<p>We are planning a visit in Nov (S will be a senior). Is it possible for S to stay in dorms overnight, go to classes? We are flying from Florida and we'd prefer NOT to rent a car. Is there public transportation to Rice? Hotels, restaurants in walking, cab distance? Is one airport better than the other? I use a manual wheelchair which may impact your answer. Thanks.</p>
<p>I can't speak to the availability of student hosts on an official basis, but if you get back on here and ask again in Octoberish, I am sure someone would put your son up in their dorm. I'd certainly be willing (incoming Freshman), although it would be good to ask again in the fall.</p>
<p>As to the car situation, Houston is GIGANTIC. If you don't rent a car or stay at one of the hotels directly off campus (IIRC they are more expensive, higher * hotels), you Will be renting a cab. </p>
<p>When I visited for Owl days, I believe our hotel was something like 8 miles from campus. A cab ride was 17 bucks. Just food for thought. </p>
<p>...If you rent a car far enough in advance and scope out the deals you can get them fairly cheap, even a car with the accommodations you need for your wheelchair.</p>
<p>General visit suggestions, since you are just starting [ul][<em>] ask random passing students questions - prepare a list in advance of what's important. Are you happy, are your profs available when you have questions, what's the one thing you would change about your school if you could, do you have a research project? Practice - this is scary. But when we visited Rice, we learned that people were happy and research was plentiful.[</em>]take written notes, even when you visit just one school. In 6 months, you won't remember which school had the great prof who told you about the cool stuff he was working on.[*]do overnighters, if for no other reason than to have more chances to talk to random students.[/ul]Have fun!</p>
<p>Yes, overnight visits are usually available in early November. You can request for one on the admissions website or by calling the admissions office.</p>
<p>I suggest you fly into Houston-Hobby... that's where all the discount airlines (Southwest, Airtran, Jetblue, etc.) fly. You can reserve a SuperShuttle online (ranges from $25-$35). There is a way to get to Rice using public transit, but for visiting families, it is much easier to call a cab or SuperShuttle. </p>
<p>There are hotels close by, and they are pretty reasonable. The Marriott is the closest, but that's going to be the most expensive. Holiday Inn and Hilton are about 2 miles away from campus.</p>
<p>Although I'm usually one to plug public transportation, it's not ideal during a visit to Houston. The light rail is great for getting to some places downtown, and you can walk from campus to Rice Village, but that's about it. I'd highly recommend renting a car. In my experience, car rentals are really inexpensive in Houston (I think I've paid about $25 a day with Dollar). It could turn out to be cheaper than for several of you to take Super Shuttle to and from the airport, and will give you other options for where to stay and what to visit. Hobby Airport is a short, easy drive to/from Rice. If you do decide to forgo the car, there are hotels at the medical center that have been recommended on this forum before, so that you'd be in walking distance.</p>
<p>We've stayed at the Best Western (okay, cheaper, beds not as comfortable), the Holiday Inn and the Marriott - all the "medical center" ones. I think I prefer the Marriott due to the comfort of their beds. All these three are within a few blocks for Rice and very walkable. :)</p>
<p>I can see how renting a car makes sense too -- but we've never rented and have stayed at the Marriot Medical Center Houston</a> Marriott at Texas Medical Center, Texas Medical Center Hotel an easy walk to campus and Rice Village. The hotel runs a free jitney which we used to help transport our family and our son's baggage on move-in day, and whenever we wanted a pick-up from a restaurant, etc. Fast and dependable. If you decide to book there, mention Rice for a discount ...</p>
<p>A lot of the hotels have Rice discounts if you call instead of going on line. Sometimes they are better and sometimes not. But it pays to call.</p>
<p>Thanks everyone for your thorough and thoughtful answers. This past Feb, we visited GA Tech for three days totally using mass transit and the school's bus system to get around (From airport to hotel via MARTA, then to campus via Tech trolley/bus). Over Spring Break we visited three schools in Boston and three in Los Angeles. We rented cars in both locations. Even dealing with the obstacles caused by poor wheelchair accessibility, we prefer mass transit as long as it's not too costly in terms of money, time or foot pain. Driving in unknown territory is very stressful for DH.</p>
<p>That being said, it sounds like most of you are suggesting we fly into Houston-Hobby and rent a car so we can have more flexibility re: Hotels, restaurants, ease in getting around. It also sounds like the cost might be equal or less than mass transit. </p>
<p>Most likely we will be flying into Rice late afternoon Sunday and returning to Florida mid-afternoon Tuesday (Election Day-no school). Should we decide on mass transit to get to our hotel, we can chose a cab ($27 or so), Super Shuttle ($39 for 3 of us), bus ($3). I'm not sure how close the METRO gets to the campus and nearby hotels. Per anxiousmom, sounds like there are a few hotels at varying price points within walking distance of campus. Ottoline said the Marriott has a free jitney to campus and Rice Village. Maybe some others do too. </p>
<p>Did I miss or misinterpret anything?</p>
<p>You've nicely summarized this for the next person who needs to know!</p>
<p>I'm adding this map from the Rice website:
Rice</a> University | Area Hotels</p>
<p>You might enjoy exploring the Rice website, too -- well worth the time.
