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Things to do during a layover at Houston’s IAH Airport

  • Airport Parking Guide
  • Renee Martin
  • 4 minutes

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There’s nothing worse than a long layover at an unfamiliar airport when all you are trying to do is to get to your home or destination as quickly as possible. With many people planning to go on a holiday this summer, you may find yourself stuck in an airport waiting for your connecting flight to depart. However, if you happen to be at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), you could turn the tide in your favor and make your layover worthwhile. 

IAH parking

Located around 23 miles north of Downtown Houston, the IAH airport is pretty close to popular attractions. And with Houston being the culinary capital of the South, there are plenty of restaurants to visit as well. While you could catch an Uber/Lyft to the city, you could also hop onto the Metro Bus 102 at Terminal C south if you wish to save some money. You could get a day pass that gives you access to the bus and the rail service for just $2 a day. Now that you’ve figured your way out of IAH airport let’s look at what you could do during your layover. 

Grab a bite to eat at IAH airport 

No one likes to be hungry while they wait for their next flight. Fortunately, there are quite a few eateries, cafes, and bars to choose from at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Local favorites include Ray’s BBQ Shack, Bam Bam, Blaze Pizza, and Pappasito’s. If you don’t mind splurging a bit, you could walk into Olio, ember, or Le Grand Comptoir for a lavish meal. Starbucks, Subway, and Wendy’s have multiple outposts throughout the airport for those looking to grab lunch before dashing off to the gates quickly. Although none of the Restaurants are open 24/7, there is a convenience store in the food court at Terminal A selling snacks and drinks. 

If you wish to step out of the airport, you could try Gumbo Jeaux’s just across the road from IAH or take a 10-minute ride to Jimee’s BBQ for an authentic Houston barbecue experience.  

Relax at an IAH airport lounge 

Long layovers are the perfect time to visit one of the many lounges at airports. At IAH, several lounges cater to travelers flying United Airlines. However, if you do not hold a United Airlines ticket, you could visit the Air France Lounge or the KLM Crown Lounge, open to all travelers. All you need to do is pre-purchase a lounge pass or use your lounge membership program to gain entry. While at a lounge, you could grab a bite to eat or use the free WiFi service to browse the web or catch up on your favorite show. You could even get some work done if you are so inclined. 

Go sightseeing in Downtown Houston

The best way to make a layover not feel like one is to get out of the airport and take in the sights and sounds the city has to offer. IAH’s proximity to downtown Houston makes it an ideal airport to visit the city’s various landmarks. If you’ve got at least 6 hours to kill, you could hire a taxi that would take you to downtown Houston in about 30 minutes. Or you catch the Metro bus route 102 that takes about an hour for the same journey. While in Houston, you could go for a stroll at Discovery Green, Market Square Park, or Sam Houston Park. If you’re a fan of basketball, make sure to visit the Toyota Center, the home of the Houston Rockets. 

Other Houston attractions you could visit include the Heritage Society, Buffalo Bayou Park, and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Heritage Society is Houston’s only outdoor, interactive museum and boasts nine historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Buffalo Bayou is a 52-mile long waterway and also the site of Houston’s founding in 1836. With so many places to visit and so much to do, a layover at IAH airport may not be as dull as you would have thought. 

IAH Airport Parking Travel Tip: Avoid public transportation and services like rideshares or taxis as far as possible – opt instead to drive yourself to the airport if you need to catch a flight. You can further minimize your risk by booking your contactless IAH airport parking spot online.

Check out more blogs on the best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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