Arts & Culture

Houston City Guide content connected to the city's arts, music and culture. Find inspiration and event guides.

Explore Houston’s Most Popular Art Institutions for Free


Visitors to the sprawling Houston Museum District can enjoy free admission to many of the city’s leading art institutions. Located in an area spanning from Downtown Houston to Montrose and across to the Museum Park, visitors can easily explore some of Houston’s best museum offerings for free.

Among them are the Museum of Fine Arts, The Health Museum, Houston Zoo and Menil Collection as well as many other museums located in the Museum District. Most offer free admission on specified days or times, while others are always free.

Free Museum Thursdays

Houston’s cultural attractions have a tradition of offering free entry on Thursdays. Some museums are free the whole day, while others have limited hours with waived admission fees.

  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston (Free Thursdays 10am – 9pm). Note that special exhibits and screenings usually have an additional fee.
  • Houston Zoo (Free Thursdays 2pm – closing)
  • Holocaust Museum Houston (Free Thursdays 2pm – 5pm & Sundays 11am – 6pm)
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science (Free Thursdays 5pm – 8pm, always free for children under 3). Note that special exhibits, the butterfly habitat and planetarium usually have an additional fee.
  • Children’s Museum (Free Thursdays, 5pm-8pm). Parking is tight for this popular night. Local tip: arrive early and stop first at the kids-oriented Health Museum next door, which is always free.

Houston Museums that are Always Free

The majority of Houston’s museums are always free. Most of the smaller museums are closed on Mondays.

More information on arts destinations in Houston

Check out our blog post about getting to Houston’s Museum District on the METRORail. For more on Houston’s art, check out our blog posts on unique art twins, hidden art stops in Houston, and the Bayou City Art Festival.

Guide to Houston’s Art Car Parade

art car

The Houston Art Car Parade is a beloved Houston tradition that has been entertaining locals and visitors alike since its inception in 1986. Every spring, Houston’s downtown streets are filled with hundreds of art cars – vehicles transformed into colorful works of art by their creative owners. The parade showcases the fun and funkiness of Houston culture, as well as the creativity and ingenuity of the city’s residents. If you’re looking for an exciting way to celebrate Houston’s vibrant art scene, then you won’t want to miss this amazing event that attracts 300,000 attendees each year!

Orange Show Center for Visionary Art

The Houston Art Car Parade is hosted every year by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Houston’s unique culture and art scene. Founded in 1977, the Orange Show has since become a beloved Houston institution that celebrates the city’s vibrant spirit of creativity and self-expression.

Each spring, they bring together hundreds of art cars from around Houston – vehicles transformed into colorful works of art by their creative owners – and host what many consider to be one of Houston’s most exciting events. The parade showcases both Houston’s funkiness as well as its artistic ingenuity – an event that no fan of Houston culture should miss!

Cars as Art

When and Where

This year, the 36th Annual Houston Art Car Parade will take place on Saturday, April 15, 2023 from 11am-4pm in Houston’s historic downtown district.

The best seats are in the VIPit at Hermann Square in front of Houston’s City Hall, but you can watch the parade for free along the parade route. We suggest bringing a chair or blanket to sit on, along with bottled water.

Getting to the Houston Art Car Parade

Paid Parking in Houston’s Downtown District

Houston’s downtown district is full of paid parking options for visitors attending the Houston Art Car Parade. With so many lots to choose from, visitors can easily find a spot near the parade route and avoid potential traffic jams on the day of the event.

Some of Houston’s best-known parking facilities are located in Houston’s downtown district, including Houston City Hall Parking Garage and Houston Theater District Park One. We suggest choosing a lot a couple of blocks away from the parade route to minimize traffic when the crowds leave.

Using the METRORail from Midtown

Houston’s METRORail is the perfect way to travel from Midtown Houston to downtown Houston for the Houston Art Car Parade. With just a few stops and an easy-to-use system, it takes only minutes to get from Ensemble Station in Midtown Houston to Main Street Square Station in downtown Houston. This makes it one of the most convenient ways to get around on parade day and avoid potential traffic jams.

