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Houston Annual Events

No matter what time of year you're visiting Houston, there are plenty of events to make your trip unforgettable. Discover community events such as art fairs, cultural festivals and markets in unique venues.

Curious about when your favorite event is taking place? Search our event calendar by the type of event for a complete listing. If you've already scheduled your Houston excursion, see what events will be happening by searching our calendar of events. With so many awesome events throughout the year, there's always something special happening in Houston, Texas!

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Martin Luther King Jr. Grande Parade

This annual parade celebrating the civil rights leader marches through the heart of Houston and draws more than 300,000 supporters from around the nation.  
(713) 953-1633.

Chevron Houston Marathon

This annual 26.2, 13.1 and 3.1 mile run, which begins and ends at Downtown’s George R. Brown Convention Center, has steadily grown to attract more than 20,000 entrants from around the world and 200,000 spectators.  (713) 957-3453.

Mardi Gras Galveston

Mardi Gras was publicly observed on Galveston Island as early as 1867 but was discontinued during World War II. The Island's celebration was resurrected in 1985 and since then has become one of the most popular events along the Texas Gulf Coast. (888) 425-4753.


Houston Chinese New Year - Featuring Chinese Acrobatic Dragon Dance Teams

Shanghai River Restaurant will celebrate its 33rd annual tradition of Chinese New Years “The Year of the Monkey – 4714” with a gala, fun-filled two day celebration. The celebration will include an exciting Dragon Dance from one of Houston’s Largest Acrobatic Dance Teams at 8:15 PM each evening. Authentic Chinese calligraphy, a special festive Chinese New Year’s menu, and drinks will add to the celebrations.

Texas Lunar Festival

Celebrate the impressive qualities of every culture while celebrating the Asian Lunar New Year at the annual Texas Lunar Festival. In the Chinese lunar calendar a different animal or mythological beast represents every year in a twelve year cycle. The year of 2016 is the year of the Monkey. Come enjoy dance, theatrics, and music in this cultural celebration!

World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest

The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest is three days of cooking, competition, eating and dancing. The sweet aroma drifts over the Houston metropolis, drawing crowds like bees to honey. Trophies are awarded to teams preparing the best dish in each category (brisket, chicken, pork and spare ribs) as well as an overall winner. (832) 667-1000.


Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™

Rodeo time has been a tradition in Houston since 1932, and the three-week extravaganza at NRG Park continues to consume the city every spring. The kickoff for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ is the Rodeo Parade, after trail riders ride into town and set up camp in Memorial Park.  All 20 championship rodeo competitions are concluded with entertainment by music superstars.  (832) 667-1000.

Azalea Trail

One of the surest signs of spring in Houston is the annual Azalea Trail. Houstonians and visitors view the spectacular gardens at Bayou Bend and Rienzi and visit River Oaks' exquisite private homes and admire their breathtaking gardens. (713) 523-2483.

Buffalo Bayou Regatta

The Buffalo Bayou Regatta is the largest canoe and kayak race in Texas. Over 200 vessels are expected to hit the waters in downtown Houston. (713) 752-0314.  

Tour de Houston

Now in its 11th year, the annual bike ride offers Houstonians and visitors a unique way to view the city with routes winding through Houston's historic neighborhoods, scenic districts and parks while raising funds for the city's Reforest Houston program.

South West International Boat Show

The Southwest's largest In-Water Boat Show returns to the Bay Area Houston, for the eigth year in March 2016 with over 400 boats in-water and onshore - making it the Premier Power and Sail Show for Texas. 

Shell Houston Open

Played at Redstone Golf Club's Tournament Course, 156 of the world's best golfers compete in the Shell Houston Open in pursuit of the $5 million-plus purse. The Houston Golf Association has been conducting PGA Tour events since 1946, making Houston's tournament the 10th oldest. (281) 454-7000


WorldFest: Houston International Film Festival

WorldFest brings a blend of feature films, shorts, screenplays, TV commercials, music videos and documentaries to viewers throughout the area. Founded in 1968, past winners include Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, George Lucas and David Lynch-all early in their careers. (713) 965-9955.

