Houston is jumping into spring with the return of one of the city’s largest, free public events. The Houston Art Car Parade will take over Downtown from April 7-10.
Organized by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art in partnership with historic Houston auto retailer Team Gillman, the parade will showcase more than 250 works of art on wheels and include a special highlight of Houston slab culture. Houston rap pioneer Bun B will serve as the 2022 Grand Marshal. This year’s event comes after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and, in its 35th year, honors the life and legacy of its late co-founder, Ann Harithas (1941-2021), by permanently renaming the parade’s grand prize the Ann Harithas Legacy Award.
Whether you’re a returning Art Car Parade enthusiast or first-time visitor, here’s an overview of the four-day event:
Thursday, April 7
Can’t make it to Downtown for parade festivities? Start your morning with the Main Street Drag, a city-wide preview of the parade for people in hospitals, nursing homes and school locations throughout Houston. For more information on the route, visit here. Later that evening, enjoy food, music and celebrate the parade weekend with a sneak peek at Discovery Green.
Friday, April 8
Put on your brightest and boldest look for the Legendary Art Car Ball and celebrate the official kickoff of the Houston Art Car Parade. This year’s gala will include performances by the Bayou City Comeback Choir, Golden Dawn Arkestra, DJ Boogie Soul and more. Tickets start at $35 for general admission and can be purchased here.
Saturday, April 9
Save your energy for the big day! The Main Event will take place at 2 p.m. at Allen Parkway at Heiner Street. You can grab your spot as early as 11 a.m. at the Starting Line Party, which will feature music, food trucks and gift vendors ahead of the parade. Bring your little ones to the free Kids Creative Zone for performances and activities located at Sam Houston Park.
If you’re traveling light or not privy to camping out, reserve a seat in the bleachers. The VIPit Experience is also a great way to enjoy the parade, with individual tickets starting at $175 for adults and $35 for children.
Sunday, April 10
The Art Car Parade Award Ceremony will take place at the Orange Show headquarters from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., where more than $15,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to this year’s most creative rides.
Attending the event is free and will take place rain or shine. Your pets, firearms and pop-up tents must stay at home, but feel free to bring your folding chairs to plant along the parade route. Please note that capacity is limited, so arrive early. Free parking is available on the street and for a small fee at the 1100 Smith Garage.
For updates and more information on street closures and parking, visit here.