Starting from Lodgeur at Mid Main Lofts, you will take the northbound Red Line of the METRORail from the Ensemble Station next to Mid Main Lofts. Four stops later, you step of the METRORail at the Market Street Square Station. From that station, a quick walk four blocks west along McKinney Street will land you in the heart of the Art Car Parade near the Houston Public Library and City Hall.

Check out our guide to using the METRORail.

Houston’s Art Car Parade is too good to miss

Houston’s Art Car Parade is a unique and festive celebration of Houston culture that brings together hundreds of art cars created by creative owners. Hosted each year by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Arts, visitors can enjoy free viewing along the parade route or purchase VIPit seating in Hermann Square near Houston City Hall. There are plenty of parking options downtown to avoid traffic jams on parade day as well as convenient access via METRORail from Midtown Houston. With so much fun and funkiness to experience, don’t miss out on experiencing Houston’s vibrant art scene at this amazing event!

Guide to Houston’s Bayou City Art Festival

bayou city art festival

For 50 years, the Bayou City Art Festival (BCAF) has been a beloved Houston tradition that brings together 300,000 annual visitors and 1,500 regional artists from 32 states to celebrate art. From paintings to photography and drawings to sculptures – over 300 booths will be filled with handmade creations for both sale and demonstration purposes. Make sure you join us at BCAF this year for an unforgettable experience!

The Bayou City Art Festival offers even more than just a plethora of art- it also hosts a beer garden, wine garden, entertainment stage, and an area dedicated to kids’ art and imagination. BCAF guarantees a robust array of food truck options, so you can fill your belly with the perfect meal and never have to worry about hunger pangs. You won’t have time for hangry!

Twice as Nice

Bayou City Art Festival is so popular that it’s held twice a year during Houston’s best months to be outside. In March, it’s at Memorial Park and in October, it’s at downtown at Sam Houston Park.

All for a good cause. Six good causes, actually.

The festival is run by a nonprofit, the Art Colony Association, to benefit 6 local Houston nonprofits: Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, FreshArts, ARTreach, Second Servings, and The Women’s Fund.

How to get to Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park in March

No on-site parking is available at the Memorial Park event. Nevertheless, ticket holders can access free and safe parking options at Northwest Mall (555 NW Mall). Alternatively, individuals may purchase a $5 roundtrip shuttle pass to get transported from their cars to the festival site. Additionally, children 12 and under are eligible for complimentary rides. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft always have a strong presence at BCAF.

How to get to Bayou City Art Festival downtown in October

The downtown edition of the Bayou City Art Festival is one of the most anticipated art events in Houston, held downtown every October in Sam Houston Park, along Allen Parkway. If you’re staying at Lodgeur at Mid Main Lofts in Midtown and want to attend this fantastic event, there’s no need to worry about how to get there! The METRORail provides quick and easy transportation from Midtown directly downtown, so all you have to do is hop on board and enjoy the ride.

You will take the METRORail from the Ensemble Station at Mid Main Lofts northbound to the Market Street Square Station, directly on the Red Line. With just four stops along the way, you can be sure that your journey will be comfortable and stress-free. Check out our guide to using the METRORail.

How to buy a ticket

Tickets are available on the Bayou City Art Festival website, and usually cost $15-18 for an adult one-day ticket. Tickets may not be sold at the gate, so be sure to order in advance.

For more art destinations in Houston open year round, check out our post on hidden art stops in Houston.

The murals of Midtown

Midtown Houston is a walkable neighborhood filled with vibrant murals that bring life and color to the city. Nearly every block has unique street art to enjoy.

Come walk around and experience all of the amazing street art that makes this part of town so unique!

Discover why street art makes Midtown Houston such a unique and captivating place. With its dynamic atmosphere, plenty of walkable streets and vibrant murals – you’ll be blown away by your experience! Take the time to explore this one-of-a-kind area for yourself today.

For more unique art stops in Houston, check out our list of hidden gems.

Houston Art Twins: public art in Houston with a global twin

Fantome sculpture

Have you ever been to a city and felt like you were seeing double? Well, in Houston, that could be because our public artworks seem to have twins overseas. If you’re ever in Houston, be sure to check out these amazing works of art!

Houston has unique public art pieces with “twins” in famous places.

