GETTING THERE: Best ways to save money on parking and getting to Astros games

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With big games downtown this week, it pays to plan ahead.

It's going to be a busy week in downtown Houston. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox face off for Games 3, 4 and 5 of the ALCS and the Rockets host their season opener Wednesday night.
These awesome events will unfortunately mix with evening commuters, but before you start to stress, remember downtown street parking is free after 6 p.m. Still, you may prefer a secure lot or letting someone else do the driving.

Near Texas and Austin, we spotted $80 parking during the ALDS. When we went by on a regular weekday, that same lot was just $12.

That's why parking along the METRORail is a good option. The Convention District stops on the green and purple lines are just two blocks from the ballpark.

Use an app like ParkHouston or ParkMobile to find and pay for parking without ever pulling out your wallet. If you reserve your parking in advance, ParkMobile says you simply print a parking permit and even if the lot or garage sells out, a spot will be saved for you.

One more note -- barricades are already blocking most of the street on Texas and Crawford alongside the ballpark, so in your search for the perfect spot, definitely enter downtown on the side of Minute Maid Park where you want to park your vehicle. Don't get stuck trying to get past the stadium to park on the other side.

METRO:

Take METRORail to the game. A ride is just $1.25 each way, and you have several Park & Ride options. $3 parking is available at the Fannin South Transit Center Station. FREE parking is available at Northline. To access Minute Maid Park, exit at the Convention District Station Stop from the Green/Purple Line. Or, from the Red Line, exit the Preston Station stop, and walk six blocks.

GREENLINK:

The Greenlink Circulator operated by METRO provides curbside service to Minute Maid Park, and it's FREE. You can park at other cheaper, remote lots around downtown, and get avoid the walk.

UBER/LYFT:

LYFT is offering 25% off two rides with code NEVERSETTLE.
UBER is offering $15 off to first-time riders with the code GOASTROSGO.
Pickup and dropoff is outside Centerfield Gate, between Crawford and Preston

BCYCLE:

Use Promo Code "2018" at any Houston BCycle station on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to get a free 30-minute ride. There's a $3 per 30 minute overage charge. 15 stations are available Downtown, plus another 4 in East End that are a quick walk to the stadium.
Find them with the BCycle station map

$5 PARKING:

The virtually undiscovered parking garage at 2811 Travis $5 public parking, and it's just a short ride to the ballpark. You may have missed it because it is located underneath Midtown Park.
Daytime rates are just a dollar per hour, with an $8 maximum. Nighttime, weekend, and special event parking is a $5 flat rate. Once you park, just hop on METRORail and ride 10 minutes to the Preston stop.

OTHER TRAFFIC TIPS:
-- Download the ParkMobile App to pay for street parking with your credit card
-- Wear walking shoes! Park farther away and embrace the walk!
-- Downtown Houston Parking interactive map can help located garages and lots (with hours and capacity), but rates are subject to change

Follow Katherine Whaley on Facebook and Twitter to stay ahead of traffic tie-ups.

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