Houston Without the Car

Exploring Houston's Urban Landscape Aboard the METRORail

Houston Metro Rail

Houston may not be the most walkable city in the world, but have no fear—there are great, green options available when it comes to transportation. One such mode of getting around H-Town is the MetroRail.

The light rail has been the option of choice for Houston locals and visitors who want a quick, inexpensive and reliable way to zip across the city. The original Red Line has been running North/South across the expanse of the inner Loop since 2004. With a total of 25 stations and 13 miles of track, the fare for the Red Line is $0.60 for students, seniors 65-69, and people with disabilities, while all other METRORail customers pay $1.25.

Hermann Park

The Red Line provides access to some of the most prestigious spots in Houston, including the Museum District, Hermann Park, the Houston Zoo, and NRG Park to root for the Texans, attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, or catch a massive concert in NRG Stadium. Downtown, you'll find ample dining and nightlife options, particularly around the Market Square historic district, where you can imbibe and dine at spots like Niko Niko's, Barnaby's Cafe at Market Square, La Carafe, and more. With a calendar of events, Market Square Park is a great place to enjoy outdoor space and the bustling energy of Downtown Houston. 

Exterior view of the main entrance of Minute Maid Park In Houston, TX

For the first time, all major sports arenas are accessible by a light rail ride and a short walk. The Red Line brings travelers close to Minute Maid Park (photo above) to watch the Astros play baseball or catch a concert, the Toyota Center to watch the Houston Rockets play basketball or catch a show/concert, and Rice University to watch the Owls in many athletic pursuits.

In 2015, Houston opened two new rail lines, the Green and the Purple, which provide access to the southeast parts of the city. These areas include a wide range of sports venues and bar-hopping spots previously difficult to reach by foot.

Shell Energy Stadium

The Purple and Green lines share stops at the beginning of their routes and will take you to Shell Energy Stadium, where you can see the Houston Dynamo play soccer. After Shell Energy Stadium, the two lines split. The Green Line continues east into the second ward, and the Purple Line heads southeast into the third ward. The Purple Line passes one more opportunity to cheer for the home team - TDECU Stadium, home of the Houston Cougar football.

Voodoo Queen

If sports aren't your game, take the Green Line instead. It offers access to some of the most interesting and offbeat bars in Houston. If you get off the train at the Coffee Plant/Second Ward stops, you will be a short walk away from Voodoo Queen. This New Orleans-inspired, black light-infused bar offers a huge menu of specialty drinks, as well as a hearty selection of beer on tap, or canned. A few old-school video games and a stage are also on-site and may be used for costume contests or other quirky events. 

Walking a couple of blocks further will land you at Moon Tower Inn. With an enormous selection of beers and ciders on tap and a foodie-friendly burger and taco menu, Moon Tower Inn is a neighborhood favorite. All seating is outside in a comfy, casual setting. If you're looking for one of Houston's more eccentric spots, head to one of the most infamous dive bars in the city, D&W Lounge. It's been operating since the 1940s and opens at 7 a.m. to cater to third-shift workers. Painted red, white, and blue and decorated with velvet paintings and lava lamps, D&W is as unpredictable as it is interesting. Hit D&W on a Friday or Saturday night to see some old-school karaoke.

Lynn Wyatt Square

The Green Line is perfect if you want to enjoy a show at the Alley Theatre, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, or Jones Hall for the Performing Arts. Across the street from Jones Hall, relax at the epicenter of Houston’s Theater District at Lynn Wyatt Square (photo above), which opened in 2023, and enjoy its vibe, including one-of-a-kind tête-à-tête rockers, free entertainment, and a cascading water feature.

Kinder Lake en Discovery Green

By hopping on the Green Line, you can also explore all Discovery Green park, located across the street from George R. Brown Convention Center, has to offer, including festivals, wide-open outdoor green space, a splash pad, concerts, and more.

View the detailed map of Houston MetroRail here. If learning the metro system is too daunting, all of these sites are always accessible via Uber or other transportation services. Explore your options for getting around in Houston with our helpful guide.


Written by Zach McKenzie