Houston is an incredibly artistic city, blessed with many incredible public art pieces. One particularly noteworthy part of Houston’s art scene are the “twins” – pieces that Houstonians can find in their own city, accompanied by a twin piece from another global city. Houston has become a hub for creative couplets of beloved sculptures that add unique depth and texture. They make Houston an even cooler place to explore.

Chronophage clocks in the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Cambridge University

At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, feast your eyes on an unforgettable and creative steampunk grasshopper clock known as Chronophage. This incredible time-devouring creature can be found on the ground floor of HMNS – it was originally designed for Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University by John Taylor and unveiled to the public in a ceremony hosted by Nobel laureate and physicist Stephen Hawking.

In 2008, Time Magazine bestowed the prestigious honor of one of its ‘Best Inventions’ upon The Clock. This timekeeper is truly a marvel as only four Chronophages exist in the world; one original located in Cambridge and two other variations, namely Dragon Chronophage situated in Shanghai that swallows an oyster pearl hourly and Midsummer Chronophage travelling within United Kingdom.

Personnage and Birds Miro sculpture at 600 Travis Street

Since 1979, the iconic Personnage and Birds sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miró has stood guard in front of Williams Towers at 600 Travis Street, attracting visitors for over four decades. This twenty-two foot high abstract artwork was specially commissioned to be placed here; it is even said that Miró himself visited its home prior to his death in 1983. Passersby have delightedly captured countless photos as a reminder of this beloved fixture’s presence in downtown Houston throughout these years.

Barcelona is incredibly fortunate to feature the remarkable 72-foot Woman and Bird sculpture by Miró in Parc Joan Miró. This piece, created just three years after its twin in Houston, makes Barcelona one of only two cities that can flaunt such grand public works art from this renowned artist.

Jean Dubuffet sculptures at Discovery Green in Houston and Garden des Tuileries in Paris

Two monumental sculptures, Monument au Fantome and Le Bel Costume, are connected by history and art. Artist Jean Dubuffet created both statues, which can be seen at Discovery Green in Houston (Monument au Fantome) and Garden des Tuileries in Paris (Le Bel Costume).

Monument au Fantome is the larger of these art twins, standing 15 feet tall and comprising several individual sculptures with small openings to pass through them. You’re likely to see kids crawling through and around the Fantome grouping. It has an intricate web of abstract lines crossing over each other, making it look like a living organism.

Le Bel Costume stands at a smaller 9 feet tall, with its own distinct character. Its robust architecture and shades of grey convey the timeless artistry of painting in all its curves and strokes. Both works by Jean Dubuffet embody his philosophy that art should exude spontaneity and vivacity – no matter where it be seen! Houston or Paris, these pieces will capture your attention instantly.

Visit Houston’s art scene

As a bonus, the famous “Houston is Inspired” mural is two blocks from the downtown Miro sculpture at 600 Travis Street.

Houston stands out as a hot-spot for unique art, giving life to its diverse culture and creative spirit. Every corner of Houston has something special waiting to be discovered – so don’t forget to keep an eye open on your next visit! For more ideas, check out our blog post on hidden art stops in Houston.

Events bringing Lodgeur’s guests to Houston

More than 6,000 guests have come to Houston and stayed in a Lodgeur furnished apartment. While many of our guests are traveling for work, internships, clerkships, medical residencies, travel assignments or extended medical care in TMC, we also host thousands of guests visiting Houston for a huge variety of events.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular events in Houston that draw Lodgeur guests year after year. So if you’re looking for an exciting new experience or just want to explore everything this amazing city has to offer, read on!

Houston Marathon (January)

Image courtesy of the Chevron Houston Marathon.

The Houston Marathon is an annual event held in January that draws runners from all over the world. This marathon, which has been running for more than 40 years, is a great way to kick off the year with a healthy and challenging competition. The course takes participants through some of Houston’s most iconic neighborhoods and provides stunning views of its skyline.

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (February & March)

Image courtesy of RODEOHOUSTON.

The Houston Rodeo is another popular event held each year, usually between February and March. Rodeo attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the globe who come to watch rodeos such as bull riding and barrel racing, take part in activities like petting zoos and carnival rides, and listen to amazing performances by big names like George Strait, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and more!

Lodgeur is a popular place to stay for guests who prefer hopping on the METRORail at the station next to Mid Main Lofts to being stuck in the parking and traffic near Rodeo. (Check out the post on using the METRORail from Midtown.)

