NASA Tram Tours
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NASA Tram Tours are the most popular experiences at Space Center Houston – add them to your visit! These tours are your chance to go on-site at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and get an up-close look at human space exploration.
Located on 1,600 acres, NASA Johnson Space Center is the training base for NASA astronauts and the site of Mission Control, where a Houston-based team supports the work of our women and men in space.
Become a member and save
Members receive a 50% discount on the Historic Mission Control Tram Tour! Discounted tickets are limited to the number of admissions of your membership level. Members can also make reservations online for our free Astronaut Training Facility Tram Tour one to three days before their visit. Not a member? Visit spacecenter.org/membership to join!
3 Tram Tours, 3 Ways to Board
We currently offer three tram tours to NASA Johnson Space Center facilities. These are the most popular experiences at Space Center Houston – plan ahead to ensure you access the tours of your choice.
To secure your boarding pass for a tram tour, please read the information below. There is a different method to secure your tram tour boarding pass based on the type of tram tour you would like to access.
Please note: We currently only offer tours in English.
Historic Mission Control Tour
Visit the iconic Christopher C. Kraft Mission Control and discover the Historic Mission Control from which NASA led Gemini and Apollo missions, including the momentous first lunar landing mission as well as early space shuttle missions.
This tram tour is offered at an additional cost and is not included in general admission to Space Center Houston. This tour can only be purchased as an add-on experience to your general admission tickets.
These tram tours are an additional cost and must be booked in advance of your visit when you purchase general admission online . Members receive 50% off admission to this tour– learn more.
Availability for this tour is extremely limited, so it is recommended to secure your boarding pass for this tour at least 2 weeks in advance, though this can vary based on demand, if the tour is during the week or weekend, during a holiday and other seasonal variables.
Astronaut Training Facility Tour
This tram tour is included in the cost of general admission to Space Center Houston.
This tram tour is offered on a first-come, first-served basis for on-site guests. It is recommended that you secure an early entry timeslot for your general admission tickets to ensure you secure a boarding pass to this tram tour. When you enter the center, visit our Guest Services desk first to secure your timed boarding pass to access this tram tour. Boarding passes for this tour cannot be booked in advance online.
George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park Tour
Visit George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park , where one of only three of the remaining actual Saturn V rockets is displayed, along with other rockets that propelled space exploration. Don’t miss our new Apollo 13 bronze statue .
This tram tour is offered on a first-come, first-served basis for on-site guests. You do not need a physical boarding pass to board this tram tour.
While on-site, visit our tram tours boarding area to join the queue. Boarding passes for this tour cannot be booked in advance online.
Know Before You Go
NASA Tram Tour offerings vary and have limited availability. The last tour departs two hours before closure. Check our hours to confirm. The Historic Mission Control tram tour often sells out days in advance during weekends, holidays and academic breaks for Houston area schools such as summer and winter.
These are open-air tram tours that could be interrupted due to inclement weather. Please monitor weather conditions and plan accordingly. All Space Center Houston tours visit working government facilities at NASA which are subject to availability and can temporarily close to visitors without notice.
Looking to upgrade your experience and get an even closer look into the workings of NASA Johnson Space Center? Learn more about NASA VIP Tours.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Mission Control tour tickets cannot be purchased as an experience separate from general admission. All tour attendees must purchase a general admission ticket first.
No, strollers are not allowed on the NASA Tram Tour. Please leave your strollers in the stroller parking area adjacent to the tram tour queue.
Learn more about accessibility options at Space Center Houston.
There is very limited access to restrooms during the NASA Tram Tour. Please visit the restroom facilities at Space Center Houston before boarding your tram.
No, there is not a place to purchase food or beverages during the NASA Tram Tour. Please purchase and consume any snacks or beverages before the tour as food is not allowed on the NASA Tram Tour. Only beverages with closed lids (such as water bottles) are allowed on the tour.
The tour lasts 60-90 minutes depending on which experience you choose.
1601 e nasa parkway, houston, tx 77058.
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Roosevelt Island Tram - New York's Cable Car
This post is a guide to riding the Roosevelt Island Tram, which is similar to an aerial cable car or gondola.
We give you tips on planning your trip, including where to board, when to go, and how to get tickets, which happen to cost the same as a subway ride, but with a much better view!
- Plan Your Trip
- Roosevelt Island
- Free Tours by Foot
- Other Things to Do in NYC
- Other Skyline Views of NYC
PLAN YOUR TRIP
The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline.
The tram crosses over the East River, reaching a maximum height of 250 feet above the water!
If you are wondering if it's worth your time, we think it is, provided you are here for more than 2-3 days.
If you are rushing to get to the big tourist attractions, skip the tram, especially if you are visiting one of NYC's observation decks .
If you have time to spare and want to see NYC in a different and exciting way, read on!
Below are details about the best times to go, where you can find the tram station, how to get tickets, and other tips.
Best Times to Go
The quality of your experience on the Roosevelt Island Tram depends on the time you take the ride, as it is a means of transportation for locals.
It also depends on whether you are going for a quick round trip just for the views or if you are also planning to spend some time on the island.
With that said, let's take a look at the hours of operation and the best times to go.
Roosevelt Island Tram Hours
- Sunday - Thursday | 6 am - 2 am
- Friday - Saturday | 6 am - 3:30 am
- There is a tram every 15 minutes except during rush hours when there is one every few minutes. The bus schedule on Roosevelt Island mirrors the Tram schedule.
Although it runs all day, visitors who want to catch the best views standing right next to the windows may want to hop on when the crowds aren't very large.
During weekdays, commuters use the tram to get to and from work in the mornings and evenings.
As a result, you can expect these hours to be especially busy from Monday to Friday.
Note that most New Yorkers are commuting from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan in the morning rush hour.
If you intend only to take a quick round-trip ride from Manhattan, it's best to depart from Manhattan between the hours of 10 am - 3 pm .
Even if you plan to visit the island for a while, aim to go between these hours to ensure that you are not in a crowded cabin.
Travelers who want to see the skyline at night should have no trouble getting a good view pretty much anytime from 7 pm - 2 am .
In fact, taking the tram is one of our picks for free things to do at night .
If you can't take the ride during our suggested hours don't worry, it is possible to get good views during rush hours, but it will be crowded in one direction or the other.
Weekend hours are a bit different because there isn't as much of a rush from commuters.
Instead of avoiding morning and evening hours, you will actually want to consider making your trip during these times to avoid large crowds during weekends.
If you want a daytime view, consider a trip in the morning before 10 am .
For excellent sunset views, head out on the tram at 7 pm instead.
Travelers who have been on this tram before recommend taking a sunset trip for the best views of the New York City skyline .
If you want to avoid the crowded cabin so you can be right next to a window, we recommend going on a weekend to steer clear of commuters.
If you can only go on a weekday for a sunset view, note that sunset corresponds to rush hours approximately between November and March.
During these months, plan your return trip from Roosevelt Island to coincide with sunset. Check NYC sunset times .
TIP: The tramway station is just a 6-minute subway ride from the starting point of our Central Park Tour and a 12-minute ride from the start of our Midtown Manhattan Tour , both of which can be taken anytime as GPS-enabled audio tours .
Roosevelt Island Tram Tickets
This is the best part. For adults, the ride costs just $2.90 each way. Those with an unlimited MetroCard won't have to pay anything.
For a round-trip cost of just $5.80 for an adult, this is an awesome deal for an incredible view!
Below is our full list of costs per trip
- $2.90 - Adult
- $1.45 - Seniors
- Free - Child up to 44 inches (112 cm). Limit 3 per paying adult
You can buy your MetroCard at vending machines in the tram stations. There is no ticket agent or ticket booth.
We recommend that you purchase your MetroCard in advance at a subway station, as there are only a few ticket machines at the tram station.
You can now use the OMNY contactless tap-to-pay system at the tram turnstiles.
Be sure to read our blog post on choosing a New York City subway MetroCard which also explains the OMNY alternative to MetroCards.
For more information, make sure to check our ticket prices section and our post about how to use the NYC Metro system .
