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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
January 21, 2019

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.  

Chevron Houston Marathon
Jan. 20, 2019

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. 


Texas Lunar New Year Houston 

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 2017 is the year of the Rooster. Come enjoy dance, theatrics, and music in this cultural celebration!

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. 

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. 


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. 

Cultural Kite Festival
Sugar Land - 22 mi/35 km from Downtown Houston

Kites will adorn the sky of Sugar Land during this year’s Cultural Kite Festival. Kite flying is popular around the world and this local hit displays a mixture of cultures and diversity.

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. 

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 in west Houston, racing and enjoying the day, ending in Sesquicentennial Park in Downtown Houston. 

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.

Southeast Texas State Fair
Beaumont - 85 mi/137 km from Downtown Houston

The YMBL South Texas State Fair & Rodeo brings thousands of visitors to Beaumont each spring to experience food, entertainment, and carnival rides. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) showcases the country's top cowboys and cowgirls at the YMBL Championship Rodeo while locals present their masterpieces at the School Art, Quilt and Photo Show.

Bayou City Art Festival

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.  

In Bloom Music Festival

Previously Free Press Summer Fest, In Bloom Music Festival comes to Eleanor Tinsley Park for two days of music and more. 

Houston Open

Played at the Golf Club of Houston, 156 of the world's best golfers compete in the 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. 


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.

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival
The Woodlands - 30 mi/48 km from Downtown Houston

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival is ranked one of the top fine arts festivals in the Nation, featuring 225 extraordinary artists representing a broad range of styles and mediums alongside art workshops for all ages, culinary demonstrations, live music performances, craft beer tents and more.

Cajun Fest, with Elite Redfish Series
Port Arthur - 90 mi/145 km from Downtown Houston

Cajun Fest celebrates the Port Arthur area’s diverse cultures with music and food. Dance to toe-tapping music from live bands and two-step into the Cajun dance contest. Don't miss The Elite Redfish Series, a televised, pro redfish tour, in Port Arthur from April 5-7 as part of Cajun Fest.

Southwest International Boat Show

The largest in-water boat show in the Southwest, and the premier sail and power show for new and pre-owned vessels featuring boats ranging in size from 10ft. to more than 100ft, both freshwater and saltwater, ready for boarding and viewing, with pre-season specials and dealer incentive programs available on many models.

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.

Nurture Nature Fest
Baytown- 25 mi/40 km from Downtown Houston

The Nurture Nature Fest will include kayaking, fishing, hourly live animal shows, touch tanks, inflatables, food trucks and more.   

Japan Festival
April 14-15, 2018

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. 

Houston Barbecue Festival

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

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. 

Migration Celebration
Brazosport - 65 mi/105 km from Downtown Houston

The Migration Celebration is held during peak bird migration season at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. The two-day event includes several free activities for children including: archery, fishing, BB gun range, bug sweeping, microscopes, touch tanks and reptiles.

Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas North American Championship
The Woodlands - 30 mi/48 km from Downtown Houston

The Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas North American Championship begins with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Woodlands before a 112-mile bike course through the scenic, rolling farmland of east Texas, ends with a 26.2-mile run and concludes with a spectacular finish on Waterway Avenue.


Houston Dragon Boat Festival

The Texas Dragon Boat Association, in collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership, presents its 17th 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. 

Keels and Wheels Concours D'Elegance
Bay Area Houston - 31 mi/50 km from Downtown Houston

This annual event features 200 classic cars and 100 wooden boats and attracts enthusiasts from around the world.

Mediterranean Festival
Beaumont - 85 mi/137 km from Downtown Houston

Held on the first Saturday in May each year, the Mediterranean Festival features a tradition that is more than 100 years old, the Syrian Dinner. Along with food, families can enjoy camel rides, Greek and Arabic dance troop performances, face painting, games and other fun activities. 

The Rails & Tails Mudbug Festival
Tomball - 34 mi/55 km from Downtown Houston

Two days of celebrating tasty crawfish through music, food and fun at Tomball’s historic downtown Depot. 


Comicpalooza is Texas' largest pop culture convention. Comicpalooza continues to be the best multi-format pop culture con in the southwest including J-Fashion, cosplay, a film festival, literary conference, a code fest, maker space, Mars Rover rides, video and tabletop gaming, professional wrestling, & roller derby bouts.

