Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros stadium

Guide to the Houston Astros stadium

Minute Maid Park is the home of the Houston Astros major league baseball team. Opened in 2000, the Houston Astros stadium is a testament to the city’s railroad history and its commitment to innovation.

Incorporated into the design of the Astros ballpark is Union Station. This historic train station dates back to 1911. It once played a pivotal role in Houston’s status as the primary railroad hub of the Southern United States. Today, Union Station serves as the main entrance to Minute Maid Park.

Another element of the Houston Astros stadium that sets it apart from other MLB ballparks is its retractable roof. With 50,000 square feet of glass in the west wall of the roof, even when the lid is closed, spectators can enjoy a panoramic view of the cityscape.

In addition, Minute Maid Park is the first domed baseball stadium in the major leagues with a natural grass playing field.

Quick facts about Minute Maid Park in Houston

  • Union Station, 501 Crawford Street, Houston, TX 77002, USA.
  • Opened in 2000.
  • Seating capacity of 40,963.
  • Minute Maid Park’s nickname is “The Juicebox”.
  • The retractable roof opens and closes in 12-20 minutes. It is shaped to mimic the flight path of a batted baseball.
  • The first game at Minute Maid Park was an exhibition match between the Astros and the New York Yankees.
  • The first official regular season game at Minute Maid Park was between the Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Houston Astros schedule and tickets.

Where to sit for a game at the Houston Astros stadium

  • Affordable ticket: Welcome to the cheap seats. Sections 432-434, 407-408 Outfield Deck. If you’re on a tight budget, these are for you. Bring your binoculars though.
  • Best view & price ticket: Terrace Deck, Sections 314-324. You’ll be in the lower area of the top deck of the ballpark but you’ll be looking down at the plate.
  • Catch a home run ticket: Righthanded batters salivate when they see how close the Crawford Boxes in Left Field at Minute Maid Park are. The Left Field foul pole is only 315 feet away! The Crawford Boxes are the place to sit at the Astros ballpark if you want to have your best odds of catching a home run ball.
  • Avoid the sun ticket: When the roof is open at the Houston Astros stadium you can enjoy shade from the sunshine by sitting on the 3rd base side of the field, at the back of Section 408-416.
  • Splurge ticket: The Insperity Club seats located right behind home plate. You’ll get a theatre-style seat and perks like an all-inclusive menu of gourmet foods and free non-alcoholic beverages all night. If you want a beer, wine or cocktail there’s a private cash bar at your disposal.

When to buy tickets for your game at the Houston Astros ballpark

In 2011 the Houston Astros make a big commitment to scouting and player development based on advanced analytics and data. It’s been paying off ever since.

What’s the reward?

Multiple AL West Division titles, AL Pennants, and World Series championships.

This team is consistently good which means they’re a popular ticket. Don’t be disappointed. Get your ticket to watch them play at Minute Maid Park well in advance of your visit to the Astros stadium.

Tickets can be purchased on the Astros website or from a reseller like Stubhub.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Minute Maid Park

The Houston Astros stadium offers a number of tours. Led by a knowledgeable guide, each tour will provide you with an insider’s perspective on the features of the Astros ballpark and more.

There are a variety of Minute Maid Park tours to choose from.

Classic Tour
Available Monday through Saturday. Tour stops include the Michelob Ultra Club, Gallagher Club, Bank of America Suite Level, Honda Club Level, Press Box, Field Club, the Warning Track in Center Field and Hall of Fame Alley.

Approximately 1 hour long.

Ultimate Fan Tour
Available Monday through Saturday from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. Tour stops include Upper Deck, Gallagher Club, Bank of America Suite Level, Honda Club Level, Press Box, and Hall of Fame Alley.

In addition you’ll also get to see the Field Club, Michelob Ultra Club, the Union Station Roof Deck, and on non-game days the Diamond Club and Astros dugout.

Approximately 2 hours long.

