I had heard about Miller Outdoor Theater a few times but had never had a chance to check it out. After all, I only visited Hermann Park for the first time in over 5 years of living in Houston, this February. Miller Outdoor is a big outdoor theater, located in Hermann Park, in case you didn't know... and don't feel bad if you don't, cause I clearly did not. During the summer, most performances are... get ready for this... FREE!!! All types of performances happen there, including movies in the park, children's shows and performances by the Houston Symphony. For the 4th of July, the Houston Symphony was putting on a performance, featuring patriotic music. There was even to be a special performance by astronaut and musician, Chris Hadfield.
So, you ask... How does one procure these free Miller Outdoor tickets? See here's the thing... if you want those free tickets to include a seat, you must go in person to the Miller Outdoor box office the day of the event at 10:30am. The box office is actually located at the back of the theater.
|Clearly I have mad paint skills|
Parking was no problem, and we found a spot close by the theater very easily. Next, we just walked to the actual and theater from there and looked for the line of people. Here's what we found.
|This is near the start of the line... the line wraps all the way around the building|
|And here were all the people in line behind us|
|Lola was holding my place in line while I snapped shots of the scenery|
|It's a park... in the middle of the city... you get the idea.|
We arrived around 9:45, which was about 45 minutes before the box office started handing out tickets. I counted about 120 people in line in front of us, cause I'm a dork like that. The idea is you get there early to hold your place in line, and then hang out in your folding camping chairs. We left our chairs in the car, since we only needed to wait 45 minutes, which ended up being fine. However if you did arrive more than about an hour in advance, then I would recommend bringing your folding chair. While our seats weren't terrific, we were glad to have picked up 2 tickets for that evening's performance.
|Yay!!! 2 FREE Tickets :)|
Flash forward to that evening, and we made the brilliant decision to take the metro to the concert. We had heard while waiting in line that the parking would most likely be horrible at the park for that night. We left the house about 2 hours early and parked in midtown, near the McGowen stop. And I should mention, parking was FREE since it was a weeknight. Thankfully, the metro is idiot proof, and we were easily able to print our tickets out from the machines. And if I haven't sung the praises of the metro enough already, I should mention it was extremely clean inside the rail cars. So yeah, go Houston metro!
Once we arrived to our destination, which took about 15-20 minutes, we walked straight to our seats. And boy, it was nice to have seats.
|Definitely worth standing in line for|
Of course you can always bring your lawn chairs and blankets and sit on the hill... but it gets a little crowded.
We also came prepared with dinner in our REI picnic backpack. Glass is not allowed at Miller Outdoor, so juice box wine is in order. I found these guys at Kroger.
|It was 2 for $10 and each was 3/4 of a bottle|
|Free seats, boxed wine, you tell me what could be better...|
Oh I know... FIREWORKS!! After the show, we made our way back to the rail station (which dropped us off right in front of Miller Outdoor BTW), and that's when the fireworks started. From the metro station to our car and then to home only took about 45 min... Easy peasy.
|Cheesy reach around camera shot in front of fireworks... I know.|
Overall, I'd say it was a great experience, and I would definitely do it again. Going in, I had a bunch of questions and many of people had given me some advice about parking etc, so in an effort to pass along my lessons learned, here is a list of all my findings.
- DO go early and stand in line to get your free tickets for seats. I estimate arriving to stand in line about 9:30am.
- DO enjoy Hermann Park after you get your tickets. The park is beautiful and there are lots of things to do and see. Heck, you already woke up early to get there, and you have a parking spot... might as well enjoy it.
- DO use the Houston Metro for transportation to the performance. It's a cheap and super easy way to get there. It's $5 for 2 people round trip... your sanity is worth it.
- DO bring your own food to the performance. I did notice there was food for sale and yeah, I get that purchasing it supports the Miller Outdoor, but I just wasn't that enthusiastic about spending a small fortune on funnel cakes and frozen lemon ices.
- DO bring juice box wine to the event. Wine in a box makes everything more fun.
- DO bring a towel to lay over your chair. Remember folks, summers in Houston are balls hot.