From a one-of-a-kind restaurant to an unassuming bridge, these Houston-area lookouts might vary in accommodations but each offers up incredible views.
San Jacinto Monument
Located on the Houston Ship Channel, the San Jacinto Monument is a 567.31-foot-high obelisk celebrating Sam Houston’s victory over Santa Anna in 1836 and honoring all those who fought to win Texas its independence. Enjoy the views from the observation deck (at an altitude of around 480 feet) before moseying on down to the The San Jacinto Museum of History located inside the base of the monument. The museum, chartered in 1938 to “preserve and revisualize the history of early Texas,” spans more than four centuries of early Texas history, from the beginnings of European activity in the New World through Texas’ history as a state in the United States. The San Jacinto Day Festival takes place each April and includes historical reenactments and living history demonstrations.
Fun fact: As you likely know, everything’s bigger in Texas, and the San Jacinto Monument is no exception. The monument is the tallest masonry column in the world and it’s more than 12 feet taller that the Washington Monument.
1 Monument Circle, La Porte; (281) 479-2421
Rosemont Pedestrian Bridge
The Rosemont Bridge provides access to Buffalo Bayou’s 200-acre park. Sure the bridge might not be a destination in its own right, but like the old adage goes, sometimes it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Most might see the bridge merely as an access points to one of the city’s most trafficked parks, but others (typically the kind of people that stop and smell the roses, so to speak) will see the bridge for what it truly is: one of the most scenic spots in the city, offering a treetop views of Buffalo Bayou Park and unobstructed views of Houston’s skyline.
Fun fact: Love locks frequently build up on the bridge, giving added character, and dare we say it, an aura of romance.
The Mount at McGovern Centennial Gardens
For the Houston natives who’ve never been afforded the opportunity to experience an actual hill before, we recommend a brisk albeit brief hike up the 30-foot mount at the center of the McGovern Centennial Gardens on Hermann Park’s northeast end. Gorgeous views of the lush gardens await you at the apex of this iconic and Insta-worthy Houston enticement. Once you take in the views from above, stroll back on down and get a ground level look at the meditative landscape replete with floral fancies organized into distinct areas that include a rose garden, an arid garden, a woodlands garden and a community garden, which produces seasonal vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Fun fact: The facility’s dazzling glass and granite entryway, officially dubbed the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, was designed by the architect behind Apple’s sleek storefronts. The entryway opens into the Centennial Greens, a gorgeous lawn bookended on one end by a fountain and on the other by the mount. This green expanse at the center of the park is an ideal spot to set down a blanket and stare up at the sky or chow down on a picnic. A warning: Expect to dodge photographers or else photobomb some pictures. No matter the time of year, Insta-influencers and professional photographers alike flock to the gardens to cash in on its natural beauty.
6001 Fannin St., hermannpark.org
If you prefer your scenic city views accompanied with air conditioning and seafood offering a Southwest flair, make a reservation at Spindletop, the revolving restaurant perched atop the Hyatt Regency Houston in downtown Houston.
Fun fact: The glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring its customers get 360-degree views of the cityscape.
1200 Louisiana St., (713) 375-4775
Eleanor Tinsley Park
So this entry isn’t so much a view from on high as it is a view from off to the side, but we argue this park’s scenic offerings shouldn’t be overlooked merely because of an elevation deficiency. Located along Allen Parkway between Sabine Street and Taft in Buffalo Bayou park, Eleanor Tinsley Park is one of the city’s premier green spaces. Each year, it’s the sight of dozens of major Houston events, including the city’s annual Freedom Over Texas firework show. The park’s massive appeal is credited in large part to its sweeping panoramic views of the downtown Houston skyline. When you go, expect to dodge tons of camera-happy visitors clicking away to their hearts’ content.
Fast fact: The park was named in honor of the late city councilmember and civic activist, Eleanor Tinsley.
18-3600 Allen Pkwy., (832) 394-8805
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.