Houston Layover Guide (IAH)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is the major international airport found in Houston Texas and is one of the largest transportation hubs in Texas. It is located on the 37 km (23 mi) from downtown Houston. The airport has had commercial flights since 1969. Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, and is famous for its space and science contributions, and is the home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Can you leave Houston Airport (IAH) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible for certain travelers to visit Houston during a layover but others require a visa depending on nationality. (more info).
Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing
Houston Organized Tours
NASA Space Center
This must be the most popular attraction in the Houston area. So make sure to visit Space City USA on memorable 7-hour tour from Houston. There are numerous interactive exhibits and activities including handling moon rocks, taking a tram ride to the NASA control center, and seeing the shuttle replica at the Independence Plaza.The tour covers the gigantic International Space Station Assembly Building and to the NASA control center. Also there is a Starship Gallery Artifact Museum. » book this tour
Hop-on Houston City Tour
Explore the sights of Houston in comfort and at your own pace from on board a double decker bus where you can hop-on and off at 6 strategically placed stops to explore the Convention Center, Market Square, Visitors Center, City Hall, Downtown Aquarium and much more. This route it offers great views of the city’s symbolic sites and attractions in one easy sitting. » book this tour
Historic Downtown Pub Crawl
Enjoy the Houston night life with a Historic Downtown Pub Crawl. The tour will show you an in-depth history of this Texas city while taking you through four bars in the historic center of Houston. These bars vary so give different atmospheres to relax in while enjoying the city’s pub culture. Many of the bars have classic jukeboxes featuring tunes from the fifties. One noteworthy bar is one found inside a 1912 Union National Bank Building which is one of Houston’s oldest buildings. » book this tour
Houston Things to do / Sightseeing
Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science was established in 1909. It has an impressive collection of mineral specimens, space station models and 60 large skeleton mounts. There is even a display of four Tyrannosaurus Rex and three large Quetzalcoatlus. There’s also a planetarium. Something eye-catching about the museum is the grasshopper clock situated at the museum’s entrance.
Time required: 2 hours to a full day.
Airport to here: Taxi takes an average of 30 minutes while public transport takes an hour and 40 minutes.
The Health Museum
The Health Museum welcomes over 180,000 visitors a year which draws these visits is the excellent interactive health and science educational experiences. These include exploring the human body, real organ dissections, and cell lab where they can carry out simple fun experiments.
Time required: You will need at least an hour to enjoy the Merlion Park.
Airport to here: Taxi takes an average of 30 minutes while public transport typically takes an hour and 30 minutes.
Cockrell Butterfly Center
The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology is home to a living butterfly habitat with spectacular specimens of some of the world’s strangest arthropods. There is a huge variety of species and provides teachable moment visitors through fun interactive quizzes and games.
Time required: At least an hour would be the minimum.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 35 minutes and public transport takes an hour and 30 minutes on average.
Since 2002, the Hobby Center has offered wonderful shows and plays. It is a great place to visit for family fun and catch one of these famous shows. The center is known for its comfortable and generous legroom as well as its great snack and candy options.
Time required: 2-3 hours.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 30 minutes while public transport can take a little more than an hour.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
This outstanding theater provides free plays, concerts, dances and shows suitable for all ages. The Miller Outdoor Theater is located in Hermann Park and is opened outside the winter season. Visitors are allowed to bring their own chairs, blankets, and food. Otherwise, seating can be purchased upon arrival.
Time required: Set aside an hour or 2 to enjoy the temple.
Airport to here: Taxi takes an average of 35 minutes while public transport typically takes an hour or more.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving
This is an amazing indoor skydiving experience which simulates the conditions of real freefall in a vertical wind tunnel and feels exactly like skydiving. The tunnel has fans at the top that draws air through the flight chamber and the inbuilt mechanisms allow you to fly. The venue provides the gear, instructions and guarantees safety.
Time required: Set aside 2 or 3 hours to explore the iFLY Indoor Skydiving.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 40 minutes and public transport takes an hour.
Step into Battlefield Houston is a laser tag center that offers competitive fun. There are several missions and types of games to pick from such as Domination, Hitman, Search and Destroy and Sniper. The games offer an exhilarating experience for everyone participating.
Time required: Set aside 2 or 3 hours to enjoy the Battlefield Houston.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 40 minutes.
Museum of Fine Arts
This museum carries a stunning collection of over 6,000 years of history and approximately 64,000 works from six continents. The museum takes pride in being home to treasures such as Gleizes’s La Femme, Memling’s portrait, Monet’s Water Lilies and an impressive amount of Roman period sculptures and paintings. It has thousands of visitors every month.
Time required: Set aside 2 or 3 hours to explore the Museum of Fine Arts.
Airport to here: Typically takes a Taxi 30 minutes and public transport takes an hour and 30 minutes.
Things to Do in Houston Airport (IAH)
Relaxing and Sleeping
Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are numerous lounges in the airport » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online
Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotels close to the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online
Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There is no resting lounge.
WIFI/Internet and SIM Card
WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available at the airport. Connect to the “Free Airport WIFI” network.
SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards. » buy a global sim card for Houston, United States that you can use for other countries as well!
Transportation to/from airport
Taxi: Taxis can be called for with the assistance of Ground Transportation.
Train: The below-ground Subway train provides transportation between terminals. (more info).
Bus: The Houston METRO public bus 102 operates between the airport's terminals and most parts of the city. (more info).
Shuttle: Many hotels offer free airport shuttle service as a convenience for their guests. There are also airport shuttles.
Car rentals: Car rentals are available and operate from Consolidated Rental Car Facility. » view available cars or rent a car now online
Parking: There are terminal garages at all five terminals at IAH, with self-parking as well as valet parking.
Luggage Storage & Lockers
There are no luggage storage services. » book a luggage storage or locker at Houston Airport (IAH) online (subject to availability).