Where to Board?
The Manhattan station of the Roosevelt Island Tram is located on 2nd Ave. between 59th and 60th Streets on the Upper East Side .
The closest New York City subway stations are 59th Street (4,5,6 trains) and Lexington Ave/59th Street (N, Q, R trains).
The station is also within walking distance from the Lexington Ave/53rd Street Station (E, M trains).
There are several bus lines that also run up and down 2nd Ave.
We recommend using this Google map for directions to the Manhattan station of the Roosevelt Island Tram.
If you are considering a ticket for a tour bus, keep in mind that most companies offer stops relatively close to the tram.
Be sure to read our post comparing the different bus tours in NYC .
Be sure to read our blog posts on choosing a New York City subway MetroCard as well as tips on navigating the NYC subway system .
In addition to the best times, there are other tips and tricks to get the most out of this tram ride and Roosevelt Island itself.
The Ride is Short – This tram will take a max of 3-5 minutes to get across the river, giving you a limited amount of time to see the New York skyline.
If you want to spend more time enjoying the view of this city, consider visiting one of the observation decks in NYC .
Take The Ferry Back! - Get even more beautiful views by taking the ferry for your ride back from the island!
The East River Ferry Service has a route that runs from East 34th Street in Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and it's the same price as the tram and subway.
Not Much of a Wait – Travelers who have taken the tram indicate that there usually isn't much of a wait.
Even during busier hours, this is a simple enough service that it won't take long to get on board.
Stand Close to the Door – For the best views of the New York City skyline, make sure to stand as close as possible to the doors.
Strollers (and even shopping carts) are allowed on the trams.
These windows will be pointed in the direction of sites such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building .
Stop and Enjoy the Island – Although some people might just want to come here for the view from this tram, several visitors recommend spending some time on Roosevelt Island.
It may be a small island, but there are a few different things to see and do on Roosevelt Island .
Even if you only plan to spend 15 minutes there while waiting for the next tram, consider taking a look around the island while you're there.
Visit FDR Four Freedoms Park – According to some visitors, this park offers some of the most unique and interesting views in New York.
Some visitors say there is no better place to see the United Nations Headquarters. You'll find this park on the south tip of the island.
Get a Cup of Coffee – You will find a small shopping center to the north of the Tram station on Roosevelt Island.
Visitors recommend stopping in to grab a cup of coffee or even do a little shopping. You'll also find a library just north of the shopping center where you can stop and read a book.
Check Out the Lighthouse – If you're interested in walking to the other end of the island, there is a historic lighthouse that was built in the 1800s.
This could be a fun and interesting place to visit while you're on the island.
Come During Saturday Market – This island may be small, but that doesn't stop them from holding its very own Saturday Market.
This is a great place to find locally grown and created goods, and it's a wonderful place to stop by if you're planning a weekend trip.
Consider Taking a Tour – The boarding station is just a 6 min subway ride from the starting point of our Central Park Tour and a 12 min ride from the start of our Midtown Manhattan Tour , both of which can be taken anytime as GPS-enabled audio tours .
About The Roosevelt Island Aeriel Tramway
- The Tram is not operated by the MTA but uses the same MetroCard System.
- Each car holds up to 125 passengers. About 115 trips per day are made.
- Once the Tram lets off at Roosevelt Island you can connect with a Red Bus, which will take you around the island for 25 cents per ride!
- You can see the full schedule for both the Tram and the Red Bus at www.rioc.ny.gov . Go to the “Community Information” tab and select “Transportation.”
- The Roosevelt Island Tramway has been in many films including Nighthawks (1981), Now You See Me (2013), and Spider-Man (2002).
Quick Facts About Roosevelt Island ( check out our self-guided tour )
- The total land size is 147 acres (60 hectares)
- It was called Minnehanonck by the Lenape tribe, the island’s first residents. The Dutch called it Varkens Eylandt (Hog Island).
- During the British colonial era and beyond the island was privately owned. The Blackwell family was in possession for a long time, and the island’s oldest house, The Blackwell House, is NYC’s 6 th oldest house. The island was also known as Blackwell Island for many years, even after the City of New York owned the island.
- The island was privately owned until 1828 when the City of New York purchased it for $32,000. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $680,242 today.
- The New York City Lunatic Asylum opened on the island in 1839. The asylum was often overcrowded, and at some points was at two times their designated capacity. The Octagon Tower was built as the entrance to the asylum. Today it is part of a luxury apartment complex.
- There is a beautiful, Gothic-style lighthouse on the island called the Blackwell Island Lighthouse. It was built by the City of New York in 1872 and was used until the 1940s. The supervising architect for the lighthouse was James Renwick, Jr., who designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
- The island was called Welfare Island from 1921 to 1971. In addition to the asylum, the island has a charity hospital and a state penitentiary. The inmates from the prison were moved off of the island to the newly opened Riker’s Island in 1935.
- The island was renamed Roosevelt Island in 1971, in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- The Roosevelt Island Tramway opened in 1976, and runs parallel to the northern side of the Queensboro Bridge, connecting the island directly to Manhattan.
Even though this island is tiny, it is worth a visit!
You can see the historic Blackwell House (One of the city’s few surviving 18th-century houses), the Blackwell Island Lighthouse, and the Octagon Tower- all while enjoying great city views!
- Tour of Roosevelt Island
- Free skyline views of NYC
- Travel Guide to NYC on a Budget
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Guide to Visiting Space Center Houston, Texas
Last updated: February 26, 2023 . Written by Laurence Norah - 8 Comments
If you are visiting Houston in Texas, one attraction we can highly recommend you spend some time at is the Space Center Houston.
Space Center Houston is the official visitor center of the NASA Johnson Space Center, which is the home of NASA’s Mission Control and where U.S. astronauts are trained. It’s also a Smithsonian affiliate museum.
There are two main parts to a visit to the Space Center. There’s the large self-guided Space Center museum itself, which is home to numerous exhibits on space exploration and space in general.
Then there’s the tram tour, which takes you onto the grounds of the NASA Johnson Space Center facility itself, where you can see actual working government facilities, as well as historic locations like the original Mission Control room.
In this post, we’re going to share everything you need to know to make the most out of your visit to Space Center Houston, from getting there, to what to see and do, to how to save money on your ticket.
Let’s get started.
A Guide to Visiting Space Center Houston
Where is space center houston.
Space Center Houston is at 1601 E NASA Parkway. This is found around 26 miles southeast of the city center, or approximately a 30-minute drive in light traffic.
How To Get to Space Center Houston?
From Houston, the easiest way to get to Space Center Houston is to drive. You can just follow the I-45 out of the city centre, and then take exit 24, following signs for NASA. It should take around half an hour, although of course traffic can slow you down. There is a large car-parking lot on site, with a reasonable daily fee of $5 per vehicle.
During the week it is also possible to take public transport to Space Center Houston, using Bus service 249. This takes around an hour and costs $3. You can see schedules and timetables on the Houston Metro site . Public transport is not available on the weekends.
There is a Hop-on Hop-off bus service in Houston , but it does not go to the Space Center.
You can also take a taxi or ride share service like Uber. Prices will vary, but will be in the region of $30 – $60 each way depending on traffic and time of day. You can also get these back from the Space Center.
Finally, it’s also possible to take a guided tour from the city centre out to Space Center Houston. As an example, this tour includes a tour of Houston, transport to and from Space Center Houston, as well as entry to the Space Center. This is another tour which includes transport and entry but skips the Houston city tour component.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Space Center Houston?
Standard entry to Space Center Houston for an adult (12+) is $29.95 – $34.95 depending on the day and time you visit. It’s $24.95 for children (aged 4-11) and $27.95 for seniors (65+). Prices are correct as of February 2023.
There are a variety of discounts available for active and retired military with I.D., AAA members with I.D., and groups. Children 3 and under are able to enter for free.
You can see all the details of the pricing and discount eligibility on the official site here . Note, tickets bought on the official site are non-refundable. You can also buy your ticket online in advance here for the same price , with the option of free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance of your visit.
