NRG Stadium – Houston Texans

by | Oct 24, 2018 | Michael Davis, NFL | 0 comments

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Texans Football

NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Stadium) is in Houston, Texas – the stadium is part of the NRG Park complex, which includes Carruth Plaza, NRG Stadium, NRG Center, NRG Arena, and the NRG Astrodome, which was nicknamed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” upon its opening in 1965.

Like its neighbor the NRG Astrodome, NRG Stadium is the first of its kind – the facility became the NFL’s first retractable roof stadium on August 24, 2002, when the Miami Dolphins played the Houston Texans. NRG Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,795, and besides being home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, the stadium is also home to the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, SWAC Championship game, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

NRG Stadium has also hosted numerous other events over the years – these events include concerts, basketball games, soccer matches, and high school football games. In addition, NRG Stadium has twice hosted the NCAA Final Four (in 2011 and 2016), as well as hosted two Super Bowls (Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl LI).

Food & Beverage   5

Houston Texans fans have a great tailgating scene outside the stadium, but the variety of food and beverages offered inside NRG Stadium is the size of Texas. There was recently a $15M renovation and upgrade to improve the game day food and beverage area inside the stadium – the upgrades on levels 100, 300, and 500 added club-themed bars, new induction cooktops, communal tables in suites, an in-seat ordering phone app on the club level, 16 portable food carts, and new condiment carts. NRG Stadium also has two new smokers for all the BBQ lovers eating at Killen’s BBQ and Holmes Smokehouse.

The concessions around the concourse provide all the basic options, like nachos grande and foot-long hot dogs for $7.75, regular hot dogs a little cheaper at $5.75, and pretzels or popcorn for $5.50. Popcorn lovers may instead choose the bottomless popcorn bucket for $9.25, and you’ll also find typical fare such as roasted peanuts, cotton candy, and burgers.

Besides the regular stands, NRG Stadium’s concessions also bring in local chain restaurants such as Genghis Grill, offering a Genghis Bowl with your choice of Khan Pao Chicken or Dragon Steak, served with rice for $12. In addition, there is Papa John’s Pizza offering pepperoni or cheese pizza and a few other items, as well as Berryhill Baja Grill Cantina serving fish and pork taco plates, or hand-rolled tamales; there is even a Quinzo’s for smaller meals. Additionally, burger fans can find a variety, with Prince’s Hamburgers offering one for $9.50, or make it a bacon burger for $10 – Prince’s also serves chicken tenders for $10.25. There is also Texas BBQ from Killen’s BBQ, including the fan favorites of brisket, turkey, and pulled pork sandwiches for $14.75. Another BBQ option is Holmes Smokehouse, which offers a $9.25 BBQ sandwich, $10.25 chopped BBQ baked potato, $8 loaded baked potato, or sausage sandwich for $7.50, all of which are great choices.

In terms of beverages, NRG Stadium serves Coca-Cola products with a choice of a 20oz bottle for $5.50, or the refillable souvenir cups at $8.25 – there are refilling stations all around NRG Stadium for self-served refills. You can also get bottled water; Dasani runs $2 to $5, or a 1-liter bottle of Smartwater is a little more. Alcoholic beverages are plentiful as well – the choices cover a wide variety of beers, such as Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller, Michelob Ultra, Dos Equis, Fat Tire, Killian’s, Saint Arnold, and Blue Moon. A regular beer will cost $5, and there are plenty of different beer vendors around the concourse, or other alcohol concessions like Kirby or Fannin Icehouse, which are both one-stop shops offering premium bottled beer for $12, premium draft at $11, wine for $9, and non-alcoholic beer for $6. You can also find margaritas, daiquiris, and Pina coladas at $10 for the smaller size and $14.50 for the large.

All in all, you are guaranteed to find something to your liking here, as NRG Stadium provides one of the best food and beverage services in the NFL; interestingly, all the menus even provide calorie counts for fans. The only problem is that top concessions at sporting events also means top dollar being paid, but Houston has so many great restaurants that it would be better to save your dollar and visit the local eateries instead.

Atmosphere   5

The Texans provide a great atmosphere, but considering they play in the largest city in a state that breathes football, you would be hard-pressed to expect anything less.

