Elizabeth Rhodes
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Art Car Parade Moves into Downtown

Art Car Parade Moves into Downtown
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Photo by Morris Malakoff

For the first time in years, the Houston Art Car Parade won’t be gracing Allen Parkway with its annual presence as the thoroughfare is currently under construction. As a result, the parade route has been moved to downtown, starting at Smith and Pease and running through to Lamar, ending at the Pierce Elevated.

The 29th annual parade starts at 2 pm on Saturday, although festivities run from 11 am to 4 pm. If you want to start the party early, the Starting Line Party at Smith and Pease begins at 11 am and features music, beverages and art cars. Grab a great spot along the route at Parade Central at Smith and Polk, which also starts at 11 and includes music, live parade announcing, beverages and a selection of the city’s best food trucks.


The VIPit Experience, a ticketed event taking place at Hermann Square at City Hall starting at noon, features reserved parking, seating, entertainment, live parade commentary, and food and beverages from nearly a dozen Houston restaurants, including Raising Cane’s, Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch, Berryhill Baja Grill, Line & Lariat, La Fisheria and Good Pop. Tickets for the VIPit Experience are $150 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under.

To relax in the shade with a guaranteed view of the art car route, you can reserve seating in front of Sam Houston Park. Tickets for reserved seating — which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis — are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.

The parade itself will run from 2 to 4 pm, so be sure to show up early to grab a good spot.

The Phone Car by Howard Davis - 2024 - Photo by Morris Makakoff

Photo by Morris Malakoff

While the parade is on Saturday, another can’t-miss event — the wild and wonderful Legendary Art Car Ball — takes place on Friday night at 1200 Smith. From 6 to 11 pm, the always colorful party features live music from ska/reggae outfit The Suspects, R&B artist Sam “Shake” Anderson, electronic musician Gio Chamba and more than half a dozen other performers, as well as a special performance from live painter Dan Dunn and his PaintJam. Food and drink will be provided by Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, Julep, Moving Sidewalk, Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails, Katz Coffee and Topo Chico. Patrons are encouraged to don their craziest, most colorful ensembles and tickets to the event are $30 in advance or $35 at the door.

The 29th Annual Art Car Parade takes place from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday in downtown Houston and the Legendary Art Car Ball takes place from 6 to 11 pm at 1200 Smith.