Ultimate guide to jubilant Juneteenth celebrations in Houston, Galveston, and beyond
Juneteenth has been a federal holiday since 2021 and a state holiday in 1980. But here in the Gulf Coast region, locals have been celebrating since 1865. The cherished day marks the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston and declared to the slaves there that they had been freed.
Sadly, it took two years for news that President Abraham Lincoln has issued the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation to reach area slaves. But rather than react with anger at the delay, they immediately toasted the discovery that they were free with dance, feasts, prayers, and more.
Here in Houston and Galveston, a host of Juneteenth-themed events abound. Venues all around the Greater Houston area and beyond will toast the day with concerts, food, festivals, movies, and more.
New for this year, a vivid mural by artist Chris Robinson at Bagby Park (415 Gray St.) celebrates Juneteenth by highlighting Houston’s historically Black neighborhoods: Freedman’s Town (also referred to as Fourth Ward), Fifth Ward, Independence Heights, Acres Homes, Sunnyside, South Park, and Third Ward. Each letter of the word "Midtown" represents one of the neighborhoods. The mural will be up through July 7.
Of course, the birthplace of Juneteenth will bring it. Locals can check out all the events at Visit Galveston — from balls, comedy, concerts, cookouts, cruises, festivals, religious services, and much more. Highlights include a ball, concert at the stunning Grand 1894 Opera House, cruises, festivals and markets, and much more. The celebrations run this week through Monday.
Thursday, June 15
Contemporary Arts Museum Houstonand SOA Books Co. will celebrate Juneteenth with a Liberation Market. Swing by, support Black literary arts, and peruse the market for art, music, and drinks throughout the event.. 6:30 pm.
Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown is having Juneteenth screenings all throughout the month. Among the movies that’ll be playing: Set It Off, Juice, What’s Love Got to Do With It, Get Out, and Coming to America. 7:15 pm.
Friday, June 16
The Juneteenth Sneaker Ball will go down somewhere in downtown Houston this weekend. Ebony (aka Princess Streetwize) and Shiloh Williams will host this event, and they’ll be giving awards to people with the best African-themed attire/dope sneakers fit. 5 pm.
Miller Outdoor Theatre will present "Juneteenth at Miller Outdoor Theatre: A Celebration of Freedom." The two-day concert event will be a musical journey that embraces the sound of blues, classic rhythm & blues, and hip-hop. 8:15 pm.
Saturday, June 17
Children’s Museum Houston will celebrate Juneteenth with three days’ worth of events. There will be a live show about the vital contributions of African Americans, as well as a commemorative, poetic production put on by Ensemble Theatre. 10 am.
Emancipation Park Conservancy will start things off with an inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Run/Walk. Later in the day, there will also be a Juneteenth Music Festival at 3 pm, featuring music from The SOS Band, Lakeside, and Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws. 10 am.
Mayor Turner’s Annual Acres Homes Juneteenth Parade will go down this weekend. The parade begins at Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, then travels north on W. Montgomery, west on Dolly Wright, and ends at Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church. 10 am.
Finn Hall will have a block party celebrating Juneteenth. Stop by The Smoke, Swallow’s Nest, Craft Burger, Three Keys, and Carol Kays, the newest spot, to support the Hall’s Black-owned restaurants. Noon.
Razzle Dazzle My Canvas will celebrate the culture with a day full of fun, games, food, and live entertainment. Vendors will be there with some of the best food, oils, clothes, desserts, and items that you have ever experienced. Noon.
BLCK Market will have its fourth annual Juneteenth Celebration over at Greenstreet. Celebrate Juneteenth with the largest gathering of Black-onwed businesses and entrepreneurs. They will also have a Juneteenth event on Sunday. 1 pm.
Generation Park is hosting its inaugural Juneteenth Celebration at Redemption Square. Visitors can enjoy a market with local, minority-owned vendors, live music expanding many genres, speeches from elected officials, and visual & performing arts. 3 pm.
Club Sienna’s Sienna Juneteenth Jubilee will feature performances by the Reggie Jamz Band and Swag Boiz, as well as the TSU Tigers Sensations dance team. The market will showcase jewelry, art, books, candles, clothing, snacks, houseware and more. 7 pm.
Sunday, June 18
Ray’s BBQ Shackand STUFF’D Wings will join forces for a weekend full of Juneteenth stuff, including a Juneteenth/Father’s Day block party on Sunday. They will debut their new, limited-time menu items and will also have a huge surprise unveiling. 11 am.
Da Hookah Plug Lounge will get its paint, sip and brunch on for Juneteenth. Join them for a delicious lunch (or brunch) that will lead into some sipping and painting. There will also be a comedy show at 3 pm. 12:30 pm.
Lagoonfest Texas will present its Juneteenth Festival, featuring performances by Smokin' Joe Leonard, Blaque Vinyls, and the CC Rider Band. Guests will get to enjoy water activities or relax on the white sandy beach while they soak in the sounds. 1 pm.
Monday, June 19
The Tasting Room in Galveston will have a Juneteenth show featuring music and comedy. Violinist Dominique Hammons will come with the tunes, while Liz Faubles Wallace will come with the laughs. 4 pm.
Historic Eldorado Ballroom and Highway Vodka will debut “Libations for Liberation,” a cocktail competition commemorating Juneteenth. The competition will task 10 local bartenders with creating libations that embody the spirit of the national holiday. 6 pm.