Nearly 72,000 fans will stream into Houston’s NRG Stadium to watch the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI this Sunday, February 5. Many fans will also have time to explore the city, and one thing will be clear: Houston isn’t the same city it was 13 years ago when it last hosted the Super Bowl in 2004. The downtown area has been transformed by $1 billion of development, and an additional $1.7 billion is in the works.
Cosmetic improvements and a more vibrant Downtown and Midtown scene were among the elements that created a unique campus feel that the Super Bowl selection team was looking for when it chose the city. Among those improvements is Discovery Green, a former parking lot that is now a 12-acre downtown park, one of Houston’s top destinations for locals, and headquarters for the 10-day Super Bowl LIVE festivities that opened to the public on January 28.
In that same area, the 29-story Marriott Marquis Houston opened in December and the George R. Brown Convention Center received a $175 million upgrade. A new restaurant row along pedestrian-friendly Avenida Avenue is also taking shape, with 10 new restaurants, along with art and sculpture installations highlighting Houston’s emerging arts scene.
Elsewhere, a residential real estate boom around Houston’s core has also been in motion, including the new 40-story Market Square Tower, and light rail access has tripled in the city, expanding to nearly 23 miles from seven back in 2004.
For a comprehensive look at all the changes to Houston has experienced, check out the infographic below, courtesy of the Greater Houston Partnership.