You can also buy tickets in person. The price is the same, but if you print your ticket at home or download it to your mobile device, then you can skip the ticket line and go straight to the entry turnstile. This can save you a bit of time on busy days.
Space Center Houston is also included on the Houston City PASS . This can save you significant money if you plan on visiting some of the other attractions that the pass covers – up to 50% savings in fact! We found the pass very useful for our trip to Houston.
The Houston City PASS includes entry to five of Houston’s most popular attractions, but you only need to visit two or three of them for it to start saving you money.
See what it covers and buy yours in advance here . You can also buy it here with the option to cancel up to 24 hours before your trip if you need the flexibility.
Note – the CityPASS includes the standard tram tours but not the Mission Control tram tour, which is a paid extra. Last time we checked in 2023, you can upgrade on site for $15, subject to availability.
Are there different ticket types and experiences at the Space Center?
There are a number of different ticket options for Space Center. These are:
- the standard ticket
- the standard ticket with Mission Control Tour
- the Breakfast with an Astronaut Experience
- the VIP tour
The difference between these tours is reflected in the experience you have as well as the price you pay. See below for more on what each of these tickets includes and the difference between them, as well ar pricing.
Ticket types for Space Center Houston
The standard entry ticket gets you access to all the exhibits in the Space Center as well as the tram tour of NASA Johnson Space Center. This is the ticket included on the Houston City PASS . This costs $29.95 – $34.95 for an adult.
The standard entry ticket with Mission control tour . This is the same as the standard entry ticket but it also includes the Mission control tram tour. This costs an extra $15 per ticket, so for adults it varies from $44.95 – $49.95.
The breakfast with an astronaut experience. This includes your standard entry, plus, as the name suggests, you get to have a meal with an astronaut. You’ll hear stories and anecdotes from an actual NASA astronaut, plus have the opportunity to take photos.
This is only available once or twice a week, and it depends on astronaut availability. This experience needs to be booked in advance, and you can find out more here about availability and what it includes. It currently costs $99.95.
Finally, the NASA VIP Space Center Houston tour is the ultimate VIP experience, for those who want a truly unique and special experience. The highlight of this experience is a 3 hour guided tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center, giving you much more access than the tram tour.
The VIP costs $199.95, and the includes your entry to Space Centre Houston, so you have plenty of time to see everything. The tour needs to be booked in advance, which you can do here . It is only available for those aged 14 and older. Tours run twice a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They actually visit different locations, so you could book both for the ultimate experience!
Experiences at Space Center Houston
As well as the different ticket options, Space Center Houston also offers a variety of educational programs geared to families and children’s organizations and groups (e.g., Boy Scouts, school groups).
For example, they offer a number of overnight experiences, including a family oriented overnight experience. This gives you the opportunity to actually stay overnight at the facility, either in your own tent outside, or inside amongst the artefacts.
You can see all the upcoming events and experiences on the events page here .
What can you do at Space Center Houston?
There is a lot to do at Space Center Houston, with over 400 space artifacts, a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions, learning experiences, theaters, and more!
Here’s a quick overview of the major attractions and activities you can enjoy at Space Center Houston. It’s not absolutely everything, but it should give you an idea of the scope of what’s on offer!
The NASA Tram Tour at Space Center Houston
This tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center takes you to some of the highlights of the Johnson Space Center, and is one of the most popular parts of a visit to the Space Center.
The tour may change depending on what’s happening at the facility and security considerations with active missions and programmes, but it normally has the option to visit one or more of the following, depending on the time of year and tram tour chosen:
- The Mission Operations Control Room 2, commonly known as Mission Control, which was where the Apollo missions were coordinated from.
- The Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, where astronauts train on replicas of space vehicles like the ISS.
- Rocket Park, home to a Saturn V rocket (the size has to be seen to be believed) as well as a number of other rockets from different stages of the space program.
We have more detail on the tram tour in the section dedicated to taking the tram tour elsewhere in this guide.
Independence Plaza is a large space outside the main Space Center building. It is home to an actual Boeing 747 aircraft, atop which is mounted a replica space shuttle.
The 747 in question was one of two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft developed by NASA to transport the space shuttle from it secondary landing site back to the main Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.
Often, bad weather would prevent the shuttle from landing at Kennedy, and so the 747 was developed to transport it back.
At Independence Plaza you can go all the way up into the replica shuttle, as well as through the length of the 747, where there are a variety of exhibits and interactive installations, telling the story of the vehicle.
Inside the main Space Center building, one of the most impressive galleries in our opinion is the Starship Gallery.
This is home to three actual spacecraft which have flown to space, the Mercury 9 capsule, the Gemini 5 capsule, and the Apollo 17 command module.
There’s also a lunar module test vehicle, a lunar rover test vehicle, a full-scale Skylab trainer and more.
Finally, the Starship Gallery is home to an actual piece of lunar rock, which is one of only eight in the world that you are allowed to touch. Yes, you can touch a piece of the moon in the Starship Gallery!
One of the newest exhibits at the Space Center is Mission Mars. This exhibit focuses on NASA’s project to ultimately send manned space missions to Mars.
It covers the various challenges that need to be overcome for that to be successful, the vehicles that are being developed to take us there, and an overview of humanity’s relationship with the red planet.
There are also galleries explaining what life on Mars might be like when we finally send people there, including the habitats, clothing, and equipment that might be used.
This is a very interactive exhibit, with lots of touchscreens and hands on opportunities. You can also touch a Mars meteorite here.
The astronaut gallery is a display of astronaut clothing and spacesuits that have been on real-life missions.
Some of the highlights of this gallery include Pete Conrad’s Apollo 12 suit, Michael Collins’ Apollo 11 garment, and Wally Schrira’s Apollo 7 suit.
However, there are a great many wonderful exhibits here, spanning all of NASA’s space flight programmes. There is also the crew wall, which features portraits of every NASA astronaut who has flown in space, from Alan Shepherd and Neil Armstrong up to those currently in orbit on the International Space Station.
International Space Station Gallery
The International Space Station (ISS) is one of mankind’s most impressive space achievements. This massive science laboratory, which orbits the earth at over 17,000 miles per hour, is the largest structure ever built in space. It is home to astronauts from all over the world.
The ISS gallery is designed to give you a sense of what life on the ISS is like, as well as to give an insight into the sort of research and experiments that take place on the ISS.
There’s also a live daily interactive show, Living in Space, which uses the latest projection mapping technology to explain what day to day life on the ISS is like. This usually takes place 3 – 4 times a day, and you can find out showtimes for the day of your visit from the Guest Services Desk on site.
There are two main theatres at the Space Center, the Destiny Theater and the Space Center Theatre.
The Destiny Theater shows the “Human Destiny” film, which uses NASA archival footage to tell the story of how NASA was formed, followed by the story of key NASA events and accomplishments. This is around 15 minutes in duration, and plays throughout the day continuously.
This theater is also home to the lectern used by US President John F. Kennedy when he gave his seminal speech announcing his intention to land an American on the moon.
The Space Center Theater is a state of the art 4K theater, and at time of writing, is the largest 4K theater in Texas. This plays a variety of space related films, documentaries, and animations.
The best way to see what is showing in the Space Center Theater when you visit is to download the official Space Center Houston app . You can also check with the Guest Services desk when you arrive for showtimes.
Entry to both theaters is included with your standard admission ticket.
Mission Briefing Center
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of space exploration right now, you’ll want to head to the Mission Briefing Center.
Here, there are daily presentations on current NASA missions, with real-time updates on progress and events, both in space and on earth.
This is a wonderful way to find out what’s happening right now in NASA, plus the live briefing finishes with a Q&A with the mission briefing officer, so you can ask your own questions and find out about the things that really interest you.
The content of the briefings changes, but they usually run three times a day and last for 30 minutes. Times for the briefings are displayed at the entrance to the Mission Briefing Center, as well as on the daily schedule in the map and guide you will receive. You can also ask at Guest Services for timings.