Houston Art Car Parade (April)

cars in Houston's Art Car Parade
Each year’s art cars are unique, created by community groups from around Houston.

The Houston Art Car Parade is an annual event held every April which celebrates both local artistry and automobile culture with colorful decorated cars parading around town. This parade features hundreds of unique cars created by local artists ranging from classic vintage models covered in graffiti to modern vehicles outfitted with flashing lights or outlandish designs – it’s sure to be a spectacle you won’t want to miss! Be sure to check out Lodgeur’s Guide to the Art Car Parade.

Offshore Technology Conference (May)

robots image
Image courtesy of Offshore Technology Conference.

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is an annual event that takes place in Houston, Texas. It brings together more than 60,000 industry professionals from around the world to discuss the latest innovations and advancements in offshore energy technology. The conference has been running since 1969 and continues to be one of the most important events in the oil and gas industry. Attendees frequently choose Lodgeur when they want to be close to the OTC but have more space and privacy than a hotel room offers.

Bayou City Art Festival (October)

art festival

The Bayou City Art Festival (BCAF) is a Houston staple that has been celebrated for 50 years! This event brings together 1,500 regional artists from 32 states and over 300 booths filled with handmade art including paintings, sculptures, photography, and drawings. It’s no wonder BCAF draws in an impressive crowd of 300,000 visitors twice a year during the best months to be outdoors in Houston – March at Memorial Park and October at Sam Houston Park.

Theater Season (October through May)

theater play image
Photo courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.

Houston is one of the most vibrant theater cities in the United States, and its theater season is no exception. Every year, Houston’s theaters come alive with a variety of performances ranging from classic plays to modern musicals. Lodgeur’s furnished apartments across the street from Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) make it a popular choice with actors coming to town for a series of performances, who are looking for a more comfortable home away from home during the theater season.

Sports (Baseball, Basketball and Football)

baseball stadium image
Image courtesy of

Houston is a great place to be a sports fan or a professional athlete. The city and its surrounding area have teams in all three major American professional sports leagues – the NFL, NBA and MLB. Lodgeur hosts professional athletes in town for a season who are looking for the consistent quality of a hotel, but with the amenities of a complete apartment home.

Lodgeur – your home in Houston

Houston’s events draw millions of visitors to the city each year. Thousands of visitors have chosen Lodgeur’s furnished apartments in Midtown as their home base to explore the nation’s 4th largest city. Come see why they keep coming back.

Do Houston like a local – Look beyond the usual suspects.

Houston’s museums, sports and parks are all well known but the fourth largest city in the US has a wealth of other interesting experiences waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for a unique experience just begging for insta posts, you’ll find it here.

Here are Lodgeur’s favorite uniquely Houston experiences:

PopFancy Dessert Bar

At PopFancy Dessert Bar, Houston’s most aesthetic dessert spot, visitors can find an ever-changing array of creative and delicious treats and cocktails. Every few weeks, the bar celebrates a different fandom with specially crafted desserts that pay homage to each fandom. Find your people and revel in all the gorgeous attention to detail for your favorite fandom.

Past fandom themes included Harry Potter, BTS and 90’s anime. Costumes encouraged for guests of all ages. Tickets to skip the entrance line are available online for $1.

William Price Distilling Company tour

The William Price Distilling Company offers free guided tours each week, where this local business creates craft batches of whiskey, vodka, gin and liquor. (Lodgeur’s favorite is the Honey Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey.) During the tour, visitors will learn about the distillation process and get to try some samples.

Cocktail classes and distillery tours available for online bookings. William Price offers an unparalleled special events calendar – even hosting World Cup watch parties at 4am for key teams.

Astros ballpark tours

The Houston Astros (World Series champs and hometown heroes!) offer tours of their ballpark, Minute Maid Park. For ‘Stros fans, nothing comes close to the Astros tour. This Houston experience gives you access to all kinds of behind-the-scenes looks at Minute Maid Park. You’ll get to see all kinds of things that are usually hidden from the public. You might even meet some of the players!

Downtown tunnels

The tunnels underneath downtown Houston are the reason you won’t see many pedestrians outside. The underground passageways were created as a convenient way for Houstonians to get around downtown without dealing with Houston’s scorching heat and humidity.

