Houston Art Car Parade

After living in Houston for three years, it became apparent that I was taking my city for granted. We all fall into a rut now and then, and we tend to forget that there are amazing things happening right in our own backyard. I for one, had heard about the Art Car Parade, and even though I live within walking distance of the parade route, I had never actually gone to see it. I decided that this was my year to finally check it out; to be a tourist in my own city and experience the things that are right under my nose. So last weekend, we did ‘that Houston thing’ and checked out the parade.

My husband and I set out on foot towards the parade route, to discover they had blocked off the entire length of Allen Parkway, a treacherous road that should only be used by those in sports cars when no one else is around (Okay, so maybe it just has a bunch of hills and tight curves, but when you’re packed in with an extended cab truck on either side of you going at least 10mph over, it appears to be treacherous…drive it and see). We contemplated at one point going back to get our bikes, since it would be a rare opportunity to actually ride down Allen Parkway on bikes without the risk of getting killed (not sure what those crazy cyclists are thinking), but alas, we kept going because we didn’t want to be late. We made sure to nonchalantly pause in the middle of the road a few times for good measure.

Upon arrival at the parade route, we staked out a spot on a hill under the shade of the towering AIG building. Now since it is a parkway, there is a median with trees dividing the two directions. We weren’t sure as to which side the parade would come down, so we just went with the shady option; it is Houston, and it does get hot. Lucky for us, it wasn’t unbearable, and after cooling down from our walk it was actually quite pleasant.

After a bit of a delay, we heard a marching band coming. They were on the far side of the parkway, so we made a break for it to claim the last bit of standing room under a large tree in the median. Then it began: music blared from various places (bands, car horns, bands inside of cars & pulled behind in trailers); people on roller skates whizzed by; groupies circled around their cars on bikes; the drivers veered across the 3 lane parkway to give high-fives as they drove by; some cars were painted, others were decorated with stick-on items; they were large and small; some for fun, others with an agenda. It was truly a spectacle to behold.

And it just kept coming and coming. There were hundreds of cars! Each time we thought it was over, another one came up the hill. We stayed for about two hours and they were still streaming by when we finally headed back home.

Why not give it a try this weekend: be a tourist in your own city. And if you get a chance, stop by the Houston Art Car Parade next year – its a ton of fun.

A few images from the parade:

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