NRG Park in Houston, Texas is home to the NFL Houston Texans and events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, concerts and Disney on Ice.
Located just inside the south side of the I-610 Loop, the complex is comprised of NRG Stadium, NRG Center, NRG Arena and NRG Astrodome. The center was previously called Reliant Park until 2014.
It is not often that commuters can drive toward central Houston on a freeway without seeing signs advertising an upcoming gun show, dog show or garden expo at one part or another of the complex. Everything from theater to conferences to the Super Bowl has been scheduled to take place at the park.
The 350,000-acre complex has about 26,000 parking spots, but that does not mean it is necessarily easy to find affordable parking — or to get there in the first place when there are thousands of other people trying to get to the same place with the same spots.
When deciding how to get to NRG Park consider the following: Where are you coming from? What time of day will you be traveling? Will you be drinking at the event? The answers can help guide you toward a decision on how to get to your event, and the options are laid out below.
For anyone not living in the immediate area, public transportation is likely to be the cheapest option to get to NRG Park. Houston METRORail’s Red Line stops less than a quarter mile away from NRG Arena. Public transport can seem overwhelming to those who haven’t used it before, but METRO’s rail lines are fairly straightforward: find your stop (unlike buses, which sometimes have discreetly-labeled stops, rail stops are all prominent platforms), wait for a rail, make sure it’s going the direction you want, and hop on.
It costs $1.25 (exact change) to get on the rail, and wait times for the Red Line range from 6 minutes to 20, depending on the time of day. Paying by credit or debit card is an option if using the METRO Ticket Vending Machines, which can be found on the platform stops for the rail.
One end of the Red Line begins just one stop south of NRG Stadium at the Fannin South transfer center (1604 W. Belfort Avenue). Parking at that lot typically costs around $3.00, but that price rises for some special events. For Houston Texans game, parking at this lot is usually $15 per day and includes round-trip fare for everyone in the vehicle.
If you don’t keep a habit of carrying change, you can pick up a METRO Q Fare Card — a reloadable debit card that can be swiped on the METRORails and buses. The benefit of the Q card is once you have paid with it to get on a bus or rail, transfers are free for the following three hours. This will come in handy for people starting on another METRO route, then switching to the Red Line to get to their final destination. These cards can be purchased online, at METRO stores or at many grocery stores’ customer service areas.
To avoid the hassle of obtaining a Q card, mobile ticketing is available as well.
If you opt to get to NRG via a ride-share service like Uber, there are designated pick-up and drop-off zones. Uber reports that its NRG Stadium zone is at the corner of Lantern Point Drive and Murworth Drive. Depending on the destination and if surge pricing is in effect, Uber may or may not be a cost-effective method of transportation to NRG Park. From the website or app, you can estimate your fare before calling a car, and if you are with a group, you can enact the Split Fare feature to spread the cost among your party. Ride share can be handy if you are planning to attend an event and drink while you’re there.
If you do choose to drive, the basic route from any direction will funnel you to either the 1C Kirby Drive exit or the 1B Fannin Street exit off of I-610 Loop, depending on where inside the park you want to end up. The following directions will route in someone driving from outside the I-610 Loop:
Directions from the North Side of Houston
If driving from the north, take I-45 south to the exchange that puts you on Hwy 288 South. Once there, get on the 610 Loop West, and exit at either Kirby Drive or Fannin Street. Turn right at Kirby (or left at Fannin), and the park will be less than a mile ahead.
Coming from the Cypress-Fairbanks area, you’ll take US-290 East into town before getting on I-610 Loop South and then taking the Kirby Drive exit. There is a toll option from the Cy-Fair area as well. You can take US-290 to the Sam Houston Tollway. After 11 miles on the tollway, exit to Westpark Tollway East, then merge onto I-69/US-59 North toward downtown. Merge onto I-610 Loop, and take either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
Directions from the South Side of Houston
If driving from the south or southeast, drive inbound on either Hwy 288 or I-45 North. Exit to I-610 Loop West, get off the freeway at either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
If driving from Sugarland, Rosenberg or other southwest areas, take I-69/US-59 north. Merge onto the 610 Loop East. Take either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street, and the park will be less than a mile ahead.
Directions from the East Side of Houston
Coming from the east, there are two main freeways. If driving in more from the southeast, take TX-225 West. Get on I-610 Loop West using exit 40. Exit the loop at either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
If driving from straight east, you will bypass the I-610 Loop initially. Take inbound I-10 into the Loop and exit left at 770A to I-69/US-59 South — this will get you going south. Then merge onto TX-288 South toward Freeport before getting on I-610 Loop West and exiting at either Kirby Drive or Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
Directions from the West Side of Houston
If coming in on I-10 from the west, take the interstate to exit 763, which is I-610 Loop South. Remain on the loop until either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
Directions from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport
To come from this airport, follow signs to US-59/I-69 south and enter the freeway. Drive south for about 18 miles, then merge right to State Hwy 288 South (toward Freeport). Exit right to I-610 Loop West, then take either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
Directions from the William P. Hobby Airport
Coming out of Hobby Airport, the most direct route is to take Broadway Street North to I-45 North. Exit off of the freeway by taking the left-hand 40C exit to I-610 Loop West. Take the loop to either the 1C exit for Kirby Drive or 1B exit for Fannin Street. The park will be less than a mile ahead.
A Note on Parking
Parking at NRG lots can range from around $12 to around $50, depending on the event. The best way to ensure a spot inside the park is by getting a parking pass prior to arriving, which can be purchased in advance through the NRG box office or resale sites like StubHub. Pre-paid passes are color coded to correspond with specific on-site lots, so be sure to check where you'll need to go before heading to the park.
Cash parking is sometimes available on the day-of for some events but is typically more expensive than pre-paid parking, according to the NRG Park box office. There are eight parking lots that are part of NRG Park, spaced out around the four venues.
A word of caution: For some events, such as Houston Texans games, advance purchase parking passes are required in order to park inside the park. These passes sell out quickly through the NRG Park box office, so if you want to park on-site, you may need to go through a secondary ticket exchange, such as Ticketmaster. As an alternative, you can also park at one of Houston's Park and Rides and take public transportation to the park, or park at one of the nearby off-site parking lots and walk or take a shuttle to the park.