Arrival and information

Downtown Houston is at the intersection of I-10 (San Antonio-New Orleans) and I-45 (Dallas-Galveston), with most of what you'll want to see encircled by Loop 610, now widened on the west to include the huge Galleria mall. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (tel 281/230-3000), 23 miles north, is the main hub for Continental Airlines, while the smaller, domestic William P. Hobby Airport (tel 713/641-7770), is seven miles southeast of downtown, just west of I-45 and a major hub for the budget Southwest Airlines. Both are served by the Airport Express shuttle (tel 713/523-8888), which drops off at the Galleria and downtown hotels ($19 from Intercontinental and Hobby), and Metro buses (from Intercontinental on route #101 or #102: Mon-Fri 5.30am-midnight, Sat and Sun 5.20am-12.30am; $1.50; from Hobby on route #101 or #50: daily 5am-midnight; $1.50; ) which run downtown approximately every half-hour. Taxis cost $35 to $45 from Intercontinental, with the downtown fare from Hobby priced at $25 - though the fare to the Galleria from here is $35. With these prices, renting a car makes sense for some, and all major companies are represented at the airports.

Amtrak arrives at 902 Washington Ave, on the western fringes of downtown. Have your camera ready for a splendid view of the skyline, though the station itself is small, isolated and barely served by taxis. Try to arrive here, or at the large and modern Greyhound terminal, 2121 Main St, during daylight hours, as the immediate surroundings can feel a bit threatening.

The main tourist office , a huge space with touch-screen computers and other visual displays, is on the first floor of City Hall, 901 Bagby St (daily 9am-4pm; tel 713/227-3100 or 1-800/365-7575, ).

Other useful information for tourists (each section contains more specific sub-sections):

United States,