The weeks after the holidays can be a little tight, money-wise. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun. If you're new to Houston or just looking for ways to spend your free time for free, check out these free things to do in Houston this winter.
Enjoy free music and movies
Listening to classical music can be a special date night – but did you know some organizations offer free performances? Da Camera of Houston offers many free concerts including its popular monthly A Little Day Music over the noon hour downtown as well as its Stop, Look and Listen concert series at The Menil Collection with chamber music and jazz. In honor of its 30th anniversary season this year, Da Camera is sponsoring a Beethoven for All series featuring the complete string quartets for free. There are five performances in February alone at churches, an art gallery and education centers.
Houston Civic Symphony also offers free classical performances at Houston Baptist University and area churches. Its March concert features winners of the Young Artist Competition from area middle schools and high schools.
If you love outdoor movies, Houston is filled with venues offering free outdoor movies year round. Levy Park is just one spot offering free movies, held the last Friday of the month. Levy Park is located at 3801 Eastside north of 59 between Buffalo Speedway and Kirby.
Explore new cultures
As a result of its strong Chinatown community, Houston hosts several Lunar New Year celebrations each January or February. The Chinese Community Center will be celebrating the Year of the Dog February 17 at its free Lunar New Year event. As one of the largest cultural festivals in Houston, it features Asian food, arts, crafts, cultural activities and more.
The Viet Hoa Center hosts its own free Lunar New Year celebration February 24–25 featuring lion and dragon dances, fireworks, Kung Fu exhibition and more. Asia Society Texas presents its own celebration at its Family Day: Lunar New Year February 17. The free afternoon features performances, art and craft activities and food inspired by Lunar New Year traditions across Asia.
For those who want to encourage a love of reading with their kids, don't miss Bookworm: A Festival. This free event February 3 celebrates young readers and connects them with emerging authors. Each year presents a fantastic line-up of picture-book authors. This year's event is held at a middle school in Spring Branch.
Folks who grow up in Houston know February is all about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! The Downtown Rodeo Parade kicks off rodeo season in style with floats, horses, marching bands and more. This year's parade, February 24, begins at 10 am. Downtown streets start closing early parade morning so arrive early! The best spots for viewing are on Louisiana from Bell to Lamar and Lamar from Louisiana to Smith.
Texans love to talk about Texas, so it's no wonder we celebrate our heritage at annual events. Homestead Heritage Day is held each February at Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center in Humble, north of Houston. This year's free event February 10 provides a look at 19th-century Texas settler life highlighting the Texas revolution and Civil War. Activities include military re-enactments, old-fashioned games, heritage music, spinning and weaving, pioneer lore and hands-on crafts.
Washington-on-the-Brazos, dubbed the Birthplace of Texas, hosts a big Texas Independence Day celebration the first weekend each March. The free event includes live music, traditional crafts, cannon and musket firings, the Kids History Zone and a historical play about the signers of the declaration. Don't miss the 1836 Texas Army camp where historical reenactors show life at that time. All admission fees are waived during Texas Independence Day weekend. Washington-on-the-Brazos is located about an hour and a half from downtown Houston.
Houston's typically mild winters enable Houstonians to enjoy a variety of events outside during the winter months. Even if it's chillier than usual, grab a jacket from your storage unit and get ready to explore all the free things to do in Houston this winter.