Art Car Parade

More than 250,000 spectators line downtown’s streets to view this parade, which showcases Houston’s most outlandish folk art creations on wheels. The Fruit Mobile, a 1967 Ford station wagon, started the craze in 1986. Truly a sight to see, the parade is produced by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. (713) 926-6368.

Japan Festival

This annual event in Hermann Park's beautiful Japanese Garden draws more than 20,000 people. The Japan Festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Japan with two stages showcasing music, traditional and folk dance and martial arts, as well as demonstrations of Ikebana flower arrangement, tea ceremony, origami and bonsai. (713) 963-0121.

Houston Children's Festival

Houston's official family celebration is held annually in downtown Houston. Benefiting Child Advocates, Inc., the event offers a dazzling smorgasbord of exciting activities, including six entertainment stages, more than 350 games and 10 family adventure areas.

Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park 

The Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park kicks off spring as Houston’s premier outdoor fine arts event. More than 300 national artists working in 19 artistic media are juried and invited to show and sell their original art at this event.  (713) 521-0133.


Houston Dragon Boat Festival
(May 7, 2016)

The Texas Dragon Boat Association, in collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership, presents its 12th Annual Houston Dragon Boat Festival. The festival will showcase 30 teams competing along the banks of Buffalo Bayou at Allen's Landing, and will feature Asian cuisine, music, arts and crafts, and cultural performances for the whole family. (713) 524-3567.

Houston Barbecue Festival
(May 22, 2016)

The annual barbeque event brings barbecue joint favorites together and welcomes new additions to the Houston Barbecue scene for a full day of barbecue focused fun. (832) 454-6106

Pasadena Strawberry Festival
(May 20-22, 2016)

A barbecue cook-off, a beauty pageant, arts and crafts, live entertainment, teen battle of the bands and the world's largest strawberry shortcake are all part of the Pasadena Strawberry Festival. (281) 991-9500.


Free Press Summer Fest
(June 4-5, 2016)          

Houston’s biggest music festival is set to kick off this summer with some of the biggest names in music. The eighth annual Free Press Summer Fest (FPSF) will take over Eleanor Tinsley Park on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou.

Carnival Houston Show + Parade
(June 11, 2016)

Celebrating carnival from the caribbean, Brazil and New Orleans Mardi Gras. It is an exciting an explosion of music, cuisine, revelry, costume parade and performances. The Premier Annual Carnival Houston show will showcase carnival costumes and performances such as Samba, Merengue, and costume masqueraders, Dance Performances, Calypso, Soca, Salsa, and Samba.

Caribbean Heritage Month Festival
(June 4, 2016)

The Caribbean Heritage Month Festival occurs the first Saturday of every June.  Those in attendance enjoy the great Caribbean Heritage celebration, complete with fabulous native music, exuberant cultural dancing and delicious authentic foods. Come out and enjoy various groups representing many nations of the Caribbean, Latin and Spanish Caribbean nations as took part in the festival, some adorned in their native, bright, colorful, cultural heritage customs.

June 17-19, 2016

Comicpalooza is Texas' very own International comic convention held in Houston, Texas at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Juneteenth Celebration
June 19, 2016

Juneteenth is a celebration of June 19, the day Texas learned of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves. The event at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park includes blues, gospel and jazz performers and a variety of smaller events aimed at raising awareness of African-American heritage.  (832) 429-4432.

Pride Houston
(June 19-26, 2016)

The largest Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual event in the Southwest takes place each year during the Houston Pride Parade where 1,000 participants entertain 150,000 spectators with an empowering blend of light, color and sound with beautiful floats, costumes and performances. (713) 529-6979.  


Freedom Over Texas Festival
(July 4, 2016)

Houston’s official July 4th celebration takes place in Eleanor Tinsley Park at Buffalo Bayou and features live entertainment, food booths and a world-famous fireworks display.  (713) 247-3500.