With over six miles of subterranean tunnels filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, Houston insiders know to head below ground when it’s time to meet up for lunch. You can access the tunnels from the lobby of most large office buildings downtown. If you’ve already gotten your steps in for the day, we recommend using a tunnels map.

Cisterns Tour

cistern tunnels image

Houston’s underground cisterns offer a unique tour experience for visitors. The Houston Cisterns are an 85,000-square-foot network of tunnels that form the city’s underground water system. Photos are a must at this known for its ethereal, architectural vibe.

Tours guide you through this fascinating and beautiful subterranean world as you learn more about Houston’s history and culture. $10 entry fee.

Honey Art Cafe

At Honey Art Cafe, you can eat, drink and enjoy art all at the same time! The aesthetic cafe serves delicious food and drinks, and also has a rotating art exhibit on display. Best known for its simple but beautiful art projects that can be enjoyed in the cafe over a bougie coffee and adorably decorated macaron. This is a great place to visit for adults and children alike.

Texas Art Asylum

Texas Art Asylum is the city’s most unique art and craft supply store, and it oozes character. Brimming with sensory experiences, this shops resells donated art supplies – a mix of new and gently used supplies, like canvases, paint brushes, partial bottles of paint, beads and fabric scraps. They’ve also got lots of great vintage books, the occasional antique, awesome ephemera and doll parts galore. The for-profit social enterprise claims to have diverted 2 million pounds of art supplies from local landfills into the hands of local artists.

First Thursdays Block Party

The first Thursday of (almost) every month, Houston’s Midtown neighborhood comes alive with a block party featuring specials from local restaurants, bars, and businesses. Enjoy live music, great food and drinks, a night market, and an atmosphere full of Houston culture. Check out our post here with all the details.

The Complete Guide to Planning a Family Outing to MATCH Theater

The Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston is next door to Lodgeur at Mid Main Lofts.

If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly activity in Houston, look no further than MATCH Theater! Their children’s plays are always entertaining and engaging. But if this is your first time visiting, it can be a little daunting trying to figure out what to do. Lodgeur’s team brings their children to MATCH performances fairly often, so we’ve put together this guide to help make the planning process easier for you.

What is MATCH?

MATCH is the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston. MATCH has three different theater venues:

  1. The Main Street Theater
  2. The Midtown Theater
  3. The Studio Theater

Make sure you know which theater is hosting your event!

This post is about the Midtown Theater, which seats 200 people and is located at 3400 Main Street in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood. It’s a multi-use facility that houses several theaters, performance spaces, and art galleries. In addition to plays, it also hosts other events such as music concerts, comedy shows, dance performances, lectures and workshops.

When Should We Go?

MATCH offers children’s plays year round and tickets are available to individual plays or in season packages. The theater typically performs 5-7 children’s plays each year, with some performances designed for children who have sensory needs.

On January 15, 2023, MATCH is hosting a Family Fun Day from 1-5pm. The event is a free event with live music, theater and dance, along with bounce houses, chalk artists, stilt walkers and food trucks.

What Should We Wear?

MATCH is a casual theater experience, so there’s no need to dress up. However, if you’re planning on seeing a play in the Main Street Theater, it’s recommended that you dress a bit nicer as that theater is considered the most formal. (Some children wear costumes when attending children’s plays that are specific to the play.)

Where do we park?

You have two options for parking at MATCH. Some street parking is available for a fee, but it fills up quickly. Download the ParkMobile app to pay by phone.

A better option is to park in the parking garage at Mid Main Lofts, 3550 Main Street, with two entrances on Travis Street, and a third on Holman Street. It’s across the street from MATCH and we’ve never seen them run out of parking spaces. You will receive a ticket when you enter and the fastest way to exit is to keep your ticket with you and use the machine near the elevator to pay before you drive out.

Add on brunch, lunch or dinner

MATCH is located in Midtown, Houston’s most walkable neighborhood. A great way to turn a theater outing into an experience is to add on a meal before or after the play.

