Buffalo Bayou is considered to be one of Houston’s most significant landmarks. The city is also known as Bayou City because of the impressive waterway in the area. Buffalo Bayou is also home to Houston’s best parks, and since its founding, the site has been in the middle of Houston’s community and development. In this article, we are going to tell you more about Buffalo Bayou’s history and the parks that you should visit while you’re here.
Buffalo Bayou is a river that stretches 52-miles through the heart of Houston. The river starts from the east of Houston at the Barker and Addicks Reservoir and flows through the city, then intersects with the San Jacinto River, which is near Galveston Bay and the coast. When the Spaniards settled in the area during the 1800s, communities started to grow around the Bayou, which also served as a shipping route and a fresh water source for the residents. In 1836, the river gained an essential role in Texas history during the Battle of San Jacinto. This said battle during the Texas Revolution was fought at the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou intersection.
During the wake of Texas’ independence, several businesses and communities started popping up along Buffalo Bayou. Sam Allen Ranch was built at the east end of Buffalo Bayou while the east end became the host to several shipping docks with access to the Gulf of Mexico. Up until today, Buffalo Bayou is still a location for the oil industry, shipping, as well as recreation in Houston.
Parks and Recreation in Buffalo Bayou
- Buffalo Bayou Park – This is a 160-acre green space park that is located just west of downtown Houston. Here you will be able to relax while looking at the beautiful gardens with native landscaping. Aside from that, there are also other activities that you can try, such as hiking, biking, paddle craft, and bike rentals. You can also look at stunning public arts and have fun in the creative nature play area. The Buffalo Bayou Park has two visitor centers and several gathering places where you can have a picnic, relax, or enjoy some outdoor fun with your family and friends.
- The Water Works – This park is located at Sabine Street, and it is considered to be one of the significant destinations here in Buffalo Bayou. The park was made by reclaiming a four-acre abandoned water site of the City of Houston. It is built on top of the partially buried water reservoir, and it has a grassy plateau where you can enjoy a stunning view of downtown Houston’s skyline. The Water Works has a bike rental facility and an entry court that hosts several food trucks every weekend.
- Eleanor Tinsley Park – This park was named after the late city council member and civil activist, Eleanor Tinsley. This is one of Houston’s popular outdoor spaces, where people can relax and enjoy some recreational activities. The Eleanor Tinsley park has a volleyball court and several gardens. It also has the Bud Light Amphitheater, where you can watch several performances.
- Lost Lake – This park is built on the site of a former pond that got lost during the 1970s when the dam located across a natural ravine broke. The city decided to restore the pond and put a visitor center with restrooms and paddle craft rentals. The Lost Lake also has a private event space called the Dunlavy.
- Sabine Promenade – This is a 23-acre waterfront park that has bike and hike trails that links western trails in Buffalo Bayou Park and Sesquicentennial Park located in Downtown Houston. This place has unique lighting, lush landscaping, a wide pedestrian bridge, and a boat launch.
- Johnny Steele Dog Park – Buffalo Bayou also has a place where your furry best friend can have fun. The John Steele Dog Park is considered to be one of the most vibrant destinations here in Buffalo Bayou. This is a 2-acre park that is located near Montrose Boulevard and Allen Parkway. It has shade structures, ponds, benches, dog washing areas, and even drinking fountains with spigots for dogs.