brilliant place to visit if you want to create interesting selfies, experiment with bright colors, or just photograph some amazing art.
There is a parking lot nearby, and it is accessible at all times. You can even tag your photos on Instagram using the #montrosepaintwall hashtag!
8. Smither Park
If you want a quieter location that still offers excellent photographic opportunities, Smither Park is the place to go. It’s located to the north of the Brays Bayou river not far from the University of Houston.
While the park is small, the variety of unique sculptures and displays make it very special. The park is bursting with colorful creations done by the community and is one of the most vibrant parks in Houston.
Walking through the half-acre park, you’ll come upon various decorated items and sculptures. For the most part, the designs are made of mosaics, and the patterns and colors provide some amazing photography subjects.
Bottom line: If you want to create some abstract photos and visit a unique cultural location, Smither Park is definitely worth a visit.
9. Kemah Boardwalk
Houston offers some fun locations that are great for people and nighttime photography. One such place is the Kemah Boardwalk, a 60-acre boardwalk and amusement park located in the southern part of Houston.
There are so many different things to photograph that it’s difficult to know where to start! Just outside the park is the Kemah Boardwalk Marina, a large harbor with an array of yachts and fishing boats. You could easily spend hours photographing the various vessels before entering the boardwalk.
As you enter the boardwalk area, you will see all sorts of bright lights and theme-park rides. For example, there is the Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster and a beautiful Ferris wheel. And there is the boardwalk itself, which sits on the edge of the water.
It’s an excellent place to visit at night, one that’ll allow you to test (and improve) your low-light photography skills.
10. Houston Zoo
Zoos are not everyone’s thing. But the Houston Zoo has an amazing reputation; the animals are well-cared for and are given ample space.
If you want to do wildlife photography, then the Houston Zoo is a brilliant place to visit. You could take your wildlife camera and telephoto lens and spend time capturing detailed shots of the various species. And the favorable weather in Texas means you will generally have great lighting conditions.
As mentioned above, the Zoo is located next to Hermann Park. It features over 6,000 animals and 900 different species. It is split into various sections, each with a different natural theme. There are also plenty of facilities, cafes, and restaurants.
You can photograph plenty of animals, including elephants, hippos, tigers, lions, tapirs, anteaters, and monkeys. The range of animals is fantastic, and you can truly test your wildlife photography skills!
11. Space Center Houston
Houston has long been associated with space exploration, so if you are interested in space and the history of NASA, the Space Center Houston is a must-visit attraction. It is also a fantastic place to take photos. This is due to the wide array of exhibits and actual spacecraft on display.
The Space Center Houston is located in the southern part of the wider city area. You can access the attraction off the aptly named Saturn Lane, and the whole area is packed with NASA buildings.
One of the main attractions is the Starship Gallery. It contains an array of important spacecrafts, including the Mercury 9 Capsule, the Gemini 5 Capsule, and various lunar modules. There is also the amazing Rocket Park. Here you can see various shuttles, such as the legendary Saturn V rocket. For those who love this type of subject, the Space Center is one of the best places to take pictures in Houston.
Explore the Amazing City of Houston with Your Camera Today!
Our list of the best places to take pictures in Houston only scratches the surface! The city has so much to offer, and you could easily spend a week or more exploring Houston and its abundance of parks and public spaces.
Once you’ve seen all the photographic sites in Houston, you might also consider checking out the surrounding cities. For example, you could head to Galveston, an incredibly popular and attractive coastal city that has some fantastic architecture. Alternatively, you could head across Texas to San Antonio or even across the state border to Louisiana. The possibilities are endless!