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8 Best Annual Events and Festivals in Houston, Texas

There’s also lots to do and see in Houston, from fashion and nightlife to sports, entertainment and fine dining. The city is also well known for being the home to the NASA Space Center. But, if you haven’t taken a trip to this Southern city yet, you may want to take a look at some of these fun annual events first to make sure you plan to be there at just the right time.

Mardi Gras Galveston - February to March Mardi Gras Galveston
Credit: Mardi Gras Galveston by mardigrasgalveston.com

Mardi Gras Galveston - February to March

Although this event is technically held in the coastal town of Galveston, it’s just a stone’s throw from Houston and is definitely one not to be missed. As the third-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, Mardi Gras Galveston is one of the most popular annual events along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Although the event dates all the way back to the late 1800s, it was discontinued briefly during World War II, before being brought back to life in the 1980s. As you might expect, you’ll find several parades, live music, food trucks, dance parties and of course, beads being thrown from the balconies above.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo - Late February to Early March Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Credit: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo by Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo - Late February to Early March

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been an area tradition since 1932. This three-week, family-friendly event promotes and provides education on agriculture, celebrates Western heritage and supports the youth of Texas by providing scholarship money. If you’ve always wanted to see the excitement of a rodeo up close, this is your chance, as you’ll see real-life cowboys and cowgirls taking on bull riding, bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and more. There’s also a livestock and horse show, an annual barbecue contest and a series of live concerts that have included big names like Reba McIntyre, Taylor Swift, George Strait and even Elvis Presley.

Japan Festival - April Japan Festival
Credit: Japan Festival by houstonjapanfest.org

Japan Festival - April

Also held in April, the Japan Festival has brought in over 20,000 visitors each year since it first began 25 years ago. The festival, which is one of the largest Japanese festivals in the country, celebrates the heritage and culture of Japan through live music, dance, martial arts, origami, bonsai and a traditional tea ceremony. Sake Village also features a variety of different types and flavors of sake to taste.

Comicpalooza - July Comicpalooza
Credit: Comicpalooza by comicpalooza.com

Comicpalooza - July

Calling all pop culture and comic book enthusiasts – did you know the city of Houston hosts the largest pop culture convention in the state each May? Comicpalooza is a multi-format con, which means, you can get all your pop culture fixes in one place, including cosplay, gaming, wrestling, roller derby, a literary conference and a film festival.

Houston International Jazz Festival - September Houston International Jazz Festival
Credit: Houston International Jazz Festival by Houston International Jazz Festival

Houston International Jazz Festival - September

The Houston International Jazz Festival has been celebrating the history, education and music of the jazz industry for 25 years. This all-ages event at the House of Blues features some of the biggest names in jazz including local, regional, national and international performers.

Houston Restaurant Weeks - August & September Houston Restaurant Weeks
Credit: Houston Restaurant Weeks by Houston Restaurant Weeks

Houston Restaurant Weeks - August & September

If you want to check out the culinary scene in Houston, then there’s no better time than Restaurant Weeks, held each year in August. From the first week of August through Labor Day, more than 250 restaurants in the Houston area offer multiple course prix-fixe menus at a special price to give guests a sampling of the best they have to offer and to raise money for the Houston Food Bank, the largest food bank in the United States.

PRC Festival Houston - October PRC Festival Houston
Credit: PRC Festival Houston by prcfestival.com

PRC Festival Houston - October

The Puerto Rican and Cuban Festival held each fall in Houston, celebrates Puerto Rican and Cuban culture with live music, vendors, a car show and of course, plenty of delicious food. The annual event welcomes over 20,000 people each year and aims to disseminate the Puerto Rican and Cuban Dominican cultures in Houston and the surrounding communities.

City of Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade and Uptown Holiday Lighting - November H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
Credit: H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade by © Roberto Galan | Dreamstime.com

City of Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade and Uptown Holiday Lighting - November

The Thanksgiving Day Parade in downtown Houston has been a tradition for over 65 years and welcomes more than 200,000 visitors every year. On Thanksgiving morning, the streets are alive with floats, balloons, marching bands and live entertainment. Then, on Thanksgiving night, the uptown area gets lit up for the holidays with over a million lights, an electric light parade and an appearance by Santa Claus.

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