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Navigating the US: Getting Around in Houston, Texas

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Getting around Houston

Houston is a bustling metropolis where residents and visitors alike work hard and play harder. Being the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the U.S., Houston has plenty to offer visitors looking for some fun. Conventions at the George R. Brown Convention Center, a year-round schedule of professional sports, and various museums and theaters put Houston on the map for travelers around the world.

Recommended Modes of Transportation

Houston does offer a public transportation system comprised of bus lines and light rail, making it possible for visitors staying in the downtown region to get around without a rental car; however, ample and cheap downtown parking and a comprehensive highway system make getting around Houston by car easy. Plus, the sprawling layout of Houston means that you’ll need a car if you plan to leave downtown.

Major Highways and Roadways to Know

According to, Houston’s major freeways include:

  • IH-45 North (“North Freeway”): To Dallas
  • IH-45 South (“Gulf Freeway”): To Galveston
  • IH-10 West (“Katy Freeway”): To San Antonio
  • IH-10 East: (“Baytown/East Freeway”, not to be confused with “Eastex freeway”) to Beaumont
  • IH-610 (“The Loop”): Loop around downtown
  • US-59 South (“Southwest Freeway”): to Victoria
  • US-59 North (“Eastex Freeway”): to Lufkin
  • US-290 West (“Northwest Freeway”): to Austin
  • SH-249 North (“Tomball Parkway”): to Tomball
  • SH-288 South (“South Freeway”): to Freeport
  • SH-225 East (“Pasadena Freeway”): to La Porte
  • BW-8 (“The Beltway/Sam Houston Tollway”): Loop about twice as far out as IH-610.

Alternative Ways of Seeing the City

For the ultimate (and super-convenient) tourist experience, check out the Houston City Double Decker Bus Tours. The authentic double decker bus tours six popular tourist destinations, allowing travelers to get off and back on the bus at their leisure throughout the day.

Getting around Houston

Check out for a list of other exciting tours!

Best Places to Park

Houston offers a number of parking lots, garages, and street parking. has useful information on available parking, rates, and laws you should know before heading downtown.

Airports and Car Rentals

George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston is the larger of the two airports in Houston, and is located 23 miles north of downtown. It is United Airlines’ largest hub and serves 21 domestic and international airlines.

William P. Hobby Airport is located seven miles south of downtown off of I-45 South. It is particularly convenient if you’re travelling downtown or south of the city, such as to Galveston. Its main carrier is Southwest Airlines, and it also served by Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and JetBlue.

Both airports offer a variety of car rental agencies, making it easy to get in a car, and get on your way. The Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CRCF) at George Bush Intercontinental Airport offers nine different rental car companies, while William P. Hobby Airport offers eight.

Hotels and Attractions

Houston offers something for everyone. From the art scene to the sports scene, you’ll find an array of restaurants, live entertainment, museums, and nightlife to satisfy every taste and interest. If you can’t find it in the biggest city in Texas… you can’t find it anywhere.

Below is our list of must-see attractions!

  1. Space Center Houston
  2. The Houston Museum District
  3. Discovery Green
  4. Market Square Park
  5. The Galleria

For other ideas and to help you plan your trip, check out the additional websites below.