Star Spangled Salute
(July 3, 2016)

The Houston Symphony continues its annual celebration at Hermann Park's Miller Outdoor Theatre. Festivities include fireworks accompanied by a dramatic 16-cannon salute. (713) 533-3276.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
(July 14-31, 2016)

The Greatest Show on Earth is back every summer with a brand new show.  Master clown Bello and his hilarious antics, plus Asian elephants, acrobats, Arabian horses and much more will delight audiences at NRG Stadium. (832) 667-1400.

Houston International Jazz Festival

Big names in jazz convene in downtown Houston for some of the hottest music of the summer. (713) 839-7000.


Houston Shakespeare Festival 

A tribute to the famous playwright, the festival attracts more than 475,000 people to its free performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre throughout the month. (713) 743-2929.

Theater District Day

Enjoy backstage tours, ongoing live performances, set and costume displays and sneak previews of the upcoming seasons. The Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations, which offer this free look behind the scenes each summer. (713) 658-8938.


Fiestas Patrias

One of the largest and most colorful community-sponsored parades in the Southwest celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain. Colorfully clad dancers from area ballet folklorico troupes spin down the streets performing to festive Mexican music. The celebration culminates with the crowning of Miss Fiestas Patrias. 281-890-5500. 


Houston Art Fair
(Sept. 29 - Oct.2, 2016)

All art fairs are presented by galleries from around the world exhibiting modern and contemporary art in a variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture, and mixed-media.


Texas Renaissance Festival
(8 Weeks Beginning Mid-October)

Starting in October and continuing for eight themed weekends in Plantersville, the Texas Renaissance Festival recreates an English village of the 16th century. Magicians, jugglers, minstrels, troubadours and comedians perform on six stages. (281) 356-2178.

The Original Greek Festival


Celebrate the 45th Annual Houston Greek Festival on the grounds of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Authentic Greek food, wine, dancing and artifacts are fun for the entire family.  (713) 526-5377.

Bayou City Art Festival Downtown


The fine juried art show in downtown’s Hermann Square and Tranquility Park, spans several blocks filled with paintings, sculptures, jewelry and music, plus great food, wine cafes, beer taverns and a kids zone.  (713) 521-0133.

Annual Turkish Festival


Celebrate the Annual Turkish Festival at Jones Plaza downtown. Sample authentic Turkish food, wine, coffee, dancing and fun for the entire family.

Festa Italiana

Houston’s Annual Italian Festival on the campus of St. Thomas University features authentic Italian food, wine, music, dancing, arts and crafts and entertainment for all ages. 
(713) 524-4222.

Wings Over Houston Airshow


This airshow takes off and lands at Houston’s Ellington Field.  The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels have wowed onlookers in past years with aerial acrobatics, while aircraft from current Air Force and Navy inventories is on display. (713) 266-4492.

Texian Market Days


At the George Ranch Historical Park, more than 200 costumed interpreters bring to life all that is Texas, complete with children’s activities, an antique tractor show and a parade.  Guests can indulge in a one-of-a-kind celebration of our great state’s history. (281) 343-0218.

Untapped Music & Beer Festival
(Oct. 22, 2016)

Día de los Muertos 

Lawndale Art Center presents the 28th Annual Día de los Muertos series of programs. Join the art center as they celebrate the art, music and folklife of Mexico through an exhibition of artist-made retablos, student installations, workshops and performances. Día de los Muertos programs educate audiences and encourage dialogue about the rich Mexican-American heritage in our region, as well as promote cultural awareness of this celebration of family, life and community.

Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos is a traditional holiday that honors and celebrates the lives of family and friends who have died. The event includes traditional celebrations and Dia de los Muertos arts and crafts. The National Museum of Funeral History hosts the festivities. 281-876-3063.

International Quilt Festival


 More than 1,000 antique and contemporary quilts, original cloth dolls and wearable art are on display at the George R. Brown Convention Center. There are hundreds of booths to shop for quilts, supplies and crafts, as well as classes from beginner to expert levels. (713) 781-6864.


The Nutcracker Market
(1st Weekend of November)

Houston Ballet Guild’s Nutcracker Market has become an annual tradition to kick off the holiday season. This shopping extravaganza, held at Reliant Center, features holiday decorations, food, clothing, jewelry and even furniture.  (713) 535-3231.

