IAH outdoor hangouts?
August 5, 2022 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I have a several hour layover in Houston (IAH) and would like to go outside and take off my mask. I don't mind going through security again. I'm aware it can be really hot, I don't mind the heat as long as I'm in full shade. Where should I go within reasonable walking distance from the terminals?

Somewhere quiet and away from exhaust fumes is preferred. So far at JFK I waited by the luggage cart tow vehicles between terminals, which wasn't bad, and in Nashville (BNA) I wandered out by the daily parking garage, where I got pooped on by a bird.
posted by wnissen to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (6 answers total)
Sorry to break the news ... I can't imagine any place that you could or would even want to walk to from IAH. The airport covers nearly 16 square miles, much of which is concrete. You might investigate the underground tram that circulates among the terminals, or the Marriott which is smack in the middle of the east-west alignment of terminals.

Maybe someone else has better advice.
posted by John Borrowman at 2:40 PM on August 5, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Does it have to be outdoors? Be aware there's significant construction going on around IAH's terminals and this is putting up a lot of dust and sometimes messes with traffic. And of course it's generally 90 to 100 degrees plus here currently. But if you really want somewhere outdoors, the Marriot's guest entrance or the parking garage by the baggage claim would be the best option IMO.
posted by beaning at 4:20 PM on August 5, 2022

Best answer: The Airport Marriott would be easiest, as the inter-terminal tram stops there. Note: there are two trams at IAH -- you'd take the older, underground one that's now called 'The Subway'.

Here's a 360° Google view of the outdoor area at the Marriott, which has some vegetation and might have shady spots depending on the time of day.
posted by theory at 4:27 PM on August 5, 2022 [5 favorites]

Many airports have airplane watcher communities. Sometimes the good vantage points are walkable. Looks like most of Houston’s are driving, but the parking garage may work?

Here is a map.
posted by nat at 10:15 AM on August 6, 2022

Best answer: There are some options, none of them perfect:

a) take a hotel shuttle to a nearby hotel and walk around their parking lot. The Sheraton North on JFK Blvd has a fair number of trees in their lot
b) there are some pet relief area's both inside and outside the airport. Don't know how crowded they'd be.
c) the tramline under the airport has walking paths alongside the tram, and is *very* lightly populated. We did this some months ago when we had time to kill. Most everyone down there is taking the tram so the areas between the stops are pretty empty. And almost nobody takes the tram anyway except a few airport workers.
d) As mentioned above the Marriott does have an outdoor area

Also as mentioned above, it's peak summer here and that means high humidity and high temperatures.
posted by Runes at 2:55 PM on August 6, 2022

Response by poster: The "Subway" tram is indeed very lightly populated, and cool. I can see that as a good place to rest. I tried one spot by the entrance to the parking garage but was eventually asked to move along (white cis male wearing a dress shirt and tie, for calibration purposes). The Marriott had some smokers benches on various sides of the building, that worked out well. It was muggy but not intolerable, sitting still really helps in the heat. The parking garages themselves were pretty noisy. Thanks!
posted by wnissen at 4:26 PM on August 15, 2022

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