Weekend Event Planner

VIBES Swimsuit Festival and Mardi Gras kickoff lead the top 11 things to do this weekend

VIBES Swimsuit Festival, Mardi Gras kickoff lead top 11 weekend events

Kate Upton on cover of 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 cover model Kate Upton will make a guest appearance at the VIBES Festival. Photo by Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated
Joey Alexander
13-year-old jazz prodigy Joey Alexander will perform at the Wortham Theater Center. Joey Alexander/Facebook
Austin Photo Set: News_Mike_90s music in austin_march 2012_sugar ray
Sugar Ray will headline the first Saturday of Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston.  
Takahiro Yamamoto
DiverseWorks presents Takahiro Yamamoto. Photo courtesy of DiverseWorks
Steven Reineke
Steven Reineke directs the Houston Symphony's R&B Mixtape.  Photo courtesy of Houston Symphony
Kate Upton on cover of 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover
Joey Alexander
Austin Photo Set: News_Mike_90s music in austin_march 2012_sugar ray
Takahiro Yamamoto
Steven Reineke

This weekend in Houston is full of events that are definitely worth adding to your calendar. From top notch musical performances to the annual Mardi Gras Party in Galveston and the VIBES by SI Swimsuit Festival featuring the magazine's top models, everyone should be able to find something to enjoy. 

Best of all, Houston Bcycle "Free Ride Fridays" are still happening so you can enjoy many of these activities via biking around the city on that day.

As always, these are 11 of the top events happening around Houston, but you can view our full list of events on the CultureMap Events Calendar

Thursday, February 16

Takahiro Yamamato at DiverseWorks

The Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) will host choreographer Takahiro Yamamato and his collaborator, sidony o’neal, for a presentation of Direct Path to Detour. This collaborative performance is being presented and commissioned by DiverseWorks as the last part of a series of events between Yamamato and local artists, academics, and community activists. 

Roost Wine Dinner

Pam Hugo of Hugo Family Wines will join Roost chef-owner Kevin Naderi for a special five-course wine dinner. This intimate, 18 person dinner will feature the 2012 "Innovare" Grenache Blanc, which was a small production of only 50 cases and is no longer available for sale to the general public. As an added bonus, diners will take home a bottle of their favorite wine from the dinner if they purchase tickets in pairs. This dinner would be a nice outing with friends or your significant other and offers a great opportunity to try this limited production wine. 

Friday, February 17

VIBES by SI Swimsuit Festival

VIBES is a two-day music, culture, and food festival that will celebrate the release of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. James Beard award-winning chef Chris Shepherd (Underbelly, One Fifth) has curated the food for this first-of-its-kind festival that also features performances by headliners Diplo and Miguel as well as local musicians. Best of all, many of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models will appear, including cover model Kate Upton and Olympians Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.

Rum Rhapsody 

Join award-winning mixologist Kimberly Paul (Etoile) at the Houston Maritime Museum for a walking tour on the history of rum. This insightful tour will show the relevance of rum throughout the ages using maps, facts, and cocktails. I bet you've never had a history lesson like this one!

Joey Alexander in Concert

Joey Alexander, a 13 year-old jazz prodigy, has been earning fans around the world for his skills and true jazz style. Legendary musician Wynton Marsalis discovered the Bali-born Alexander, who has already won many awards and garnered much praise despite his young age. He has performed at Jazz at the Lincoln Center and the Jazz Foundation of America at the Apollo, as well as winning a 2016 Grammy Award.

2017 Mardi Gras Galveston

The largest Mardi Gras celebration in Texas kicks off in Galveston this weekend with several parades and activities, including a headliner performances from alternative rock band Sugar Ray on Saturday and La Mafia on Sunday.

Houston Symphony presents R&B Mixtape

R&B has a way of moving you inside and making you feel something "oh so good." While taking guests back to those days of rhythm and blues, Steven Reineke will direct the Houston Symphony as it presents R&B Mixtape. Created by the Houston Symphony, this new show will feature the best of Motown legends like Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye as well as contemporary hits made popular by R&B entertainers like Prince, Whitney Houston, John Legend, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson, and Beyoncé, as performed by guest artists N’Kenge (Broadway’s Motown) and Grammy nominee Ryan Shaw.

Saturday, February 18

Zoe Keating

MATCH will host Zoe Keating in concert as this one-woman orchestra dazzles the crowd with her unique ability and compelling sound. Known for her use of technology and DIY style, Keating uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello to weave an intricate web of sound.  

Sunday, February 19

Dolce Neve Pop Up

In anticipation of their opening later this spring, Austin-based gelato shop Dolce Neve will host a pop-up at Morningstar from 2 to 4 pm. Dolce Neve (which means sweet snow) sources natural ingredients from Texas farms, uses the best international producers, and makes gelato using traditional Italian techniques. This Austin fave is ready to make its mark on Houston with some of its signature flavors like stracciatella, crema Dolce Neve, and salted caramel, all of which should go great with some of Morningstar's signature coffee and doughnuts. 

Reel Abilities Film Festival

From February 19 until February 23, this free festival celebrates the stories and lives of Houstonians living with disabilities with a film festival, art exhibit, live music, and TED-like talks. This event is centered around promoting inclusion and working to change the perceptions about individuals living with various disabilities. Organizers hope it's a great way to engage the community, encourage conversation, and incite change and unity.

Speed Rack Texas 

The all-female bartending competition that raises money to benefit breast cancer charities returns to Houston for the first time since 2012. This year's sixth national tour stop brings together 19 of the best female bartenders in the region to compete in timed heats to determine who can make cocktails from a list of 50 accepted industry-standard classic recipes the most quickly and accurately. Judges include Chris Bostick (Austin's Half Step), Alba Huerta (Julep), and Jason Kosmos. Houston's Electro Swing DJ, The Grahamaphone, will perform throughout the competition as viewers watch to see who will come out on top!

As you can see, there is so much to enjoy this weekend around the city, and we would love to hear about your experiences. Drop us a note in the comments or on Facebook with which of these events you enjoyed the most. 

Have a great weekend!