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NRG Stadium

Houston, TX

Home of the Houston Texans

4.4

4.2

NRG Stadium (map it)
One Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054


Houston Texans website

NRG Stadium website

Year Opened: 2002

Capacity: 71,500

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Unleash the Beast

Reliant Stadium was one of the first of its kind and is what many newly built NFL stadiums like Cowboys Stadium and MetLife Stadium have used as a blueprint. Reliant Stadium opened in 2002 and is the home of the Houston Texans. Reliant Stadium has the capacity to hold 71,500 and was the host of Super Bowl XXXVII. The total square footage of Reliant amasses to a tad less than two million square feet with 97,000 of that being natural grass surface. Even though the Texans have only been around since 2002, they have a great group of fans that fill Reliant every game day and are known to be one of the rowdiest crowds throughout the league. Texan fans are not only some of the best fans in the NFL, but also are some of the best tailgaters who can be seen outside every home game hours before game time.

In the spring of 2014, Reliant Stadium was renamed NRG Stadium.

4.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

The Texans have a massive variety of food options, but none of them are going to be light. The Texans provide all the basic options like pretzels, popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. There are also some harder to find options like the delicious nachos grande, chopped beef sandwiches, big baked potatoes, and foot long hot dogs and corn dogs.

All of these do, however, come with quite a price tag. The nachos grande will run you about $8.75 and a cheeseburger basket will run you a whopping 10 bucks. There is nothing cheap by any means, but this is the NFL so it is somewhat expected. If you're looking for a cold beverage, a 20-oz. soda will run you $4.75 and a 24-oz. domestic beer costs $7.50 while a premium 24-oz. goes for a rough $10.75. Overall, it's not the cheapest prices, but there is a great selection and if you feel the need to eat at the stadium you should easily be able to find something.

Atmosphere    5

The Texans have one of the greatest atmospheres in the NFL. Even though 2012 marks their first playoff year, the fans have been faithful throughout the tough times. The team has a slew of Texans paraphernalia throughout the stadium including wall size photos of some of their top talent like Andre Johnson, Mario Williams and Matt Schaub.

The atmosphere of Reliant Stadium is definitely one of a kind with great fans, a great city and a beautiful stadium which make for a perfect mixture. There are two huge jumbo screens at each side of the stadium to keep fans engaged during the game and to show replays and highlights.

Neighborhood    5

The city of Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and provides a vast amount of options for food, drink and entertainment. There are a couple of places right near the stadium that provide plenty of great edible options that should please anybody.

One of those options is Mama's Oven, which is one of the few Soul Food restaurants in Houston located inside of the 610 loop. You have to learn the place really well before you can accurately judge the best time to get there and not have to wait in line to get your food. The menu encompasses a selection of beans, greens, chicken and pork chops and other traditional Southern style dishes cooked with nice thick gravy perfect for sopping up with a biscuit.

Another place that I highly recommend is Ruchi's which is a Tex-Mex place located off Main. When you're craving real Tex-Mex burritos, tacos and freshly chopped pico de gallo, go to the corner of Main St. at 610. Their platters aren't over priced, yet full of meat. They have some decent re-fried beans or cooked au jus, and best of all they use a full size tortilla unlike the small ones you may find in other Mexican restaurants.

My last recommendation is Baytown Seafood, which is seafood at its best. You can always find fresh seafood in Houston restaurants; it's one of the privileges of living along the Gulf Coast. You won't find wild Alaskan Salmon or King Crabs on most of the menus at small restaurants near Reliant Stadium that sell seafood. You will, however, find that Baytown Seafood does have plenty of delicious blue crabs and Gulf shrimp two-fingers wide served in gumbo, fried or stuffed fashion.

Fans    5

Texan fans are some of the best in the National Football League. The Texans have one bleacher section set up behind the north end zone which is called the "Bull Pen" and is the designated section for the team fans. The Bull Pen fans have direct interaction with what goes on out on the field, and help implement fan traditions, songs, chants as well as other elements of the game day atmosphere. The Texans also have the Bull Pen band which is a 45 member musical group that performs at every home game. If you are out tailgating before the game you will probably see them marching around three to four hours before kickoff.

The fans are everything that you could possibly expect from a great fan base. They are not only loud and diehard fans, but they have been able to sellout Reliant for 100 straight games through the end of the 2011 season. For a group of fans that lost their first love, the Houston Oilers, they have done a great job to carry that love over to the new team in town.

Access    4

Parking, like most NFL stadiums, can be a pain and I will definitely advise you to try and find a parking permit before you head out to Reliant. However, there are some cash lots available for $20-$30, but be prepared for quite a walk. The lots are all set up nicely so that traffic out of the stadium isn't as bad as it could possibly be, but do expect a wait when leaving.

