HOUSTON ASTROS 2018
Score a home run at Astros biggest opening day ever with these hot tips
Steven Devadanam is editor of CultureMap/Houston. This article originally appeared there.
The day that Astros fans have been waiting for is here. Houston's opening day 2018 downtown promises to be packed, with the massive Astros Street Fest which runs from 1-5:30 pm (you must have a game ticket to gain access), not to mention the myriad watch parties happening all over town.
If you're headed downtown, here are some last-minute reminders and tips to help you make the most of your opening day experience.
Parking, parking, parking
If you're driving in, remember that the tens of thousands of downtown parking spaces — including on-street spaces, garages and surface lots — will get gobbled up quickly close to game time. This Downtown Interactive Parking Map shows visitors the best places to park according to destination and preferred lot type, and even offers parking reservations for some garages. Expect prices on opening day to be higher than those posted online.
Parking gets considerably more expensive the closer you get to Minute Maid Park. Garages and surface lots located west of Main St. will most likely be cheaper. Join the crowds and walk a few blocks to the stadium.
There are 3-hour time limits as well as some restrictions for on-street parking during weekdays, so make sure to read the signs before you park. (Street parking is free after 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and all day on Sunday.)
Hitch a ride
Expect a swarm of fans to use taxis, Uber, or Lyft — which is offering a promo code for the Astros opener, through April 8.
To get 20 percent off your LYFT rides (up to $5 off), use promo code ASTROSOPENER.
Take advantage of free rides to and from Minute Maid Park, and other downtown game day spots, with the Greenlink bus. The Orange Route, which runs Monday-Friday from 6:30 pm-midnight, Saturday from 9 am-midnight, and Sunday from 9 am-6 pm, has a stop located across from Minute Maid Park near Crawford and Texas, and picks up riders every 10 minutes.
Speaking of buses, you can can hop on the METRORail to and from the game, with stops along the Green and Purple lines.
The Houston BCYCLE bike share is a convenient transportation option when attending Astros games, with 15 stations downtown. The two stations are Crawford Island, four blocks south of Minute Maid Park (925 Crawford St.), and Rusk & Emanuel, just a few blocks east of the stadium (736 St. Emanuel St.).
There's no shortage of restaurants and bars close to Minute Maid Park, especially along Main Street and at Avenida Houston near the George R. Brown Convention Center — offering up stops for pre-and post-game meals and celebrations.
The no-frills Eighteen Twenty Lounge offers a low-key setting before the excitement of the game with comfortable couches, classic games and a wide selection behind the bar.
Across from Minute Maid Park, the ideally located HTX Fan Tavern boasts three bars, an abundance of televisions, and a state-of-the-art sound system for an immersive game day experience.
Stylish Italian restaurant Osso & Kristalla is not your average pre-game location, but fans can find ample patio seating, $5 Astros game day specials on select beers, and an assortment of delicious game day foods—plus it’s just steps from the park’s Union Station entrance
Downtown watch parties
For Houstonians who don’t have tickets to the game, several downtown hotspots are hosting watch parties.
Named after the Astros legend and Hall-of-Famer, Biggio’s is a two-story fan favorite inside the Marriott Marquis, boasting two 30-foot HD screens, leather recliners and ballpark-inspired fare. Saint Arnold Brewing Company kicks off this celebration at 11 am. Christian’s Tailgate on Congress is home to more than 40 televisions, and 30 beers on tap. La Cantina is downtown’s newest sports bar, with multiple 82-inch televisions, adjacent street taco specialists La Calle across the hall, and plenty of margaritas.