Across the street from the theater are Brass Tap, Holman Draft Hall and Kura Revolving Sushi Bar. Walk to the other side of the parking garage and you have Winnie’s and Home Slice Pizza.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar is popular with kids for its playful food delivery technology. Robots bring the drinks to your table. A conveyor belt lets kids see small dishes of different foods to try (under $4/plate), that guests can pull off the belt. Each table has a screen that takes orders as well. Once you order a dish, it comes whizzing to your table on a second conveyor belt and stops right at your table.

self serving machine

Choose food from the bottom conveyor belt or order it on the screen for delivery on the top conveyor belt. Deposit your plates in the slot on each table as you finish.

Brass Tap is a popular weekend brunch destination known for its signature brunch boards and mimosa flights. It gets busy on the weekends, so make a reservation if you’re visiting then. In good weather, the Brass Tap will open up the dining space to provide a patio-style vibe.

Bass Tap bar

Image courtesy of Brass Tap.

Holman Draft Hall serves brunch from 11am to 3pm on weekends. It has covered and open-air seating, along with fire bowls for cold weather. Brunch boards should be ordered by 2pm the Thursday before your visit. Kids love the swing chairs outside. Order at the bar.

two little girls in a swing chair

Lodgeur youngest team members love the swings and tacos at Holman Draft Hall.

Winnie’s offers sandwiches, fries and cocktails, with indoor and patio seating. The sandwiches may be a big for most kids, but we always see plenty of families at Winnie’s.

Winnie’s sandwich place

Winnie’s attracts lots of families to the picnic tables on its patio.

Home Slice Pizza recently opened up its first Houston location of this popular Austin pizzeria. This funky pizza joint has NY-style thin crust pizza with enough of a mix of fresh salads and sandwiches to feed the pickiest crowd. Indoor and covered patio seating.

Home Slice Pizza place image

Home Slice Pizza is a crowd pleaser, with pizza build-to-order or by the slice.

Spicy Girl is a Lodgeur favorite, known for its dumplings and bao. They serve up fresh Chinese food and the service is always friendly.

Spicy Girl restaurant image

Team Lodgeur loves the soup dumplings and curry at Spicy Girl in Midtown.

Upgrade to a weekend staycation

Lodgeur 1-bedroom fully furnished apartment at Mid Main Lofts in Midtown.

The Midtown neighborhood has so much to explore that we recommend staying a night or two to make a weekend of your theater outing. We offer fully furnished studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments in Mid Main Lofts, in the apartment community above the parking garage. With its gorgeous pool and outdoor grills, Lodgeur at Mid Main Lofts is popular for Houston staycations.

When you stay with Lodgeur, you can enjoy all the amenities of Mid Main Lofts while having easy access to MATCH Theater and parking included. Plus, you’re in a great spot for sightseeing and exploring Houston’s most walkable neighborhood. We offer 24/7 check-in to keep things easy. We want you to feel relaxed and ready for a fun weekend of theater and more.

For more info on visiting Midtown

Check out our Houston City Guide for more info on places to eat, sleep and play. Top picks for families coming to see a production at MATCH are the posts on brunch and lunch in Midtown, places to eat and drink within walking distance of our furnished apartments at Mid Main Lofts, and places you can access from Mid Main Lofts on the METRORail.

train image

Midtown is the perfect base for a family staycation to explore Houston’s museums, parks and restaurants. It has walkable destinations, garage parking and easy access to the METRORail.

​​Top 10 things to check out during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

No other cultural event embodies Houston like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. With a 90-year history, it’s easily the city’s biggest event of the year drawing up to 175,000 visitors every day. Best of all, the Rodeo lasts for nearly three weeks, so there is plenty of time to join in the fun.

If this is in fact your first rodeo, check out Lodgeur’s top 10 must-do Houston Rodeo experiences.

1 – Rodeo Super Series events

Be sure not to miss the Rodeo Super Series events, which is what makes a rodeo a rodeo after all. The show starts with a covered wagon race and then moves on through events like barrel racing, team roping and bronco riding. Bull Riding is by far the most popular competitive event, but there’s nothing cuter than watching the tiny cowboys and cowgirls hang on for dear life during the Mutton Bustin’ event where kids around 5 years old ride a sheep bareback across the corral.

