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As the field of teams vying for a shot playing in Super Bowl 51 narrows, so do the airline seats and hotel room choices. If the playoff picture still looks hopeful for your team, here’s what you need to know to take the family and head to Houston.
There are two major airports in Houston: Houston Hobby (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH). Southwest and JetBlue dominate Hobby, which is closer to NRG Stadium, but Delta offers a few flights connecting out of Atlanta and American has connections through Dallas. If United is your carrier of choice, you’ll be flying into George Bush. It’s farther from the stadium, but still manageable.
Regardless of the airline, Tuesday Jan. 31 looks like the best day to fly into Houston with return flights on Monday or Tuesday following the game still available.
There’s no avoiding the truth that traffic in Houston is unpleasant any time. Factor in Super Bowl crowds and the mess could go from bad to worse. In most cases, a rental car is preferable for seeing everything the city has to offer, especially if you opt for hotels located away from the heart of the action.
The best plan for the big activities downtown and even the museum district is to drive to the Metro Park and Ride location nearest your hotel, then utilize the expanded schedule of trains and buses to get to your destination with the least amount of difficulty. Uber’s long-term status in Houston is up in the air, but not until after game day, making it another viable alternative.
Where to Stay
Room inventories in downtown are looking skimpy and anything close to the stadium is almost non-existent at this point. For families planning to explore Houston before or after the game, the best option may be staying in the Clearlake area near Space Center Houston. There is a wide assortment of family-friendly hotels in that area, all with rooms available at this point. The other advantage of staying near the Space Center is that it’s only about an hour to the beach.
Arriving in Houston the week prior to the game gets you into town for the fun pre-game events like NFL Experience, which kicks off its array of interactive activities on Saturday, Jan. 28. NFL Opening Night takes place on Monday Jan. 30 at Minute Maid park (home to the Houston Astros baseball team). Fans watch from the seats as throngs of media interview players and coaches on the field.
Non-football Must-Do List
Houston is loaded with family attractions, from the Houston Zoo to the Children’s Museum of Houston. The top attraction on everyone’s must-do list is Space Center Houston. Number two, if the weather cooperates, is to spend a day at the beach at Galveston Island State Park.
The hot spot Downtown for the nine days leading up to the game is Discovery Green for Super Bowl Live featuring local food, entertainment, and interactive fun.
Where to Eat
Top eats in Houston include seafood (especially in Galveston or near Galveston Bay), barbecue and TexMex. Between all of that and the non-stop activities, squeeze in a breakfast at The Breakfast Klub for biscuits, gravy, and grits. http://www.travelpulse.com/