Top 16 Festivals & Events This Week in Houston: May 15 to 21, 2023

Two musicians of Cha Wa perform while in vibrant, feathery Native American dress
Cha Wa comes to Discovery Green for a free concert on Thursday | Courtesy of Cha Wa

Make the most of your week with our top festivals, events, and things to do this week in Houston from Monday, May 15 to Sunday, May 21, 2023.

We’ve whittled down all the happenings in H-Town to our 16 picks for the week, but you can always check out the extended calendar for more things to do in Houston.

Scroll below to find great things happening in Houston from Monday, May 15 to Sunday, May 21, 2023.

Top 16 Festivals, Events & Things to Do This Week in Houston

  • TUTS presents Rent at Hobby Center | Tuesday, May 16 to Sunday, May 21 | Opening Weekend – 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.
  • Violent Femmes at White Oak Music Hall | Wednesday, May 17– The almost half century–old folk punk, alt-rock band is commanding the White Oak stage and will be playing their seminal debut album in its entirety. $41 and up. 6pm.
  • 2nd Annual Activation Festival at the Ion | Wednesday, May 17 to Friday, May 19 | FREE – Across three days, the Ion District hosts its second annual Activation Festival, offering industry insights through panel discussions, a keynote speech from The North Face founder Hap Klopp, networking opportunities, and hands-on sessions with emerging technologies. The wrap-up party on Friday from 5pm to 8pm features a number of local businesses showing off dynamic tech on the plaza, along with food trucks and a “battle of the bands” competition. Free, but advance registration is required. Times vary.
  • Cha Wa in Concert at Discovery Green | Thursday, May 18 | FREE – The Downtown parkspace hosts a free concert from the Grammy-nominated New Orleans group that blends NOLA brass band energy with the spirit of Mardi Gras Indians. 7pm to 9pm.
  • 50th Annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival at Pasadena Fairgrounds | Thursday, May 18 to Sunday, May 21 – Barbecue, music, a kid’s zone, mutton bustin’ and more highlight this annual Pasadena festival, packed with family fun. Single day tickets are $15; $5 for ages 6 to 10; free for ages 5 and under. $30 for weekend passes. Times vary
  • Skylab 50th Anniversary Celebration at Space Center Houston | Friday, May 19 – This exclusive event gives guests after-hours access to Space Center Houston and a special cocktail hour in the Skylab trainer exhibit. The reception will include passed hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine with liquor available to purchase, live music and the unboxing of Skylab artifacts, followed by a discussion. $75. 7pm.
  • Umami Fest Night Market at Railway Heights | Friday, May 19 & Saturday, May 20 | No Cover – This umami-packed, Asian-inspired food festival and night market will rock street food and merchandise vendors, artists, night market games and prizes, and entertainment. 3pm to 8pm.
  • Houston Symphony presents Oedipus Rex at Jones Hall | Friday, May 19 & Saturday, May 20 – Actor Kyle MacLachlan (of Twin Peaks fame) joins the Symphony to narrate Stravinksy’s epic Greek tragedy, accompanied by an all-star cast of singers for this monumental season finale. $29 and up. 8pm.
  • Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park | Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 – The Astros host the A’s in a three-game weekend series. The first 10,000 fans in attendance on Friday will snag a Kyle Tucker bobblehead or an Alex Bregman camo jersey on Saturday, and Orbit’s birthday celebration caps the weekend off with a koozie giveaway. $35 and up. Times vary.
  • Ascend AAPI Fashion Show at the Julia Ideson Building | Saturday, May 20 | FREE – This immersive experience at the historic library in Downtown Houston celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and features dynamic programming from Project Runway and Houston-native Chloe Dao, Tina Zulu and more. 2pm to 5pm.
  • iFest USA at Discovery Green | Saturday, May 20 | FREE – Held around the world, this festival gathers artists and cultural representatives for a day of exchange between cultures, communities and diverse peoples that promotes peace, love and friendship. Expect live music and performances, gourmet foods, and unique art on display. Free with registration. 2pm to 9pm.
  • Plantasia: Botanical Art Show 2023 at Hardy & Nance Studios | Saturday, May 20 | FREE – Nearly 70 local artists exhibit their botanical-themed artwork from across a variety of mediums and styles. Plus, you can shop plants for your home from Eden Plant Co, and enjoy a complimentary bar with Karbach brews and other beverages. 5pm to 9pm.
  • Opera in the Heights: 25th Anniversary Concert at Lambert Hall | Saturday, May 20 – The opera company marks this milestone with this concert featuring the Oh! Orchestra and some of the company’s favorite artists from seasons past, who will perform the best of Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, Korngold, Bernstein, Sondheim, and more. $94.50. 7pm.
  • Houston Dash vs. San Diego Wave at Shell Energy Stadium | Saturday, May 20 – United States striker Alex Morgan and the Wave roll into town to face the Dash in a Western Conference battle. $10 and up. 7:30pm.
  • The Riot Comedy Club presents the 40th Birthday Roast of Brian Gendron at Rudyard’s Pub | Saturday, May 20 – One of the founders of the Riot Comedy Club, Brian Gendron gets the roast treatment for his big 4-0 at Rudyard’s, courtesy of his friends and roast master, the visiting Frank Castillo. $20 and up. 9pm.
  • 713 Walks: Cultural Walking Tour of 5th Ward | Sunday, May 21 | FREE – The second of seven city walks explores Houston’s 5th Ward with a two-hour tour that stops by the historic neighborhood’s significant architecture, the DeLuxe Theater, parks and greenspaces, public art along Lyons Avenue and more, plus refreshments from a local cafe. Spanish interpreters will also be along for the tour. 3pm to 5pm.

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A longtime Houstonian, Justin Jerkins always keeps an eye out for what's ahead on Houston's horizon while serving as Editor-in-Chief of 365 Things to Do in Houston. When he's not passing along the latest events, destinations and hidden treasures in H-Town, he loves diving into the city's food scene, shopping local and learning about Houston's rich history.