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How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Market Square Park in Houston 

How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Market Square Park in Houston

If you’re looking for the heart and soul of Houston’s vibrant downtown, you’ll find it at Market Square Park where nature and modernity coexist in perfect harmony. Here,  green spaces invite you for a moment of reflection and relaxation.

At the same time, culture and entertainment come alive in every corner. Whether you’re a local looking for your next urban adventure or a traveler looking for a taste of Houston’s unique charm, this guide is your ticket to navigating the Market Square Park. 

Find out what this commercial space has in store for you from art installations that spark curiosity to serene pockets of nature that offer respite, let’s dive into this dynamic hub that has become one of Houston’s most lively spots!

History and Background 

History and Background

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

Nestled within Houston’s Historic District, Market Square Park stands as a living testament to the city’s roots. Back in 1836, the visionary Allen brothers set foot here, driven by their dream of shaping a future city. 

Market Square, once known as Congress Square, just a short stroll away from Allen’s Landing, was chosen and designated to be the beating heart of the growing urban landscape. 

For over a century, it served as a fresh market and played host to 4 City Halls which unfortunately burned down one after another, eventually ending with the location being used as a parking area for the bustling neighborhood known for lively parties.

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

In the 1970s, The Junior League of Houston championed the revamp of the space from a parking lot to a much needed greenspace which came to fruition. A decade later, DiverseWorks, a non-profit organization, installed a variety of public art in the space. 

During the oil bust in the 1980s, the area was left unattended. But in 2010, after numerous suggestions and urging from the local residents and business owners, the Houston Downtown Management District transformed the space into what it is today. 

Currently, Market Square Park sits on a full city block in Downtown Houston. As one of the liveliest public parks, it offers a treasure trove of activities that bring the neighborhood together. 

Address: 301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-650-3022



  • Everyday – 6 am to 11 pm

How to Get to Market Square Park 

By Bus

There are a lot of bus lines you can take to go to Market Square Park depending on where you’re coming from but some of the more used ones are 161, 20, 51, 6, and 82. 

The closest bus stops to the area is the one along the intersection of Congress Street and Travis or the one along where Milam Street and Preston Street meet. Both are around 2-minute walks to the park.

By Light Rail 

You can get to Market Square Park by riding the Red Line of Houston’s MetroRail and getting off at the Central Station Capitol Stop or the Preston stop. These 2 stop are 6 minutes away from the park on foot. 

By Car

Travis, Milam, Congress, and Preston Streets surround the block that Market Square Park sits on. Finding your way to these streets will lead you straight to the area. 

For parking, there is metered parking which is free on Sundays and on any other day after 6 pm. 

Pro Tip: 
If you want environmentally-friendly ways of transportation, the Greenlink which is Downtown Houston’s green bus line offers free rides around the area. 

Taking the Orange Route and getting off at Allen’s Landing is an alternative way of getting to Market Square Park. 

Best Time to Go 

The Market Square Park is home to a wide array of activities. If you want a bit of peace and quiet to appreciate the park before the crowds set in, the best time to go is early morning on a weekday. 

But, if you enjoy the energy of being with people, the park is typically at its liveliest during lunch or at night when the lights come on and the live shows begin.

Things to See and Do at the Market Square Park

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

With its rich history, Market Square Park celebrates the past by incorporating elements from its legacy into the area itself. A great way to start off your exploration is by following the granite band that runs through the park. 

It starts near the entrance with a plaque that explains the history of the area through the eyes (and footprints) of the foundation responsible for building and maintaining the park. You’ll find more plaques with information about its transformation on the band. 

Pieces and remnants from the original buildings that once stood where the Market Square Park is now were repurposed by local artist, Richard Turner and incorporated into the curved walkways which are lovingly called the History Walk by locals. 

Pay Your Respects at Lauren’s Garden

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

Lauren’s Garden was established as a tribute to Lauren Grandcolas and everyone who was lost on the United Flight 93 on September 11. 

The garden features a colorful array of plants and flowers that change with the seasons with 40 yellow roses in memory of the victims. 

It also has sculptures scattered throughout along with water installations created to pay respect to the crash. The fountain is framed by 3 walls made of granite as tribute to the 3 crash sites and the pond it trickles down into holds 2,852 pebbles for each life lost. 

Market Square Park Houston

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

Sculptures that mimic bristlecone pines which are said to have the longest lifespans of any organism were placed there to signify that the memories of these individuals will live on forever. 

The sounds of trickling water with the sight of the flowers in bloom is a sight to see especially in the warm afternoon sunlight. This along with the significance of the garden, makes for a truly one of a kind experience. 

Look Up at the Market Square Clock Tower

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

From the Market Square Park, you can see the Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower which contains a hundred-year-old city artifact. The antique clock was originally made to be part of Houston’s 4th city hall but was misplaced. 

