Northwest Park in Austin’s Allandale neighborhood, known also as Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park, is intimately tied to some of my fondest memories. I have set out from my home and taken countless strolls that cut through the park; have tossed sticks to dogs on the green expanse; enjoyed solo time on the swings when no one else was around; watched my son and his buddies splash in the the pool; thrown annual birthday parties by the playscape; caught a little league baseball game on the fly; played tennis with a friend and hit against the background; and watched a pick-up basketball game as I headed toward the pedestrian bridge. But my favorite past time is simply lying in the grass by the pond, gazing up at the blue sky, feeling happy and at peace.
Northwest Park offers a break from the busy-ness of life and an opportunity to connect with nature. It’s tucked in between rows of mostly one-story ranch-style homes along the perimeter, and Shoal Creek to the west. And if you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it altogether, which would be a shame! While not as large as some of our other city parks, it’s a welcome oasis nonetheless and a sweet reprieve from the stress of your day-to-day. No matter the season, the park has something to contribute. In the spring time you’ll enjoy thick fields of wildflowers near the east entrance. The bluebonnets are not to be missed and beckon family photo shoots. The swimming pools offer an escape from the summer heat, whether you’re in the lap lane or splashing in the shallow wading pool. Tranquil cypress trees along the pond’s edge are a particular delight—their thin leaves changing dramatically as autumn settles in. And while winter temperatures may plummet and the trees turn stark and bare, the park offers a unique stillness that you’ll enjoy just the same.
I love living in Allandale, and Northwest Park is an important part of what makes it feel like home. To quote namesake Beverly Sheffield himself, a much-respected employee and 30-year Director of the Parks Foundation, “I don’t believe we can get too much open space.”
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