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Houston festivals and events

Creating your own family traditions is a lot of fun. Annual outings are a great way to connect with your kids, enjoy something a little off the beaten track, and just have a great time. Houston has plenty of festivals and seasonal activities for you to explore.

February: Galveston Mardi Gras

Galveston Mardi Gras is all about celebrating. With 11 parades, more than 50 galas, tons of food, bead tossing, and street dancing, you’ll be amazed at the revelry. Mardi Gras runs for about two weeks in February, culminating on Fat Tuesday.

20th – 25th Streets and Harborside Drive to Mechanic Streets, Galveston, TX. Hours: Two weeks in February. Admission: Free.

March: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the most exciting events in the city. Held annually in March, the Rodeo features plenty of food, concerts from some of the biggest names in the business, fun and games for all ages, and more fun than you can imagine. If you’ve never experienced a Texas Rodeo, you’re missing out.

Reliant Park, Houston, TX. Hours: March. Admission: many levels available, from single ticket to season passes.

April: Houston Children’s Festival

The annual Houston Children’s Festival is listed as one of Frommer Travel Guides “World’s 300 Unmissable Events.” With star power, tons of activities, lots of food, and plenty of shows to see, this is a popular event every year. Kids love the performers, the street magicians, and the excitement, and the whole family can enjoy a celebration designed specifically for families.

901 Bagby, Houston, Texas 77002. Hours: April. Admission: $8 per person, Children 3 and under: Free.

November: Nutcracker Market

The annual Nutcracker Market at Reliant Center is sponsored by Houston’s Ballet Guild and features more than 300 national and international merchants offering holiday decorations, home décor, gourmet food, clothing, sporting gifts, jewelry — and even furniture. It’s a unique experience, even if you don’t buy a thing.

Reliant Center, One Reliant Park, Houston, TX 77054. Hours: One week in November, 10am-8pm. Admission: $12 per person; Children 5 and under: free.

November-December: Moody Gardens Festival of Lights

The annual Moody Gardens Festival of Lights features over 100 lighted scenes, an outdoor ice rink, live nightly musical entertainment, holiday shopping, and of course, pictures with Santa. Make it part of your holiday tradition — it’s a light show like you’ve never seen before.

One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77554. Hours: November-December. Admission: Free.

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