2 – Massive concerts at NRG Stadium

While there’s plenty to do at Houston Rodeo, Houstonians get most excited about the nightly concerts that span a full range of genres from classic country music to hip-hop and Tejano. Honestly, they’re the hottest tickets in town, and it’s standard for the top acts to sell out NRG Stadium months in advance. Frequent country performers include Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Jon Pardi. The 2023 Houston Rodeo lineup also includes Machine Gun Kelly, Bun B, and New Kids on the Block.

Your concert ticket includes entry to the Houston Rodeo fairgrounds and all of the Rodeo Super Series events. The concert lasts about one hour and follows the Rodeo Super Series events.

3 – Carnival rides

If you have little ones and can’t stay out late for the events and concerts, attending the carnival outside the stadium is a great daytime activity that features all the usual rides for kids of all ages. Download the Rodeo Houston app to purchase and use carnival tickets.

4 – World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest

Image courtesy of Wendy Fong.

If you can get tickets to the best shows and rodeo events, that’s a win. But if you get the chance to attend the epic World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, you’d better show up with an empty stomach and dancing shoes because, simply put: it’s a party! In fact, many of the large, sponsored tents are invite-only affairs.

5 – Livestock auctions and exhibitions

Sheep attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Sheep attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

True to its roots, the Rodeo features several livestock auctions, but they’re absolutely not your run-of-the-mill auctions! Ranchers come to Houston from all parts of Texas, and some animals can sell for well above six figures. Best of all, a substantial portion of that money often goes to local charities. The livestock are in the NRG Center, and you can wander around meeting them. One day, you might see cows and another day the goats. The back corner has a birthing center where baby pigs and sheep are born during rodeo. A children’s petting zoo and area to watch chickens hatch rounds out the kid-friendly experience.

6 – Food, food, and more food

If eating barbeque isn’t your first choice, you have plenty of other dining options at the Rodeo, especially since they added a sit-down dining area called The Ranch Saloon + Steakhouse. Rodeo vendors include restaurant favorites from Houston and around Texas. Choose from tacos, turkey legs and almost any kind of meat on a stick in the massive covered food court between the Rodeo Carnival and the NRG Center’s indoor livestock exhibits. You can also check out the usual booths in NRG Center, Rodeo Plaza, and the Junction sections of NRG Park.

7 – Take the METRORail to beat the hassle of Houston Rodeo parking

Thousands and thousands of people attend Houston Rodeo, making it tough to find parking near NRG Stadium. Because of this, an overwhelming number of people rely on rideshare apps like Uber for transportation, which hikes up the price and makes it almost impossible for your driver to find you. So avoid the headache, and hop on the METRORail instead!

By the way, if you stay with Lodgeur in the heart of Houston’s Midtown neighborhood, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from the METRORail.

8 – Shopping, arts, and crafts

Bull riding, bar-b-que, and the concerts round out the top attractions but don’t forget about the shopping, arts, and crafts at NRG Center. Hundreds of vendors come to Houston to sell some of the most beautiful (or unique!) hand-crafted wares you’ve ever seen, from hand-woven quilts to genuine rustic furniture and Western-inspired art. Whether you’re buying or browsing, you will be entertained.

9 – Go Texan Days and the parade

Houstonians enjoy the Rodeo so much that the city and county declare Go Texan Day in honor of the event. On Go Texas Day, hundreds of trail riders arrive in Houston in horseback caravans from around Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. It’s a gentle nod to our cultural identity and our historical roots, so attending the parade and dressing up in casual, subtle Western attire while out and about is great fun.

Go Texas Day kicks off the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the day before the Rodeo Parade and Rodeo Run in downtown Houston and the opening day of the World Championship of Bar-B-Que at Reliant Park.

10 – Houston nightlife

So, if those attractions still aren’t enough, Rodeo time is perfect for checking out Houston’s nightlife after the nightly concerts finish. Stick to the nearby areas of the Galleria, Montrose, Upper Kirby, Village, and Midtown, and you can’t go wrong because this time of year is special wherever you go.

See you at the Rodeo, y’all!

Hidden art destinations in Houston

Connect with your artistic side in these cool Houston destinations.

How to use this guide.

We understand that what’s perfect for a business traveler is not always perfect for a family vacation. So we’ve identified each location and activity with an emoji to give you a quick visual and help you make easier decisions. Your trip should be about exploring, not researching.