Pasadena Strawberry Festival

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. 


Caribbean Heritage Month Festival

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.

Carnival Houston Show + Parade

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 masquerades, Dance Performances, Calypso, Soca, Salsa, and Samba.

Juneteenth Celebration

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.  

Garden Fest
Port Arthur - 90 mi/145 km from Downtown Houston

Stroll through gardens of lotus blossoms and towering bamboo as Buu Mon Buddhist Temple hosts the 20th annual Garden Fest. Vendors offer authentic Vietnamese food, arts and crafts and lotus, water lily and bamboo for your own garden.

Texas Outlaw Challenge
Bay Area Houston - 31 mi/50 km from Downtown Houston

This annual event is in its 11th year and features a car show, time trials and a charity poker run. Located on Clear Lake and Galveston Bay, the 2018 event will be adding 2 days of offshore boat racing for spectators to enjoy. 

Pride Houston

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.  


Freedom Over Texas Festival

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.  

Star Spangled Salute

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

Great Texas Mosquito Festival
Brazosport - 65 mi/105 km from Downtown Houston


At the Great Texas Mosquito Festival, Willie-Man-Chew greets visitors from near and far to enjoy three fun-filled days of entertainment, a carnival, food, contests, and family fun.


Houston International Jazz Festival

Big names in jazz convene in downtown Houston for some of the hottest music of the summer. 

Houston Shakespeare Festival 

A tribute to the famous playwright, the festival attracts more than 475,000 people to its free performances at the University of Houston throughout the month. 

Learn more

Houston Restaurant Weeks

For thousands of Houstonians and visitors to the bayou city, Houston Restaurant Weeks provides a month-long passport to the city's top restaurants and award-winning chefs. 

AIA Sandcastle Competition

American Institute of Architects Houston hosts its annual free Sandcastle Competition at East Beach in Galveston each June. For years, the competition has enticed some of the most talented architects and designers as well as drawn an average of 20,000 spectators. 

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Theater District Open House

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. 

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AdvoCare Texas Kickoff

Kick off the 2016 College Football Season! Secure your seats today for the showdown between the LSU Tigers and BYU Cougars at NRG Stadium. 

Learn more and find tickets

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.

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Oktoberfest Houston

Join us for Houston’s only Beer Fest with a German twist, showcasing the best of German and Texas Culture in one fantastic day! Put on your Lederhosen and Dirndls and enjoy a variety of German and craft beer and the best polka music in Texas. 

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Houston Art Fair

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
Weekends from September 29 - November 25th

Starting in October and continuing for nine 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. 

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Original Greek Festival
October 4-7, 2018

Celebrate the 48th 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.

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Grito Fest
Baytown- 25 mi/40 km from Downtown Houston

The 13th Annual Grito Fest is one of the area’s most popular festivals celebrating Hispanic heritage. This family friendly outdoor concert will feature musical entertainment, mariachis, kid’s activities, contests, food and craft vendors, and more.

Pearland Art & Crafts on the Pavilion
Pearland - 17 mi/27 km from Downtown Houston
October 6-7, 2018

This outdoor juried Art show features artists who specialize in handcrafted artwork, live music, food vendors, art workshops, children’s crafts and wine tasting.

Bayou City Art Festival Downtown
October 13-14, 2018

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. 

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Festa Italiana (Houston Italian Festival)
October 11-14, 2018

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. 

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Annual Puerto Rican & Cuban Festival
October 27, 2018

With over 20,000 participants each year, the Puerto Rican and Cuban Festival is an iconic Houston event! This festival includes great local food, live music, vendors, and a car show.

Wings Over Houston Airshow
October 20-21, 2018

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. 

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Texian Market Days
October 20, 2018

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. 

Index Fest (formally Untapped Music & Beer Festival)
2018 Canceled

Three years ago two friends that shared a passion for craft beer and live music founded the Untapped Festival is a craft beer & music festival series. 

Día de los Muertos 
Oct. 28, 2018

Lawndale Art Center presents the 29th 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. 


Lone Star Rally
Galveston - 51 mi/82 km from Downtown Houston
November 1-4, 2018

Thousands of motorcycles roar their way up The Strand in a thunderous parade showcasing the hottest custom paint and coolest aftermarket accessories.

