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What is The Houston Art Car Parade?

The Houston Art Car Parade, presented by Team Gillman and powered by The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, is the world’s biggest celebration of Art Cars and the largest free public art event in the city of Houston. Now in its 36th year, the parade attracts over 250 cars and other entries from 23 states including Canada and Mexico and an audience of 300,000 spectators eager to see the weird and wild vehicular creations. 


Wait, what is an Art Car?

Art cars or art mobiles usually begin their lives as an older or used vehicle (car, truck, van, bus, jeep, golf cart, etc). The owner of the car decided they want to alter their automobile, not necessarily converting what’s under the hood, but instead transforming the exterior/interior of the car. Some artists approach the alteration of their cars cautiously and tentatively, opting to use materials of a temporary nature such as paper or tape, while others decide to radically change the original structure of the vehicle so that it in effect becomes a moving sculpture.


When and where is the Parade held?

When: Saturday, April 13, 2024 we roll from 2pm – 4pm. The parade route opens at 11am for a perfect opportunity to see the entries up close and stationary - meet the artists! 

Where: The parade will take place in downtown Houston and along Allen Parkway. 


Is there a cost to attend?

No, the parade is free to the public!

However, we do have our VIPit Experience as well as Reserved Grandstand Seats for purchase.


Who attends the Houston Art Car Parade?

Everyone! This is the largest free public art 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 Houston Art Car Parade?

From the North (travelling I-45): Take I-45 south, exit 48A to Milam St., then continue on Milam Street. Parking can be found between Pease and Walker Streets.

From the South (travelling I-45): Take I-45 north, exit Houston/Memorial. Take a right onto Memorial, which will turn into Rusk St. Follow Rusk to Smith St.


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. 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!

If you're coming to view the parade on Allen Parkway, then there are many access points from Waugh Drive to downtown for you to park and walk to the route.

If you're willing to pay a few bucks, we highly recommend parking at Heritage Clay Parking Garage, located directly on the parade route at 1200 Bagby St. Houston, TX 77002


How long does the parade last?

The parade lasts about 2 hours, from 2pm-4pm. 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?

  • Sunscreen

  • Hats

  • Sunglasses

  • Cameras – a must!

  • Soft-sided, collapsible chairs

  • Water

  • Small backpacks or bags

  • Blankets or beach towels

  • Valid driver’s license to drink alcohol

  • Walking shoes

  • Signs, flags, or outrageous costumes

  • 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?

Yes! The our official Hotel partner is the Heights House Hotel - check back for special room rates as we get closer.


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?

Houston can be hot, and it’s likely you will be exposed to that sweet gulf coast 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?

No, but all of our beverage booths and gift shops, and a majority of the food trucks along the route also take credit cards.


What types of food and drink will be available?

Delicious types of food, of course! There will be an assortment of local food trucks 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 37th Annual Houston Art Car Parade Weekend t-shirts for sale throughout the parade route, as well as other incredible merch.

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?

Kids LOVE the Houston Art Car Parade! They'll definitely enjoy gawking at all the entries - all of which are family friendly!


Do you give out awards for the best Art Car each year?

We do indeed! A panel of judges awards over $15,000 in cash prizes each year in recognition of the effort and expense artists assume in creating their art cars. The judges are comprised of experts and cultural icons from various art, automobile and education disciplines. The awards ceremony this year will take place on Sunday, April 14th from 12pm-3pm at The Orange Show World Headquarters, 2334 Gulf Terminal Drive, Houston, TX 77023.


Can anyone make an Art Car?

Of course! All it takes is a vehicle on wheels, some supplies, and a lot of imagination, artistic inspiration, and sweat!


How can I submit my own Art Car into the parade?

You will be able to submit your application for the 2024 Houston Art Car Parade starting Fall 2023. Please check back then.


I’m seeing something called The Orange Show. What is that?

The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art is a multi-site non-profit arts organization with a mission to celebrate the artist in everyone. The Orange Show cares for two of the most important American visionary art environments, The Orange Show Monument and The Beer Can House, and has recently built Houston's first art-inspired green space, Smither Park, through the help of over 300 artists. In addition The Orange Show provides award-winning community art tours, artist-let workshops, community murals, and other art projects to give children, with special emphasis on at-risk youth, real experience in art making and community building. The Houston Art Car Parade is the largest community outreach program that The Orange Show produces each year, and has become one of the most recognizable and inspiring events in the city. Visit us at to learn more.


How can my company become a sponsor?

We love sponsors! If your company would like to be involved, CLICK HERE

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