Taylor Swift Eras tour: What to know as singer takes over NRG Stadium for 3 days

It turns out Taylor Swift has Houston ties. Her mom, Andrea, is a University of Houston alum.

Brittaney Wilmore Image
Friday, April 21, 2023
Taylor Swift Eras Tour: What to know as singer brings 3 shows to NRG Stadium
Taylor Swift's Eras Tour comes to Houston's NRG Stadium on April 21-23. From parking to tickets, here's what you should know ahead of the show.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When Taylor Swift wrapped three historic shows in Arlington, Texas, she became the first artist to play three nights at AT&T Stadium.

The next stop on her "The Eras Tour" was Tampa, and now, it's Houston's turn to show up bejeweled, breathless, and ready to belt out "Champagne Problems." Go ahead, see how many T-Swift song references you can find in this story.

But with each show, social media has been flooded with pro tips on what to know, with one article calling the event "a marathon and not a sprint," complete with health tips (yes, really!) for staying hydrated.

SEE ALSO: If you didn't get Taylor Swift concert tickets, shake it off! How you can still get her merch

When and where are the Houston shows?

The Taylor Takeover is here. Swift will perform three shows April 21-23 at NRG Stadium.

NRG says that the same timeline of events will be in place for each show.

12 p.m. - NRG Park parking lots open

12 p.m. - Merchandise available inside secured perimeter

4:30 p.m. - All stadium gates open

6:30 p.m. - Concert begins

SEE MORE: A 'Lavender Haze' is creeping up on Houston city hall this weekend

Still, you likely won't see Swift take the stage until much later. There are two special guests, beabadoobee, a Filipina-British singer, and Gracie Abrams, who is based out of Los Angeles and is the daughter of "Star Wars" director J.J. Abrams.

What can I bring and not bring inside NRG Stadium?

Well, fans, get ready for it. If you were dying to have Swift see your gigantic homemade poster praising her music or anything else, you're going to have to keep it at home.

The following items are a no-go:

  • Refillable water bottles
  • Lights and external battery packs
  • Large signs over 11" x 17"
  • Outside food and beverage
  • Banners or poles
  • No gifts or flowers
  • No large electronic devices
  • Clothing, costumes or personal effects that may impede the view of those around you
  • No professional cameras, including any with a detachable lens
  • No camera accessories (selfie sticks, GoPros, tripods, etc.)
  • No professional video or audio recording equipment

If that list left you feeling like there's nothing left but blank space, you should be pleased to know NRG is a fan of friendship bracelets.

You can bring:

  • Portable phone chargers no larger than a credit card
  • Friendship bracelets that may be worn or placed inside your clear bag. Bracelets, however, may not contain lights
  • Medically necessary items after proper inspection

Another interesting note: NRG said the roof will be closed. So much for flying in like Lady Gaga!

What if I still don't have tickets?

Yeah, about that. Well, all hope is not lost, but fans know all too well that you should be prepared to shell out some cash if you find them on sites like StubHub or SeatGeek.

In fact, for the Saturday show in Houston, a couple floor seats on SeatGeek are going for $2,532 each, while another search of the site has seats going for $593 apiece in Section 615 with a limited view at that.

Still, a check of StubHub on Friday morning showed seats for under $500. That's good news, right?! There might be some bad news, though. Ready for it? They are all limited or obstructed view, but at least you'd be in the house!

A study by Finance Buzz found that the best time to buy resale tickets is just before the show. The day before a show, the cost drops 27% below average. Day of, it drops 33% below average.

What time does the Taylor Swift concert end?

You might as well rest up, save your energy, and drink plenty of water. It's said Swift performs 44 songs for three hours. Again, it starts at 6:30 p.m., but there are two other performers.

In fact, some fans have recommended the best times to take bathroom breaks or visit the merchandise line.

For example, Barstool Sports "Chicks In the Office" said they've heard that "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" is a good time to make a run for it, while other fans say they have no plans of budging.

Swift's show has already impressed some of the most famous of faces, including former Houston Texan JJ Watt.

"There was no intermission. And she was singing, dancing, entertaining the entire time. Seventy thousand people hanging on every move she was making for three hours and 15 minutes. She crushed it. She didn't even look tired," Watt said. "I was tired, and I was just sitting there."

"Just the sheer mental, physical, emotional toll that this has to take on your body. To be able to do that night after night after night. City after city," Watt continued. "My hat's off to Taylor. She never took a break."

Are there any surprises?

