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If you're in Houston and decide on the spur of the moment to get tickets to a game, you can call Ticket Stop, 5925 Kirby Dr., Ste. D (tel. 713/526-8889), a private ticket agency. They charge extra for the tickets, so it's best to buy direct or in advance if possible.

Baseball -- Houston Astros fans enjoy the indoor/outdoor downtown stadium, Minute Maid Field. Its retractable roof is open mostly in the early part of the season before the weather gets too hot. With a little planning, tickets aren't hard to come by; call tel. 877/9-ASTROS (927-8767) or visit www.astros.com.

Basketball -- The Houston Rockets (www.nba.com/rockets) play at the Toyota Center. It's downtown at 1510 Polk St., just south of the convention center and baseball park. The Rockets are a popular team, and tickets must be purchased well in advance. You can do so online or by calling tel. 866/446-8849.

Football -- The Houston Texans play host to opponents at high-tech Reliant Stadium. It's located off South Main, not far from the Medical Center. For information and/or tickets, call tel. 832/667-2390, or check out www.houstontexans.com.

Golf Tournaments -- The Shell Houston Open is held in late March or early April. For information and tickets, call tel. 281/454-7000 or go to www.shellhoustonopen.com.

Rodeo -- Houstonians go all-out "Western" for a couple of weeks in early March, when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is held. Billed as the largest of all rodeos, it includes the usual events such as bull riding and calf roping, as well as performances by famous country artists. It is now held in Reliant Stadium. Call tel. 832/667-1000, or go to www.hlsr.com for more information. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at tel. 713/629-3700.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.