Houston and Galveston Feature
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Getting There & Around
All major airlines fly into either Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport on the city's north side or the smaller Hobby Airport on the southeast side. Continental Airlines dominates Intercontinental, and Southwest rules Hobby. Hobby is much more convenient to downtown.
Houstonians love their cars—which may explain why public transportation here is sorely lacking compared to other large U.S. cities. Things are slowly improving, though. In 2004 METRO, Houston's transit authority, opened the city's first light-rail line, which runs along Main St. from UH-Downtown to Reliant Park, home of the NFL Texans. Initially viewed as a novelty, ridership for the train has really taken off, and several new routes are already on the drawing board and/or approved. Many of Houston's top attractions are on the current light-rail line, and METRO's bus system provides access to other parts of the city. Amtrak also has a station in Houston, right behind the Main Post Office on Franklin St.
For the foreseeable future, the best way to see Houston is by car with a good map (or a GPS unit). Parking spots are generally plentiful and free; the only places you'll pay to park are in the Medical Center and downtown.
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, tollways, and crosstown connectors have reduced traffic congestion, but all of Houston's highways can be extremely crowded during rush hours. Driving isn't too treacherous during non-rush hours, but give yourself plenty of time—the trip from downtown to George Bush Intercontinental Airport can take 25 minutes—or more than an hour, depending on traffic.
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