A curated list of the best upcoming events in Texas.
November 17–February 25 The colorful, giant lanterns that will line Houston’s Botanic Garden are inspired by nature and Lunar New Year traditions in the Year of the Dragon. The event includes whimsical lighted seesaws and swings. Friday–Sunday and some weeknights. Tickets, $28.50; discounts for members and groups. Houston.
FREE! November 18 This all-ages event, celebrating its 30th anniversary, showcases zines, mini-comics, and other forms of small-press, alternative, and underground DIY media and art. Some 60-plus artists display their wares. Attendees can also attend a zine-related workshop and lecture. The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, Houston.
FREE! November 18 At Lake Tawakoni State Park, campers compete to create the best Dutch oven dishes, one of many events around the state to celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks. All cooking is done on-site, with prizes awarded. Park entry is free for this event. Wills Point.
FREE! November 23–January 6 Learn about the town’s German heritage through a nightly 10-minute audio presentation, plus sing holiday carols and join in the daily lighting of the Community Christmas Tree and German Christmas Pyramid. Marktplatz, Fredericksburg.
FREE! December 1–17 Visitors strolling along the River Walk for 3 weekends (Friday–Sunday) will marvel at the centuries-old tradition of Mexican Christmas lanterns. More than 2,000 of the luminarias will line the river, complementing the thousands of holiday lights strung overhead. San Antonio.
December 2 An East End tradition since 2011, this event features homemade tamales from vendors and local kitchens, craft beer, art displays, arts and craft booths, live music from some of Houston’s top bands, and kids’ activities. General admission, $10. East River, Houston.
December 2–23 Listen to your favorite carols echoing through Natural Bridge Caverns, the state’s largest underground cavern system, and don’t miss the 30-foot Christmas tree. The event also features ice skating (free for kids ages 3 to 11), s’mores (for an additional cost), and story time with Mrs. Claus. Tickets start at $22. San Antonio.
FREE! December 8–9 See what Christmas would have looked like in the 1800s and 1900s as actors re-create holiday and daily-life activities in the 15 historic structures at the National Ranching Heritage Center. Listen to live music while enjoying hot cocoa and kettle corn, visit with Santa, and join in singing Christmas carols. Suggested donation, $5. Lubbock.
January 13 Visit the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary for an evening hike led by trail guides. You’ll spot signs of animal life and learn more about the creatures that reside in this 289-acre nature preserve. Members, $12; non-members, $14. McKinney.
FREE! January 21 This inaugural festival celebrates the Alamo City’s diverse and vibrant faith traditions through music and dance, educational sessions, and exhibits. University of the Incarnate Word Luella Bennack Music Center, San Antonio.
January 24–28 This festival showcasing Black culture features some of the best in Black cinema (including shorts and documentaries), comedy, music, and spoken word. There will be panels, workshops, a poetry slam, and filmmaker master classes. VIP all-experience passes are $279.99. Denton Civic Center and other locations, Denton.
January 26–28 and February 23–25 Artisans from across the U.S. bring their art, handmade jewelry, textiles, and home decor to this annual shop-by-the-sea event. Hourly door prizes and live music round out the activities. Adults, $1. South Padre Island Convention Center, South Padre Island.
February 1–18 Students showcase their prized lambs, goats, steer, heifers, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits in this stock show that dates to the 1930s. The event also includes a calf scramble and robotics competitions. Various events daily; check website for information. San Angelo Fairgrounds, San Angelo.
February 3 This year’s family fundraising celebration at the Houston Museum of Natural Science features a nitrogen ice cream bar and a make-your-own-lava-lamp station. Attendees will be the first to preview the Matter & Motion Hall, the museum’s new chemistry and physics wing. Individual tickets start at $100. Houston.
FREE! February 4–22 This festival of film, art, music, and educational events celebrates the lives, stories, and talents of people with disabilities, making a lasting impact and promoting inclusion. Multiple locations, Houston.
February 7–10 Enjoy scenic birding along nature trails and the Rio Grande River in this border city that’s home to hundreds of local and migratory bird species. Professional field guides lead the treks. Other activities include talks by birding experts and kayaking through bird-rich areas of the river. Festival packages, $135–$300 ($75–$150 for students). Laredo.
FREE! February 10 Celebrate Mardi Gras on the sands of Padre Island, where a lively parade will feature more than 100 colorful floats (including islanders’ decked-out golf carts). Be prepared to catch all the goodies being tossed from them—koozies, beads, candies, and more. The fun continues after the parade with food trucks, music, and awards for the best floats. Whitecap Beach, Corpus Christi.
February 17 The Colony’s Parks and Recreation Department hosts dads (or father figures) and daughters (ages 3 to 12) for an evening of dancing and refreshments. $35 per couple; $10 each additional daughter; $12 extra for a red, white, or pink corsage. The Colony.
February 22–25 Avid birders from across the U.S. gather to witness the world’s last naturally occurring population of endangered whooping cranes complete their annual migration south from Canada. The event features speakers, birding and boating trips, nature tours, and photography workshops. Ticket prices vary by event, ranging from $10 to $105. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Port Aransas.
February 29–March 2 Since the 1930s, Charro Days has commemorated Mexican heritage on both sides of the Rio Grande. Highlights include 3 parades—the Illuminated Parade, the Color Guard Parade, and the Children’s Parade—a costume ball, and a carnival with rides, family-friendly games, and food. All-you-can-ride carnival tickets are $15. Brownsville.
FREE! March 2–August 3 This exhibit features original pictorial quilts that tell the story of Black history in the West from the 1500s through the civil rights movement. The quilts illustrate Blacks’ achievements in society, religion, education, and the arts, disproving the myth they were mostly just cowboys in the Old West. Stark Museum of Art, Orange.
March 3–5 Festivalgoers are encouraged to don kilts and enjoy Irish music, dancing, storytelling, food, and culture. Events include horse shows, fencing demonstrations, and beer and whiskey tastings. Adult tickets start at $15. Fair Park, Dallas.
March 15–17 There’s no need for quarters to play the hundreds of pinball machines and classic video games in this 40,000-square-foot game room. Weekend package prices run from $75 to $95; day prices from $30 to $50 for adults and from $15 to $35 for kids. Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center, Frisco.
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