Itinerant Fan

NRG Stadium Houston Texans events seating parking food

NRG Stadium

Our guide to NRG Stadium in Houston includes information on events, tickets, parking, public transportation, nearby hotels and restaurants, seating and more. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your gameday experience.

* * *

NRG Stadium, the 71,5000-seat stadium and events center that the Houston Texans call home, certainly lives up to the saying that everything is bigger in Texas. 

These days, the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium is the more recognized standard for football stadium enormity. But back when it first opened in 2002 to house the expansion Texans, Houston’s NRG Stadium — then known as Reliant Stadium — took the cake.

Not that NRG Stadium should now be considered a dwarf — quite the contrary, it is still impressively big and spacious. Just one look at it looming over the old Astrodome, once considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” should provide a pretty good indicator of its size. Once inside, it feels plush and new and quite appropriate for big events such as the Super Bowl, which it has hosted twice.

NRG Stadium is used for an annual rodeo, college football’s Texas Bowl and other large-scale events such as concerts, but its primary use, of course, is as the home of the Texans. Houston’s NFL team has experienced only modest success over its nearly 20 years of existence, having been unable to advance past the divisional round of the playoffs, but a young star quarterback in Deshaun Watson offers a lot of promise for the future.

When I came to visit, it was a rainy but still muggy Sunday in late September, and the home team was winless at the time, but neither of those things had dampened the crowd’s mood for their team — yet another indication of how much people in Texas love their football.

For more on visiting Houston, check out our Houston sports travel guide.


One memorable moment at NRG Stadium

The Texans have offered a few thrilling moments in their history, including the 2019 wild-card round in which Houston rallied from 16 points down to claim an overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills.

That game, though, isn’t the most famous overtime contest to take place at NRG Stadium. Super Bowl LI featured the largest comeback ever in the big game, as the New England Patriots stunned the Atlanta Falcons and introduced “28-3” into our sports vernacular.

The approach: Getting to NRG Stadium

NRG Stadium is part of a complex that includes the Astrodome, an old arena and a convention hall (all of which currently bear the name of NRG, a local energy concern). The stadium is 7-8 miles southwest of downtown Houston and much farther from the city’s primary airport, George Bush Intercontinental, so budget at least an hour if your plan is to head directly from the airport to the stadium.

Most fans drive to NRG Stadium events — it its Texas, after all, and it is football so tailgating is a favorite activity — and the parking lot surrounding the stadium is as big and spacious as the venue itself.

Season-ticket holders get first dibs at the lots closest to the facility, but for single-game attendees, parking options are plentiful in the surrounding areas — in particular, west of Kirby Drive, which runs along the west side of the stadium. For more detailed parking information, the Texans provide a parking map on their website.

There is an alternative if you’re driving-averse. The Red Line on Houston’s light-rail system, which has expanded greatly in recent years, runs directly from downtown to the stadium area. Get off at the Stadium Park/Astrodome station, and be prepared for a fairly long walk to the stadium that crosses a huge parking lot and goes around the Astrodome.

For my visit, I had the good fortune of knowing a friend in town who was kind enough to take me to the game, happily navigating the traffic along Kirby Drive an hour before kickoff to drop me off within steps of the stadium. On the way back, though, I took light rail and experienced a pretty big crowd at the stadium more than an hour after game’s end.

Houston hotels near NRG Stadium
Crowne Plaza Hotel Houston Near Reliant/Medical Center – 0.3 miles away
Holiday Inn Houston S – NRG Area – Med Ctr – 0.4 miles away
Extended Stay America – Houston – Med Ctr – NRG Park – 0.4 miles away
Search for more Houston hotels on Booking.com.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit
Get Directions

The build-up: Things to do around NRG Stadium

Tailgating, tailgating, tailgating. Just like nearly all NFL games, if you’re in a group and you own a cooler and a grill, you’re all set. The expanse of parking surrounding NRG Stadium means there’s plenty of room for all types of tailgate parties, and Texans fans truly making tailgating an event here, which helps foster one of the top tailgate scenes in the league.

If you don’t want to tailgate, though, there are options for pre-Texans games, starting with a number of restaurants in the surrounding area — particularly on the frontage roads along the Interstate 610 loop, which runs just south of the stadium.

