Around the World in Houston: Discover Palestine

Houston Palestinian Festival | Photo courtesy of the Palestinian American Cultural Center

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

With annual festivals celebrating Palestinian traditions and a westside eatery serving up some seriously good musakhan chicken, here’s how to experience the culture of Palestine in Houston.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

  • Houston Palestinian Festival Every spring, the Palestinian American Cultural Center – Houston puts on a Palestinian cultural festival. The event features folkloric and contemporary music and dance, traditional fashion, a grand bazaar of vendors and art, and Palestinian cuisine.
  • Houston Palestinian Film Festival The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hosts this annual film festival, showcasing an independent view of Palestine and its diaspora’s society, culture, and political efforts through the art of film. The event is typically held in May.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

  • Palestinian American Cultural Center Houston This cultural organization unites and empowers the Palestinian American community in and around the Houston area, promoting cultural, educational, and humanitarian programs. Follow its Facebook page for upcoming events and community updates.
  • Arab American Cultural Center This non-profit, non-religious organization serves the Arab American community in Houston, promoting its rich culture and operating as a weekend Arabic School for kids and adults. Lookout for a lineup of events, from dinners and cultural nights to Arabic calligraphy classes and annual galas.

Palestinian Food & Drink

  • Al Aseel Grill & CaféNosh on Palestinian chicken at this popular Middle Eastern grillhouse, located on the westside. The musakhan chicken comes roasted by the whole or half, smothered in a mixture of onion and sumac and set atop warm flatbread. You can also get the bird spiced and crispy fried.
  • Jerusalem Halal Meats Hit this Hillcroft market to pick up a variety of Halal meats, imported grocery items and spices, baked breads, fresh produce, hot items, and Middle Eastern sweets.
  • Zabak’s This second-generation Middle Eastern and Mediterranean café continues its family legacy, showcasing authentic recipes from the family’s Palestinian heritage. Dine on hummus and baba ghanouj, tabbouleh and fattoush salads, kebabs and falafel, and pistachio or walnut baklava.

Language Classes, Education Centers, Groups & Meet-Ups

Other Notables

  • Arab Voices Radio Talk Show Tune into 90.1FM (89.5FM in Galveston) to listen to this award-winning independent radio talk show, which showcases special programs and covers a wide range of topics including the history of the Arab world, culture, world events and more.
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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .