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Buffalo Bayou Park is one of Houston's best spots for beautiful views, cool photography and culture. Along the Buffalo Bayou River, there are a lot of cool places (even the locals might not know of) in this park where you can take the wonderful photos of Houston downtown, trails to walk, run or cycle, have a fun date, and to hang out with friends and families. Unless you are spending your entire day at Buffalo Bayou Park, it would be difficult to check out the entire area since it's so spread out. This guide is here so you can check out the 10 highlights of Buffalo Bayou Park.
1. Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark
This spacious skatepark in Houston is a great addition to Buffalo Bayou Park. I honestly don't know much about skateboarding but I think it's very cool to have a space like this! Whether you are a pro or just starting learning skateboarding, Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark is the place to practice! It's right next to the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern.
2. Buffalo Bayou Cistern
Popular between photographers in Houston, Buffalo Bayou Cistern definitely is a cool place to check out when you are at Buffalo Bayou Park. Throughout the 20 minutes tour, you get to learn the history behind Buffalo Bayou Cistern. It's actually really fun to learn and you have plenty of time to take photos inside the Cistern! Isn't it crazy that the echo in here lasts over 15 seconds? They held art exhibitions inside here before and had people do A Capella or solo performances as well. They do not allow any music festivals though.
3. The Water Works Terrace
This beautiful hidden green space is right above the Buffalo Bayou Visitor Center. I really enjoyed walking here on this day not only because there was not a single person, but the weather was sunny and perfect. Definitely recommend to anyone who wants a good relaxing walk, moms and dads who want to spend time with little ones, or for those who want to read a good book!
On the left side of the Water Works Park, you will see a down periscope. It's a great spot for photos inside this giant tube covered with jasmine. The down periscope is created by Donald Lipski and it lets you look down into this dark cistern! It's connected to a camera located inside the Buffalo Bayou Cistern (like you see it on the right photo). You just have to turn it on.
4. Tolerance Statue
Just like Tolerance, I've seen so many statues by Jaume Plensa, a well-known Spanish artist and sculptor. His exhibitions are all over the world! So far I found two located in the campus of Rice University called Mirrors, Possibilities at Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea, Pacific Gate in San Diego, Voices in Husdon Yards and Behind The Walls at Rockefeller Center, both from my New York trip. At the entrance of Rosemont Bridge, there are seven Tolerance Statues. You get the vibe that they are there to protect Buffalo Bayou Park. What's cool about these stainless steel sculptures are that they are comprised of characters and symbols from various languages - which is a symbolic and trademark of Plensa Design.
On the way to Rosemont Bridge, you will stumble upon this sculpture. Isn't it just incredible how beautiful the nature colors are? LISTEN along with EXPLORE, PAUSE, REFLECT, EMERGE and OBSERVE are installations by Houston artist, Anthony Thompson Shumate. I only found LISTEN but these other words are placed in unexpected areas in Buffalo Bayou Park! Have you found any?
6. Rosemont Bridge
You might have seen a lot of creative photos that was shot from this Rosemont Bridge! Like you see, it's a beautiful place for photos due to Houston skyline at the back. These locks on the bridge reminds me of Korea's N Seoul Tower. N Seoul Tower is for everyone but especially a hotspot for couples. You write a message on a lock you pick out with your loved ones and fasten it on the fence. Then in a year or two, you can come back and check to revisit the memories! But anyways, I am thinking it is the same purpose... While walking on the bridge, I found this unique gold owl lock!
7. It Wasn't A Dream, It Was A Flood
I saw this on the way I was walking back from the Rosemont Bridge! I thought it was unique and beautiful. Especially the think branches reminded me of hands. It's an artwork called 'It wasn't a dream, it was flood' by John Runnels. The meaning behind this piece is for the devastation and enjoyment the water has provided to Houstonians.
8. Jackson Hill Bridge
Jackson Hill Bridge is located between Memorial drive and Allen Parkway, and a great place to take photos! Took this with my sister and it came out better than expected! On the way, there is an artwork, Houston Police Officers' Memorial, to recognize the sacrifices to honor those who have lost their lives and Eleanor Tinsley Park, a beautiful open green space for picnics, sports and events.
9. Dandelion Fountain (Gus S Wortham Fountain)
The dandelion fountain is probably my favorite place to go in Buffalo Bayou Park other than able to look at Houston city view. I am glad it rained a little on this day because I got a beautiful photo with a rainbow. It's crazy because after a few minutes (photo below), the rainbow was gone! It's fun to take a closer look of this dandelion fountain since you can feel the water sprinkling on your skin.
10. Waugh Bridge Bat Colony
I still have yet to see this tourist attraction at Waugh Bridge, but during the "magic hour", thousands of wild bats emerge from under the bridge at sunset. Definitely a cool place for photos in Houston for both locals and visitors!
Where To Park at Buffalo Bayou Park
Stretching from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive, finding parking at the Buffalo Bayou Park is actually not that difficult.
Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, Buffalo Bayou Cistern and The Water Works Terrace
You can park right in front of the Wortham Insurance Visitor Center for free
Tolerance Statue, LISTEN, Rosemont Bridge, It Wasn't A Dream, It Was Flood
You can park alongside of the Buffalo Bayou Trails. For example, try putting Rosemont Bridge as your final destination on Google maps. Once you are following down the road, you should see the visitor parking spaces. It's only $1 for 3 hours which is perfect for running, biking, or walking around!
Jackson Hill Bridge
Street parking nearby if you are checking only the Jackson Hill Bridge, but if you are exploring more at the Buffalo Bayou Park, I recommend you to park at the parking spaces ^
You can park right in front of the Gus D. Wortham Fountain.
Waugh Bridge Bat Colony
You can park at the parking lot of The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, a beautiful restaurant in Buffalo Bayou Park, and walk over.
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