Lots of people are intimidated by Downtown but with a little guidance, we promise that you soon will be an expert navigator of downtown streets. With applications like ParkMobile and Uber, plus alternative methods of transportation like Greenlink and BCycle, it’s easier than ever to get around. And don't forget, unlike other areas of town, Downtown is very walkable... whether you’re at street-level or down in the tunnels.
There are tons of affordable parking options – garages, surface lots and on-street parking –convenient to your destination, whether it be a restaurant or event. On-street, metered parking is available during the day on most Downtown streets. You can park up to 3 hours and after that, you need to move your car. The meters accept cash, credit cards and pay-by-phone; hourly prices vary depending on location. Meters are FREE after 6 pm Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday. DO NOT park in valet zones or commercial zones (marked with red meters or red striping on the street). Please always read the signs before you park!
Parkmobile, the City's pay-by-phone program, really makes parking at Houston's meters easy (we use it all the time)! Drivers can sign up at www.parkmobile.com.
You can find more parking and getting around info on our custom Downtown Interactive Parking Map.
Heading out in Houston? Give the car a brake and let the city’s 22.9 miles of METRORail handle all of the legwork. One-way tickets cost $1.25 and all-day passes are only $3.00 and can be purchased using cash or credit at all rail stops. Discounted fares are available to students, seniors, Medicare cardholders, the disabled and jurors.
The 13-mile Red Line, offers convenient and fast service between the Northline Transit Center/HCC, Burnett Transit Center, UH-Downtown, the Downtown Transit Center, Midtown, Museum District, Texas Medical Center and NRG Stadium and the Fannin South Park & Ride.
The 6.6 mile Purple Line travels through the southeast community connecting Downtown, Texas Southern University, the University of Houston and the Palm Center Transit Center.
The 3.3 mile Green Line travels along Harrisburg through the historic East End connecting downtown, the Convention District, EADO/BBVA Compass Stadium and Altic.
METRO also offers several types of bus service in Houston. Local Bus service runs mostly on city streets. Local bus route fares are $1.25. METRO Park & Ride service is offered for long distance commuting. METRO operates 28 Park & Ride lots to provide bus service to key destinations in the service area. One-way fare falls into four zones based on the distance a bus travels, ranging from $2.00 to $4.50; the round-trip fare for The Woodlands Express is $13.00.
In addition to cash, you can use your METRO QCard which acts as an electronic wallet for METRO riders. This unique card contains a computer chip that stores your cash balance directly onto your card. Fares are automatically deducted from your card each time you ride, just like a debit card. The METRO Q®, which stands for “quick,” also provides free transfers and tracks your progress toward earning five free trips for every 50 paid trips. Just touch your card to the METRO Q® Box on your bus or at METRO Rail platforms and you’re on your way! For more info, click here.
For information on any of METRO’s services, call (713)-635-4000 or visit www.RideMetro.org.
Zipcar Houston is a car sharing program which helps keep fewer cars on the road while decreasing air pollution. Imagine the convenience of having a car parked right around the corner, without any of the hassles or costs. There are three convenient locations in Downtown Houston alone and many more across the city and even the country.
Members can drive cars by the hour or day and can choose from a variety of vehicles including MINIs, hybrids, trucks and more. Zipcar realizes every customer’s car use and budget will be different, that’s why there are multiple membership levels, all of which require a $25 one-time only non-refundable application fee. Joining Zipcar is easy- just apply online, make a reservation, unlock a vehicle with your Zipcard and drive away. The best part about it is gas and insurance are included with every ride!
Occasional Driving No monthly commitment + $9/hr or $74/day
Pay As You Go-Monthly Driving Plan $7 monthly commitment + $9/hr or $74/day
Pay As You Go-Yearly Driving Plan $70 yearly commitment + $9/hr or $74/day
Extra Value Plan $50 monthly commitment + 10% discount of $8.10/hr or $65.70/day
Prepaid Options $50, $75 or $125/month + 10% discount on each ride or $250/month + 15% discount on each ride
Check www.zipcar.com/houston for most up-to-date rates.
