Tunnels and skyscrapers: Seeing Houston from above and below

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Houston in the summer is hot. Really, really hot.

But the city did something very smart decades ago by creating a series of underground walking tunnels downtown to allow people to move about the area without ever having to set foot outside in the sun.

The tunnel system covers 6 miles and 95 blocks. It’s essentially a subway system for pedestrians. The great thing is that it’s not just empty tunnels down there. The tunnel system features stores, restaurants, food courts, and other common areas. There are even dentist offices down there!

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Experiencing Houston from below is cool. But it’s also possible to see Houston from above, at the Chase Tower Observation Deck on the 60th floor of one of the city’s tallest buildings.

Here’s what it’s like to see Houston from above and below.

Houston’s underground tunnel system

I was in town on a 95 degree day, so the tunnel pretty much saved my life. It allowed me to get around the city instead of just sitting in my hotel room all day long with the air conditioner on full blast.

The tunnel system is very complex. You could easily get lost here. I did a few times, actually. The subterranean world contains stores and businesses around every corner.

stores-underground-houston

When you’re ready to see Houston from above instead of below, head to JP Morgan Chase Tower. You can get there via the tunnel, of course.

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Chase Tower observation deck

Getting up to the 60th floor observation deck “sky lobby” is easy thanks to the building’s elevators, which offer only two options: Ground Level and floor #60.

60th-floor-elevator

The sky lobby is a large room with 13-foot ceilings and big windows allowing for a panoramic view of the Houston skyline and the city below. Some of the sights from above:

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houston-ferris-wheel

highways-from-above

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Houston is one of the few cities that allows for such diverse views from above and below, and I highly recommend checking out both. Seeing the city from hundreds of feet up makes everything look like Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood and really puts into perspective just how small we really are in the grand scheme of things.

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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