Like all game days, the atmosphere begins outside the stadium with the tailgating – NRG Stadium has been consistently recognized for having the best tailgating atmosphere in the NFL. I must agree with this statement, as Houston Texans fans go all out with their smokers and tailgate set ups. There are also plenty of photo opportunities for fans at NRG Stadium, such as the large letters outside spelling T E _ A N S, giving fans the chance to complete the word “TEXANS” by forming the “X” with their arms and legs held apart. In addition, there is a photo frame big enough for fans to stand up in, to take a photo and commemorate their trip to NRG Stadium. Furthermore, the venue keeps up with modern times by offering 12 different cell phone charging stations, dotted all around the facility. There is also an enhanced wi-fi system here for fans, so they can connect with social media and other sites without using their own data plans.

The stadium décor includes Houston Texans logos throughout the facility, as well as wall-sized photos of Texans players. There are also numerous live bands playing in the different club areas, such as The Cantina, Bud Light Plaza, and in the Fanzone. Also, check the Houston Texans website for the game day line-up of events, because besides the live entertainment, there are also extras like the Houston Texans cheerleaders signing autographs before certain games.

The entrance of Toro means game time is approaching, and game day becomes a reality when the mascot rides out onto the field, with pyrotechnics shooting off, followed by the Houston Texans players, igniting the Texans fans into loud cheers and roars.

Like many other NFL teams, the Texans often have themes for games, such as Hispanic Heritage Month, breast cancer awareness, honoring the military, Halloween, or Christmas, and the related activities during pregame or at halftime add to and change each game’s atmosphere. However, what doesn’t change is the constant of 70,000+ Texans fans bringing a vibrant and energetic atmosphere inside and around the stadium. No matter which Texans game you attend, the mascot Toro and the Houston Texans cheerleaders, along with the combination of a beautiful stadium and loyal, knowledgeable fans, ensure that the atmosphere will always be top notch – NRG Stadium’s atmosphere is one of the best in the NFL.

Neighborhood   4

The city of Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. NRG Stadium is about eight miles southwest of downtown Houston, within the Inner Loop of the southern portion of I-610, between Kirby Street and Fannin Street. This area is known as the Houston Medical District, and is near the Houston Zoo and Rice University. There are a few places to eat around NRG Park, but with the size of the city of Houston, you don’t have to settle for just the immediate neighborhood.

The best thing to do is to explore the city for the type of food that you would enjoy. However, strongly recommended is Hugo’s, which offers authentic Mexican fare with great margaritas; this restaurant is housed in a building that was designed and built in 1925 by Houston’s well-known architect Joseph Finger. Hugo’s is about six miles from the stadium, in Houston’s Montrose area, and the Montrose area has other restaurants as well.  There is also plenty of lodging in the metro area, but the establishments that are in walking distance of NRG Stadium are as follows: Crowne Plaza Hotel-NRG Park, Quality Inn and Suites-NRG Park, Extended Stay America, and Holiday Inn-NRG-Medical District.

Fans   5

Houston Texans fans have sold out 180 consecutive games at NRG Stadium, even though the Texans are in the Top 10 of the NFL for the highest average ticket price. This statistic easily identifies Texans fans as being one of the best fan bases in the NFL – Houston Texans fans are loyal, loud, and diehard football fans that love their city and team. “We are Texans” signage is proudly displayed all around NRG Stadium, and the fans echo this slogan during every Texans game.

Access   3

There is no cash parking available at NRG Stadium during Houston Texans home games – all parking lots around the venue are pre-paid and sell out quickly for the season.

However, if you have a parking pass in one of the 10 NRG Stadium pre-paid lots, they open four hours prior to kickoff, with the 11th parking lot, Platinum, opening 4.5 hours beforehand. If you have a parking pass for any of the lots, queueing begins 30 minutes prior to the gates opening, otherwise you are subject to a citation for obstructing a roadway. Handicap/ADA parking is available in every lot, but you will need to have a pre-purchased parking pass. Alternatively fans may be dropped off or picked up just outside Gate 9 at the Westridge intersection, or at Gate 10 at the McNee intersection. Taxis can be found at the Brown Lot, while the Uber/Lyft pickup location is located in front of Hall B at the NRG Center.

The best way to access the reserved parking in the parking lots around NRG Stadium for a Texans game would be through a secondary marketplace. However, there is other parking nearby, for example at the Extended Stay America-Houston Medical Center Hotel; the cost to park here is $20 and is only a short walk from NRG Stadium. NRG Stadium also offers public transportation via the Metro Rail – for information on schedules you can visit ridemetro.org.

