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Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Sydney
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Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

We are in our 60's and plan to visit Houston in December. Which area would you advise for us to stay to visit the following by public transportation or organised bus tours:

Space center

Pub Tour

Tunnel and City tour

1) Do we need to book accommodation in downtown to be able to get to these places either by public transportation or by bus tour companies? Do the bus tour companies pick up from the hotels e.g. Residence Inn Houston Downtown/Convention Center in Dallas St?

2) We want to go out for dinner and have a stroll at night - would you recommend the hotel listed above for this? Is it safe to walk in the streets? We want to pay a maximum of $US150 a night for a room.

Thanks.

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Generally speaking public transport is almost non-existent in Houston. There are organized bus tours but expensive. To the best of my knowledge pick ups for the bus tours are certain designated places, such as the visitors center, Aquarium etc. and not at any hotels. If you don't mind driving on the "other side" the best and the cheapest will be to rent a car.

If you want to go with the bus tours you are better off staying downtown so you can walk or take a taxi to the pick up spot. There are restaurants / bars downtown and okay to walk. You will know where not to go. Best place for the stroll might be the Discovery Park. You can very easily do the downtown tunnels on your own. Dallas Street / Convention is a safe area.

Galleria area will be more lit up and a larger area with more dining options and greater variety.

Not too sure of a pub tour. There is a bus called the 'Wave' that will transport you back and forth from hotel to any bars / pubs. That is full of 30 somethings, but check it out.

Houston
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2. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Houston is not a city that relies on public transportation--most people insist on driving, primarily because of the large geographical size of the city. Having said that, there is a bus tour company that goes to the Space Center: http://www.houstontours.com/ You'd need to make inquiries direct with them as to pickup/dropoff sites. Here's another tour operator you may prefer: http://www.houstoncitytours.us/

The tunnel system is huge, and can be entered/exited at any of a number of places, some of which are close to your hotel.

There are a number of pubs and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. Houston is typical of any large metropolitan city in the USA after dark, in that it's not particularly dangerous, but just be particularly aware of your surroundings. If in doubt, take a taxi back to your hotel--it won't cost much for a short ride.

Welcome, Mates!

Sydney
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3. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Hi,

Thanks for your reply. Would the hotel Drury Inn & Suites Houston Galleria be a better location in terms of convenience and proximity to amenities?

Houston
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4. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

The biggest problem with the Drury Inn is that it is on the "wrong" side of the I-610 highway, meaning you'd have to either walk north to San Felipe or south to Westheimer to cross I-610 in order to get to where the restaurants and bars (most of which are inside the restaurants in that neighborhood) are located. The Drury is not located in a bad neighborhood at all--just not a very active one at night. You could always take a short taxi ride if you didn't want to walk. (It's probably about 1-1.5 km, depending on where you're going.)

As Kingwood mentioned, The Wave will, I believe, pick you up and drop you off at or near your hotel and drop you off in other parts of the city where there are more pubs: http://www.thehoustonwave.com/

The problem would arise when trying to take the bus tours, as I don't recall that either of them started in The Galleria area, but check the sites provided earlier.

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Unless you have a car or the Drury Inn is a lot cheaper I would stay D/T (convention center hotel) as it is closer to get to the tour stops. If not taxi fare will quickly add up.

The other thing is in Dec the traffic around the Galleria Mall will be terrible and even though Drury is a little away, getting on the freeway (taxi or rental) will be bad.

Sydney
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6. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Thanks for your replies.

Houston
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7. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Just to clarify the point raised by Kingwood about the traffic: the traffic in The Galleria area really starts to get horrendous around the 14th of December (a Saturday); if you're going to be here early in December, it is manageable. You might check to see if there are any openings in hotels/motels just south of the Galleria along Sage Road. There are a number of them that may be comparable in price to the Drury Inn, including Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hotel Indigo, and the Residence Inn (which may be only for long-term). All of these are definitely within walking distance of The Galleria mall itself, mostly within 2-3 blocks.

Sydney
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8. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

Thanks for your replies. How about Courtyard by Marriott in Sage Rd? Is that better than Residence Inn Houston Downtown/Convention Center in Dallas St? There is a big price difference between the two, Marriott being more expensive.

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

If you want to explore the tunnels and go to NASA on the tour you are better off staying downtown. If you are up to it you can always take a bus or taxi to the Galleria during the day. Discovery Green is a nice park and ideal for a stroll. No need to pay extra and go to the Marriott. Around the Galleria area to get out you will have to get to 610 and Westheimer (or San Felipe) and on to 59. It can take 30 mts to go one mile. All you will see is the taxi meter running. I used to work at the financial center in the Galleria and around Christmas time it was just one big parking lot.

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10. Re: Hotel near public transportation or pick up by bus tours

It's interesting to find that Kingwood and I both worked in the Galleria Financial Center, and we agree that the traffic can be horrendous. However, we still don't know when in December you'll be here, so I'll answer the question you asked in #8 above. While I've never stayed at that partifcular hotel, the location is one block from The Galleria itself, so other than the potential traffic problems (which generally begin about 9:45 AM, and last until about 9:30 PM during the latter half of December), that would be a good location.

Cabs have a far easier time exiting the Galleria garage than contract parkers do, as I'm sure Kingwood and I would both agree. If you hire a car, you'll have options as to which way to exit the area, which may expedite your journey to/from the Space Center, but traffic will be heavy.