Houston Local TRAVEL

McGovern Centennial Gardens + James Turrell Skyspace

Hermann Park in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Hi friends! Today I’ll be sharing the 2nd half of our Sunday in Houston. If you need a reminder of what we did on the first day, go ahead and read this post real quick before we dive in here!

Alright, shall we get right into it then?! After walking around the rooms of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, we headed out on an adventure to see what other hidden gems we could find nearby. And that’s one thing I definitely love about the Museum District…you can park your car in one place and make an entire day out of the area! There are seriously so many sights to see in within walking distance–too many, in fact, for one or even an entire summer’s worth of weekends! And the tree-adorned archways over the sidewalks and the vine-covered houses are gorgeous to walk through.

For our first stop, we headed toward Hermann Park, which is a nice big green park to settle down and relax in, centered in downtown Houston. There is a beautiful Pioneer Memorial Obelisk overlooking the reflection pool and flower beds there that memorializes early settlers of Houston. The sight is quite beautiful to sit and observe on a good day.

Hermann Park in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Hermann Park in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

There are also shaded benches underneath the gorgeous trees in the park where you can take a load off and enjoy the simple pleasures of the day. Today we leisurely strolled through, taking in all the sights and sounds, but it would have been a great place to come back with a picnic basket and a game of cards to spend an afternoon there.

Hermann Park in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

After enjoying a quick walk through Hermann Park, we stumbled upon the McGovern Centennial Gardens, whose entrance is adorned with a bounty of beautiful pink budding flowers. So we knew that it was a spot we couldn’t pass up, even as hot as it was on this particular day!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Conor catching his breath and staying in the shade for a few minutes. Houston in the summertime is definitely the hottest most humid place I’ve ever been, so make sure if you visit that you are drinking lots of water, taking lots of breaks, and getting inside the AC every so often! Heat stroke is a real concern in these parts!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

The flowers in the gardens were absolutely stunning! It ended up being one of our favorite stops of the entire trip!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

And we even found a little portion of the garden devoted to growing fruits and vegetables! The mini eggplant two pictures down was one of the cutest little vegetables I’ve ever seen!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Everywhere you looked there were flowers of every shape and color under the rainbow. It was simply beautiful!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

There were even these bright pink, fluffy Dr. Suess-like plants, which were insanely cool to look at! I mean…how was this not straight out of a children’s book?!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Oh hey!! Conor and I stopping in the shade to take a picture! (If you are interested, you can find my full outfit in this post.)

I lived in Texas for 5 years prior to this and had done several NASA JSC Co-Op work tours in Houston over the summers. So I was somewhat acclimated prepared for the hot humid heat. But poor Conor was not (this was his FIRST time to Texas!) and so I think he was melting little by little the whole weekend through. He even ended up dunking his head in a raised pond we found somewhere in downtown Houston. Haha! Poor guy! I know he had a great time while he was here, and despite the sweaty discomfort, he was such a trooper! Thanks so much for sticking it out with me!

McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

After the gardens, we decided to head back to our car but opted to walk a route we hadn’t seen yet. Luckily for us, we walked right by the Sam Houston Monument as well as the Mecom Rockwell Colonnade. Both are great photo opportunities and on any given day you might find a quinceanera or senior photo shoot happening there.

Sam Houston statue in Houston Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Mecom Rockwell Colonnade in Houston Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

sights of Houston Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Once we had made it to the car, I took Conor to my favorite cupcake and coffee shop, Tout Suite, for a much deserved treat. This was another recommendation from my Houston-native friend Laura and it’s one that I went to at least once a week to work at over the weekends. The food is incredible there too if you need a bite to eat for breakfast or lunch! The avocado toast and really ANY of their salads are amazing.

Today we went with something lighter and sweeter–a strawberry cupcake and a freshly-pressed raspberry lemonade juice.

Cupcake break at Tout Suite in Houton Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

…and then we went back for another chocolate cupcake because they are just that GOOD! 😉

Cupcake break at Tout Suite in Houton Texas | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

We spent 30 minutes or so at Tout Suite soaking up all the AC we could and treating ourselves with a little sugar. Afterwards, we headed out to Rice University where we could watch the sunset at the James Turrell Skyspace.

The J. T. Skyspace was built in 2012 and hosts a gentle LED show at sunrise and sunset everyday, to compliment (not compete with) the colors of the Houston sky. Times will, obviously, change depending on the season and day, but we showed up a little early (~6pm) to scope the place out and walk around campus before the show started. Rice University has a very pretty campus if you like to take walks and have a few minutes to spare!

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University in Houston, Texas | www.cupakesandthecosmos.com

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University in Houston, Texas | www.cupakesandthecosmos.com

The J.T. Skyspace is positioned in a particularly grassy knoll on the campus of Rice Univeristy but is made primarily out of concrete–even the seats! which ended up being surprisingly comfortable actually!

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University in Houston, Texas | www.cupakesandthecosmos.com

The sides of the structure are open, as well as a rectangular hole in the top ceiling. It’s neat to see how each of the different, segmented layers of the sky changes with the setting sun. The lower parts turn bright fire orange first, while leaving the sky directly above still light and blue. It’s gorgeous to watch how the sky transforms right in front of you!

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University in Houston, Texas | www.cupakesandthecosmos.com

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University in Houston, Texas | www.cupakesandthecosmos.com

We unfortunatley weren’t able to stay the whole time since I needed to get Conor to his flight back to Colorado. However, since photographs weren’t permitted inside once the light show started, it gave us the unique opportunity to take some photos of the light show in progress from the outside. The pretty pink color matches the pink-ening of the clouds there on the left in the photo below. It was simply gorgeous!

If you are ever in the area of Rice University at sunrise or sunset, I’d definitely recommend making a stop there! It’s a great opportunity to quiet your thoughts and just take in the beauty of nature around you.

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University in Houston, Texas | www.cupakesandthecosmos.com

Overall, we had a jam-packed amazing, adventurous day and an even better weekend showing Conor around Houston and Texas for the first time! I’ve started to include website links to all the places mentioned in my travel posts at the very end of each in case you’d like to learn more about them or to plan a trip!

What aboout you? Would you rather visit the Skyspace at sunrise or sunset?

You might also like…Visiting the Menil Collection and Afternoon at the Contemporary Arts Museum.

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Locations in this Post:

Hermann Park (All Points of Interest)

Pioneer Memorial Obelisk

Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool

McGovern Centennial Gardens

Sam Houston Monument

Mecom Rockwell Colonnade

Tout Suite

James Turrell Skyspace

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