Memorial Day weekend in Houston promises to be memorable, with the return of a cultural diversity festival, two great theater productions, and big name concerts for country, rock and hip hop fans.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, May 21
Carnival Houston 2015
For the second year in a row, multiple locations around Houston will host Carnival Houston events, a festival to celebrate the life and cultural diversity of the Bayou City. Among the activities during the four-day festival, lasting through Sunday, will be a gala, a pageant, a paint party, a street parade and festival, an after party and a fun-day with picnic and games.
Alley Theatre presents Kneehigh's Tristan and Yseult
This is your last chance to see Britain’s acclaimed Kneehigh theater company make their Texas debut with this very contemporary retelling of the ancient Tristan and Yseult tale. Taking place at the Alley Theatre's temporary space at the University of Houston through Sunday, this innovative theatrical experience incorporates music, comedy, dance and moments of acrobatic flight to portray the emotional heights and depths of those loved and unloved.
Broadway at the Hobby Center presents Newsies
Based on the 1992 Disney movie musical flop, Newsies somehow found renewed life on Broadway, earning hosannas from both critics and audiences, and winning two Tony Awards for choreography and original score. The high-energy musical about the 1899 New York City newsboys strike runs at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday.
Friday, May 22
With more than 2,000 hours of programming at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Comicpalooza is the largest pop-culture event in Texas after SXSW. Among the stars at the four-day extravangaza, which ends on Memorial Day, are Jeremy Renner, Stan Lee, George Takei, Henry Winkler, Linda Blair, the cast of Gotham and several cast members from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, celebrating its 40th anniversary.
The Big Revival Tour with Kenny Chesney featuring Jake Owen and Chase Rice
Country superstar Kenny Chesney has had a lot of fun in Texas recently, receiving an honorary trophy at the 50th annual ACM Awards at AT&T Stadium in Arlington before returning there last weekend for a concert. That tour will make its way south to BBVA Compass Stadium, with Chesney supporting his 2014 album, The Big Revival. He'll be joined by Jake Owen and Chase Rice.
Houston Symphony Paintjam Concert Experience
Houston-based speed painter Dan Dunn joins the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall for the world premiere of The Paintjam Concert Experience. Dunn will choreograph his speed painting to the Houston Symphony’s performance of songs like Tyzik’s The Great Westerns Suite, "Bohemian Rhapsody," music from Gladiator, John Lennon’s "Imagine," selections from Ravel’s Mother Goose and more. There will be a live auction of the eight works Dunn is expected to paint during each show.
Saturday, May 23
Bay Day Festival
The annual Bay Day Festival celebrates the multiple uses of the Galveston Bay system. Among the highlights of the the one-day festival, taking place at Kemah Boardwalk, are bay-themed arts and crafts, live animal demonstrations and touch tanks, a scavenger hunt, live music and more.
Memorial Day Weekend in The Woodlands
Memorial Day weekend doesn't rival, say, the Fourth of July when it comes to patriotic celebrations, but you can still enjoy a good time at Town Green Park in The Woodlands with this event. On both Saturday and Sunday there will be concerts, fun activities, vendor booths and night-ending fireworks, all of it for free.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators in concert with Fozzy
Axl Rose may have never been able to move on from Guns N' Roses, but guitarist Slash has had no such issues. He formed a side project even before the breakup of that iconic band, and has been working steadily since, including with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators on his latest album, World on Fire. He'll perform at the House of Blues with Fozzy as opening act.
Sunday, May 24
Drake in concert
Canadian rapper Drake has come a long way since the beginning of his music career, to the point that even his mixtapes can hit the top of the charts. He'll come back to the Houston area for the second time in less than a year, this time playing at Toyota Center in support of his 2015 mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late.