To bring air service to Houston's population of more than four million, the Houston Airport System has three facilities; George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport and Ellington Field. Together they form one of North America's largest public airport systems and position Houston as the international gateway to the south central United States. Fore more info, visit www.fly2houston.com/
George Bush Intercontinental Airport/Houston (IAH) is presently served by 27 scheduled passenger airlines and five passenger terminals. Currently, IAH ranks 5th in the United States among U.S. airports with scheduled non-stop domestic and international service to over 170 destinations. There are 12 all-cargo airlines at IAH, handling more than 419,205 metric tons of cargo in 2012. In 2013, nearly 40 million passengers traveled through IAH with more than 650 daily departures.
William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is presently served by five scheduled passenger airlines. Currently, Hobby Airport is the 33rd busiest airport in the U.S. for enplanements with nonstop or direct service to more than 40 destinations throughout the United States. In 2018, more than 14 million passengers travelled through Hobby Airport. International service began in 2016 and Hobby Airport continues to offer non-stop direct service to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.
Ellington Field, a joint use civil/military airport, was acquired by the City of Houston in 1984 and now supports the operations of the United States military, NASA, and a variety of general aviation tenants. The airport is home to the annual Wings Over Houston Airshow and is also the place where many of the astronauts from the world-renowned Johnson Space Center receive their ongoing space training.
Relax and enjoy the ride to and from Houston airports! Choose from non-stop and shared-ride services for your airport ride to and from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) or George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with SuperShuttle. Or, choose luxury with premium airport ride services with ExecuCar.
Mega Bus provides high-quality, express bus travel to and from Houston from $1 and many other very affordable fares (plus a 50 cent booking fee) via the Internet. Megabus.com operates daily, convenient, intercity bus services on state-of-the-art, climate controlled, double decker buses with free WiFi, power outlets, clean restrooms, reclining seats and overhead lights. One piece of luggage, not to exceed 50 lbs, and a small under seat item are permitted. All Megabus.com double decker buses are wheel chair accessible and green certified. Limited number of $1 seats; book early for best rates.
Megabus.com serves the following cities to and from Houston: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; San Antonio, TX; Austin, TX; and New Orleans, LA. The downtown Houston stop is located in the parking lot at 815 Pierce (@ Travis, across from the METRO Downtown Transit Center). Call 877-462-6342 for more information or seats can be booked at us.megabus.com.
Downtown is very accessible with a multitude of ways to get in and out of the city. Below are recommended ways into Downtown or just Google Map it!
From I-10 West
Exit Smith Street to the west side of Downtown for the core business district, the Theater District and the entertainment venues in the Historic District..
Exit Hamilton to the east side of Downtown near the Ballpark.
Exit to I-45 and take the McKinney exit or the Dallas/Pierce exit. Either one takes you across Downtown to streets going into the heart of the city.
From I-10 East
Exit US 59 southbound, take Chenevert exit (be in left-side lane and watch for exit well before you cross I-H 10).
Exit San Jacinto/Main and turn left at Main
Take IH 45 South and exit Dallas/Pierce or McKinney.
From US 59 South
Take the Polk Street exit and stay and turn left to enter Downtown.
From US-59 North
Exit Lorraine, take Lorraine westbound to Hardy, take Hardy southbound to Downtown.
From 1-45 North
Exit Milam Street to the west side of downtown for the core business district, the Theater District and the entertainment venues in the Historic District.
Exit McKinney Street to the core business area.
Exit Dallas/Pierce to Jefferson and cross the south side of Downtown.
West on St. Joseph Parkway; merge left to IH 45 North.
From 1-45 South
Exit Scott to Pease or St. Joseph Parkway. If your destination is the Theater District or the core business area turn right on Travis or Louisiana.
From SH 288
Merge to US 59 North, take the Polk Street exit and turn left at the first traffic signal which is Polk Street taking you past the Convention Center and towards the west side of Downtown.
