As the fourth-largest city in America, Houston holds a special place in the hearts of travellers from all over the world. Perpetually overflowing with a wide variety of things to do, including world-class dining options, shopping avenues, and artistic and cultural establishments oozing high-class culture while retaining the traditional spirit of Southern Texas, Houston represents a beautiful mosaic where modern meets quaint. In a city filled with culture, one of the most fascinating attractions for any traveller is the opportunity to witness the sheer variety of festivals and events that take place throughout the year. No matter what you may be interested in, from jazz music to making quilts, from cars to international culture, this place has a special event for you. So dive into the world of festivals and read on as we look at the most popular festivals in Houston, Texas!
1. WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival
As one of the oldest and most popular Indie film festivals in Houston, this is a must-visit event for any avid Indie movie fan. Held annually, WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival bestows awards in a wide variety of categories to Indie movies of all genres. Typically, there are thousands of categories that are submitted for the festival, far more than other world-famous film festivals. This can be an incredible and unforgettable experience to visit, and you certainly cannot miss it if you are in Houston in the month of April.
WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival
Address: WorldFest-Houston, 9898 Bissonnet, Suite 650, Houston, Texas, 77036 USA.
Takes place: April
2. Japanese Festival of Houston [last event in 2019]
For fans of Japanese culture, Japanese Festival of Houston is held annually and celebrates all aspects of this beautiful and ancient culture, including Japanese food, art forms such as ink-drawing, bonsai plants, and origami. Stalls are set up to sell Japanese clothing and accessories such as kimonos and fans, and you can expect to hear Japanese music and see dance performances, among others. It can be a very rewarding experience to go and explore this ancient culture and learn about different aspects of their traditions. Witness and participate in unique martial arts workshops, learn the ancient Japanese art of block printing, check out the impressive Ikebana flower arrangements, or engage in a beautiful tea ceremony that is such an important part of Japanese heritage.
Japanese Festival of Houston
Address: Hermann Park, 6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030, United States
Website: Japanese Festival of Houston
Takes place: April
3. Houston Cinema Arts Festival
Promoting unique and interesting movies throughout the year, Houston Cinema Arts Festival is a non-profit event that is held annually in the month of November. You can check out interesting movie screenings and media installations about your favourite films, and it is a great experience for anyone who is an avid movie-watcher. In addition, there are also interesting panel discussions with the cast and crew of movies, special film-making workshops, and other unique avenues to help you explore your love for performance arts and movies.
Houston Cinema Arts Festival
Address: 4409 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006, United States
Website: Houston Cinema Arts Festival
Takes place: November
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4. Houston International Jazz Festival [Last event in 2019]
Are you a fan of jazz or are you fascinated by this extremely popular genre of music? Would you like to see the best of jazz performances in one festival? Then you simply cannot miss Houston International Jazz Festival. Held in various locations across the city of Houston, this amazing festival celebrates this decades-old musical genre and is held in order to raise money to run the Jazz Education Inc. Anyone who is a fan can sign up for various concerts and workshops held here during the event. Featuring a variety of world-class jazz artists, this festival is sure to be a grand experience.
Houston International Jazz Festival
Address: Houston, Texas, United States
Takes place: August
5. Martin Luther King Jr Grande Parade
Who hasn’t heard about the great leader and visionary, Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and pioneered the racial equality and Civil Rights movement in America? This parade is held in honour of this great leader, and it promotes racial harmony and equality. It gives the important message that there is only one race: the human race, and we must all strive together to vanquish the evils of racism and prejudice from our society. Witness the magnificence of this parade yourself, and be on the right side of history.
Martin Luther King Jr Grande Parade
Address: San Jacinto Street & Elgin Street, Midtown Houston, Texas, USA
Website: Martin Luther King Jr Grande Parade
Takes place: January
6. Houston Dragon Boat Festival [Last event in 2019]
Dragonboat racing is a unique and amazing sport that is held at Buffalo Bayou. Canoes are decorated and are known as dragon boats. This is a great event to witness. Admission is completely free, so if you find yourself in Houston during the month of May, look out for this festival. It can be fun to bring your family or friends along and cheer for your favourite team. Food and beverages are sold on the premises so you can comfortably relax and watch the races.
Houston Dragon Boat Festival
Address: 5001 NASA Rd, Seabrook TX 77586
Takes place: May
7. Houston Greek Festival
Celebrate the ancient and fascinating Greek culture that goes back millennia and pay homage to the incredible heritage of Greece at this awesome festival held during the month of October - typically in the first week. Sample delicious Greek food like feta cheese Greek salad, spanakopita, and baklava, and witness world-class dancing and live music performances of classical Greek traditions. While here, be sure to get involved in the community. You will definitely have a lot of fun here, and you’ll also make some new friends!
