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Friday, October 3, 2014

17 Pavilion Hacks to Simplify Your Concert-Going Experience

After 24 seasons, there are guests that have attended dozens of concerts at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Some even consider themselves Pavilion experts. We asked them for their best “Pavilion Hacks” and added in a few of our own. 

For those unfamiliar, a "hack" is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip or trick, that will help you get things done more efficiently or effectively (credit:

1. Stop Parking at The Woodlands Mall
Lots of concertgoers make a bee-line to The Woodlands Mall parking lot without realizing that The Pavilion provides FREE parking lots. Avoid any risk of towing and the long walk back to the mall by taking advantage of The Pavilion’s parking lots.

2. Get there early!
This sounds obvious, but it bears repeating: Why rush in at the last minute? Getting there an hour or two early allows you to 1) take care of parking, and 2) walk across the street to Market Street or Waterway Square for some pre-concert shopping, food and drinks.

"Get there early, and relax on the grass outside of The Pavilion. We've made some new friends doing that and we've caught a couple of sound checks, which were pretty cool to hear!”-Hilary F., Facebook user

“We are regulars, always arrive early, get to know the employees, they are the best! So great they allow outside snacks, I make trail mix with nuts to eat with my beer.”-Lisa M., Facebook user

3. House of Blues Tent:
Of all the items on this list the House of Blues Tent might be the most underutilized. Aside from being FREE to get in, this air-conditioned haven is open an hour before events and an hour after. It also includes a full bar, private restrooms and food. And did we mention that it’s free to get in?

“Quicker to get in through the air-conditioned House of Blues tent than waiting in line at the outside gates.”-Todd H., Facebook user

Photos by Ted Washington
4. Look up the set list before the show
Thanks to websites like, fans can look up recent setlists an artist has performed most recently on the tour. While some artists alter their setlist more than others, it is a good way to plan a trip to the concession stand or restroom without worrying that you are missing your favorite song. 

5. Don’t wear heels on The Pavilion lawn! 
It is worth noting that the lawn is on an incline and should it be a rainy night, you may be risking your balance (to say nothing of your shoe).

“Wear comfortable shoes. No flip-flops or heels.”-Cyn H., Facebook user

6. Accessorize with care:

“My tip is to buy a very small battery operated fan, and bring a bandana that can be wet to hang around your neck. I discovered these two tips this year and will never be without them again.”-Liz W., Facebook User

“Take the most minimal amount of items. And if you have to bring a bag, make it a small wristlet that fits phone, ID and cash.”-Janet G., Facebook user

“Wherever I go, I leave my purse at home! No waiting in lines to have my bag inspected, and no worries about it falling to the floor and getting dirty. I take only the essentials that fit in my pockets. I can dance and move about with freedom.”- Debbie E., Facebook user

7. Bring an empty water bottle
While no outside beverages are allowed in, what most guests don’t know is that they can bring in an empty water bottle to most events to fill at our water fountains. And in case you forget to bring your water bottle:

“Save your beer cup. You can get free ice and fill up at the water fountains.”-Jeremy M., Facebook user

8. Think you'll be hungry? Grab a Ziploc bag!
The Pavilion now allows patrons to bring outside food into contemporary concerts so long as it fits into a clear, one gallon Ziploc bag. At performing arts events guests are not limited to a one gallon bag. 

“Being able to bring your own food now makes this the best venue in the land. Especially for folks who try to eat healthy. Come early for good lawn spot and eat your snacks and chit chat with your friends so when the show comes on you can pay attention to it.”-Debbie D., Facebook user

However, as important as it is to know what you can bring in to The Pavilion, it is just as important to…

9. Know what you can’t bring in!
Save yourself from making the trip back to your car.

“No professional cameras or detachable lenses, check certain shows as sometimes chain wallets or belts with chains/studs are not allowed, enjoy AC at the HOB tent before, during and after the show, and please quit yelling/talking through the entire show in the seats!”-Misty B., Facebook user

The following items are NOT permitted:
  • Animals
  • Aerosol Cans
  • Audio and Video Equipment
  • Cameras
  • Beverages
  • Non-Plastic Bottles or Bottles with Lids
  • Fireworks
  • Laptops
  • Laser Pointers
  • Lawn Chairs
  • Portable Televisions
  • Radios
  • Strollers  
  • Tablets (such as iPads and Kindles)
  • Weapons
(For more information on this list check The Pavilion’s website. Permitted items are determined on a show-by-show basis so always check with The Pavilion.)

10. Have an exit strategy

“While the natural instinct is to exit the lawn after the show by funneling down and then joining with the mass of people in the back section of seats, there is a staircase halfway up the side of the lawn and an exit at the top. Use these and you'll get out about 15 minutes quicker.”-Jessi F., Facebook user

11. Ponchos are available for $5
Texas weather can change on a dime. Should you be surprised by some rain and you forgot to pack accordingly, ponchos are available for purchase. The Pavilion has got your back, front and any other part of your body you want to keep dry. Some resourceful concert goers don’t just wear their ponchos:

“Bring a poncho in your pocket to sit on if the lawn is wet or rain is expected.”-Angela O., Facebook user

12. Ear plugs available at information booths
The Pavilion features a state of the art sound system. Should you find yourself at an event where you want to limit the sounds coming out of that sound system, just grab some earplugs from the information booth.

13. The portable beer stands in the middle of the plaza sell water
Need to buy water but don't want to stand in the long line at the concession stand? Visit the blue beer portable in the North Plaza where you can purchase water.

14. South plaza is (usually) WAY less crowded
This means shorter lines for concessions, bathrooms and exiting.

15. Listen from the park
You might not be able to see the actual show but you can always pick a spot in Town Green Park to hear the event.

16. Performing Arts events:

There are still two great performing arts events coming up with Hocus Pocus Pops Oct. 24 and Holly Jolly Jingle Dec. 4. These shows are really one giant hack for The Pavilion concertgoers.  

Let us count the ways:
-FREE lawn and mezzanine seating at Hocus Pocus Pops!
-FREE EVERYWHERE seating at Holly Jolly Jingle!
-Fantastic for a family or date night
-Activities and booths with interactive activities for kids including (but definitely not limited to): an instrument petting zoo and arts and crafts!

17. Going to a sold-out concert and can't find parking in the free lots? 

There are multiple paid parking garages along the Waterway near I-45. Here's a map to help you find these lots: 

Do you have any "hacks" you'd like to share with other guests? Leave them in the comments!


  1. Great information. The Pavillion is one of my favorite venues of all time!

  2. #18,,,If you ride your motorcycle to the shows you can park your bike on the median (grass areas) across from the main entrance or side areas,,The sheriff's will not bother you,,If there cool they will wave you in,,,,Just sayin,,n be sober,,

  3. Are backpacks permitted?

    1. Backpacks are permitted at most concerts, but not all day festivals. Be sure to check with us, as this changes on a show-to-show basis.

  4. Where are the Interview/Autograph sessions conducted?

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I just skip Woodlands Shows all around now. No show is worth wasting 4 hours of your life in bumper to bumper traffic. Toyota Center or nothing.


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