Whether they're celebrating its cowboy past or present diversity, there are a plethora of annual events in Houston for new arrivals to enjoy.
The city's impressive array of green spaces are ideal venues for organisers. Festivals are especially plentiful in spring before temperatures are too warm and residents leave for the summer holidays.
Annual events in Houston
Chevron Houston Marathon (January)
This is Houston's largest single-day sporting event. The annual marathon starts and ends at Downtown’s George R. Brown Convention Center. It has steadily grown to attract more than 20,000 entrants from around the world and 200,000 spectators.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (February/March)
Each year, nearly 3 million visitors descend on NRG Stadium eager to see the animal exhibits, cowboy competitions and live music performances associated with the legendary Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As the largest event of its kind in the world, the festival embraces the area's heritage and agriculture, providing countless competitions and entertainment for people of all ages.
Houston Art Car Parade (April)
This free parade is driven by an urge to create. Artists, organisations, community groups and school students transform old cars into aesthetic masterpieces. Though the spirit of competition has heightened since the introduction of awards, the greatest part of the art car parade is that it's art for its own sake. Spectators gather around a designated location and wonder at the imagination and innovation of the participants.
Houston International Jazz Festival (August)
The Houston International Jazz Festival features well-known artists from around the globe in an effort to create a wider and more appreciative audience of the genre and its history. Thousands of loyal supporters turn out each year to enjoy the top-notch acts and to support a festival that donates its proceeds toward creating educational activities for school-aged youth.
Texas Renaissance Festival (October through November)
Roughly an hour outside Houston, expats and locals alike can step into a different time. The 55-acre recreated English village pays homage to an older time with costumed performers, arts and crafts, hundreds of shops, human-powered rides and delicious food and drink on offer.
Mayor's Official Downtown Houston Holiday Celebration (November/December)
Houston's mayor kicks off the holiday season with an annual celebration. Residents can expect fireworks, entertainment, and choirs as the city goes all out. The event culminates with the lighting of the tree outside City Hall.