It was found in 1988 and repaired. It now stands proudly on the eastern side of Market Square Park and stands as a reminder of the park’s past. 

The Market Square Park is home to vario us art installations that are scattered throughout the area. 

Appreciate Art

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

The Surls Fountain features a massive steel and wooden sculpture called Points of View which was created by artist James Surls for the park in 1991. 

Appreciate Art 2

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

Buster is the park’s resident guard dog. This wooden sculpture by James Philips can be seen on your way to the Dog Areas on the west side of the park. 

Appreciate Art 3

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

The Gargoyles designed by Ruchard Turner and Doug Hollis at the northeastern side of the park have become somewhat of a local attraction. 

The sculptures aren’t only visually interesting to look at, but also play a role in educating visitors on the history of how the Market Square Park came to be. 

Appreciate Art 4

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

The Mosaic Fountain, which was painted by Malou Flato in 1991 and revamped in 2000, pays tribute to the rollercoaster ride of events, both good and bad, that formed the history of Market Square Park. 

The chunky brushstrokes on ceramic tiles is a unique form of art that isn’t exactly common, so it’s definitely worth checking out. 

Take Your Dogs for a Run

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

If you love bringing your fur babies with you to the park, Market Square Park has not one but two areas designated for dogs. One is for small dogs and the other is for larger ones to horse around without fear of hurting the little ones. 

These enclosed spaces are a great area for them to run around without you worrying about them running away or getting lost. Plus, the water features and doggy drinking fountains help your pets stay cool even in the Houston heat. 

Visit the Lawn

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

A huge open lawn at the center of the park is a great place for family and friends to sit and chat during the day. 

You can bring your own sources of entertainment to the lawn by bringing sports equipment for badminton, frisbee, and anything else that won’t disturb others or put them in danger. Skateboarding is prohibited in the park though so be mindful of that! 

The lawn is also perfect for setting up picnics or just laying out a blanket and lounging around. At night, the lights hung above the area transform it into a completely different space with a more relaxed vibe to it. 

It’s also the venue for the many events that the park hosts throughout the year. 


Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

The Market Square Park hosts a list of events throughout the year. Some of our favorites are the Night at Market Square with live music and entertainment and pop up food carts. 

In collaboration with the Central City Co-Op, a pop-up farmer’s market is open in Market Square Park every Saturday where you can find sustainable and organic fruits and vegetables for sale along with fresh meats and seafood. 

Blanket Bingo and Movie Nights where they set out a huge projector screen and dim the lights are also very enjoyable if you want a chill but good bonding experience with people you care about!

Rest and Relax at the Plaza

Image Source: Market Square Park Houston Website

Before ending your day at the MArket Square Park, drop by the plaza where you’ll find outdoor seating if you get tired of sitting on the grass. 

In this area, you can listen to the music blasting through the park’s sound system or watch a performance on the park’s small stage. 

You can also grab a quick bite to eat the Niko Niko’s which is located in the plaza itself! 

Tips When Visiting Market Square Park 

  • Bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on! 
  • Food and drinks are welcome in the park except for alcoholic beverages. 
  • There are plenty of picture-perfect places, so bring a camera!
  • Visit nearby attractions like the Chase Tower and Tranquility Park 

Where to Eat Near Market Square Park

Niko Niko's

Image Source: Niko Niko’s Website 

Address: 301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-224-4976 


Pricing: $$

If Mediterranean food hits the spot for you the same way it does for us, Niko Niko’s, located inside the Market Square Park should be your lunch spot when you’re in the area. They serve up huge portions of classic dishes from the cuisine. 

Our favorite item to get here is theCypriot Breakfast which is their Greek take on a classic English breakfast, with 2 sunny side up eggs, Greek sausage, grilled halloumi cheese, marinated tomatoes, served on toasted pita bread! 

For a quick and sweet mid-afternoon snack, their sweet baklava with walnuts and cinnamon pairs perfectly with their Freddo Cappuccino.

Barnaby’s Cafe

Image Source: Barnaby’s Cafe Website

Address: 801 Congress St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-226-8787


Pricing: $

For an all-American meal, head on over to Barnaby’s just a short walk away from the Market Square Park. This local chain serves up everything from burgers to smoked meats. 

We always get their All Natural Cheese Burger with all the regular fix-ins when we’re feeling something more classic. For a more adventurous dish, their Green Chile Cheeseburger with green chile pepper and jalapeno jack cheese for a kick.

The diner’s decor is just as famous as the food they serve up with the interior of the restaurant paying the ultimate homage to the owner’s sheepdog.