International Quilt Festival
November 8-11, 2018

More than 1,600 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. 

Learn more

Day of the Dead
Nov. 1-4, 2018

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. 

Annual Turkish Festival
Nov. 17-18, 2018
Celebrate the Annual Turkish Festival at Jones Plaza downtown. Sample authentic Turkish food, wine, coffee, dancing and fun for the entire family.

The Nutcracker Market
November 8-11, 2018

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. 

Texas Championship Native American Pow Wow
Nov. 10-11, 2018

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.

Houston Salutes American Heroes Veterans Day Celebration
Nov. 11, 2018

Mayor Sylvester Turner 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
Nov. 15, 2018

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.

Houston Via Colori® Street Painting Festival
Nov. 17-19, 2018

Via Colori® has grown into one of the city’s signature art festivals over its 10-year history. Attendees witness the streets of downtown transform into a massive outdoor art gallery with more than 250 local and national artists creating mind-blowing murals right before your eyes.

Ice at Discovery Green
Nov. 16, 2018 - Jan. 27, 2019

Ice skating returns and its bigger than ever! Skate among the downtown skyline at Discovery Green's now 7,716-sq. ft. outdoor rink in the heart of Texas. Park-goers will enjoy a variety of family-friendly programming throughout the holidays, including concerts, movies and more.

Uptown Holiday Lighting
Postponed to 2019

Due to the construction of Post Oak Boulevard, the Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting event, annually held on Thanksgiving evening, is being postponed until 2019. 

City of Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade
Nov. 22, 2018

The Thanksgiving Day parade remains a 67-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
Nov. 16- Dec. 30, 2018

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. 

The Nutcracker
Nov. 23-Dec. 29, 2018

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.

Ice Land: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas
Nov. 17, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Moody Gardens takes the holidays to a whole new level of cool! A skilled team of master ice carvers has charted your course for the ultimate Caribbean Christmas! Embark on a breathtaking undersea journey made of two million pounds of ice!

Zoo Lights
Nov. 17, 2018-Jan. 13, 2019

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.

Festival of Lights
Nov. 17, 2018- Jan. 6, 2019

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.  


Dickens on the Strand
Galveston - 51 mi/82 km from Downtown Houston
Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018

The annual holiday street festival, based on 19th-century Victorian London, features parades, non-stop entertainment on six stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers and a host of other entertainers. 

57th Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade presented by the Cities of Kemah, League City, Nassau Bay and Clear Lake Shores
Bay Area Houston - 31 mi/50 km from Downtown Houston
Dec. 8, 2018

Every year over 100 festively decorated boats of all sizes parade around Clear Lake and through the Clear Lake Channel in front of the Kemah Boardwalk.

The Mayor's Official Downtown Houston Holiday Celebration
Nov. 30, 2018
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. 

Tamale Festival Houston
Dec. 1, 2018

Come out for a day of Great Fun, Good Music and great food! Enjoy a variety of Tamales from varied Latino Cultures as well as great Texas BBQ, Food Trucks, fair ground foods and much more! 

Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival
Dec. 7-9, 2018

German Christmas Market & Festival Weihnachtsmarkt Texas Style - Free Admission, Parking, and Shuttle Herzlich Willkommen! It's a Texas German celebration on the old downtown streets of Tomball, Texas. You don't have to be German to enjoy this festival!

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend
Dec. 14, 2018- Jan. 5, 2019

Just in time for the holidays, Santa and his reindeer visit Bayou Bend for 12 evenings of festive fun this December. During “Christmas Village at Bayou Bend,” Ima Hogg’s former home is decked out with merry decorations, a trail of sparkling lights, animated projections, and performances. At the center of the “Christmas Village” will be an elaborate Spiegeltent—a Belgian “tent of mirrors” comprising more than 1,200 separate pieces. 

Annual Candlelight Tour in the Park
Dec. 8, 2018

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. 

AdvoCare Texas Bowl: Big 12 vs. SEC
Dec. 27, 2018

Don’t miss the next sellout as the Big 12 takes on the SEC in the 11th Annual AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl! Game festivities include tailgating parties and live music.


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