Ah yes, the gift shops! You definitely don’t want to leave the Space Center without picking up some sort of memorabilia of your trip, be that a t-shirt, a toy, or some astronaut ice cream.
There’s one major gift shop at the Space Center, as well as a smaller gift shop near the tram departure area. We noticed that these do carry slightly different items, so do check both of them.
One tip – don’t leave your shopping until the last minute. A lot of people do this, as we did, and there tends to be a mad rush for the tills right at the end of the day. So perhaps head over to the gift shop at least an hour before closing so you can browse and check out at a more leisurely pace.
That’s just some of what is on offer at the Space Center Houston. As well as all the above, there are also regularly changing and updated temporary exhibits. So you definitely won’t run out of fun things to see and do!
How Long do you Need at Space Center Houston?
As you can see from all the things to do at Space Center Houston, you could easily spend a full day here.
We would suggest spending a minimum of 3 – 4 hours here, which will give you time to see some of the highlights and take a tram tour.
However, ideally you would plan to spend the full day here so as to have time to see and do everything without feeling rushed.
There’s a huge amount to see and do, especially when you consider the tram tour, films, interactive exhibits, and so on, and you should make the most of your ticket.
Do you Need to do the Tram Tour at Space Center Houston?
The tram tour at Space Center Houston is not mandatory and you can spend your time just exploring the museum.
However, if you have not visited the Space Center before and taken the tram tour, we would definitely recommend doing it as it is one of the highlights of the experience.
There are three options for the tram tour, depending on your interest. Two of these are included on your entry ticket whilst the third requires an additional fee payable when you book.
The tram tours are as follows:
- George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park Tour. Visits the Rocket Park where the Saturn V rocket can be found. Included on general admission, requires boarding pass (book on arrival with staff members at Guest Services Desk or with free app ).
- Astronaut Training Facility Tour. As well as Rocket Park, this tour also visits the Astronaut Training Facility to see where NASA astronauts train. Included on general admission, requires boarding pass (book on arrival with staff members at Guest Services Desk or with free app ).
- Historic Mission Control tour. This tour visit the actual mission control where NASA co-ordinated all the Apollo missions. It also includes Rocket Park. This tour has an additional fee and must be booked in advance when purchasing your general admission ticket. When you book you will choose a timeslot. If you are visiting with a CityPASS , you can pay $15 on site to upgrade to the Mission Control Tram Tour, subject to availability.
Of the tours, personally, I would pick the Mission Control tour as it’s such an iconic location. However, if you don’t want to pay the extra I would opt for the Astronaut Training Facility Tour as it includes Rocket Park.
Note that when we visited Mission Control it was being done up for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings, so this image isn’t representative of the experience you will have, however I did want to share it as I still though the consoles looked pretty cool – even in plastic wrap!
If you want, you can actually take multiple tram tours. However, as the tours last 90 minutes to 2 hours, this will use up a lot of the day.
Note also that the locations the trams visit can vary depending on operational schedules and other factors.
The Mission Control tour has pre-booked timed slots which you select when you book your admission ticket.
If you are not taking the Mission Control tram (or are visiting with a CityPASS and want to upgrade to the Mission Control tram), then we would suggest that you make booking your tram tour the first thing you do on arrival.
To take a tram tour, you need a timed boarding pass. You can either get this from the Guest Services desk at the entrance, or you can download the free Space Center Houston app and book that way.
Note that if you take the VIP tour, you have your own private minivan tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Tram tours normally run from fifteen minutes after the Space Center opens, and run every 20 minutes, until 2 hours before closing. For example. if the Space Center closes at 5pm, the last tram will depart at 3pm.
We highly recommend checking times and booking your boarding pass for the tram as soon as you arrive, so you can be sure not to miss out.
Once you have booked the tram tour, you can explore the remainder of the museum at your own leisure until it is time to board.
What are the Highlights of Space Center Houston?
If you are visiting the Space Center for a limited amount of time, you might be wondering what the best way to make the most of your time would be.
If it was me, my priority would be to take the tram tour over anything else. That’s because this is a really unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else.
The museum and all the exhibits are also excellent. However, if we had to pick some favourites for your visit, we’s suggest you visit:
- Independence Plaza, home to the world’s only shuttle replica, which is mounted on an actual shuttle carrying 747 aircraft
- The original Apollo 17 Command Module, which has flown to the moon. This is in the Starship Gallery
- The moon rock exhibit where you can actually touch a piece of moon rock. This is also in the Starship Gallery
- The gift shop, because it’s awesome!
Ideally though you will be able to see and do a lot more than the above.
Is Food Available at Space Center Houston?
Yes, food is available for purchase at the Space Center. The dining area is called the Zero-G diner, and it has a range of food options from sandwiches and vegetarian options through to grilled food, burgers, and pizzas.
Food is not included on your entry ticket unless you have the lunch with an astronaut tour pre-booked, in which case you will have lunch served in a different location.
The Zero G diner does offer a 10% discount to Space Center Houston members, members of the U.S. military, and senior citizens. Be sure to present your I.D. before ordering to claim any discounts.
Is there an Audio Tour of Space Center Houston?
Space Center Houston offers the Space Center App for smartphones. This includes an audio tour, GPS maps of the location, AR experiences, and more.
This is available as a free download for both Android and Apple smartphones. You can find the correct link here .
We’d highly recommend getting this in advance of your visit, and remembering to bring a pair of headphones so you can take full advantage of it.
Up until 2018 there was a separate audio guide that was purchasable for a fee, however this is no longer offered as an option.
Is Space Center Houston Accessible?
Space Center Houston has made great efforts to provide a fully accessible experience across a range of accessibility needs.
In terms of general physical accessibility, all the exhibitions, theaters and tours are fully accessible to wheelchair users. There are also wheelchairs available on site on a first come first served basis.
Beyond physical accessibility, there are a number of other accessibility features, including events and programs for autism and sensory accessibility, deaf and hard of hearing accessibility and visual accessibility. Service animals, as defined by the ADA and Texas laws, are also permitted.
There’s an excellent page on the official Space Center website here , all about the various accessibility options and programmes available. We’d also recommend you reach our directly to the Space Center with any accessibility questions or needs you may have prior to your visit if you have any further queries.
Other Attractions near Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is around 30 – 40 minutes drive south east of Houston, so you might be wondering if there are other attractions in the area.
The closest attraction which is popular with visitors to Houston, which is also covered on the Houston City PASS , is the Kemah Boardwalk . This is a large boardwalk which is home to a number of amusement rides, games, restaurants, and attractions. A great place for families.
You can either visit here yourself with a car, or you can take a tour from Houston that includes both the Space Center and Kemah Boardwalk like this .
For more inspiration on other things to do near the Space Center and in Houston in general, see our guide to things to do in Houston .
How Busy is Space Center Houston?
The Space Center is one of the most popular attractions in Houston, and as such it does get quite busy. The busiest times are on holidays, weekends, and during the summer.
If possible, we’d advise visiting outside of these times. During the busiest times, there can be long wait times for the tram tour in particular.
In addition, the Space Center is popular with school groups. These visit throughout the year, but the main months are March, April, and May.
These can definitely raise the volume level in the Space Center, and make it much busier, so bear this in mind if visiting during these months.
Opening Hours for Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is open year round except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Standard opening times are from 10am – 5pm, however during busy times they can open at 9am, and close at 6pm.
You can see a full day by day schedule of opening hours on the official website here . Note that opening hours are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, although this is rare.
Contact Information for Space Center Houston
If you want to contact the Space Center, you have a few options. First, most of your questions should be answered on their website, which you can see here .
If you still have questions about your visit, you can contact the Space Center by e-mail or phone.
In my experience, e-mail was the fastest way to reach them for specific queries. The phone line has a number of automated response options with ticketing information and prices, but I wasn’t personally able to reach a human. E-mail responses on the other hand were fast and accurate.
Our Experience Visiting Space Center Houston
We visited Space Center Houston mid-week in late September, which turned out to be a great option as it was not too busy. The first thing we did was visit the tram tour info point, where we learnt the tram schedule for the day.