Maneuvering around the stadium is easy due to some wide concourses, as well as easily accessible ramps to get from level to level, however I will say after a few brews the ramps can seem a little more difficult to maneuver down. Bathrooms are up to date and easily accessible and I never noticed a line even during peak times.

Return on Investment    4

Houston Texans tickets range anywhere from $45 for the 600 section "nosebleed" seats to over $500 for the seats closest to the field. As I mentioned earlier, the Texans have had 100 consecutive sellouts so finding tickets can be pretty tough to do at times, especially during big games such as against the Colts, Titans or another big AFC team. With parking, food and a ticket a trip to Reliant Stadium can be rough to handle for someone with a tight budget. It is definitely worth a trip to do at least once for any big time NFL football fan.

Extras    4

There are plenty of extras to mention when it comes to Reliant. I have to give one point to the "Bull Pen" and the Bull Pen Band. This is what great fans are all about. It's great to see fans step up and do their best to get their city excited about the team.

My second point goes to Toro the mascot. He is absolutely great. The fans and the kids all love him.

My third point goes to the Texans for finally after so many years making the playoffs in 2011. This is just what the fans and the city of Houston needed.

My last point is for Reliant Stadium and just how beautiful it is. As I mentioned earlier, Reliant Stadium was one of the first of its kind and many of the great stadiums being built today have tried to copy some of the tremendous features of Reliant Stadium.

Exiting Reliant

The exits at Reliant are grossly under designed. I am very surprised that someone has not been seriously hurt after a game or rodeo performance. We wait until most of the crowd is gone before we try to use the ramps or the escalators.

by LonghornMom | Jul 23, 2011 06:59 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Going Big at Reliant Stadium

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Houston's Reliant Stadium, home of the Texans, is certainly no exception. One of the first things you notice about Reliant is the sheer size of the stadium. Sitting next to the Astro Dome, the former 8th Wonder of the World, Reliant looks modern, majestic and flat out enormous.

Another impressive feature about Reliant stadium is the tailgating in the parking lots. Forbes Magazine recently anointed Houston as the top tailgating city in the country. With Texas' strong BBQ and Tex-Mex heritage, walking through the parking lot can do wonders for a person's senses of taste and smell. The good weather in Houston during football season also encourages fans to arrive early and linger in the parking lot before the game.

Texans

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

Kind of love sports in Houston. I root for the Texans mostly because this city deserves to have an NFL franchise. Let's hope this is the year they get over the hump.

10 years after opening, still one of the 2 best NFL stadiums

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

The state of Texas has the 2 best NFL stadiums, and Reliant has a grass field. Football is king in Texas, and the fans make this experience the best. I would not give the neighborhood a 5 because it is located in the Astrodome parking lot and not walking distance from anything. It is adjacent to the 610 freeway and easy to get there.

This stadium was responsible for the city getting the expansion Texans, after losing the Oilers. LA didn't have their stadium plan secure, so they lost the expansion bid. The future of the Texans looks bright for years to come, with this outstanding stadium and their improved play on the field.

Overall Great Venue!

Total Score: 4.71

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

I have been to Reliant Stadium several times for Texans games, the Battle of the Piney Woods (Sam Houston St vs SFA), and the Houston Rodeo. The atmosphere is truly one of the best in the NFL, if not the best. The stadium itself is beautiful, and the fans are fantastic. Although the stadium isn't as big and fancy, Reliant far surpasses Cowboys Stadium in the atmosphere and fan dedication category. If you are looking for a top notch football experience, come to Reliant Stadium! Go Texans!

Reliant on Reputation

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Having been to nearly every stadium in the league now, I found little special here at Reliant. The access is really poor, with extremely crowded escalators both before and after the game. Parking also seems to be a nightmare, although I stayed nearby. There are even restricted areas for pedestrians without tickets, something I have never seen, which prevents you from walking around the outside of the stadium.

The team is struggling and that affects the atmosphere a bit, even with a good team visiting. There is a lot of loud music during breaks which makes conversation difficult.

There are sculptures of bulls at each entrance which remind you that you are in Texas, but not a lot else. The franchise is still young and has to develop some history to celebrate, there are now two AFC South banners.

Overall, I found this to be an average venue that needs to upgrade its access policies to allow fans to move around the exterior before the game.

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Local Food & Drink

Flying Saucer  (map it!)

705 Main St

Houston, TX 77002

(713) 228-9472

http://www.beerknurd.com/

Mama's Oven  (map it!)

9295 Main St

Houston, TX 77025

(713) 661-3656

http://www.yelp.com/biz/mamas-oven-houston

Ruchi's  (map it!)

3202 S Loop West

Houston, TX 77025

(713) 667-3131

http://ruchistaqueria.com/

Baytown Seafood  (map it!)

9205 Main St

Houston, TX 77025

(713) 666-7070

http://baytownseafoodandbar.com/

Local Entertainment

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