If you’re using light rail, you’ll pass several Houston-area attractions along the way, including the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Natural Science, and Rice University. Buy an all-day Metro pass if you plan on taking multiple trips over the course of the day.

Or you can do what I did, which was head right inside, since it was my first visit and I figured there’d be a lot to see inside. When I did so, entering through a gate on the stadium’s south side, I was greeted right away by the sight of a mariachi band performing in the plaza and a gathering crowd around it. Not to mention there was an open-air bar right there, so many of the spectators already had drink in hand. So you can expect to be plenty entertained wherever you are.

Houston restaurants near NRG Stadium
Asahi Sushi – Japanese, 0.1 miles away
Russo’s NY Pizzeria – pizzeria, 0.1 miles away
Pappas Bar-B-Q – barbecue, 0.3 miles away
Search for more Houston restaurants on Tripadvisor.

NRG Stadium Houston Texans events seating parking food

The ambiance: Watching a game at NRG Stadium

If you’ve been to one giant football stadium, you’ve been to most of them, to be honest. In the NFL, what makes a venue is usually its location or the history of the home team, and NRG Stadium really doesn’t have either going for it — after all, the stadium is miles from downtown and the Texans are the NFL’s youngest franchise.

What you do get, though, is a clean, modern facility. NRG Stadium has good sight lines just about everywhere in the seating bowl — the upper deck doesn’t stretch upward for miles and miles like a lot of comparable stadiums — and, of course, a retractable roof. NRG Stadium was the first venue in the NFL to have one, and it’s a handy thing to have when it’s muggy or rainy, as it is a fair amount in Houston.

If you’re not opposed to walking around, there’s a lot to see and to sample, especially if you’re looking for something to munch on. This being Houston, barbecue and Tex-Mex are very popular themes among NRG Stadium’s concession stands, and you can find a brisket sandwich or a taco of some variety on every seating level.

Some of the more adventurous entries include stir-fry and cheesesteaks; if you’re looking for more standard stadium fare, there’s always hamburgers, hot dogs and Papa John’s pizza. Also look out for the Bud Light Cantina on NRG Stadium’s field level — which I encountered when I first entered the venue — where you can consume your favorite alcoholic beverage in a seated bar setting.

When you take your spot in the seating bowl, no matter where in NRG Stadium it is, the first thing you might notice other than the field view is the two giant video screens, one behind each end zone. They’re about as big as any screen you’ll find in the NFL — wider than the width of the playing field — and when they’re not displaying game info are good for other things, such as providing a giant view of star defensive end J.J. Watt’s face as he exhorts the crowd in a taped message. 

My ticket for this NRG Stadium event was in the 500 seating level (see view above), and there was nothing I couldn’t see. After a pregame rendition of “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” (a popular song around here, as it gets played regularly inside at least one other Houston venue), the Texans went out and beat the Buccaneers for their first victory of the season. So the party atmosphere that was present before the game lingered well after the final whistle.

Affiliate Disclosure
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. These recommendations are only for companies that we’ve used and have proven to enhance our sports travel experiences. To find out more about our affiliate partnerships, please read our Affiliate Disclaimer.

Subscribe for our best sports travel tips and guides!


More stadium guides | View all

Share this post:

    The Particulars

    Home Teams
    Houston Texans

    Address
    1 Reliant Pkwy.
    Houston, TX 77054

    Year Opened
    2002

    Capacity
    71,500

    Upcoming Events
    All times local
    Preseason: Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans
    Saturday, August 22, 2020
    7:00 pm
    Get tickets at SeatGeek »

    Preseason: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans
    Thursday, September 3, 2020
    7:00 pm
    Get tickets at SeatGeek »

    Baylor Bears at Ole Miss Rebels Football
    Saturday, September 5, 2020
    3:30 am
    Get tickets at SeatGeek »

    Texas Kickoff Classic: Ole Miss Rebels vs Baylor Bears
    Sunday, September 6, 2020
    12:00 pm
    Get tickets at SeatGeek »

    LSU Tigers at Rice Owls Football
    Saturday, September 19, 2020
    2:30 pm
    Get tickets at SeatGeek »


    View Seating Chart »