It was obvious when we visited the info point that there weren’t going to be major lines for the tram on the day of our visit.
This isn’t always the case of course, and at busy times the lines for the tram can be much longer – we were just lucky!
In addition, as we were lucky to be visiting on a quieter day, the tram was scheduled to visit all the highlights, so we didn’t have to pick a tram route.
We decided to come back to around 15 minutes in advance of a departure and spend some time exploring some of the exhibits. We visited the ISS display, the Starship Gallery, and the Mission to Mars exhibit.
Then, it was time for the tram ride. As previously mentioned, there are usually different tram routes to choose from, but the day we visited it was less busy and so they were running a combined tour. This means we got to visit Mission Control, the astronaut training center, and the Rocket Park, which was pretty awesome.
The tram ride took just under two hours, and was the definite highlight of our experience. Seeing the historic Mission Control room, which was home to so many important moments in the space programme, was really something special. And this was despite much of it being covered in wrapping due to refurbishment!
We also enjoyed seeing the huge astronaut training center, but I have to say, the Rocket Park was something else. There’s nothing quite like being up close to a Saturn V rocket to give you an idea of the scale of these vehicles.
We were lucky enough to visit the US Space and Rocket Center whilst attending Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama , which is home to two more Saturn V rockets, and they were just as impressive!
Finally, after the tram tour, we visited the remainder of the main sights we wanted to see. The Independence Plaza was definitely a highlight – being able to get up inside one of the actual 747 shuttle carrier aircraft was a real experience, and seeing the scale of the shuttle against the 747 was amazing.
Tours of Space Center Houston
If you are visiting Houston and would prefer to take a tour that includes the Space Center, we’ve found the following two options for you to consider. These both include entry to the Space Center, return transport, plus some time exploring Houston itself.
- The first option is this 6 hour tour of Houston which also includes transport to and from Space Center Houston, as well as entry and a tour of the city
- The second option is this longer full day tour which includes a 1.5 hour tour of Houston, as well as time at the Space Centre and the Kemah Boardwalk.
Hopefully one of those tours might work for you!
Where to stay near Space Center Houston
If you plan on spending a full day at Space Center Houston, as we recommend that you do, then you might prefer to stay near the Space Center. This means you can be first in the door when it opens, and maximise your time.
We’ve found a number of accommodation options near the Space Center, at a variety of price points.
- Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham – This well rated budget 2* hotel is the closest option to the Space Center – it’s less than ten minutes walk across to the Space Center. There’s free on-site parking, work desks in the rooms, private bathrooms, and continental breakfast is included.
- Super 8 by Wyndham – Another well rated 2* property, this one is just a mile from Space Centre Houston. Rooms have private bathroom and coffee makers, there’s free parking, and continental breakfast is included.
- Best Western Webster – Another highly rated budget 2* property (there’s no shortage of choice in this area). Found 10 minutes drive from the Space Center. Rooms have refrigerators and microwaves, as well as work space. Parking is free and breakfast is also included.
- Springhill Suites Houston – A well rated 3* hotel around 6 minutes drive from the Space Center. Rooms are all suites with separate living areas as well as a refrigerator and microwave. Breakfast and parking are included, and laundry / gym services are offered.
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott – Found 2 miles from the Space Center, this well-rated 3* property offers self-catering suites which include a microwave, oven, stove and refrigerator. There’s also a gym, pool, and jacuzzi. Breakfast and parking are also available on site.
- Holiday Inn Kemah – If you want a hotel near the Kemah Boardwalk, this well rated 3* option would be our pick. It’s within walking distance from the boardwalk, and rooms feature microwaves, fridges, and tea/coffee making facilities. Free parking is included, and breakfast is optional.
Between these options we hope you will find something to suit your needs and budget.
Well, that’s it for our guide to visiting the Space Center in Houston, Texas. Before you go, we wanted to share some other content that we think you’ll find useful in planning your trip.
- There’s lots more to do in Houston beyond the Space Center. See our guide to things to do in Houston for some inspiration.
- If you’re visiting a number of cities in Texas, we have guides to a number of those as well! We have a guide to things to do in Austin , things to do in San Antonio , as well as a guide to things to do in Dallas
- If you do visit San Antonio, we also have a detailed guide to visiting the Alamo , and the San Antonio River Walk , which will help you plan your time visiting these two popular San Antonio attractions
- Love space? So do we, and the Space Center in Houston is far from the first space attraction we’ve written about! We have a guide to visiting the U.S. Space and Rocket Center , a guide to attending Space Camp , a guide to getting into space as a tourist , and a guide to New Mexico’s Space Trail , for more space related fun!
- We also have lots of resources to help you plan a trip to the USA. See our guides to how much it costs to travel in the USA and driving in the USA as starting points.
- If you want some road trip inspiration, see our itineraries for a USA Deep South road trip , California Road Trip , Route 66 Road Trip and Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
- We’ve visited a lot of other cities in the USA! See our guides to Things to do in Huntsville , Things to do in Savannah , Things to do in Charleston , Things to do in Albuquerque , Visiting New Orleans During Mardi Gras , Things to do in Cambria and Things to do in Santa Fe to get started!
We hope you’ve found our guide to the Space Center in Houston useful! As always, we’re happy to hear your feedback and answer your questions. Just use the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
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There are 8 comments on this post
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Maryam Boone says
25th February 2023 at 2:34 am
Your information was EXCELLENT! I’ve lived in Houston for 2 years now but haven’t had a chance to visit the Space Center -even though I’ve driven past it going to Galveston several times. My daughter and son-in-law are coming to visit and we are going this weekend. I had viewed the Space Center’s website last month but still had a few questions. Your information answered all of my questions and was much, much better than the Space Center’s site! Thank you so much for giving such detailed and informative information. If this is the type of information you provide about other attractions you visit, then these attractions should pay you for the excellent information you provide!
Laurence Norah says
25th February 2023 at 6:07 am
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and let me know! It’s much appreciated 🙂 I hope you guys have an awesome visit to the Space Center! I’d love to hear how it goes, and if you notice anything there that isn’t quite right in my guide, feel free to let me know 🙂
Philip Baker says
12th March 2021 at 10:48 am
Hi, thinking of having a holiday in Texas march 22 if they let us fly from UK and was looking on Google maps for places to visit, two days later your site popped up on my phone, must say best travel site I have seen. Phil
12th March 2021 at 10:59 am
Thanks so much Phil, that’s very kind of you to take the time to let us know! I hope you are able to take advantage of our tips on a trip to Texas, and if you have any questions, just let me know 🙂
Kurt Peterson says
27th October 2019 at 1:24 am
Laurence and Jessica, Thank you for the great piece on The Space Center in Houston. My wife and I are looking forward to our visit in mid November. We have been privileged to have had the opportunity to visit both The Kennedy Space Center and the NASA facility in Huntsville. We are throughly excited about seeing the ‘real’ mission control room. Seeing the Saturn 5 rocket is always pretty amazing. Thanks again, Kurt and Veronica Peterson
27th October 2019 at 1:57 pm
Our pleasure Kurt! Have an amazing time, and do let us know how you enjoy it compared to the other locations you’ve visited 😀
Sesh Komanduri says
13th August 2019 at 11:43 am
Excellent write-up, Jessica and Laurence. I finally found the guide I was looking for!! One quick question. Is it easy to get a Uber/lyft on the way back from the Space Center to downtown? I want to use that option rather than a standard tour so that I have maximum time at the Center and return as per my convenience. But dont want to get stranded there without transport!!
13th August 2019 at 12:05 pm
So we’ve not personally done this ride with Uber or Lyft, but looking at what other travellers have said and checking the Uber app, it does look like it shouldn’t be a problem 🙂
Have a great time!
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Portland Aerial Tram
Tram Operations and Fare
The Tram is open to general fare paid public ridership in addition to patients, students and staff of Oregon Health & Science University. Masks are recommended on the Tram.
