I have lived in Houston for most of my life, but I’m still discovering amazing new things about my city! Last week, a couple friends and I got the chance to tour a 15 million gallon water cistern underneath Houston.
It serviced the city of Houston with drinking water from 1926 until 2007.
In 2007 it got a crack that was too much to be repaired so they shut it down and Houston now gets water another way. But for those of us living in Houston since before 2007…we drank water from right here!
It is fairly dark during the tour (I lightened these photos quite a bit) from certain angles it’s hard to tell if the chasm is two stories or if it’s just filled with water. We finally realized it was water by seeing the “exit” signs reflected backwards on the surface.
From some angles I was completely certain it was just another story, and from others I felt sure the whole space was filled with water. It was an amazing optical illusion.
There is now a walkway around the circumference of the room, to walk along for tours. Tour guides tell you the history of the cistern and how it served Houston for so many years. It was fascinating to learn about.
Located near Buffalo Bayou, there is plenty to do above and below ground in the area! You can walk along the Bayou or rent a bike to ride around the city on top of the water cistern.
Tours run Thursday through Sunday and are only $2. You do have to reserve a space for yourself and order tickets online, but it’s well worth the effort.
Be aware that this is a guided tour, so it’s important to be on time. In my experience, if you show up late, they will bump you to the next tour if possible at no additional charge, but you’ll have to wait the 30 minutes until it’s time for the next tour.
If enclosed spaces aren’t your thing, you can explore Buffalo Bayou Park up top, and take a turn on the Periscope that peeks down into the water cistern to see what it’s all about without being inside it yourself. You can even look through the periscope online!
With so many amazing things to do in Houston, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the most exciting things we find to do with and without kids in Houston!