Explore an underground relic at The Cistern in Buffalo Bayou Park

The Cistern at Buffal0 Bayou Park | Photo: Katya Horner, courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Tour an underground relic at the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern every Thursday to Sunday.

The Cistern, reminiscent of the ancient Basilica Cistern beneath Istanbul, is a cavernous space the size of 1.5 football fields featuring 221, 25-foot tall, slender concrete columns underneath the Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park.

Unused for years, this hidden gem’s columns, set row upon row, appear to hover beautifully over two inches of water on the reservoir’s floor with dramatic natural lighting provided by the entrance hatches above.

Thanks to support from The Brown Foundation, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is opening this industrial relic to the public, with plans in the near future to house temporary art installations in a unique public space.

Make Your Reservation

Every Thursday to Sunday attendees can reserve a 30-minute docent-led tour of Buffalo Bayou Park’s underground wonderland.

No children under the age of 9 will be permitted. Click here to make your reservation.

History of The Cistern

Formerly a drinking water reservoir built in 1926 for the City of Houston, the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern sprang an irreparable leak after operating for decades and eventually had to be drained completely. Somewhere along the way it had been all, but forgotten until recently.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership re-discovered the site in 2011 while developing their multi-million dollar Buffalo Bayou Park project. Realizing the historical and architectural significance of the highly unusual space, the organization along with the City of Houston, worked to take over management of the site to bring you The Cistern we know today.

The Cistern at Buffalo Bayou Park

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Cody Swann is a writer and musician born and raised in Houston. When he isn't recording or touring the country with his band, Wild Moccasins, he can be found covering live music and arts events for 365 Things to Do in Houston.