Current public fares for the Tram:
- single roundtrip pass: $7.00*
- monthly pass: $40 monthly (valid only for calendar month of purchase)
- annual pass: $440 annually (valid for one year from date of purchase)
* Single roundtrip fare will be $8.00 starting July 1, 2023
Fare is non-refundable. Single roundtrip fare may be used for one time round trip boarding at any time the Tram is operating. The return trip must be completed the same day.
Fare may be purchased online, or onsite with a credit or debit card at either tram terminal.
VA and Shriners employees and patients may purchase fare onsite or online under “public fare.”
Other forms of transit pass, including Hop, are not valid fare on the Tram.
OHSU fares (pre-paid by OHSU):
- Those holding OHSU identification badges
- Patients with same-day medical appointments *
*OHSU patients may pick up a Tram pass at your clinic, provider or OHSU Concierge desks.
Tram Capacity. The Tram is operating at full capacity, 79 people per cabin.
Days and hours of operation. The Tram operates Monday through Friday from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm, and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed Sundays and observed holidays.
Tram History and Operations
The Portland Aerial Tram is owned by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and operated by Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). It opened to the public on Jan. 27, 2007. The cabins, named Walt and Jean, travel 3,300 linear feet between the South Waterfront terminal adjacent to the OHSU Center for Health & Healing and the upper terminal at the Kohler Pavilion on OHSU's main campus. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the tram cabins rise 500 feet for the three-minute trip over I-5, the Lair Hill neighborhood and the Southwest Terwilliger Parkway.
The Portland Aerial Tram provides an average 9,000 rides on weekdays, with about 85% of riders visiting OHSU and 15% members of the general public and tourists.
Go By Tram website
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METRORail is Houston’s light-rail network, offering convenient access to many popular destinations in and around downtown Houston. These include the Texas Medical Center, Museum District, Houston Zoo, Theater District, NRG Stadium, University of Houston and Texas Southern University. With trains running frequently, you’ll be on board and on track to your destination quickly.
Scroll down for regular fare information, schedules, maps and more.
For all METRORail customers who aren’t eligible for a discounted fare.
* For students, seniors 65-69, or people with disabilities who aren't METROLift customers.
*Must provide proof of eligibility to receive discounted fare card
Ways to Pay
There are multiple options for paying the regular or discounted fare when you board METRORail, as shown below.
METRO Q® Fare Card
A contactless fare payment option – this is the form of payment used by most METRO riders. It functions as a debit card for riding METRO. You can continually load and store money on it – and then money will be deducted each time you pay your fare.
Tap your regular or discounted METRO Q® Fare Card on the validator located on the rail platform and the fare amount will be deducted. Some fare validators are attached to ticket vending machines. Others are freestanding or attached to the platform railing, as shown in the photo.
If you prefer to go contactless, you can wave your card close to the validator as well.
Make sure the light registers green in the upper right when you tap or wave.
After the fare amount is deducted from your card, you’ll receive free transfers between any of these METRO services for up to three hours in any direction:
- METRO curb2curb
For transfers to Park & Ride bus service, you only pay the fare difference for up to three hours in any direction.
Paying your fare with a METRO Q® Fare Card entitles you to METRO’s 5 for 50 offer – you’ll be credited with five free trips for every 50 paid trips.
Each of your five free trips may be used on any of the following services for up to three hours at no charge, regardless of the service(s) you typically use or where you board:
- Park & Ride bus
Immediately after you reach 50 paid trips, your five free trips will be applied automatically to the next five trips you take.
- METRO Q Mobile Ticket
This is a contactless fare payment option. Download the METRO Q Ticketing app to your smartphone and sign up for an account on the app. That will allow you to purchase regular fare mobile tickets to board METRORail. Discounted fare mobile tickets aren’t available for purchase.
Once you purchase and activate a mobile ticket, it will display animated colors and motion on your phone. Upon request, show it to the METRO Fare Inspector or METRO Police Officer – either on the rail platform prior to boarding (as shown in the photo) or on the train during your ride. After you activate your mobile ticket, it's valid for three hours .
After you activate a Local Single Ride or Local Day Pass mobile ticket, you’ll receive free transfers between any of these METRO services in any direction:
To transfer to Park & Ride service, you'll need to purchase and activate a Park & Ride mobile ticket. It entitles you to free transfers between any METRO service of equal or lesser value.
Paying your fare with a METRO Q Mobile Ticket entitles you to METRO’s 5 for 50 offer – you’ll be credited with five free trips after you’ve activated 50 mobile tickets.
For each of your five free trips, you can choose to activate a Local Single Ride mobile ticket or any Park & Ride mobile ticket for up to three hours at no charge.
- METRO Day Pass
A contactless fare payment option – this offers the best value if you ride local services three or more times in a day (at different times of the day). It functions as a debit card for riding METRO. You can continually load and store money on it – and then money will be deducted each time you pay your fare.
The maximum daily amount deducted is $3 from a regular METRO Day Pass or $1.50 from a discounted METRO Day Pass. The pass is only valid on the day of activation. It expires at 2 a.m. the following morning.
Tap your regular or discounted METRO Day Pass on the validator located on the rail platform and the fare amount will be deducted. Some fare validators are attached to ticket vending machines. Other are located on freestanding poles, as shown in the photo.
After each of the first two times the fare amount is deducted from your card, you’ll be entitled to free transfers between any of these METRO services for up to three hours in any direction:
After the third time the fare amount is deducted from your card, you’re entitled to unlimited use of those services for the rest of the day.
A contactless fare payment option – this is a popular choice for agencies, hotels and convention groups looking to provide a disposable fare card to clients, customers or guests. The card comes preloaded with amounts ranging from $1.25 to $20. These cards can't be reloaded.
Tap your METRO Money card on the validator located on the rail platform and the fare amount will be deducted. Some fare validators are freestanding or attached to the platform railing. Others are attached to ticket vending machines, as shown in the photo.
Make sure the light registers green in the upper right when you tap or wave,
- METRO curb2curb
- METRORail Ticket
You’re welcome to pay with a rail ticket which can be purchased from a ticket vending machine using cash, credit card or debit card. Ticket vending machines are located on all METRORail platforms. The ticket is only valid on METRORail for up to three hours in any direction.
Upon request, show it to a METRO Fare Inspector or METRO Police Officer – either on the rail platform prior to boarding or on the train during your ride.
When paying with a METRORail ticket, transfers to other METRO services aren’t included.
Mon-Fri: Runs every 6 min. *
Sat-Sun: Runs every 12 min. *
* For most operating hours. Exact times may vary.
Additional Services Near the Station
Click or tap on any station name for more details.
Hours of Operation
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Learn About Rider Rewards
With Rider Rewards, you can enjoy discounts at participating area restaurants, attractions and retailers along the Red Line. When you make a purchase, all you need to do is show any of the following:
- METRO Q® Fare Card
- METRO Money Card
- METRO Veterans Pass
- Jury summons
To find participating partners along the Red Line, close this window and click or tap on the Stations tab.
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Red Line schedule
Mon-Fri: Runs every 12 min. *
Sat-Sun: Runs every 18 min. *
With Rider Rewards, you can enjoy discounts at participating area restaurants, attractions and retailers along the Green Line. When you make a purchase, all you need to do is show any of the following:
To find participating partners along the Green Line, close this window and click or tap on the Stations tab.
Green Line schedule
With Rider Rewards, you can enjoy discounts at participating area restaurants, attractions and retailers along the Purple Line. When you make a purchase, all you need to do is show any of the following:
To find participating partners along the Purple Line, close this window and click or tap on the Stations tab.
Purple Line schedule
See where all three lines intersect
View traditional METRORail map
How much does it cost to ride metrorail.
The regular fare to board is $1.25
The discounted fare is 60 cents.
The following passengers ride free :
- Children five or younger, accompanied by an adult
- Seniors 70 and older who have a discounted METRO Q® Fare Card
- Disabled or decorated veterans who have a METRO Veterans Pass
- METROLift customers with a METROLift Freedom Q® Card, and up to one assistant
What can I use to pay my fare?
