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Houston’s Art Car Parade Promises a Weird and Wonderful Weekend

Take a weekend getaway from Austin to see over 250 artistic mobile masterpieces from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

While Austin boasts its love of all things weird, Houston’s annual Art Car Parade certainly shows that we’re not the only Texas city celebrating a quirky, colorful, artistic flair. The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art in Houston is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the country dedicated to the preservation, documentation and exhibition of visionary and outsider art. This April 11 – 14, The Orange Show will present its 37th Annual Houston Art Car Parade Weekend. The city’s celebration will feature over 250 mobile masterpieces from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico culminating in the grand parade on Saturday, April 13.

Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

Whether you choose to go just for parade day or pack up and go for an overnight stay, take note of the many exciting events taking place during The Orange Show’s Houston Art Car Parade Weekend. Here’s the overview of both ticketed events as well as free fun for the public.

The Main Street Drag, presented by H-E-B

Thursday, April 11, 9 a.m.
Designed to “bring the parade to the people” the Main Street Drag is an opportunity for Art Cars and their artists to visit schools, hospitals, nursing homes, developmental  facilities, and other locations where residents may not be able to participate on their own during the Art Car festivities.

Art Car Sneak Peek at Discovery Green

Thursday, April 11, 6-10 p.m., 1500 McKinney Street
This free and family-friendly evening features live music, art activities for the kids, food & drinks, and the opportunity to interact with 100+ art cars and on display and meet their artists  throughout in the park and along Avenida Houston.

The Legendary Art Car Ball

Friday, April 12, 6 – 11 p.m. at The Orange Show World Headquarters
Not your average party, this event features wild costumes, interactive installations, dancing and more. At the ball, see world-famous artist David Best’s “Houston Temple”, and enjoy musical performances  from HeartByrne, Henry Invisible and more. Tickets start at $40.

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Houston’s Legendary Art Car Ball (photo by Emily Jaschke)

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Houston’s Legendary Art Car Ball (photo by Emily Jaschke)

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Houston’s Legendary Art Car Ball (photo by Emily Jaschke)

The 37th Annual Houston Art Car Parade, presented by Team Gillman

Saturday, April 13, 2 p.m., Downtown Houston and Allen Parkway
The parade is free and open to all to attend. Arrive early to secure your viewing spot. If you prefer to secure grandstand seating, tickets are $45 for adults and $20 per child (ages 2 – 12). A Lineup party begins at 11 a.m. with activations from Meow Wolf, along with the H-E-B Kids Creative Zone, then a checkered flag signals the start of the parade at 2 p.m.

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

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Houston Art Car Parade (photo by Morris Malakoff)

If you prefer to experience the parade in luxury, the VIPit Experience offers the ultimate viewing party with unobstructed front row views in the Hermann Square at City Hall. The event features complimentary bites from over a dozen local chefs and  restaurants, cocktails, pre-parade entertainment, kids’ art activities, and more. Individual tickets start at $175, reserved tables start at $1,500, and shared or reserved grandstand sections start at $4,500.

The weekend concludes on Sunday, April 14 with the Art Car Awards Celebration from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. which honors the incredible artists that participated in this year’s Parade by offering a brunch and awards.

Of course Houston offer some of the most elegant hotels in Texas, but if you’re looking for a place to spend the night during all of the festivities, the C. Baldwin Hotel (400 Dallas St.) is located directly on the parade route and is offering out of town guests for Houston Art Car Parade discounted rates from April 12 – 14.

Learn more and plan your visit to this unbelievably eclectic experience at www.thehoustonartcarparade.com.