This summer, Houston became a baseball town. Chalk it up to the success of the hometown Astros, whose magical year has included an 11-game winning streak and a ridiculous 16.5-game division lead by the All-Star Break. Injuries have slowed the ‘Stros in the season’s second half, but one thing is inescapably clear: The days of 100-loss seasons are over. Don’t expect them back anytime soon.
A veritable constellation of stars has shone big and bright to help put the Astros where they are now – up 14 games in their division, with a magic number of three and falling. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer joined the pantheon of Astros greats this season, taking their places beside retired heroes like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. Another star of the show? Minute Maid Park itself, a jewel of downtown Houston and the Astros’ beautiful home field.
As the Astros prepare for their last homestand of the regular season—and a playoff run they hope will last deep into October—Houston will open its doors to legions of baseball fans from across the country. Our guide to the best of the ballpark illuminates the greatest amenities that this essential Houston destination offers.
Where To Sit
It could be the most important decision you make before buying your tickets—where to sit at the game? Happily, it’s our opinion that there’s no such thing as a bad seat at Minute Maid. Being at a ballgame, after all, is generally preferable to not being at a ballgame.
That said, it doesn’t get much better than the newly-renovated center field section, which boasts an impressive array of seating and dining. Grab a spot in the Bullpen Boxes, revel in the party atmosphere of the Torchy’s Party Deck, or mingle with fellow fans in the Budweiser Brew House. These new sections offer a unique, casual setting for folks itching to ditch standard box seating.
For a more luxe ballpark experience, spring for seats in the one-of-a-kind Lexus Field Club. These exclusive, field-level seats offer an unmatched view of the action, and delicious dining options plus a premium cash bar ensure an unforgettable night at the ballgame.
What To Eat
Houston is a culinary city, and the love of fine dining extends all the way to Minute Maid Park. Sure, you can find ballpark staples like hot dogs and nachos. But the Astros’ home field has a lot more to offer than that.
Just consider the trio of dining options from Houston restaurateur and James Beard Award nominee Bryan Caswell. For classic Tex-Mex, head to Caswell’s El Real, located in sections 125 and 215. An outpost of the famous chef’s popular Montrose hotspot, El Real serves up fresh salsa, house-made corn chips, and fajitas cooked to order. Don’t miss the Korean Beef Tacos, which perk up the menu with a nod to Houston’s diversity. Caswell’s other Minute Maid concepts, Little Bigs and The Caz, offer mouthwatering sliders and gourmet burgers, respectively.
Elsewhere in Minute Maid, the Street Eats cart on the main concourse pays homage to Houston’s food truck fixation with a Southern-inspired menu that includes the (in)famous Chicken and Waffle Cone—fried chicken, honey mustard, and mashed potatoes served in a crispy ice cream cone.
Barbecue stand Texas Smoke (sections 125 and 406) and Texas favorite Torchy’s Tacos (center field mezzanine) round out the best of the bunch.
What To Drink
Like any good ballpark, Minute Maid has plenty of libations on offer to complement your meal. The aforementioned Budweiser Brew House boasts stunning outfield views of the action, and is a fine place to start. But the beer doesn’t hold a candle to what’s on tap at St. Arnold’s Bar, located in section 104. An offshoot of Houston’s oldest craft brewery, this ballpark-must offers seasonal brews in an industrial-chic bier garden setting.
If beer isn’t your thing, don’t worry—you still have plenty of options. Our advice? Head to Liquid Bar in sections 210 and 228 for a premium Texas margarita or fine wine by the glass or bottle. Or skip the alcohol altogether and grab an old-fashioned milkshake at Shake Shack in center field.
What To Buy
Commemorate the ‘Stros’ incredible year with a trip to the Union Station Team Store at Minute Maid. Located in Union Station Lobby at the corner of Texas Avenue and Crawford Street, the team store is open to ticket-holders throughout every game and year-round to the public on Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. ’til 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. ’til 2 p.m.
Our pick for a souvenir? Consider a retro-fun jersey from Houston’s colorful past. But you can’t go wrong with a navy blue baseball cap, emblazoned with a fiery orange star and bold white H.
Here’s to rooting for the home team for many years to come.
Featured photo by Alex Bierens de Haan, Houston Astros