We’ve also provided indicative pricing from $ to $$$$.

  • 😎 See this symbol and you’re headed to a place drenched in cool. It’s probably new on the scene, on a few of the top “must visit” lists, and great for a photo op.
  • 👶 See this symbol and you’re promised a family-friendly place where you would be comfortable taking children of all ages. They may have a kid’s menu, kid’s pricing, and an understanding of people of all ages.
  • 💼 See this symbol and you’re all set for dinner with the boss, a workgroup, or an expense account.
  • 🏙 See this symbol and you’re in for a local treat. It will be very Houstonian but not necessarily traditional. These are some of our personal favorites in the city.


The Mid Main Gallery in Houston, Texas is an intimate place to view the work of an ever-changing array of local artwork from established and emerging local artists.

In conjunction with First Thursday block party organized by Mid Main Lofts, the Mid Main Gallery hosts exhibits where the public can view the art and meet the artist.

More information about First Thursdays can be found here.

Contact info.

Texas Art Asylum


Texas Art Asylum

Looking for something quirky to do? Part thrift store, craft store, antique store, and salvage yard, the Texas Art Asylum is meant to inspire creative reuse! Room after room of art materials, 20th century electronics and vintage materials. Most unmarked items are sold by the pound.

Contact info.

Opening hours.

  • Wednesday – 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday – 11:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Project Row Houses


Project Row Houses (PRH) is part art colony and part historic preservation project in Houston’s Third Ward. Founded by artist and activist Rick Lowe, the non-profit seeks to create an environment of hope and opportunity for residents through its holistic approach to urban revitalization.

The complex is made up of 22 historic shotgun style homes that were built in the late 19th century and have been restored to their original charm. Some houses provide space for local artists to showcase their work, while others provide affordable housing for the local community. Thirty years strong, PRH curates revolving art exhibitions and holds a monthly outdoor market.

A highlight of any visit to PRH includes a quick stop at Crumbville, TX – a bakery offering cookies and cookie-stuffed cupcakes. Expect a warm welcome from owner & baker, Ella Russell, whose cozy bakery earned a spot on Yelp’s list forTop 100 Places to Eat in the US 2023. (Lodgeur recommends the Mayniac Munch red velvet cookies with chunks of chocolate chip pecan cookie dough and Oreos.)

Contact info.

Opening hours.

  • Wednesday to Sunday – noon to 5 pm

Box13 ArtSpace


With three large interior spaces and a window gallery, the artist-run nonprofit BOX 13 ArtSpace has plenty of room for exhibiting innovative contemporary works that wouldn’t be shown in a commercial gallery. BOX 13 is open from 1 to 5 pm on Saturdays during exhibitions.

Contact info.

Opening hours.

  • Check website.

Foelber Pottery


Foelber Pottery

Results of the beginner’s pottery class at Foelber.

Foelber Pottery in Houston is a family-owned business that specializes in handmade pottery and ceramics. Founded by master craftsman, John Foelber, the company has been producing beautiful pieces of art since 1979. Foelber Pottery also offers pottery classes for beginner and advanced potters.

This isn’t a pottery painting studio, but a real ceramics studio where you can learn to throw pots and have them fired in the on-site kiln. You’re welcome to BYOB during the classes.

Contact info.

Opening hours.

  • Check website.

Honey Art Cafe


Mural in Honey Art Cafe

Honey Art Cafe offers public and private art classes, in a cozy cafe. The class calendar can be found here and covers workshops like urban sketching, hand lettering, bullet journaling, anime (drawing and watercolor), drawing 101 and watercolor 101. If the class schedule doesn’t work for you, buy a DIY art kit and settle in with a boba tea and an art project.

Contact info.

Opening hours.

  • Open most days – noon to 7 pm

Smither Park


Smither Park features mosaic-covered sculptures created by a community of over 300 artists. Tons of materials were upcycled for the sculptures. The park was developed by builder-artist  Dan Phillips and art patron Stephanie Smither, to honor Stephanie’s late husband, John H. Smither. The park has free street parking, a large covered pavilion for group events, and an auditorium shaped like an anglerfish.

Contact info.

Opening hours.

  • Open most days – 7am to 7 pm
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