The Toyota Center is located in downtown Houston, Texas, and is home to the NBA’s Houston Rockets and was previously home to the AHL’s Houston Aeros and the WNBA’s Houston Comets. Its sponsor, Toyota, a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
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Arena Guide by Basketball Tripper
The Toyota Center was built as a replacement facility to The Summit (later renamed to the Compaq Center and then Lakewood International Center); the arena didn’t officially break ground until July of 2001 and wasn’t finished until October of 2003.
The city of Houston bought a plot of land for the arena and an adjoining parking garage which was paid for by selling bonds and borrowing $30 million. Morris Architects designed the arena, and Hunt Construction was contracted to build the arena.
The arena was built 32 feet below the street level, with the primary goal being that fans would not have to walk upstairs to reach their seats. To drop the arena below street level, $12 million was spent to excavate 31,500 cubic yards. Throughout the summer of 2002 the crews were pouring concrete for the foundation and structural work began in October. In December, the roof was set as work continued inside, with a peak workforce of 650.
The final cost of construction was $235 million, with the city paying $182 million and the Rockets adding $43 million for any additions to the initial plan.
In July of 2003, the arena was officially named the Toyota Center. The Toyota logo was placed on the roof of the building and other notable places inside the arena.
Best Bars Near Ground
Several popular bars are located within walking distance to the arena, with a few of the favorites being Bayou & Bottle, Hearsay on the Green, MKT BAR, and Reserve 101. Reserve 101 has the ultimate collection of more than 340+ whiskeys from 14 different countries. They have been awarded Gold in Whisky Magazine’s “Great Whiskey Bars of the World” and chosen as one of the “Best Whisky Bars in the USA” by The Whisky Isle. You can visit Reserve 101 for Happy Hour on Monday-Saturday from 2:00-6:00 p.m. for half-priced draft beer, $5 premium cocktails, and $20 bottles of wine.
Food - Places to Eat
While several of the bars and pubs in the area offer several food options, a few other food options are a favorite of the locals and are right around the arena that you can stop at before tip-off. Some of the local favorites include McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, Birraporetti’s Theater District, Biggio’s, Bayou & Bottle, Red & White Wine Bistro, and many more. Since the Rockets are very popular in the area, there are several spots near the Toyota Center that are sports-themed and will be great places to catch a bite to eat before the game or even watch the game while you eat.
Toyota Center offers a few selections of tours. One tour option is the Game Day tour which provides a game ticket along with your purchase of a tour ticket. Tickets for the Game Day tour will cost $40. The other tour is your standard tour which runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and are $10 and has a ten-person minimum.
Houston Rockets Tickets
Typically, Rockets tickets vary on who they are playing on the given night, but tickets can be found for as low as $15, with an average price of $110. The Toyota Center also offers a wide range of premium seating options, including:
Luxury Courtside Suites, Heineken Star Club, and All-inclusive Ledge Dining Seats located inside Toyota Center’s Sterling Vineyards Red and White Bistro and the Frost Bank Club.
The Toyota has a wide range of tickets scaling all ticket prices, so you will be able to find any seat in the building that caters to your taste.
Visiting the Arena - Travel
Since the Toyota Center is located near Houston’s heart, there are several travel options you can choose from. The most popular transportation methods would include The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates busses, light rails, bus rapid transit, HOV/HOT lanes, and paratransit. You also have various forms of care services and thousands of parking spots if you chose to bring your vehicle.
The address for the Toyota Center is as follows:
• 1510 Polk St, Houston, TX 77002
While traffic during game nights will drive larger crowds than usual down to Houston, you should be in the clear of heavy traffic if you leave a few hours before tip-off. If you are coming from surrounding suburbs, you will most likely be coming into the city on a major highway then transitioning into city street driving.
While there are public/paid parking options on any given game night, the Toyota Center has a 2,500-space garage attached to the arena. The Toyota Tundra Garage includes a private sky bridge entrance for premium guests. There are also over 10,000 parking spots within a few blocks of the arena.
For public transportation, you are most likely looking to be on The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates busses, light rails, bus rapid transit, HOV/HOT lanes, and paratransit. Bus and Light Rail fees on the METRO will cost $1.25 each way.
Airports and Flying
If you are coming from out of state and flying, you will most likely fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The drive from the airport to the arena is 21.6 miles and will roughly take 30-50 minutes to reach the arena. The most popular transportation methods to the Toyota Center are bus ($1-$4), taxi ($45-$65), or car.