Downtown Houston has a complicated Tunnel System 20 feet below ground that is more than 6.5-miles long. Having started out years ago as a tunnel between two Downtown movie theaters, today it includes fast food restaurants and service retail and connects 95 city blocks. Only Wells Fargo Plaza and McKinney Garage on Main offers direct access from the street to the tunnel; otherwise, entry points are from street-level stairs, escalators and elevators located inside office buildings that are connected to the tunnel. In addition, a skywalk system also connects many of the buildings.
Regarding leasing space in the tunnel, please note that each portion of the tunnel is owned and operated by the building above that section of the tunnel. Most available spaces have leasing signs in the windows, so if you are interested in tunnel leasing, the best course of action is to walk the tunnels (would recommend doing this during lunch time) and gather contact information. The Downtown District is not responsible for tunnel leasing, nor do we keep an updated list of available space for the tunnels.
GREENLINK REVEALS UPDATED ROUTES, EXTENDED HOURS AND A NEW LOOK
Funded by the Downtown District and Houston First Corporation, and operated by METRO, Greenlink is a free, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation option for Downtown residents, workers and visitors. Since service first launched in June 2012, Greenlink has had more than 1.7 million riders.
Greenlink’s updated routes and extended hours are a direct reflection of Downtown’s growth and development. The new routes touch many of Downtown’s new residential and hotel projects and better serve neighborhoods such as the Theater and Ballpark Districts.
Connecting Avenida Houston and Main Street to the dense office market in Downtown’s southwest corridor, the Green Route will operate weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with buses every 7 minutes during peak morning and afternoon rush hour and during the lunch hours and 10 minutes during off-peak.
The Orange Route, which launched in April 2016, will continue to provide service between major Downtown destinations including the Theater District, Historic Market Square, Minute Maid Park, Avenida Houston, Discovery Green, GreenStreet, Main Street Square and City Hall. This route operates Monday through Friday from 6:30 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with buses every 10-12 minutes.
One of the many benefits of being Downtown is that you can get around without a car—Greenlink is one of many transportation options for those who choose Downtown to live, work and stay!
NEW! Greenlink GREEN Route
6:30 am to 6:30 pm
Every 7-10 minutes
(Click Image to view Larger Map)
NEW! Greenlink ORANGE Route
Monday- Friday 6:30 pm to Midnight
Saturday 9 am to Midnight
Sunday 9 am to 6 pm
Every 10 minutes
(Click Image to view Larger Map)
The buses run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), making them a cleaner transportation alternative.
Houston BCycle is a "bike sharing" program that shows Houstonians how easy, efficient, functional and practical bike sharing can be! See how it works.
At its core, a public bike sharing system is intended to be used for short trips in and around downtown Houston and surrounding urban areas. Houston BCycle members can pick up a bike at any B-station and return it to that same station or any other B-station when they’re done. Memberships are monthly ($13) or annually ($79). All members have unlimited access to the bikes and with a paid membership, the first 60 minutes are free. Ride time after the first 60 minutes is just $3 for each additional half hour. Guest Pass/Walk-up rates are $3 per 30 minutes. www.houston.bcycle.com
Six in the City
$6 taxicab rides anywhere Downtown by any taxicab company. The $6 taxicab fare applies to a trip, pick-up and drop-off, anywhere within the Downtown District, bounded by I-45, I-10 and U.S. 59. Now with double the amount of cab stands Downtown and the ability to hail a cab when you need it, we’re making those shorts trips easy and affordable. Six in the City only applies when cabs are hailed in person, it does not apply when rides are booked online.
How & where to catch a cab:
Hail one down
Look for the taxi icon on the streets
Call a cab company and request front-door pick-up service
Go to the nearest hotel.... there is always a queue!
Uber is an easy way to request a safe, reliable, and affordable ride within minutes. The Uber mobile app connects riders with reliable transportation options such as drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services at the tap of a button.
Catch a friendly, affordable ride whenever you need one. The Lyft app matches you to nearby drivers so you can get a ride in minutes.
RYDE uses 5 passenger electric shuttles to transport people around Downtown. They work with national brands, local businesses and city governments who sponsor the service, making it FREE for the public to ride. To request a ride, text 281-610-2258 with your name, pick-up/drop off location and number of passengers. Tips are highly encouraged.