There are several ways to get to Rice University once you get to the general area around the Texas Medical Center/Rice area. If you plan on arriving to Reckling Park close to game time, be prepared for severe traffic jams. The 610/59 interchange is one of the worst spots for Houston traffic and between 3pm and 7pm on Fridays, it's horrible. Take it from someone who used to drive through there every afternoon. The interchange affects the traffic patterns of all the side roads in the area as well, so I've tried to come up with the most efficient ways to get you to Reckling Park without missing a pitch.
If you're coming from the west or southwest side of town, you want to take Westpark Tollway if you can (you must have an EZ Tag) all the way until it ends and becomes Westpark Drive. Turn right on Kirby, then left on University. You'll go past Greenbriar and then past Rice Stadium, then turn left into Campus Entrance No. 8. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
If you don't have an EZ Tag and have to fight the 59 traffic, just be prepared and allow more time. Take the Greenbriar/Shepherd exit and turn right on Greenbriar then left on University. You'll go past Rice Stadium, then turn left into Campus Entrance No. 8. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
You can also take 610 loop around to Main Street exit. Turn left on Main Street and travel a couple of miles northeast on Main St. Turn left on University and enter Campus Entrance No. 8 just past Reckling Park on your right. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
If you're coming from the northwest side of town, you want to take 290 to Loop 610. Go south on 610 and take the Hidalgo exit. Turn left at the first light (Post Oak) and then left on Westpark Drive. Turn right on Kirby, then left on University. You'll go past Greenbriar and then past Rice Stadium, then turn left into Campus Entrance No. 8. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
If you're coming from the northside, take I-45 south and then take the Allen Parkway exit. Stay on Allen Parkway and it will turn into Kirby. Stay on Kirby past Hwy 59 and then turn left on University. You'll go past Greenbriar and then past Rice Stadium, then turn left into Campus Entrance. No. 8. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
If you're coming from the southside, take I-45 or 288 north (depending on your starting point) to Loop 610. Go west on 610 and take the Main St. exit. Turn right on Main Street and travel a couple of miles northeast on Main St. Turn left on University and enter Campus Entrance No. 8 just past Reckling Park on your right. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
If you're coming from the east or northeast side, take I-10 west and go south on 59 (If you're coming from the Northwest side, just take 59 south). Take the Shepherd/Greenbriar exit and turn left on Greenbriar then left on University just past Rice Stadium on your left. Turn left into Campus Entrance No. 8. Follow parking attendants instructions from there.
If you have a Blackberry or other PDA that offers internet access, you may want to save this link in your memory to see real time traffic conditions (average speeds) for all Houston highways.
Once you turn into Campus Entrance No. 8 off of University Drive, there will be signs and attendants in the area directing you towards the visitor parking. If you click on this link you'll see Entrance No. 8 and the two light yellow parking lots are for visitor parking. I don't know how much parking is available in this location, but with a sellout crowd, parking will probably take up much of the other lots in that area as well.
Alcohol is permitted on campus, but Rice University will write citations for people who have trash around their vehicles. University police stressed to me that all persons tailgating should bring trash bags and/or trash cans to avoid a citation. They claim they strictly enforce this rule. BBQ pits are also permitted. For questions concerning tailgating rules and regulations, contact Rice University Police at 713-348-6000.
There are many restaurants to choose from in and around Rice Village. Coming from Reckling Park, turn right out of the parking lot on University and go straight on University until you see the Village on your right. It goes back about 4-5 blocks towards 59 beginning at University and includes: Nit Noi (good Thai food), Jason's Deli, Buffalo Wild Wings, Texadelphia, Ruggles, and more. Just drive around and find something you like.
If you're aching for some Freebirds, turn north on Shepherd (from 59) then make a funky 300 degree turn to your left onto Farnum St. Turn right into the parking lot for Freebirds (there's also Amy's Ice Cream in that same lot). 59 Diner will be on the left side of Farnham St. as well if you like bad food.
There are tons of restaurants on the northbound access road of Hwy 59, including Double Dave's and Hooters. Double Daves is on the access road between Weslayan and Buffalo Speedway. Hooters is on the access road just north of Kirby. This Hooters will be the official rally point of Aggie Websider between 3 and 4 p.m.
Again, Rice Village is the closest place for meeting buddies before the game. There are a couple of good sports bars at the University and Morningside intersection, and a parking garage that makes it easy to get in and out of. Parking in Rice Village is a pain, so anything close to the garage makes it easier. Two Rows Sports Bar is in the same shopping center as the parking garage and Little Woodrows is across the street (Morningside) from the parking garage.
The Ginger Man is another bar located on the same corner with tons of beers on taps and huge patio to hang out, assuming good weather. The Ginger Man is rumored to be the "Official home of Aggie Websider" on Friday night, so check the boards for more information about those plans.
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