There is parking on campus at Rice, but the urban location means parking lots are limited. Public transport is the best option for getting around. Houston's red line metro runs past the campus, as do the 26, 27, 73, 8 and 24 buses. As part of Rice's sustainability initiatives, there are also lots of bike parking spaces.
Just across Main Street from the Rice campus is Houston's museum district, home to the Houston Zoo, Natural Science museum, Children's Museum and Fine Arts Museum. If you only have time for one, prioritize the Natural Science museum. This massive, free museum is packed with dinosaurs, Texan wildlife and exhibits on the petroleum and space industries.
The elegant and peaceful Japanese garden brings the tranquility of the Far East to downtown Houston. The garden design is constantly evolving under the guidance of a team of volunteers. Entry to the Japanese Garden and larger Hermann Park is free.