Houston Greek Festival
Address: 1100 Eldridge Pkwy, Houston, TX 77077, United States
Takes place: October
8. Bayou City Art Festival
For art enthusiasts, Bayou City Art Festival is an amazing opportunity to meet and be surrounded by tons of artists and art enthusiasts like yourself. Promoting unique artists, musicians, dancers, and other creative minds, this is a cultural gathering ground for the most artistic minds in Houston. You will find fun workshops, poetry and literature readings, theatre performances and skits, and many other great events here. In addition, you will also find a wide variety of food vendors where you can sample different kinds of cuisines and street foods.
Bayou City Art Festival
Address: 7026 Old Katy Rd #221, Houston, TX 77024, United States
Website: Bayou City Art Festival
Takes place: March
9. Houston Gay Pride
In the month of June, the Supreme Court in America legalised gay marriage all over the country, allowing millions of happy couples the right to make their relationship legal and granting an important civil right that was, for thousands of years, unjustly prohibited and punishable by law. The gay pride parade honours this necessary and long overdue event by walking the streets of Houston, fighting against prejudice and discrimination and reaffirming the importance of equality irrespective of sexual orientation. Take part in the Houston pride parade, and witness the magnificent installations and exhibits built by gay and lesbian people as well as allies.
Houston Gay Pride
Address: 401 Branard St, Houston, TX 77006, United States
Website: Houston Gay Pride
Takes place: June
10. Houston Italian Festival
One of the most popular festivals in Houston that promotes Italian culture and heritage, Houston Italian Festival is an incredible mosaic of social events, food, singing, dancing, and community involvement that is a must-visit destination if you happen to be in the city in the month of October. Enjoy delicious Italian food from one of the many food vendors that serve authentic fares here, participate in traditional arts and crafts workshops, admire the many installations, and enjoy Italian music concerts - the choice is yours!
Houston Italian Festival
Address: 1101 Milford St, Houston, TX 77006, United States
Website: Houston Italian Festival
Takes place: Usually held in October
11. International Quilt Festival
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Announcing the debut Quilt Festival Judged Show for 2021! With a total of $52,750 in cash, non-purchase prizes! Deadline...Posted by International Quilt Festival on Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Fabric art has become a huge subculture in recent times, and a lot of youngsters are trying to subvert the consumerist mass-production mindset by buying handmade and locally produced goods. If you are interested in fabric arts, then the International Quilt Festival held in Houston during the fall season is where you need to be. There are plenty of stalls where you can buy your very own handmade quilts. You can also attend the quilting workshops and gain a brand new hobby of your own.
International Quilt Festival
Address: 7660 Woodway Dr #550, Houston, TX 77063, United States
Takes place: Usually held October or November
12. Houston Art Car Parade
Are you interested in cars that are painted in funky and interesting ways? Well, who wouldn’t be? Head over to Houston Art Car Parade and you will be mesmerised by the sheer creativity of artists who can look at an ordinary vehicle and turn it into a magnificent piece of art that is worthy of being displayed in an art museum. Check out cars that look like animals, skulls, tanks, or strange aliens. Or marvel at cars that have been painted in the style of Van Gogh. It’s all here, waiting to be witnessed!
Houston Art Car Parade
Address: Downtown Houston, Texas, USA
Website: Houston Art Car Parade
Takes place: Usually held in April
13. Houston Via Colori [Event has passed]
This is another unique and interesting treat for art enthusiasts. Via Colori is an annual street painting festival held in Houston, where hundreds of artists gather to paint the streets and create breathtaking illustrations. Some of these promote social messages, some create visual illusions to trick the mind, and others promote cubism or modern art. It is all great fun, and wonderful to witness.
Houston Via Colori
Address: Downtown City Hall, 901 Bagby St., Houston TX
Website: Houston Via Colori
Takes place: November
14. Houston Children's Festival [Event has passed]
Hosted by McDonald’s, Houston Children’s Festival is a special, two-day celebration for all your little ones to enjoy. This event showcases a wide range of unique and interesting diversions for your kids, including circuses with trapeze artists and animals, art and painting contests they can participate in for prizes, children’s movies, dancing workshops, and other fun activities that will keep them busy and entertained all day long. Originally, the festival was created in order to raise awareness about child abuse and teach the public how to spot and prevent it, but over time it grew into the amazing festival it is today.
Houston Children's Festival
Address: 1865 Aldine Bender Rd, Houston, TX 77032, United States
Website: Houston Children’s Festival
Takes place: April
Get into the festive spirit in Houston!
The city of Houston is brimming with opportunities and activities. Festivals are a time when like-minded people from all over the city gather to participate in a special hobby or interest. It can be an extremely rewarding experience to engage with the community in such a fruitful way. So embrace the festive vibes and participate in the event of your choice!
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