La Fisheria

Image Source: La Fisheria Website 

Address: 213 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-802-1712


Pricing: $$

After a day at the Market Square Park, La Fisheria which is an upscale Mexican seafood restaurant is the perfect place to end the day with dinner and some drinks too! 

Their menu ranges from appetizers featuring elevated Mexican classics like their Crema de Frijol or black bean soup. Their main courses are flavorful and pack a punch, especially their Pollo Rojo which is seared chicken breast with rice and chipotle broth. 

But the star of the show is the restaurant’s churros which are made fresh to order. These, with a glass of their Chocolate Martini. 

Line and Lariat

Image Source: Line and Lariat Website 

Address: 220 Main St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 832-667-4470


Pricing: $$$

For a fine dining experience, The Hotel Icon houses the Line and Lariat which serves up high-quality food that’s worth their price points. For starters, the Texas Tumble Weed, their fancy version of onion rings tastes as unique as the name suggests. 

Their Spit Fire Pasta made with shrimp and chicken doused in smokey jalapeno sauce is a great main. For vegetarians, the Southwestern Stuffed Shell Pasta is a great option made with black beans, corn, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. 

Hearsay Market Square

Image Source: Hearsay Market Square Website 

Address: 218 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-225-8079


Pricing: $$

The Hearsay Market Square near the Market Square Park in Houston is the place to be if you want the perfect combination of New American cuisine and the vibes of a casual pub, all in an upscale setting. 

You can enjoy brunch here before you head over to the for a fun day out. Their Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes made with roasted tomatillo salsa and pickled onions served with avocado, cheese, and cream is to die for!

If you’re more of a sweets for breakfast kind of person, they also have Buttermilk pancakes made from batter made from scratch.

Where to Stay Near Market Square Park

Club Quarters Hotel Downton, Houston

Image Source: Club Quarters Hotel Downtown Website 

Address: 720 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-224-6400

Pricing: $$

Book Now

If aesthetics play a role in how you choose the hotels you stay at, the Club Quarters Hotel in Houston is a great place to stay. The hotel itself is a historic building and the design of the interior poses in contrast with all modern elements. 

The location of the hotel is also within walking distance from a collection of places to eat and shop in. If you’d rather have your meals on site, the Table 7 Bistro serves up great American cuisine and has a bar too. 

 The rooms are spacious and comfortable with the run of the mill amenities you’ll need like Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs and coffeemakers. 

The Sam Houston, Curio Collection by Hilton

Image Source: The Sam Houston Website 

Address: 1117 Prairie St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 832-200-8800

Pricing: $$

Book Now

The Sam Houston Curio Hotel in Downtown Houston is the perfect place to book a stay if you’re looking for a hotel with a little personality and a whole lot of history. It opened its doors in 1924 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

But don’t let its extensive legacy fool you, the hotel has all rooms equipped with high-tech appliances and modern amenities on site like a fitness center that still guarantee a comfortable stay.

Make sure you check out the mural on one of the facades of the building for some art appreciation before you go!

Hotel ICON, Autograph Collection

Image Source: Hotel Icon Website 

Address: 1220 Main St, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-224-4266

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

Hotel ICON in Houston is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection which features some of the most luxurious hotels in the city. The Hotel ICON is arguably one of the most unique ones we’ve visited with neoclassical nods and over 135 rooms. 

The hotel is pet friendly too so after your pets enjoy a day walking with you at Market Square Park, you won’t have to worry about bringing them back to the hotel with you for a little rest and relaxation. 

The best part of our stay here are the bathrooms with built in rain showers, tubs, and even whirlpools! 

Magnolia Hotel Houston, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

Image Source: Magnolia Hotel Houston Website 

Address: 1100 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 713-221-0011

Pricing: $$

Book Now

If you’re like us and think that the hotel you choose makes or breaks a vacation, then choosing the Magnolia Hotel Houston will make for the perfect extended getaway near Market Square Park. Not only does this boutique hotel look the part, it also plays it well. 

The hotel offers newly renovated suites and rooms with huge beds and ample space to move around. The billiards room with a drinks bar offers a great place to unwind after a long day outdoors. 

Their rooftop pool offers up a great view of the city’s skyline that you can enjoy after grabbing dinner at their on site restaurant, The Dispatch. 

Hyatt Place Houston - Downtown

Image Source: Hyatt Place Houston Website 

Address: 1114 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002, United States

Phone Number: +1 832-930-8500

Pricing: $$

Book Now

The perfect balance of simplicity and elegance is what the Hyatt Place in Houston provides for their guests with every visit. The hotel is clean and chic in terms of its design and decor. 

The rooms are roomy and comfortable and offer free access to their high speed WiFi which is really helpful for when you want to stream some movies in the room before going to sleep. 

Their free breakfast which you can ask to be delivered to your room is the perfect way to start the next day of fun and exploration near Market Square Park. 


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