Note: this tour does not run if first pitch is earlier than 6:00pm.

Pregame Tour
See what goes on at Minute Maid Park prior to an Astros game. Tour stops include the Upper Deck, Astros Suites, Honda Club Level and sitting in the Crawford Boxes or bullpen seats to watch the Astros players take batting practice.

Approximately 1 hour long.

Owners Experience Tour
Give yourself the VIP treatment. Stops on this tour of the Houston Astros stadium include the Milo Hamilton Press Box, AT&T Broadcast booth, 790 Radio booth, Press Conference Room, and the Ballpark Entertainment Control Room.

You’ll also get to take a seat on the Astros field behind home plate and watch 2 hours of batting practice.

Note: to score tickets for this tour you must email tourstaff@astros.com two (2) weeks prior to requested date. Keep in mind availability is extremely limited.

TIP: If there’s a promotional giveaway the day of your tour of the Houston Astros ballpark, you will receive the giveaway upon starting your tour.

Hotels near the Houston Astros stadium

Here are a few hotel accommodations to consider for your visit to a game at Minute Maid Park.

Historic, boutique hotel. The Lancaster Hotel. 5/5 on TripAdvisor: Luxurious rooms, fine dining options, and a classic, sophisticated atmosphere. Located in Houston’s theater district. Complimentary gourmet breakfast buffet.

Across the street from Minute Maid Park. The Westin Houston Downtown. 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor: Located in a historic building. Modern, upscale atmosphere. Close to Houston nightlife as well.

Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast. Embassy Suites by Hilton Houston Downtown. 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor: Spacious, comfortable two-room suites. Indoor pool. Theater district, restaurants and the Houston Astros ballpark are all nearby.

Contemporary, hip design. Aloft Houston Downtown. 3.5/5 on TripAdvisor: Its downtown location means it’s close to Minute Maid Park, restaurants and clubs. Amenities include a rooftop pool.

Arrive early to your game at the Houston Astros ballpark

The gates to Minute Maid Park open two hours prior to game time unless otherwise stated.

As soon as the gates open you can check out everything the Houston Astros stadium has to offer.

Be one of the first ones through the gates so you can:

See the statues: Outside Minute Maid Park you’ll find statues of longtime Astros players Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio.

Jeff Bagwell played his entire career with the Astros was an MVP and 4-time all-star.

Craig Biggio played 20 years in the big leagues, all with the Astros. The second baseman was a perennial all-star and achieved over 3,000 hits in his career.

Meet Orbit, the Astros mascot: Orbit often makes appearances before the game. Arriving early increases the chances of interacting with Orbit and getting a photo.

Visit Hall of Fame Alley: Located in the concourse behind left field of the Astros ballpark, Hall of Fame Alley allows you to step back in Astros history.

Here you’ll find plaques commemorating Astros players who have been inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. There are also displays celebrating moments in Astros history.

Plus, there is lots of memorabilia and artifacts to see, including hats, jerseys (including one jersey that went up in NASA’s space shuttle).

Check out the Home Run Pump: What is it? A vintage Phillips 66 gas pump that keeps a running total of every Astros home run hit at Minute Maid Park.

A special perk for Honda drivers: Do you drive a Honda? If so, bring the key to your vehicle to the game. Show it to the users as Section 205 and they’ll give you an access pass for you and up to 3 guests, while supplies last, to the Honda Club Level at Minute Maid Park.

You’ll get the convenience of shorter lines at the concession stands and washrooms, and a great view of the game.

Get a giveaway: if there’s a game day promotion going on at the Houston Astros stadium, the sooner you’re in the ballpark the better your chances of getting the item they’re giving away.

Watch batting practice: more on this below in the next section.

What time is batting practice at the Astros stadium?

Like at other major league ballparks, the Houston Astros take batting practice 2.5 hours before game time.

The gates to Minute Maid Park open 2 hours before game time.