And I thought that the people at Admissions were very helpful -- especially if you wait until June/ after the '14 rush.</p>
<p>My D and my husband visited Rice about a month ago. He had business about an hour awat so she was on her own for the day. They stayed at the Hilton in the Medical Center. The hotel shuttle picked them up at the airport and then transported her to and from Rice the next day for free. When she was done at the school, she just called and they picked her up. It also took her to Rice Village in the evening so she could have dinner and explore. I believe we paid $149/night.</p>
<p>Unless you want to see other parts of Houston, you could do this without a car.</p>
<p>I stayed where Ottoline stayed...and drove there in a rental car. In my opinion, a Supershuttle to the Marriott Medical would have been better than driving into Houston..we never used that car. Why? The Marriott will drop you at Rice and you can call and they will come and get you.<br>
While at Rice, you can catch the Rice shuttles and go to Rice Village and have a perfectly lovely time wandering around...and have decent choices for meals. We could have also caught the trolley that serves the hospitals and has a stop at the Museum District should we have made time for the plentiful museums. </p>
<p>Loved Rice.. Wouldn't trade the memories of being there for the world with our son. Also...would remind you to make appts for interviews in advance with admissions...we caught a plane on impulse to Houston and found "no availability" for college interviews. Of course you can do tours and information sessions..but don't arrive in the first week of school like we did (no one is allowed to sit in on classes that week) and don't expect an interview with no notice. (we stayed three days and finally a good hearted adcom agreed to a private session with our son.)</p>
<p>He was admitted but zip in the merit category and he had a better offer elsewhere financially. </p>
<p>Rice is a special institution in the USA>.unlike anyone else...they have developed a great community</p>
<p>I was touched by the generous spirit of your post. I agree with you, Rice is truly a special place. And you've added a gift to the community with your lovely words.</p>
<p>Best wishes to you and your family!</p>
<p>Thanks everyone for your input. Based on all of your comments, we are not going to rent a car. We probably will stay at the Marriott or Hilton assuming they both still have shuttles to/from Rice. Is it a walkable distance should we decide to walk? Both Southwest and Continental have nonstop flights, but one goes to Hobby, the other to Bush. Any pros or cons on the airports? Thanks again for your help.</p>
<p>I can't comment on which airport since we only did this trip one time. However we took the shuttle to Rice about four or five times from the Marriott on Hospital Row. Never saw so many hospitals in one place in my life..including multiples devoted to children. I did keep clusters of dollar bills in my purse to hand as tips to the driver of the shuttle many times but he came promptly and I seldom had to wait. It is a big hotel and they work hard to whisk people in the shuttles and out quickly. That said..had to wait at the Marriott maybe once for a bit for a shuttle to return. Occasionally we had someone in the shuttle with a different destination but usually they only had my son and myself to drop at the beautiful gates to Rice. We waited as long as fifteen minutes after calling the Marriott to come and get us..same place they dropped us off. We also got on the Rice shuttles which zoom around the Rice campus and even have a drop on the side of the Rice campus close to the residential area that leads to the very congenial blocks of restaurants and shops called Rice Village.
Four years of housing are not a given at Rice..most students stay off campus one year if they don't go abroad or something so I was interested in the safety and set up around there and it was fun to walk there.
We also called the Marriott and had them come and get us in Rice Village after we had enjoyed dinner, ice cream etc. They do that all the time. Lots more fun than hotel food.
There is a streetcar system that brings workers into the hospitals especially in the usual shifts for medical workers. We watched the street cars from our windows of the Marriott Hospital location.. leaving people at the hospital stops. If we had gotten on the streetcar, we could have been taken to the nearby museum district.<br>
hello to Ottoline..it is always a help to have a consistent face or two on the boards of a college...and several Rice moms wrote me good notes when we traveled there.
<p>Hobby would be the preferred airport to get to and from Rice. It's closer, smaller and less busy and the security there is swift and efficient.</p>