You can pay your METRORail fare using any of the following:
- METRO Money card
The All About Fares page has information on where you can obtain various fare cards.
Are transfers included when I ride METRORail?
If you pay your fare using a METRO Q® Fare Card, METRO Q Mobile Ticket, METRO Day Pass or METRO Money card, you’re entitled to free transfers between any of these METRO services for up to three hours in any direction:
If you wish to pay with a mobile ticket and plan to ride or transfer to a Park & Ride bus during your trip, you'll need to purchase and activate a Park & Ride mobile ticket. It's valid for three hours once activated and entitles you to free transfers between any METRO service of equal or lesser value during that time.
Only regular fare mobile tickets are available for purchase.
Where can i find routes and schedules.
Frequency of service, a stop-by-stop schedule, a PDF schedule and a linear route map for each METRORail line are found on the METRORail page .
Is there a map of the METRORail lines?
A linear route map for each METRORail line is found on the METRORail page .
You can also use our Interactive System Map (best viewed on a desktop or laptop computer). In the rail section of the map, you can check a box next to any METRORail line and the map will draw a line showing the entire route and where it runs.
If you’d prefer a physical map, we include a map image in the printed brochure for each individual METRORail line. Brochures are available for free at all METRO RideStore locations:
- Downtown Transit Center - 1900 Main St.
- Main Street Square - 1001 Travis St.
- Northwest Transit Center - 7373 Old Katy Road
- Fannin South Transit Center - 1604 West Bellfort St.
How do I plan my trip?
Trip planning tools are available on:
- Various pages of the METRO website, including the home page
- RideMETRO app for your smartphone (“Plan Your Trip” section)
- METRO TRIP app for your smartphone
- Google or Apple maps
Prior to Arrival
How do i know where to wait and which is my train.
METRORail trains make stops at rail station platforms along city streets in and around downtown Houston. You can also board a METRORail train at the following transit centers:
- Burnett (Red Line)
- Downtown (Red Line)
- Fannin South (Red Line)
- Magnolia Park (Green Line)
- Northline (Red Line)
- Palm Center (Purple Line)
- Texas Medical Center (Red Line)
All METRORail trains have large, bright destination signs on the front of the train above the windshield and along the side of the train as it pulls into the station.
Red Line trains would say one of the following:
- Northline TC
- Smith Lands
- Fannin South
Green Line trains would say one of the following:
- Magnolia Park
- Theater District
Purple Line trains would say one of the following:
- Palm Center TC
Where can I see if my rail line has alerts or detours?
Alerts or detours could affect your train’s arrival time and/or the length of your trip. Subscribing to receive this information is a convenient way to know before you go.
On the METRO website, you can subscribe to receive notifications direct to your phone or email.
The quickest and easiest signup option can be found next to each rail line on the METRORail page .
All subscriptions are free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
If you don’t wish to subscribe, you can use any of the following:
- METRORail page (if there are any active alerts, a link to view them will be visible where the rail lines are shown)
- RideMETRO app (click or tap Service Alerts on main menu)
- METRO TRIP app (a red triangular icon will appear on the screen if your selected rail line is experiencing a service alert)
You can also use our Trip Planner which is available on:
How do I know when my train will arrive?
All METRORail platforms have scrolling digital messages in both English and Spanish that display the estimated wait time for the next train.
Estimated wait times are also posted at select transit centers where METRORail is available.
Transit centers are sheltered waiting areas where you can transfer to other METRO routes and services that provide access to even more destinations.
Certain locations feature digital signs and screens displaying service alerts and estimated wait times for routes that stop there.
This information is also available on:
- METRO website home page (“Track Bus or Train” tab)
- RideMETRO app for your smartphone (“Track Your Bus” section)
- Google maps
How do I board the train?
First, please let riders exit the train before you board. After all riders have disembarked through the railcar doors, please enter the train and choose an open seat. Please avoid sitting in the priority seating areas for the elderly and people with disabilities, marked by the International Symbol of Access (Wheelchair Symbol).
All METRORail platforms are accessible under the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA ). They offer sloped ramp access from both ends of the platform and level boarding that easily accommodates mobility devices.
How do I pay my fare?
Any METRO fare card:
Prior to boarding, tap your card on the validator located on the rail platform and the fare amount will be deducted. Some fare validators are located on freestanding poles. Others are attached to ticket vending machines.
If you prefer to go contactless, you can wave your card close to the validator as well. Make sure the light registers green in the upper right when you tap or wave.
METRO Q Mobile Ticket (only regular fare available):
Activate the ticket on your smartphone before boarding. It will display animated colors and motion on your phone. Upon request, show it to a METRO Fare Inspector or METRO Police Officer – either on the rail platform prior to boarding or on the train during your ride.
All METRORail platforms have ticket vending machines where you can purchase a three-hour METRORail ticket for $1.25.
The machines accept cash, credit card or debit card.
Can I bring an animal onboard?
Yes, based on the guidance below:
You’re allowed to travel with a service animal.
Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, and must be kept under the handler’s control.
Non-service animals (including emotional support animals)
You’re allowed to travel with non-service animals (pets) on METRO vehicles, but they must be transported and properly restrained in an animal carrier at all times.
Below are some tools to make your METRO riding experience easier and more convenient so you can drive less and do more .
Plan Your Trip
Explore METRO transit services near you
Questions and Answers
Valuable information to help you ride
Compare your cost of driving vs. what it would cost to ride METRO - and see how much money you'd save each month.
An all-in-one toolkit with everything you need to ride METRO bus and rail services, including contactless fare payments.
traditional rail map transfer point
Traditional METRORail Map (intersection point)
The three light rail lines intersect near the following platforms:
Central Station Main (on Main Street along the Red Line) Central Station Rusk (on Rusk Street along the eastbound Green and Purple Lines) Central Station Capitol (on Capitol Street along the westbound Green and Purple Lines)
The Green and Purple lines share the same stations between Theater District and EaDo / Stadium, before splitting off in different directions.
Traditional Rail Map (full-size)
Traditional METRORail Map (full-size)
Here's a full-size version of the traditional METRORail map showing the full length of all three light rail lines.
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Discovery Tram Tours on our new electric trams are suspended until further notice due to mechanical issues. We continue to offer Wild Drives in guest vehicles and Keeper Adventure Tours in our Jeep so our guests can experience our Free-Roaming Area.
You’ll experience the wonder and awe of nature on our Discovery Tram Tours as you discover herds of bison, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and more as they roam freely through their 435-acre home. Our new electric trams offer up close, eye-level views of majestic wildlife and panoramic views of stunning meadows, forests and lakes.
Our new electric trams offer a tranquil, immersive way to see bison, moose, mountain goats, caribou and other Northwest native wildlife in our Free-Roaming Area. They’re also more eco-friendly than the old propane trams, with a smaller carbon footprint that helps protect wildlife and keeps our air clean.
Our new, modern tour station offers spacious undercover areas for our guests. We have covered stroller parking too, and extra space for other Discovery Tram Tours to easily pass by – a better experience for everyone!
Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations
By Claudia Looi 2 Comments
Komsomolskaya metro station looks like a museum. It has vaulted ceilings and baroque decor.
Hidden underground, in the heart of Moscow, are historical and architectural treasures of Russia. These are Soviet-era creations – the metro stations of Moscow.
Our guide Maria introduced these elaborate metro stations as “the palaces for the people.” Built between 1937 and 1955, each station holds its own history and stories. Stalin had the idea of building beautiful underground spaces that the masses could enjoy. They would look like museums, art centers, concert halls, palaces and churches. Each would have a different theme. None would be alike.
The two-hour private tour was with a former Intourist tour guide named Maria. Maria lived in Moscow all her life and through the communist era of 60s to 90s. She has been a tour guide for more than 30 years. Being in her 60s, she moved rather quickly for her age. We traveled and crammed with Maria and other Muscovites on the metro to visit 10 different metro stations.
Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2
Moscow subways are very clean
To Maria, every street, metro and building told a story. I couldn’t keep up with her stories. I don’t remember most of what she said because I was just thrilled being in Moscow. Added to that, she spilled out so many Russian words and names, which to one who can’t read Cyrillic, sounded so foreign and could be easily forgotten.
