Downtown Tunnels – Above and Below Houston
Below the 4th largest city in the country is an interconnected walkway of 7.5 miles of air conditioned tunnels that house restaurants and service businesses for the city’s 140,000 downtown workers. The tunnels are only open during weekday business hours and not on weekends, holidays or evenings. On this walking Greet of downtown, we see a small sampling of the tunnel system, as well as some of the major sights above these tunnels. You could go from 20 feet below street level to the 60th floor of Chase Tower above the tunnel system during your Greet. Please note that the tunnel hours are 8am-5pm Monday-Friday. The tunnels are closed on weekends and holidays.
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A retired chemist, Ken Steinhardt has been formulating a great concoction of downtown greets since 2007. Although he never worked downtown, Ken knows the lay of the land well and enjoys sharing it with others.
“Being a Greeter is just a great chance to meet people from all over,” he said. “I’ve conducted greets for physicians from Pakistan, a cardiologist from Syria, a flight attendant from Amsterdam and a couple from Switzerland. And that’s just a few.”
Still the most-often requested greet, the downtown tunnel system is interesting to people from around Houston as well as around the world. Set about 20 ft. below downtown Houston, and seven miles long, the tunnel system changes with various decors and widths. Along with a walk through parts of the tunnel, Ken shares various other interesting sites in downtown.
“It just depends on the stamina of the visitor because there is so much to see,” said Ken.
“After the tunnel walk, we often go to the 60th floor observation area of the Chase Tower for a birds-eye view of the city. Each greet is different because it is such a personalized experience.”
His enthusiasm for Houston Greeters is matched by his love of learning more about the city when Greeters share information with each other. “We all enjoy visiting new places in Houston and then passing it on!”