Texas Championship Native American Pow Wow
(1st Weekend of November)

More than 100 Native Americans from across the U.S. compete in two days of traditional singing and dancing. Indian food, a teepee village, demonstrations, story telling and education exhibits are all a part of this event. More than 125 booths contain authentic Native American arts and crafts.  (281) 890-5500.

Houston Salutes American Heroes Veterans Day Celebration


Mayor Annise D. Parker and the City of Houston show support for our Armed Forces and celebrate the annual "Houston Salutes American Heroes" Veterans Day Celebration and parade. 

Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service


Established nearly 20 years ago, this event at the Rothko Chapel is free and open to the general public with representatives from ten participating religions. (713) 524-9839.

Uptown Holiday Lighting
(Thanksgiving Evening)

On Thanksgiving evening, thousands of Houstonians and out-of-town guests gather along Post Oak Boulevard for the annual Uptown Holiday Lighting.  This fun-filled family event kicks off the holiday season with more than a half-million twinkling lights, a sparkling electric light parade, an exciting holiday stage show and a special appearance by Santa Claus.  An incredible explosion of fireworks lights up the Houston skies and music fills the air during the dramatic finale.  (713) 621-2011.

City of Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade
(Thanksgiving Day)

The Thanksgiving Day parade remains a 66 year-old holiday tradition showcasing the Houston community and entertaining more than 200,000 parade-goers lining the streets on Thanksgiving morning. The parade is a stunning showcase of sensational floats, flying balloons, marching bands, artistic entries and live entertainment.

A Christmas Carol -- A Ghost Story of Christmas


The Alley Theatre’s amusing and musical rendition of A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas revisits the meaning of Christmas with Ebenezer Scrooge and classic characters like Tiny Tim as Scrooge embarks on a wild nighttime journey through re-imagined scenic designs, spectacular costumes and original music. 713-228-9341.

The Nutcracker


Houston Ballet’s timeless and dreamy production of the classic holiday tale The Nutcracker joins Clara as she marvels at the Christmas tree, flying cooks, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince dancing, and her unforgettable journey in the Kingdom of Sweets – a place children will dream about for years to come. (713) 227-2787.

Zoo Lights
(November to January)

TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo will transform the Zoo with more than 300,000 LED lights illuminating more than 50 animal-themed light displays, 15 miles of tree lighting, and seasonal songs and stories. Sip hot chocolate as you stroll through the Zoo and take in all the awe-inspiring sights, including whimsical colorful projections over 15 feet tall, life-size lighted animal sculptures and “Holly Berry,” a 1958 Cadillac featuring vibrant lights choreographed to joyful music.(713) 533-6550.

Festival of Lights
(Mid-November to January)

The holiday magic glistens at the Annual Moody Gardens Festival of Lights with more than a million lights and dozens of festive scenes. It's a winter wonderland with holiday shopping, pictures with Santa, a gingerbread house and the area's only outdoor ice rink.  
(800) 582-4673.


Dickens on the Strand

What started more than 20 years ago as a potluck supper has blossomed into one of Galveston Island’s most famous annual events.  Costumed characters, unique vendors, glittering parades and continuous entertainment make this celebration the best of times.  (409) 765-7834.

The Mayor's Offical Downtown Houston Holiday Celebration


The Mayor kicks off the holiday season with a celebration featuring fireworks, entertainment and choirs. The event culminates with the lighting of the tree outside City Hall. 

Chanukah Fest​

The City of Houston co-sponsors Chanukah Fest 2015 in front of City Hall. Highlights include a Live Concert by the 8th Day Band from California, Live Entertainment shows, Fireworks, dozens of super-fun activities for kids and adults, a dazzling Food Quarter, Judah the Maccabee Live Statue & Dreidel Mascot, and so much more.

Annual Candlelight Tour in the Park

The historic homes clustered in downtown’s Sam Houston Park open their doors for the Heritage Society’s Annual Holiday Candlelight Tour in the Park. Centuries-old seasonal decorations and costumed carolers take revelers back in time to celebrate the season. (713) 655-1912.

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