Swift has confirmed that she'll perform surprise songs every night of the tour. In Arlington, the only Texas stop before Houston, fans said she performed "Sad Beautiful and Tragic" and "Ours" on night one, "Death By a Thousand Cuts" and "Clean" on night two, and "Jump Then Fall" and "The Lucky One" on night three.

It might also be a time to celeb watch.

Actress and longtime Swift bestie Selena Gomez went to the Arlington show with her younger sister.

What should I wear?

You may want to keep up with Swift's costume changes, but fans who have already been to the show advise you should do so comfortably.

That means consider wearing comfortable shoes or if you want to wear heels, bring a pair of flip flops that'll fit in your bag. More on the bag in a moment.

Not surprisingly, a constant theme is sequins and sparkles. Also spotted in the crowd: tulle and cowboy boots, which many Houstonians might already have handy because the rodeo recently wrapped up.

Full-blown lists are dedicated to each *ahem* era of Swift.

NRG has a clear bag policy. What's that about?

So back to the bag. Don't expect to get into NRG Stadium with a tote, or else you'll probably have some bad blood with security who will make you turn around and put it back in your car.

The venue's clear bag policy will be in effect, which means each fan can only carry one bag that is clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC no larger than 12" by x 6" x 12" or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).

You can also carry a small clutch purse no larger than 4.5" x 6.5", approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap.

For the full list of bag guidelines, visit the NRG Park website.

Where do I park?

Be prepared to pay up for parking, but keep your literal Benjamins in the bank. Parking is $40 per space at the gate and NRG Park is cashless, so only electronic or card payment will be accepted. Apple and Google Pay are also options.

The following lots will be open: Orange, red, blue, yellow, green, purple. And remember, parking lots open at noon each day.

ADA parking will be available in the Blue Lot. Rideshare drop off and pick up will be available in the Yellow Lot. Parent drop off and pick up will be available in the Green Lot.

If you'd rather ride the METRORail in, there are routes near and around the complex.

What should I know about traffic?

It might be rough. NRG is encouraging fans, and probably anyone in the area even if they don't go to the concerts, to plan ahead.

For starters, there will be closures along the west side of the stadium. The biggest closure is happening on Kirby between McNee and I-610 from 7 p.m. to midnight

If you want to avoid the crowd, go to the Fannin south lot for METRO and take the rail to the venue.

What's this about Swift's Houston ties?

It turns out, Swift's trip to Houston isn't just another tour stop.

She has some deep ties to the city as her mom, Andrea, graduated from Memorial High School and is a University of Houston alum.

Swift made a "very sizable donation" in honor of her mother to the Houston Food Bank after Hurricane Harvey.

Swift will have ties to NRG Stadium, at least temporarily.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that the home of the Houston Texans would be called NRG Stadium (Taylor's Version) as a nod to the singer while she's in town, similar to what other cities have done during her tour stops. Expect to see banners for the renaming as well.

Should I wait in line for merch?

One fan claims that about 90% of the merchandise she saw for sale at the show in Arlington was online, but there were some unique hoodies that were not spotted on the website.

If you're patient, you might as well line up and expect it to be long.

Fans say that a line in Las Vegas stretched for about a mile. You can scan through the official gear online, where you can grab anything from $45 t-shirts to a passport holder and nail gems.

Fans also advise timing out your trip to buy merch in much the way you would a bathroom break.

But remember, you can start buying merchandise as early as noon each day of the concert.

Fans lined up on Thursday, the first day there was a merchandise truck, and the item that went the fastest was a blue crewneck for $65.

Prices for items range from $15 to $75. Gear is expected to be restocked each day.

One fan, Sarah Badillo, got two of the crewnecks.

"My sister and I drove in from College Station last night and camped out since 2 a.m., so it's a relief. Now we can go eat," Badillo said, adding that she has tickets for each night of the show.

How about the setlist?

This is what we've found so far. Plan accordingly, and perhaps most important, have fun!

Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince

Cruel Summer

The Man

You Need To Calm Down


The Archer


You Belong With Me

Love Story

Tis the damn season



Champagne problems

Tolerate it

...Ready For It?


Don't Blame Me

Look What You Made Me Do



We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

I Knew You Were Trouble

All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

Invisible string


The last great American dynasty


Illicit affairs

My tears ricochet



Blank Space

Shake It Off

Wildest Dreams

Bad Blood

Surprise song

Surprise song

Lavender Haze


Midnight Rain

Vigilante S***




MORE: Houston Humane Society drops cat adoption price to Taylor Swift's lucky number: $13

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