Whether a business trip or vacation brings you to south Texas, make it a point to get out and enjoy some of the seasonal things to do in Houston. As one of the largest cities in the nation, this diverse and flourishing city has some amazing offerings when it comes to culture, entertainment, and seasonal fun. There are new opportunities and activities happening every year, but there are also some annual staples that you won’t want to miss.
The Best Seasonal Things to Do in Houston
Whether you are slated to be in H-Town for a weekend, a few weeks, or even a few months on business, this thriving city has activities going on almost year-round. While the office may demand your attention during the weekdays, leave your weeknights and weekends open for exploring all this incredible place has to offer by checking out these seasonal things to do in Houston.
One of the beautiful things about winter in Houston is that it is mostly mild compared to northern locations in the United States. Snow is the exception to the rule here, with some days feeling like a cool spring day. Without harsh winter weather to contend with, many activities that would normally be off limits in more northern locales are still a go in Houston.
- Houston Marathon. Every January thousands of people run or watch the Chevron Houston Marathon. Participants can choose from running multiple distances including a 5K, a half marathon, and a full marathon. This event is a Houston favorite and attracts runners from across the world, so if you choose to attend it is important to plan ahead. If running isn’t your thing, there are typically several other activities such as a health expo to keep people entertained.
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. All year round, Houstonians wait for the much-anticipated Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that usually begins in late February and continues through the first part of March. The event is estimated to draw millions of people each year, and with good reason. Just outside the event center is a carnival filled with exciting rides, pig races, mutton bustin’, and hands-on learning activities about farm life. In the various halls of NRG Center, guests can learn more about agriculture, see live cow milking, watch baby chicks hatch, plant a sunflower seed, see baby pigs and cows being born, and so much more. Inside the rodeo hall itself, the crowd is treated to bronco riding, bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping. After the rodeo events conclude, it is typically followed by a concert from a musical artist. The artist lineup changes each year and tickets should be bought well in advance. Whatever you do, don’t leave the rodeo without trying some of the amazing barbeque that Texas is famous for!
Texas spring weather can be unpredictable, but as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather just wait a while and it will change. Aside from an occasional cold snap or spring storm, much of spring can be mild in Houston which allows for outdoor activities to carry on most of the time.
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As described above, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo continues from February to March. This is a must-see annual event that stretches on for several weeks. Be sure to plan in advance to secure your ticket for the festivities.
- The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival. Just about thirty minutes to the northwest of Houston is The Woodlands, which is known to host one of the best fine arts festivals in the country. Hundreds of artists of all different mediums and styles display their work for sale. In addition, the event usually offers art workshops, live music, culinary demonstrations, and even craft beer tents. This can be a fantastic way to soak up some Houston culture on a fine April day.
- Art Car Parade. The Houston Art Car Parade, typically held in April, is entertainment for almost any age. The parade is of cars that people have decked out with paint, embellishments, and décor to represent certain themes such as poetry, songs, decades, animals, or characters. The cars are outlandish, and the fun is at a fever pitch. Just remember to arrive early and stake out your spot along the route for the best up-close view.
- Comicpalooza. During the month of May, Houston can be overrun with superheroes, aliens, and all things comics at the annual Comicpalooza event. In addition to guest panels, special attractions, entertainment, live art auctions, gaming, and family-friendly activities, there is no shortage of things to do at this Houston event.Pasadena Strawberry Festival. About seventeen miles southeast of downtown is the town of Pasadena who hosts a Strawberry Festival each May. This event is family-friendly and features hundreds of strawberries as well as activities such as entertainment, arts and crafts, barbeque, a beauty pageant, and even the world’s largest strawberry shortcake. The festival’s strawberry shortcake is a great example of the saying that everything is bigger in Texas.
There is no way to sugar coat it. Houston is hot during the summer months. The good news is that the heat can be perfect for visiting Galveston beaches, and Houston also offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy.
