Things to do in the Houston area: 16+ ideas to get your weekend planning started

Looking for something to do in the Houston area? Here’s what we recommend.

2014 Houston Art Car Parade (Photos by Morris Malakoff, Images provided by Orange Show Center for Visionary Art)

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From art cars and tall ships to cartoon cats and Elle Woods, these are a few of our favorite things to do in the Houston area this weekend.

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🚗 Rev up at the Art Car Parade

2017 Houston Art Car Parade (Photos by Morris Malakoff, Images provided by Orange Show Center for Visionary Art)

One of Houston’s beloved annual events is revving up for its return to downtown Houston. The Houston Art Car Parade is one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the world, featuring more than 250 mobile masterpieces and attracting tens of thousands of spectators to downtown Houston each year. The event will celebrate its 36th year with a series of festivities.

Friday, April 14

6 p.m. - The Legendary Art Car Ball

Wild costumes, live music, interactive and performance art, food, drinks, and a huge selection of illuminated and fire-breathing art cars are hallmarks of the annual Legendary Art Car Ball. Tickets start at $40 and are available at

📍The Orange Show World Headquarters, 2401 Munger Street

Saturday, April 15

11 a.m. - Lineup Party

View the art cars as they get ready for the parade. Enjoy live music, beverage booths, food trucks, activities and more.

📍 Allen Parkway and Heiner Street

11 a.m. - H-E-B Kids Creative Zone

Enjoy interactive activities and performances from organizations including Aeolian Manor Foundation, Alley Theatre’s El Zocalo, Art League Houston, Children’s Museum of Houston, Houston Botanic Garden, Houston Mariachi Festival, the Houston Public Library and more.

📍 Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby Street

12 p.m. - The VIPit Experience

A viewing party and fundraiser, the VIPit Experience offers unobstructed views of the parade, complimentary bites, cocktails, pre-parade entertainment, swag bags and free parking. Notable Houston personalities will provide live commentary for the event. Individual tickets start at $175, reserved tables start at $1,500, and reserved grandstand sections start at $2,000 and are all available for purchase at

📍 City Hall, 901 Bagby Street

2 p.m. - The 36th Annual Houston Art Car Parade

Hundreds of rolling masterpieces will take to the streets of downtown Houston during the parade, expected to draw to some 300,000 onlookers to the city center.

📍Dallas and Bagby Streets

Sunday, April 16

11 a.m. - Art Car Awards Ceremony

More than $16,000 in awards will be distributed to art car artists and groups. Entries will be judged on their creativity, artistic techniques, and inspiration.

📍 Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, 2334 Gulf Terminal Drive

⛵ Embark on a high-seas adventure at Tall Ships Galveston

This photograph shows the Nao Trinidad ship. (Galveston Historical Foundation)

The 2023 Tall Ships Galveston festival will feature ship tours, numerous special events, sail-away excursions, music, food, and family-friendly fun.

Friday, April 14 through Sunday April 16

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Ship tours

As part of the festival, many of the visiting ships will offer sail away experiences during their stay in Galveston. These opportunities put you onboard the vessel and out in the Gulf of Mexico, where you can interact with the crew and see first-hand how the ships operate in the water. Spaces are limited and are available for daytime sails as well as unique evening sails. Pricing and tour availabilities are located at

7 p.m. - Salute to sunset parties

During these ticketed events held Friday through Sunday, attendees will tour select tall ships during sunset wile enjoying complimentary craft beer, light hor d’oeuvres, music, and more in a portside setting. Held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the festival; tickets are $75 per person.

7:30 p.m. - Movie night on the pier

Free to the public, these special movie nights on the pier will screen fan-favorite maritime movies next to the visiting fleet. One of the festival pubs will stay open for drinks, and guests are welcome to bring blankets, chairs, and food. Movies will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be held on the festival lawn area near the pier.

Featured movies:

  • Friday - “Master and Commander”
  • Saturday - “Muppet Treasure Island”
  • Sunday - “Captains Courageous”

💖 Roll up to the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

Saturday, April 15

A popular cartoon cat is rolling into town to offer fans and foodies delectable desserts and exclusive merchandise celebrating all-things Hello Kitty. The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will return to The Woodlands Mall on Saturday. The food truck’s menu features mini cakes, madeleines and macarons. Merchandise for sale includes thermoses, canvas totes, mugs, and lunchboxes.

👟 Race for the dome

Saturday, April 15

The Astrodome Conservancy will host the 3rd annual Race for the Dome on Saturday. Participants will race around the iconic Astrodome with hundreds of Dome-lovers and fans in support of a bright future for the Eighth Wonder of the World.

This year’s event features a 5K road race and a Kids 1K fun run. Participants can come dressed in vintage gear or their best Dome wear and stay around to party after the race to celebrate the Astrodome’s 58th birthday. Awards are given for the top three male and female overall competitors, and top three kids finishers.

Proceeds benefit the Astrodome Conservancy.

☃️ Bundle up for an icy adventure with Olaf

Thursday, April 13, through Sunday, April 16

Step inside the magical adventures of “Frozen” and “Encanto” at NRG Stadium Thursday through Saturday. Dazzling ice skating promises to transport audiences to Arendelle to be a part of Anna’s adventure to find Elsa, whose icy powers unleashed an eternal winter. Olaf, Kristoff and Sven will take you along as they encounter wintry conditions in a race to bring back summer. Then, enter the fantastical Madrigal family’s Casita amidst the beautiful mountains of Colombia. Join Mirabel on her journey to save her enchanted family home alongside her sisters, Isabela and Luisa.

💗 See a sassy musical

Through April 16

Based on the beloved movie,Legally Blonde - The Musical” will take you from the sorority house to the halls of justice with Elle Woods, and of course, her Chihuahua, Bruiser. The musical, produced by Theatre Under The Stars, will show daily at the Hobby Center through Sunday.

🛍️ Shop for a cause

The legendary Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary of Greater Houston’s pop-up fashion sale -- the Chic Boutique Showroom -- will be held this week.

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About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.