That means if you are one of the first people in the ballpark you may be able to catch the last few minutes of BP for the Astros.

Once the Astros are done in the cage, the visiting team steps in to take their swings. So you should be able to catch their entire batting practice session.

If your goal is to try and catch a ball during batting practice head to the Crawford Seats in Left Field which are the closets outfield seats to home plate.

If you want to go where there’s less people to battle a ball for, head over to Right Field. The sections here are further away from the plate but the crowd is usually smaller.

TIP: If you really want to see the Astros players taking batting practice book yourself on the Pregame Tour or Owners Experience Tour of Minute Maid Park. Batting practice is included as part of both tours.

Watch for the Minute Maid Park train

As a tribute to the railroad heritage associated with the location of the ballpark, the Houston Astros stadium boasts a replica of a 19th century train locomotive.

Whenever the Astros hit the field to start the game, hit a home run, or win the game, the Minute Maid Park train chugs down 800 feet of track atop the Left Field wall. As it does, it blows its whistle and flashes its lights.

Best selfie spots at the Houston Astros ballpark

Capture your visit to Minute Maid Park with a selfie or two.

Here are a few location inside and outside the Astros field that will bring back memories for years to come.

Inside Union Station: Have someone take a wide shot of you and the main entrance of the Houston Astros stadium so you can capture the grandeur of Union Hall.

Next to Orbit: Strike a pose with the Astros long-time mascot.

In Hall of Fame Alley: What could be more representative of the Houston Astros than you beside a piece of Astros memorabilia (like Nolan Ryan’s jersey) on display in the Hall of Fame.

Beside the Phillips 66 gas pump: Minute Maid Park is the only MLB stadium that has a gas pump that displays the ongoing tally for home runs.

With the train: Have your cell phone ready and snap a pic with you and the Minute Maid Train rolling down the tracks in the background.

Best place for autographs at Minute Maid Park

The most convenient time for players to sign autographs at the Houston Astros stadium is during batting practice and warm up.

During this time, ushers will allow you to head down to the sections of the field that are located on either side of the dugouts.

For autographs from Astros players it will be the dugout on the third base side of the field, sections 127 to 132.

For autographs from the visiting team’s players it will be the dugout on the first base side of the field, sections 106-111.

NOTE: It will be the visiting team that is on the field when the gates open, so it’s most likely it will be a visiting player’s autograph that you get.

6 ballpark foods you gotta try at the Houston Astros stadium

Minute Maid Park has a wide variety of ballpark food for you to dive into. Here are a few of our suggestions.

Nolan Ryan Hot Dog: The Texas-born player and Hall of Fame pitcher from the Astros has his own brand of hot dog and it’s served up at Minute Maid Park.

Chicken and Waffle Cone: Experience a unique twist on a classic dish with the Chicken and Waffle Cone. It combines crispy chicken tenders with mini waffles, all conveniently served in a cone.

Frito Pie Corn Dog: This creative concoction features a corn dog wrapped in Fritos and topped with chili and cheese. It’s a Texas-sized take on the traditional corn dog.

Texas Smoke BBQ: Savor some authentic Texas barbecue. Options at the Astros ballpark include brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, and smoked sausages.

Torchy’s Tacos: A Texas favorite purveyor of tacos. The locals refer to them as “damn good tacos”. The menu features some playful options including “Republican”, “Democrat”, “Brushfire”, and “Trailer Park”.

Churro Dog 2.0: A sweet treat. A churro wrapped around a chocolate-drizzled long john donut, topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

TIP: Want to order a beer at the Houston Astros stadium that teams up perfectly with peanuts and hot dogs? Get a Crawford Bock.

Named in honor of the Crawford Boxes in the stadium’s Left Field, the can for this smooth drinking beer sports a retro Astros uniform.

Plus, a portion of sales goes to the Astros Foundation which supports youth baseball and softball programs for at-risk children and teens.