The whole parking situation at NRG Stadium is very frustrating for out-of-town visitors, so plan ahead and use the public transportation that is available, such as taxis/Uber/Lyft, hotel shuttles where applicable, or ride the metro.

As you approach NRG Park (the larger complex surrounding NRG Stadium), you may find it a challenge to access the facility if you aren’t carrying your game ticket. Because of the large number of fans, it is Houston Texans policy that you are not allowed to enter the parking lot on Texans game days unless you have a game ticket or a tailgate guest ticket with you. Although many may find this great, it is a serious hassle for a person like myself that will pick up a game ticket closer to kickoff. Also note that NRG Stadium complies with the NFL clear bag policy, in accordance, with all NFL stadiums – check out this link for a complete list of FAQs regarding Houston Texans game day policies.

Once you get inside NRG Stadium, the concourses are wide and there are plenty of restrooms. However, the elevators are overcrowded, the ramps are steep, and the signage telling you how to get from the lower concourse to the upper concourse is non-existent, making it tough for a first-timer visiting the stadium.

Return on Investment   3

Houston Texans tickets range from $40 in the 600 level to as high as $500 in the lower sections; the average ticket price last season was $243 per ticket, ranking the Texans 9th highest in the NFL. However, the prices haven’t kept the team from selling out NRG Stadium – the previous season’s average attendance was 71,828, the 10th highest in the NFL.

Because of this fan base’s love for the Texans, finding tickets for face value is not a reality.  Buying from a third-party ticket source raises the average price for tickets to about $100 for seats in the 600 level, and naturally the closer the seats get to the field the higher the prices rise. There are some great views from the upper deck, but the 600 level is very far from the playing surface.

A trip to NRG Stadium for a Texans game can be pricey, but seeing this wonderful building, the amazing tailgating, the beautiful Houston Texans cheerleaders, and the incredible spirit of the Houston Texans fans makes it a trip for any NFL fan to make at least once.

Extras   5

NRG Stadium is the pioneer for NFL venues with retractable roofs – although the roof isn’t opened very often, when it is open it is a sight to behold and is a wonderful option to have in a stadium. In addition, Gridiron Gang provides a fiesta-type atmosphere, and works to create a better game day atmosphere for fans in the upper 500 and 600 levels. The team’s mascot Toro also makes appearances throughout the game, encouraging fans to stand, cheer, chant, sing, and support the team in as contagious a manner as possible.

Deep Steel Thunder, the official band of the Houston Texans, makes for a healthy combination of high energy and fortitude in entertaining fans on gameday. However, it is tough to attend a Texans game and not notice the Houston Texans cheerleaders – these talented, professional women are not only beautiful, but their wonderful interactions with the fans on game day, and their active participation in social media, provides Texans fans with an extra that other teams just don’t offer.

Final Thoughts

The popularity of football in the state of Texas is well-documented via stories and movies of Texas high school football, and the football craze in the state continues with college football. However, the Houston Texans are the top level, and NRG Stadium is one of the best venues in the NFL, and a must visit for any football fan. If you make the trip to see a Houston Texans game, you will understand why football in Texas offers the best football experience in the country.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Flying Saucer

705 Main St

Houston, TX 77002

(713) 228-9472

http://www.beerknurd.com/


Hugo’s

1600 Westheimer Rd

Houston, TX 77006

(713) 524-7744

https://www.hugosrestaurant.net/


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Entertainment Recommendations

The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

800 Bagby Street

Houston, TX 77002

(713) 315-2400

http://www.thehobbycenter.org


Houston Zoo

6200 Hermann Park Dr

Houston, TX 77030

(713) 533-6500

https://www.houstonzoo.org/


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Lodging Recommendations

 

Crowne Plaza Houston Near Reliant – Medical

8686 Kirby Dr

Houston, TX 77054

(713) 748-3221

https://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/us/en/houston/houcp/hoteldetail/photos-tours


 

Quality Inn & Suites NRG Park – Medical Center

2364 S Loop W

Houston, TX 77054

(713) 799-2436

https://www.choicehotels.com/texas/houston/quality-inn-hotels/txc23


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Stadium Info

NRG Stadium
One Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054

Houston Texans website

NRG Stadium website

Year Opened: 2002

Capacity: 71,795

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