We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Driving in Houston necessary?

Which Houston hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Level Contributor
45 posts
26 reviews
Save Topic
Driving in Houston necessary?

I am planning a trip to Houston end of Feb 2014 for 4days. Will be flying JetBlue. Is it necessary & convenient to just hire a car rental OR the public transportation is easily accessible and cost effective. Plan to take up the City Pass which offers attractions to the Downtown Aquarium, Space Center, Museum of National Science, Kemah Broadwalk & Museum of Fine Arts. If hiring a car, would the parking fees be expensive? It's my 1st time in Houston & looking to explore possibilities in regards to transportation.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
3,339 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

A rental car is advisable. Public transportation is not very good.

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
2,854 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

Renting a car will be a lot cheaper than taking all those tours. Parking rates kind of depends. Most places it is free but when in downtown and certain other places you have to pay. Kemah board walk used to be free but the last time I went I had to pay. Museums - some free parking.

Tour on your own.

Houston, TX
Level Contributor
4,215 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

Rent a car for reasons given above, plus having the added benefit of being able to make your own schedule, and stay for as long or as short a period of time at the places you visit.

San Antonio, TX
Destination Expert
for San Antonio
Level Contributor
7,384 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

I too recommend a car. With a car, I would choose a hotel with free parking. That is usually away from the city center.

Houston
Destination Expert
for Houston
Level Contributor
3,550 posts
338 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

Dan--Our public transportation system is too restrictive to allow you to get to the various places you'll want to go, unless you're staying downtown and want to spend all your time in the Museum District. By all means, rent a car so you have total flexibility.

Attached to and part of the Museum of Natural Science is the Cockrell Butterfly Exhibit, well worth a visit (although it may require a separate admission charge). Many other museums within walking distance; also Houston Zoo nearby.

By the way, Downtown Aquarium is eminently skippable--it's part of a restaurant, and, while small children might enjoy it, it's not worth a stop on your schedule (nor is the restaurant) IMHO. Kemah Boardwalk is also oriented toward children, but if weather has begun to warm, it may be pleasant dining at one of restaurants which front onto water so you can watch sailboats pass. Kemah is near NASA Space Center, if you're into that type of thing.

I don't mean to sound negative, but want you to enjoy your stay. Let us know what your interests are, and perhaps we can give you some suggestions.

Welcome to Houston.

Houston
Level Contributor
104 posts
158 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

I second skipping the Downtown Aquarium, not so much a real aquarium as a restaurant with some very nice and large tanks of fish. While you are at the Museum of Natural Science you can walk over to Hermann Park and visit the Japanese Garden. It is small, but very lovely. If you are into architecture, while you are at the MFA you can walk across the street and visit St. Paul's Methodist Church. Won't take but 15 minutes and the architecture is very different from most of what you will see in Houston-- while you are there walk the labyrinth.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Houston
Level Contributor
1,472 posts
476 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

Hi D,

It's best to have wheels; easier and less expensive, as well. You can get some good deals on car rentals, here:

http://www.dollar.com/Cars/LockLowGo.aspx

This way, you can map your days, and enjoy the many activities in our great city. If you are staying in the downtown area, you can use the Metro rail train to move around that area, including the Museum District, and save looking for parking spaces, etc.

Galveston is about a 45 minute drive from Houston proper, if you avoid the high traffic times in the morning on weekdays (about 7am til about 9am), and again from about 4:30pm til about 6:30 pm. Bring your own gps to save renting one.

Hope you enjoy the City!

cc,

Cupcake

Level Contributor
45 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

Thanks everyone who fill-in with your wonderful advise. Really made my planning much clearer and a very warm welcome to look forward too.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
16,614 posts
192 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

I'm not sure why #7 shared to look only at Dollar, but my advice is to take a look at all car rental outlets. All agencies offer deals, especially on weekends, and they vary by category and supply/demand, too. Check affiliations with credit cards, airline frequent flier programs, hotel programs, even costco, etc. During my relocation earlier last year, I was renting from whatever was cheapest any particular week/weekend and it varied hugely. Last item, keep in mind that once you lock in a rate there are high user fees and taxes associated with IAH, up to 40-50%, so make sure you look at the "final price" calculations.

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
9 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Driving in Houston necessary?

Yes, you will need to rent a car.

I posted this reply on Yahoo answers a few years ago (some prices may have changed) and thought you might be interested:

Some stuff to do while you are here:

Hermann Park is wonderful. Parking is free and it is centrally located. The Japanese Tea Garden is free and is lovely. The zoo is there. It costs $12, but has a free time on the first Tuesday afternoon per month after 2:00. The Museum of Natural Science is there and costs $15 but is free every Tuesday from 2:00 - 8:00. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is there and costs $7, but is free on Thursdays from 10:00am to 9:00pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving day, though. It's romantic to take the little kid train through the park, or rent paddle boats, or just stroll or play on the swings. Rice University is there, too, as is the Children's Museum and Health and Science Museum, and the free Contemporary Arts Museum. I like shopping in the museum gift shops, even if I don't buy, and you can shop without paying the entrance fee.

I have taken my bike and ridden around the area of downtown near the concert halls and the Aquarium, over to the cool Glenwood Cemetery where Howard Hughes is buried, and watched the amazing skaters for hours at the Jamail Skatepark at Sabine and Memorial. You can catch the bats flying out from under the bridge every evening at dusk at Waugh Dr and Allen Parkway. Three free audio tours of downtown: http://downtownhouston.org/guidedetail/a...

Discovery Green park downtown has some free movie nights and lots of other activities: http://www.discoverygreen.com/

Some free things to do in Houston: http://www.free-attractions.com/houston....

http://attractions.uptake.com/texas/hous...

Source:

http://www.houstonzoo.org/

http://www.hmns.org/

http://www.mfah.org/

http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/batpage.h...