Houston Travel Tips for Super Bowl 51 and Beyond
More than 140,000 football fans are expected to visit Houston to take in 10 days of festivities surrounding Super Bowl 51, experience what the nation’s fourth largest city has to offer and, of course, watch the spectacle of the big game in person.
Texas likes to do things big, and Houston is a huge city! With more than 600 square miles within the city limits, there are a ton of things to do and see on any regular week in the city. These tips should be useful for anyone traveling to visit Houston, but with a huge number of events happening around Super Bowl 51 there are some specific things to know if you’re going there for the game.
Super Bowl Events
This time of year is normally rodeo season around Houston, but that’s being overshadowed by the largest sports event of the year and the slew of concerts, tailgates, watch parties, sports events and other entertainment related to the Super Bowl. To see what’s going on around Houston anytime of the year, check out Visit Houston’s calendar of events. Here are some of the more prominent events happening around Super Bowl 51:
- Sports: The NFL Experience, NFL Opening Night, Antonio Brown Celebrity Super Slam, 2017 Players Tailgate
- Entertainment: Super Bowl LIVE(10-day festival), Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, Bruno Mars, Texans House
- Parties:Houston Power Party, Luminaries of the Game Gala, 26th Annual Taste of the NFL, Ditka and Jaws Cigar Party, The BIG Texas Party, Super Bowl LI: Art Edition
Transportation and Parking
Before you travel to a big event it’s a good idea to learn a bit about the transportation situation, especially when more than one million people are expected to take part in Super Bowl 51 events in Houston.
If you plan to drive, more than 62,000 parking spots are available around Downtown Houston during Super Bowl 51 events. You can guarantee your spot in and around downtown Houston by pre-paying for parking. Visit www.superbowl.parkmobile.com for information about parking at NRG Stadium on game day.
Ride sharing services and taxis will be in full force during Super Bowl 51 events and a designated drop off area will be set up at the game.
23 miles of light rail connect all of Houston to NRG Stadium—the recommended method of getting into Downtown Houston during Super Bowl 51 events. METRO schedules will be extended and frequency boosted. The Greelink is a free circulator, a bus on a short loop, which operates downtown and will connect parking lots, restaurants and other events to Super Bowl LIVE.
You might not be able to visit all 600 square miles of the city on a bicycle, but it’s a great way to see the sights and beat the traffic, or at least not sit in it. A bikeshare program is in place with free rides during the Super Bowl festivities and a bicycle valet will be available during Super Bowl LIVE between Clay and Dallas Streets.
Food and Drink
Houston is experiencing a culinary renaissance with a number of top chefs choosing the city to showcase all the deliciousness that Texas and the Gulf of Mexico have to offer. Food & Wine recently named the city the “newest capital of great food.” There are more than 10,000 restaurants in Houston, but you can find more than the usual Tex-Mex at these hot spots ordered by region:
- Avenida Houston: A new downtown area that includes hotels with convention areas, parks and a smattering of new restaurants with various cuisines, including Kulture, Xochi, 1600 Bar + Grille, and Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.
- Upper Kirby/River Oaks: Tony’s, Triniti, Backstreet Cafe
- Uptown: Étoile Cuisine, Caracol
- Montrose: Underbelly(with kiosks at NRG Stadium!), Hugo’s
Where to Stay
There are some great rates for vacation rentals around Houston and more than 1,000 listings currently show up on HomeAway. There even seem to be some open rentals still available for Super Bowl 51 weekend. Here’s our favorite popular vacation rental in the heart of Houston, walking distance from many museums, restaurants and other hot spots and close to downtown.
If you prefer a hotel for your accommodations when you visit Houston, there are a number of four-star stays: St. Regis Houston, Four Seasons Hotel Houston, Hotel Granduca, and the newest hotel that’s getting a lot of interest around the Super Bowl—Marriott Marquis Houston. But, don’t expect to find many open rooms for Super Bowl weekend at this point, you may have to stay farther outside the city center.
If you’re traveling to Houston for Super Bowl 51, or any large event, it’s a good idea to get travel insurance that has trip cancellation coverage so you can be reimbursed for your trip costs, including your expensive event tickets, if you end up needing to cancel your trip for a covered reason.
Whether you’re rooting for the Patriots or Falcons, these tips should help you get the most out of your trip to Houston.
*Photo by Visit Houston
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