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Houston Houston Moving Guide

Houston Bucket List: 9 Free Spring Events

Houston's spring calendar is filled with festivals and iconic events to enjoy in our beautiful spring weather. If you're new to Houston, you're in for a treat! These spring happenings are great events to add to your Houston bucket list and get you acclimated with the area and meeting local Houstonians! Grab your calendar and plan your spring weekends. Best of all, these free events in Houston won't break the bank!

1. Art Car Parade

various cars driving in the Art Car Parade decorated as different themes
Image via Vicki Powers

Top of your spring bucket list should be Houston's art car parade! 2018 marks the 31st year of this iconic Houston event. What started with just 40 cars for a couple thousand spectators in 1987 has now grown to a three-day weekend featuring more than 250 cars in the parade for 250,000+ folks on the sidelines. This quirky event features anything on wheels from lawnmowers to unicycles, go-carts and cars. Some of the most memorable entries to me include the Rolling Banana, Fried Chicken Leg driven by a Colonel Sanders look-alike and the Bunny Slippers.

2. Hermann Park Kite Festival

Houston in the spring time experiences some of the best weather. Enjoy clear skies, shining sun and cool breezes at the Hermann park kite festival! Kite lovers meet on the hill of Miller Outdoor Theatre for a full-day of kite flying at the Hermann Park Kite Festival. It's a beautiful scene in the sky to view kites of all shapes, sizes and colors. Enjoy the wandering entertainment, educational booths, live performances and more.

3. Tomball German Heritage Festival

If you're looking for things to do in Houston, this Texan-German celebration is a huge three-day festival, dubbed "it's like Oktoberfest in April!" A perfect weekend getaway for those in the Houston area. The event features four music stages, 175 street vendors, ethnic and cultural food, kid's activities, petting zoo, street performers with free admission and free parking. Germans settled in the area beginning in 1840 so this is a fun celebration to remember their history.

4. San Jacinto Festival & Battle Re-Enactment

re-enactors dressed up at the San Jacinto Festival in Houston
Image via San Jacinto Musuem of History

Any new-comer to Houston would be remiss not to participate in the San Jacinto Festival! Texans love to celebrate their history and the San Jacinto Festival is no different! This year marks the 182nd year of Texas Independence. Folks gather at the San Jacinto Monument to view the state’s largest battle re-enactment, historical presentations, and a chance to tour the monument. It also includes music and dancing on three stages, cultural exhibitors, make-and-take crafts for kids and period demonstrations.

5. NatureFest

It's the 11th year of NatureFest hosted by Cypress' master-planned community, Bridgeland. This Houston event is just filled with free fun including performances, crafts, nature-oriented exhibitor booths, armadillo races, petting zoo, inflatable zone, food trucks, farmers market and more. Jeff Corwin, host of Animal Planet's The Jeff Corwin Experience, will be on stage several times throughout the day with special animal encounters. The Great American Duck Race returns again this year, too!

6. Houston Dragon Boat Festival

It's a day of competitiveness and cheering at Houston Dragon Boat Festival. Teams work together with strategy, teamwork and enthusiasm to glide the 500-pound dragon boat to the finish. Folks can see new races every 15-20 minutes. Enjoy free admission, live music, cultural performances, and more. This festival celebrates this water sport popular in Asian culture. The event is located in Sugar Land.

7. Japan Festival in Houston

girls dressed in traditional Japaense outfits at the Japanese Festival in Houston
Image via Houston Japan Festival

Japan Festival is a free two-day festival in May featuring all things Japan! It promotes activities, foods and entertainment that are important to the Japanese culture. Enjoy live music, culture, games, and cuisine. Don't miss the traditional tea ceremonies in the tea house located in Hermann Park's Japanese Garden. With more than 30,000 attendees, this festival is one of the most attended events of its type in the United States. It's an important event to celebrate diversity in Houston.

8. Houston Greek Fest

Houston Greek Fest celebrates the Greek culture each May at St. Basil The Great Greek Orthodox Church in West Houston. The three-day festival features Greek foods, dancing, church tours,shopping and children's activities. Don't miss free admission 11 am – 2 pm Friday or $5 admission all weekend. Kids 10 and under are free all weekend.

9. Houston Ballet’s Spring Performance

Each spring, Houston Ballet presents a weekend of free performances of one of its beloved productions. Reserved seats under cover are available performance day at the Miller Box Office beginning at 10:30 am. Miller Outdoor is located at Hermann Park.

About the author

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.

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