One of the unspoken features of the City of Houston is our network of underground tunnels 20 feet below Downtown, Houston. Spanning over 6 miles, these air-conditioned tunnels were initially created back in the ’30s as a single tunnel between two buildings so that Downtown employees wouldn’t have to melt in the hot sun when walking across the block on their lunch break.
After undergoing (no pun intended) a series of expansions, the network now entails 95 city blocks, as well as a variety of retailers, florists, eateries, and more. If for nothing else, the tunnels serve as a great way to explore the city on a deeper level. For a full rundown on navigating Houston’s underground tunnels, continue on.
How to get there
For direct access, visitors can enter the tunnel network from the street via the Wells Fargo Plaza and/or the McKinney Garage on Main.
Visitors can find other entry points through various elevators, escalators, and street-level staircases located in office buildings – most of which are open to the general public. See this color-coded map here.
What to Do
In addition to a variety of excellent underground eateries, and shops, the Houston underground tunnels also provide ample opportunity for shopping, retail, and wellness at The Highlight.
Formerly the Shops of Houston, The Highlight is an above and below-ground retail center in walking distance to George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, and other iconic Houston venues. Here, visitors can find GNC and Hallmark outlets.
If not for an of the aforementioned attractions, The Highlight also features an engaging entertainment space, digital water wall installation, beautiful staircase, and is now home to the brand new Puttshack mini-golf experience.
What to Eat
As mentioned, the underground tunnels are home to a variety of restaurants available throughout the week. From franchise favorites like Chick-Fil-A, Jimmy John’s, and Shipley Do-Nuts, to cafes and the fabulous Underground Food Hall – there’s plenty to choose from. Options include: Bird Haus, Rice Box, 5411 Empanadas, Doozo Dumplings and Noodles, and Cafe Basil.
The tunnels are open on weekdays from 6 am to 6:30 pm.