Buffalo Bayou Cistern

photo courtesy Buffalo Bayou Partnership

What is Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern?


It was originally a drinking water reservoir built in 1926 for the City of Houston. An irreparable leak was discovered, and decommissioned in 2007.


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


The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern Opening Weekend was sold out.

If you would like to purchase tickets, you can select dates as far as 60 days out. It is important to note that the Cistern is only open Thursday through Sunday (see days and hours of operation below).

Make plans now to visit this historically and architecturally significant site, and while you are there, share your photos by tagging them with #BBPCistern!


Hours & Location


Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern at The Water Works
105 Sabine Street, Houston, TX 77007

Hours of Operation:

  • Thursdays & Fridays: 3 - 7 pm
  • Saturdays & Sundays: 10 am - 5 pm
  • Docent-led tours every 30 minutes.



  • $2 per person (no children under the age of 9 permitted) for a 30-minute docent-led tour.
  • Free on Thursdays but reservations still required.



New York artist Donald Lipski’s installation Down Periscope, which sits atop the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, is now open to the public. Through Down Periscope, park visitors are able to peer into the 87,500-square-foot expanse of the Cistern and its 25-foot tall, slender concrete columns that stand row-upon-row.


Commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) in partnership with the City of Houston, the seven-foot Down Periscope is housed in a covered stainless steel arbor (soon to be covered in jasmine), creating a shady, welcoming space for experiencing the installation.

Additionally, Down Periscope can also be accessed online from anywhere in the world at houstonperiscope.com.