Know Before You Go
UPDATED FRIDAY MAY 9
When and where is the 26th Annual Houston Art Car Parade held?
When: Saturday, May 11, 2013 we roll from 3pm – 5pm. The parade route opens at 1pm, your opportunity to see the entries up close and stationary - meet the artists!
Where: The parade runs along Allen Parkway, starts at Taft, heads toward Downtown, makes a left at Heritage Park, and back down Allen Parkway the other way.
Is there a cost to attend?
Who attends the Art Car Parade?
Everyone! This is the largest free public event in the city, drawing an estimated crowd of over 300,000. Bring the whole family out to enjoy the community spirit and magic of this unique event!
How do I get to the Art Car Parade?
From the North (travelling I-45): Take I-45 south, exit McKinney. Street parking and paid parking can be found along Smith and the surrounding streets.
From the South (travelling I-45): Take I-45 north, exit Houston/Memorial. Take a right onto Bagby and a left onto McKinney. Street parking and paid parking can be found along Smith and the surrounding streets.
From the East (travelling I-10): Take I-10 east, to I-45 south and move to the left lane. Take the left McKinney exit. Street parking and paid parking can be found along Smith and the surrounding streets.
From the West (travelling I-10): Take I-10 west towards Houston. Merge onto I-45 South and stay to the left. Take the left McKinney exit. Street parking and paid parking can be found along Smith and the surrounding streets.
From the North (travelling I-59): Take US-59 south. As you get near downtown merge onto I-45 north and stay to the right. Take the Houston/Memorial exit. Take a right only Bagby and a left onto McKinney. Street parking and paid parking can be found along Smith and the surrounding streets.
From the South (travelling I-59). Take US-59 north. Merge onto the I-45 north exit. Take the Houston/Memorial exit. Take a right onto Bagby and a left onto McKinney. Street parking and paid parking can be found along Smith and the surrounding streets.
Where is the best place to park?
Parking in downtown Houston can be tricky. Our best recommendation is finding legal street parking either in downtown or midtown and walking to the parade route. Parking meters in downtown Houston do not run on the weekend. There will also be parking lots scattered around charging fees for parking, should you wish to pay. Or better yet, why not ride your bike!
How long does the parade last?
The parade lasts about 2 hours, from 3pm-5pm. With picturesque views of the Houston skyline and all the eye candy rolling by, it’ll be over before you know it, so make sure you get there for the whole thing!
What can I bring to the parade?
- Cameras – a must!
- Soft-sided, collapsible chairs
- Small backpacks or bags
- Blankets or beach towels
- Valid driver’s license to drink alcohol
- Walking shoes
- Signs, flags, or outrageous costumes
- Funds to purchase this year’s beautiful Houston Art Car t-shirt and to support our food vendors and Orange Show beverage sales – it’s hard to keep an event like this free!
- Friends and family
- A good attitude
Can I bring my dog Nibbles and his best friend, my ferret Anthony Hopkins?
Unfortunately, the City of Houston does not allow animals of any kind along the parade route. So while we would love to meet your clearly adorable pets, why don’t you just leave them at home this time. Now if you can get the real Anthony Hopkins to come, then by all means bring him!
Do you have any special hotel room rates for out of towners?
Our hotel partners wil be announced in the coming weeks. Check back for some great rates!
Is the festival accessible to people with disabilities?
Absolutely! The parade route is along a main road leading out of downtown, and the sidewalks are wide, with ramps at each intersection. ADA accessible restrooms will also be available throughout the parade route.
Any tips on preparation for a day at the Art Car Parade?
Summer in Houston can be hot, and it’s likely you will be exposed to that sweet summer sun (unless you’re lucky enough to find a tree to chill under). That being said, we suggest preparing for the parade as follows:
- Dress in cool, unrestrictive, lightweight clothing (ie. that leather jumpsuit you’ve been dying to show off is probably not a good idea)
- Bring those awesome, trendy sunglasses of yours
- Bring a hat (preferably a big, crazy one)
- Wear comfy shoes
- Stay hydrated! Drink water before you come, while you are there, and after! And make sure you enjoy the beverages from our many vendors!
Are there ATMs available if I run low on cash?
There won’t be any stationed along the parade route, so we suggest you bring enough cash with you to buy any food, drinks, or merchandise that you want. However, there are a number of office buildings and banks throughout downtown Houston that likely have ATM machines just in case.
What types of food and drink will be available?
Delicious food, of course! There will be an assortment of local street food trucks and vendors stationed throughout the parade route. We really suggest you check them out and support local! We’ll also be serving beer and soft drinks, so bring your ID!
Will you be selling t-shirts? Cause I’m a sucker for awesome t-shirts.
We are too! And that’s why we’ll have our super awesome 26th Annual Houston Art Car Parade Weekend t-shirts for sale throughout the parade route. Bring some cash!
I can’t remember, did you mention bathrooms?
Well we hinted at it. There will definitely be bathrooms available along the parade route should you need to use them!
What about my kids, is there stuff for them to do?
You better believe it. Besides gawking all the amazing art cars, we will have a fun kids area. Make sure you head over to one of these spots with your kiddos during the day!