We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we say “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac & cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are the types of questions you have. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today, we bring you the TripIt airport guide to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
Located 20 miles north of downtown Houston, George Bush Intercontinental Airport is one of the top 10 busiest airports in North America, and considered one of the fastest growing in the U.S. It’s the largest hub for United, and a focus city for Spirit. The airport features five terminals, the newest of which, Terminal E, is largely United’s main base for international operations. Skyway, IAH’s people mover, serves each of the terminals.
While there are shuttles and public bus service to and from Houston, most people use a taxi service or rent a car at the Consolidated Rental Car Facility, which is just a few minutes from the terminals.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is offered throughout all of the terminals, and is even ad-free (unlike most U.S. airports). CLEAR lanes are also available at IAH, helping members speed through security by skipping the lines.
If there’s one thing that IAH has for travelers, it’s a variety of food options, from street-inspired food at Urban Crave (Terminal C) to raw seafood at 3rd Bar Oyster & Eating House (Terminal B), both of which are concepts you don’t get at many airports. From the first female Iron Chef, Cat Cora’s Kitchen is located (Terminal E). The restaurant highlights the Greek and Southern influences that the chef commonly known for.
Other spots include The Fruteria (Terminal B) for Tex-Mex, Le Grand Comptoir (Terminal C) for French, Barcuterie (Terminal B) for small plates with a cheese and charcuterie emphasis, Mango Taco Truck (Terminal C) and Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (Terminal E), a standout as far as airport seafood restaurants go.
Hoping to go local? Check out Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar (Terminal A) or Hugo’s Cocina (Terminal D) for authentic Mexican food. Or, opt for the local seafood joint Landry’s Seafood (Terminal C).
Your search for an airport bar to belly up to first begins with some of the restaurants mentioned above, such as Cat Cora’s Kitchen. Check out the full drink menu which includes custom cocktails like Cat Cora’s signature Ouzo Pomegranate Martini.
Le Grand Comptoir has one of the most impressive wine selections you’ll see at an airport, featuring more than 100 wines including a long list of vintages that are available by the glass. In addition to street eats, Urban Crave has a selection of beers as well as other drinks, such as the Cross-Eyed Mary, their version of a Bloody Mary. In Terminal C, there’s Center Bar, a small airport bar which has a wide variety of beer, wine and spirits, as well as a cocktail menu.
The local spots, like the aforementioned Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, are also great options to grab a drink. You might also consider the local Hubcap Grill & Beer Yard (Terminal A), where we suggest grabbing one of “Houston’s Best Burgers” and washing it down with a “boozy” milkshake or local beer.
Like most major airports in the U.S., Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport features a wide variety of designer and local shops, such as Stelzig Ranch, a western-themed shop, and Space Trader, a NASA-inspired shop. IAH, in partnership with Houston’s Civic Art Program, has a number of permanent and rotating art exhibits spread throughout the terminals; some of which are NASA-themed, since Houston is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center after all. Lastly, XpresSpa has locations in Terminal D and E.
Being United’s largest hub, you’ll find several United Clubs throughout George Bush Intercontinental Airport, including lounges in Terminal A, B, two in Terminal C and another in E. Terminal D is largely served by non-United international airlines, where you can find the British Airways and KLM Crown lounges. There is also the newly-opened American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal D. Additionally, TripIt users can easily access information and whereabouts of IAH’s airport lounges thanks to the new LoungeBuddy feature in the TripIt app.
Note: TripIt Pro’s LoungeBuddy perk will end on April 15, 2019. If you have redeemed your $25 credit, you will need to use it through the LoungeBuddy app. For information about when the credit expires and how to use it, please contact LoungeBuddy customer support.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.