- Freedom Over Texas Festival. Many Houstonians celebrate the Fourth of July with the Freedom Over Texas Festival at Eleanor Tinsley Park near Buffalo Bayou. This annual event has quickly become a crowd favorite that draws thousands looking to enjoy a stellar fireworks display, live music and entertainment, and delicious food.
- Houston Restaurant Weeks. For those that prefer to remain in the air conditioning instead of the heat, Houston Restaurant Weeks is a month-long event that benefits the Houston Food Bank. Diners can choose from specially priced meals from participating restaurants all over the Greater Houston Area. Restaurants then donate funds to the Houston Food Bank based on how many meals they sold during the event, which lasts most of August.
A Houston weatherperson will tell you that although the calendar may say the first day of fall happens in September, Houstonians usually don’t experience fall-like weather until November. However, hot weather does not keep the people from celebrating the autumn season with numerous special events.
- Bayou City Art Festival. Each October the city comes together to celebrate artists at the Bayou City Art Festival. It is a celebration of culture and is highly attended by folks looking to spend a leisurely day at Memorial Park.
- Oktoberfest. You may be in Houston, but the city celebrates Texas and German culture in Oktoberfest. Vendors here offer craft and German beer and there is usually live polka music and dancing.
- Texas Renaissance Festival. During the months of October and November, the Texas Renaissance Festival attracts thousands. The small town of Plantersville may be about an hour northwest of Houston, but those who have been before will tell you it is well worth the trip. This part of Texas reverts back to a sixteenth century English village full of people dressed the part of minstrels, jugglers, and magicians. If you do not have a costume, there are a variety of vendors selling period clothing and accessories. This unique Houston tradition also features food and drink reminiscent of times gone by.
- Wings Over Houston Airshow. Each October, Ellington Field which is southeast of Houston hosts the Wings Over Houston Airshow. This event thrills for all ages as they look to the sky to see professional pilots navigating the air with bravery and grace. In the past, the airshow has featured the Navy’s Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, which wow all of those in attendance.
Each November and December, Houston comes alive for the holiday season. Preparations begin in November and stretch through December and sometimes for the first week or two of January depending on the event. Houston may not have snow, but for a couple of months it does have a holiday winter wonderland vibe.
- Zoo Lights. Starting in November and lasting through December, the Houston Zoo hosts Zoo Lights. It takes place each evening at dusk. Guests that buy tickets can wander the zoo to walk through Christmas light tunnels and colorful hanging ornaments. The main fountain by the entrance of the zoo periodically holds a light show that is timed to the beat of music piping through various speakers.
- Houston Open. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy checking out the Houston Open in November. The event attracts some of the world’s best and most prominent golfers who love to play the game and do it well. Onlookers get to see the greats golf in-person and enjoy a day on the links with fellow golf fans.
- The Nutcracker Market. Each November, the Houston Ballet Guild hosts the Nutcracker Market at Reliant Center. It is a huge shopping affair complete with hundreds of vendor booths selling everything from clothes to jewelry to food to world famous tamales. Tickets may be bought ahead of time or at the door and participants can enjoy a day of Christmas shopping with friends while getting in the holiday spirit.
- Thanksgiving Day Parade. The annual Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade can be a great way to work off a little energy before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. The parade draws thousands of people to downtown streets who anxiously await the arrival of custom floats, flying balloons, music and more. The parade also typically showcases a celebrity or two to help ring in the season.
- Uptown Holiday Lighting. Not far from the acclaimed Galleria, Houston holds an uptown holiday lighting ceremony along Post Oak Boulevard. The celebration is family friendly and can be a great way to kick off the start of the holiday season.
- Discovery Green. Houston is not known for frozen lakes, but in December Discovery Green in downtown features a large outdoor ice-skating rink. Even if you do not enjoy ice skating the area is usually lively and festive, sometimes with vendors selling hot chocolate or yummy goodies.
With so many seasonal things to do in Houston, no matter what time of the year you visit, there is something for everyone to enjoy!