Where to get Houston Astros souvenirs at the Astros ballpark

Looking for a keepsake to remember your Astros game at Minute Maid Park by? Head over to the Center Field area of the stadium and the Astros Team Store.

Here you’ll find Astros gear, hats, exclusive Minute Maid Park items, bobbleheads, commemorative baseballs, collectibles, artwork, pins, keychains, magnets, Astros pet apparel and more.

In addition, the Astros Team Store carries a variety of game-used items and autographed items. Each one has been witnessed being used or signed by a third-party authenticator hired by the MLB.

4 dining recommends near Minute Maid Park

Planning to get a meal before or after your game at the Astros stadium?

Here’s a list of restaurants situated close to the Minute Maid Park that will satisfy your appetite for great food and a great atmosphere.

Hearsay on the Green: Housed in the historic W. L. Foley Building. Has a sophisticated yet lively atmosphere. Menu features a modern take on American classics with a Southern twist.

Try the Chicken Fried Steak for a hearty Southern comfort food experience.

Pair it with a signature cocktail like the Basil Berry Smash for a refreshing choice.

Pappadeaux’s Seafood Kitchen: Specializes in Cajun and Creole cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood. New Orleans-inspired ambiance.

Order the Gulf Coast Oysters for a taste of fresh, Gulf-sourced seafood.

Pair it with a Hurricane cocktail for a classic New Orleans drink.

The Grove: Situated in Discovery Green Park. Enjoy a picturesque setting with a modern and upscale vibe. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide panoramic views of the park and city skyline. The decor is contemporary and chic. The menu features inventive main dishes.

Try the Gulf Coast Seafood Cioppino for a flavorful mix of seafood in a tomato-based broth.

Pair it with a refreshing Basil Lemonade for a unique beverage experience.

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse: Voted best steakhouse in Houston. Known for its prime steaks and fresh seafood. Signature dishes include a 16 oz. New York Strip and Chilean Sea Bass. Classic, upscale steakhouse ambiance with dim lighting, dark wood, leather booths, and attentive service.

2 sports bars near the Houston Astros stadium

Want to hang where the true fans of the Astros go before and after a game? Make your way to one of these sports bars located near the Houston Astros stadium.

Biggio’s Sports Bar: Named after Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. A massive sports bar with a 30-foot-tall video wall and over 30 flat-screen TVs. The upscale decor creates an inviting setting for watching games.

Try the Loaded Waffle Fries for a hearty and shareable appetizer.

8th Wonder Brewery: A brewery with a taproom that has a sports bar feel. Enjoy the laid-back and hip atmosphere. There’s also outdoor seating.

Pair your brew with grub from the food trucks parked outside.

Other things to plan during your visit to the Houston Astros ballpark

Does your trip to Houston to see an Astros game at Minute Maid Park includes a couple days to check out the city? Here are some things to do that you may want to make part of your itinerary.

Go see Houston’s other major league sports teams play: The NFL, NBA, and MLS all call Houston home. If you time your visit to Minute Maid Park right you could catch a Houston Texans, Houston Rockets or Houston Dynamo game too. Check Stubhub for tickets.

Play golf where they host the Houston Open: Tee it up at Memorial Park Golf Course.

Take a Hop On Hop Off bus tour: Get to know your way around the city. Discover the history of Houston and the many things to see and do that it has to offer.

Visit Space Center Houston: The official visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. See spacecraft, meet astronauts, and engage with interactive exhibits that make space science accessible and exciting.

Check out the Museum District: Houston is home to numerous world-class museums. Explore art, science, and history at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Stroll along the Bayou: Visit Buffalo Bayou Park, an urban oasis set in the city of Houston. Beside walking along the trail, you can bike, paddle in kayaks, and enjoy public art installations.

See a live show: Houston’s Theater District hosts world-class performances in opera, ballet, theater, and symphony.

Enjoy planning your visit to Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas!

Photo Credit: MLB