The metro tour was the first part of our all day tour of Moscow with Maria. Here are the stations we visited:
1. Komsomolskaya Metro Station is the most beautiful of them all. Painted yellow and decorated with chandeliers, gold leaves and semi precious stones, the station looks like a stately museum. And possibly decorated like a palace. I saw Komsomolskaya first, before the rest of the stations upon arrival in Moscow by train from St. Petersburg.
2. Revolution Square Metro Station (Ploshchad Revolyutsii) has marble arches and 72 bronze sculptures designed by Alexey Dushkin. The marble arches are flanked by the bronze sculptures. If you look closely you will see passersby touching the bronze dog's nose. Legend has it that good luck comes to those who touch the dog's nose.
Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station
Revolution Square Metro Station
3. Arbatskaya Metro Station served as a shelter during the Soviet-era. It is one of the largest and the deepest metro stations in Moscow.
Arbatskaya Metro Station
4. Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station was built in 1935 and named after the Russian State Library. It is located near the library and has a big mosaic portrait of Lenin and yellow ceramic tiles on the track walls.
Lenin's portrait at the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station
5. Kievskaya Metro Station was one of the first to be completed in Moscow. Named after the capital city of Ukraine by Kiev-born, Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor.
Kievskaya Metro Station
6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders.
Novoslobodskaya metro station
7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power. It has a dome with patriotic slogans decorated with red stars representing the Soviet's World War II Hall of Fame. Kurskaya Metro Station is a must-visit station in Moscow.
Ceiling panel and artworks at Kurskaya Metro Station
8. Mayakovskaya Metro Station built in 1938. It was named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky. This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world with 34 mosaics painted by Alexander Deyneka.
One of the over 30 ceiling mosaics in Mayakovskaya metro station
9. Belorusskaya Metro Station is named after the people of Belarus. In the picture below, there are statues of 3 members of the Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II. The statues were sculpted by Sergei Orlov, S. Rabinovich and I. Slonim.
10. Teatralnaya Metro Station (Theatre Metro Station) is located near the Bolshoi Theatre.
Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .
Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.
Have you visited the Moscow Metro? Leave your comment below.
January 15, 2017 at 8:17 am
An excellent read! Thanks for much for sharing the Russian metro system with us. We're heading to Moscow in April and exploring the metro stations were on our list and after reading your post, I'm even more excited to go visit them. Thanks again 🙂
December 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm
Hi, do you remember which tour company you contacted for this tour?
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Moscow by tram: See the city from a different point of view
Moscow has a very different city center as compared to European cities like Prague, Vienna, Riga and others. Its architectural exterior has grown in layers, like an onion, and was substantially reshaped in Soviet times.
By the 1970s numerous historic alleys and 19th-century mansions had been replaced by wide avenues and standard high-rise buildings. After the fall of the USSR the city center was under attack again, this time by the “neomodern” style, with a lot of stucco and mirrored exteriors. Indeed, all these contrasts are precisely what make travelling around Moscow’s center by tram such an interesting experience.
There are at least three good reasons why you should take a tour around Moscow by tram in winter:
1. It’s warm
Trams are a great way to travel around Moscow when it's freezing cold outside. The tram’s slow pace will allow you to examine the city without exposing you to the risk of catching a cold as all seats in Moscow trams are heated.
2. It’s comfortable
Since 2014 all central stops of Moscow’s ground transportation have been equipped with electronic screens that inform passengers how long it will be until the next bus or tram comes. Additionally, all routes listed here take no longer than 25 minutes and are connected to central metro stations, allowing you to easily plan your day.
3. It’s cheap
The last argument in favor of this type of winter adventure is that trams in Moscow are cheap. A journey costs only 40 rubles (less than $1). Blue cards (and the universal “Troika” cards) sold in the metro also work on trams.
Route 9: Lesnaya ul., 20 minutes roundtrip The most historic one
This route is ideal for those wanting to visit Belaya Ploshchad, especially vibrant this time of year when it is decked out with holiday decorations and lighting. After your tram journey take refuge in one of Belaya Ploshchad’s cosy restaurants or cafés, such as “Kofein” or the “Kulinarnaya Lavka Bratyev Karavaevykh,” both of them popular Russian chains.
Route 39/Route 3: Chistye Prudy-Paveletskaya, 15 minutes The most picturesque one
The tramway begins at a stop next to the metro station Chistye Prudy and goes through part of Moscow’s Boulevard ring road dotted with several 19th-century mansions. Then the tram crosses the Moskva River at the place where it meets the Yauza River. From the bridge you can enjoy an amazing view of the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, a well-known Stalin-era high-rise where the Soviet art and theater elite lived.
Further on the tram stops at Novokuznetskaya and then the Paveletskaya metro station, where the picturesque part of the route ends. Get off at Paveletskaya or return to Novokuznetskaya, where you can have a walk along one of the city’s newest promenades, Pyatnitskaya ul., which became a pedestrian zone in 2014.
If traveling by tram further than Paveletskaya you will pass a large industrial area. The landscape’s monotony is broken up by Danilov Monastery, the Danilovsky Market (at Tulskaya metro station) and the towers of Moscow State University (MGU) at Universitet metro station, the final stop. From there you can walk to Sparrow Hills and appreciate the enormity of MGU’s main building, one of Moscow’s seven famous Stalin-era skyscrapers.
Route 7: Novoslobodskaya-Komsomolskaya, 25 minutes The most anthropologically interesting one
If you’re a fan of architecture get off at ul. Gilyarovskogo to see an area featuring buildings constructed in Moscow “modern” style that have miraculously survived intact. If you’re a fan of Russian cuisine and speak at least a little Russian, then travel another 20 minutes passing Sokolniki metro station and the bridge over the Yauza River along the way. Get off at Preobrazhenskaya ploshchad metro station, where you’ll find the Preobrazhensky rynok (market). Located on the premises of a former monastery, you can buy Russian sauerkraut, Abkhazian tangerines and Adygeian cheese for very low prices here. If you get lost, just ask the locals, “gdye rynok” (where's the market)?
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Moscow Metro Tour - With Ratings
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Moscow Metro Tour
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- Free Cancellation
- Duration: 1 Hr 30 Mins
- Language: English
- Departure Details : Get to the Biblioteka imeni Lenina (Lenin's Library, Red Line) or Alexandrovsky Sad (Alexander Garden, Light Blue Line) metro station. Use any exit. Find the Kutafia Tower of the Kremlin. The guide .. read more
The Moscow Metro has a long history to it. Also, the city has an extremely beautiful subway. It is very well maintained and is also extremely decorated. Each station and spot has a different artistic aspect to it. On this tour, experience the efficiency of Moscow Metro.
- Roam around the Revolution Square, with magnificent sculptures of the Soviet people
- Visit the Kurskaya Station Lobby, the Hall of Fame of the WWII
- Be awestruck at the Komsomolskaya , with impressive mural mosaics of Russian glorious victories
- See the artistic side of Novoslobodskaya , with the stained glass, although under the ground.
Know More about this tour
Take our Moscow Metro Tour and discover why our subway is recognized as the most beautiful in the world!
"They used to have palaces for kings, we are going to build palaces for the people!" said one of the main architects of the Soviet subway.
With us you will see the most beautiful metro stations in Moscow built under Stalin: Komsomolskaya, Revolution square, Novoslobodskaya, Mayakovskaya. Our guide will tell fascinating stories and secrets hidden underground, urban legends and funny stories.
How many babies were born on the Moscow metro? Where is the secret Metro 2? How deep is the Moscow metro? And where did Stalin give his speech in November 1941? Join out Metro tour and find out!
- Metro ticket
- If you cancel between 0 hrs To 24 hrs before scheduled tour departure, the cancellation charge will be 100%
- If you cancel between 1 days To 180 days before scheduled tour departure, the cancellation charge will be 0%
- Please note that in case of No show, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the listed tour fare.
- Please note tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.
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