Top 20 Festivals & Events in Houston This Month: May 2023

Comicpalooza comes to Downtown Houston for three days in May | Photo: Camille Josephine; courtesy of Comicpalooza

Make the most of your month with our list of the 20 biggest and most notable festivals and events in Houston in May 2023.

Events are listed chronologically by week, and are not in a ranked order. Events that span multiple weeks are carried over into the following week where appropriate.

Top 20 Festivals & Events in Houston This Month: May 2023

  • La Izquierda Surf & Music Festival at Galveston’s Beach Central | Friday, May 5 to Sunday, May 7 – Head down island for a three-day celebration of beach culture and live music, with 20 acts including headliner Bun B on Saturday along with sets from other local favorites Swimwear Department, Los Skarnales, Young Mammals, India Tigers in Texas, and more. The festival will also feature surf competitions, on Saturday, yoga, vendors, food trucks, art installations, and more. Free on Friday; $20 per day on Saturday and Sunday. Times vary.
  • East End Street Fest at the Esplanade at Navigation | Saturday, May 6 | FREE – Held during Cinco de Mayo week, this festival celebrates the art, music and heritage of East End with dance performances, live bands, artwork and plenty of fun for kids at the Plaza de los Niños. Noon to 6pm.
  • Kentucky Derby Day Party at Julep | Saturday, May 6 – Houston’s finest Southern cocktail bar is getting down and derby for its annual Kentucky Derby event, inviting guests to break out the derby hats and bowties for a day of mint juleps and fun. Expect house cocktails, Champagne, two main bars, a whiskey bar, tacos from Cochinita & co., a live DJ set, and a live stream of the Kentucky Derby. $20 in advance; $25 at the door. 1pm to 6pm.
  • Japan Festival Houston 2023 at Hermann Park | Saturday, May 6 & Sunday, May 7 | FREE – Following a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the popular Japan Festival returns to Hermann Park, offering two days of cultural celebration through music, dance and martial arts, food, hands-on activities and more. 11am to 6pm.
  • Kam Franklin in Concert at Discovery Green | Thursday, May 11 | FREE – Lead singer of the Suffers, Kam Franklin graces the stage with her own brand of songs at the Thursday Concert Series in Downtown. 7pm to 9pm.
A traditional Japanese drumming performance on a stage
The Japan Festival returns to Hermann Park in the first weekend of May | Courtesy of Houston Japan Festival
  • Celebrate Miller: 100th Birthday Party at Miller Outdoor Theatre | Friday, May 12 | FREE – A signature event of Miller Outdoor’s centennial season, this celebration features a massive birthday cake from Bolillo Bakery, performance artists, face painting, caricature artists and more—plus a live performance from Houston Ballet to follow at 8pm. 6pm to 9pm.
  • 2023 Houston Art Bike Festival at MacGregor Park | Saturday, May 13 | FREE – Celebrate personal creativity on two wheels at this second annual festival and bike parade at MacGregor Park in Third Ward, featuring art bikes from HISD schools, live music, art activities, food trucks, and more. Then, enjoy an evening concert at the Orange Show campus highlighted by Grammy-winning bassist and former Prince bandmate MonoNeon. 9am to 6pm. 
  • BIPOC Book Fest at Asia Society Texas | Saturday, May 13 – This celebration of underrepresented writers includes a keynote address by Houston poet laureate emeritus Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, as well as moderated panels that feature Houston Chronicle restaurant columnist Bao Ong, Pondicheri chef-owner Anita Jaisinghani, artists Reginald Adams and Matt Manalo, and author Matthew Ramirez, among others. In addition, visitors can participate in writing workshops, hear from authors about big topics, and more. $5. 10am to 6pm.
  • Ed Sheeran in Concert at NRG Stadium | Saturday, May 13 – Straight off the release of his fifth studio album, Subtract, Ed Sheeran takes over the biggest venue in town. $29 and up. 6pm.
  • Mother’s Day Weekend at Bayou Bend Collection & Gardens | Saturday, May 13 & Sunday, May 14 – This hidden gem in the River Oaks is a no-brainer for Mother’s Day, offering expansive manicured gardens, tours through the Ima Hogg estate, and live guitar and harp music through the weekend. Don’t miss the complimentary cookies and lemonade before you start your stroll. 1pm to 5pm.
A highly manicured gardens of pink and white flowers with a plantation style house in the background
Celebrate moms with a Mother’s Day Weekend at Bayou Bend Collections & Gardens | Courtesy of MFAH
  • Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch at the 1880 Garten Verein | Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14 – The gorgeous, historic Galveston structure hosts an annual Mother’s Day brunch as part of the final day of the Galveston Historic Homes Tour. Those attending can enjoy a delicious meal, a Mother’s Day corsage, live music, and will take home a special gift at the end of the event. Tickets can be purchased for the brunch only or as part of a ticket for the homes tour. $85 and up. 10am to noon.
  • TUTS presents Rent at Hobby Center | Tuesday, May 16 to Sunday, May 28 – The epic musical re-imagining of La Boheme became an anthem to love and acceptance that won the Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony Awards. This brand new production gets a run in Downtown, courtesy of Theatre Under the Stars. $40 and up. Showtimes vary.
  • 50th Annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival at Pasadena Fairgrounds | Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21 – The annual strawberry fest celebrates its 50th anniversary in Pasadena, featuring a weekend of barbecue, carnival rides, a car show, mutton bustin’, a kids zone, and more. Single day tickets are $15; $5 for ages 6 to 10; free for ages 5 and under. Weekend passes are $30. Times vary.
  • Umami Fest at Railway Heights Market | Friday, May 19 & Saturday, May 20 | No Cover – This umami-packed, Houston Asian-inspired food festival and night market will rock street food and merchandise vendors, artists, night market games and prizes, and entertainment.4pm to 11pm.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers with the Strokes & Thundercat at Minute Maid Park | Thursday, May 25 – Celebrating their lucky thirteenth record, Return of the Dream Canteen, the record-breaking titans of rock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are bringing the Strokes and Thundercat on a ride through Houston when they play the Juicebox. $34 and up. 6:30pm.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform on stage
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are joined by the Strokes and Thundercat at Minute Maid in May | Photo: David A. Sherman; courtesy of Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Forever Motown at Miller Outdoor Theatre | Thursday, May 25 to Saturday, May 27 | FREE – This three-day event brings the lead singers of iconic Motown groups like the Four Tops, the Temptations and the Marvelettes for an all-star performance of legendary Motown tunes. 8pm.
  • Comicpalooza at George R. Brown Convention Center | Friday, May 26 to Sunday, May 28 – The 3-day Comicpalooza is the largest annual, multi-genre, comic book, science fiction, anime, gaming, and pop-culture convention in the southern United States. The fan event returns to Downtown Houston over Memorial Day Weekend with cosplay, fan talks and panels, celebrity appearances, cosplay competitions, shopping opportunities, autographs, and more. Single day passes range from $46 to $69, depending on the day; weekend passes start at $98. Times vary daily.
  • Jazzy Sundays: David Michael Wyatt & Micah Edwards at the Water Works | Sunday, May 28 | FREE – After three months of concerts at parks across Houston, the final Jazzy Sundays performance takes place on the lawn at the Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park. The velvet voice of David Michael Wyatt and Texas soul sounds of Micah Edwards bring it home. 5pm to 7pm.
  • Memorial Day Celebration at Town Greek Park in the Woodlands | Sunday, May 28 | FREE – Kick off summer with this annual patriotic celebration that honors the military service of those who sacrificed most for the United States. This evening celebration features a commemoration ceremony, live music and crowd favorites from Rapture, children’s activities, strolling entertainment and a fireworks show. 5pm to 9pm.
  • Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins at Minute Maid Park | Memorial Day, Monday, May 29 to Wednesday, May 31 – Carlos Correa and the Twins return to Minute Maid for a three-game weeknight series that kicks off on Memorial Day, and also includes Tuesday’s Dollar Dog night and a Cristian Javier World Series replica ring giveaway to all fans on Wednesday. $20 and up. 7pm.

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A longtime Houstonian, Justin Jerkins keeps an eye out for all sorts of happenings in H-Town, including breweries, sports, concerts, must-see destinations and much more while serving as Editor-in-Chief of 365 Things to Do in Houston.