Ah, springtime in Texas. Flowers are in bloom, and it’s not yet scorching hot outside. It’s what we like to call Festival Season, and it’s a great time to visit cities across the Lone Star state! And believe us, Spring Festivals in Texas celebrate anything and everything, as you’ll see in this article!
Last Updated: 15 February 2023
Spring Festivals in Texas – A Time Honored Tradition
We want to preface this rather long “listicle” with this: We love festivals. Cultural celebrations like Oktoberfest are always fun. Even better, make it about food, like one of our favorites, the Romanian Food Festival! (Can you say yum?) Or maybe it’s a collection of adorable Dachshunds running to their heart’s content. Whatever the occasion, we will pull this car over and make everyone come with us!
Three reasons we are festival fanatics:
- We are willing to admit that we could always stand a little more culture. We love festivals that celebrate the traditions, arts and crafts, and foods that people have brought with them from their homelands. America IS a melting pot, and there’s no better place than local cultural festivals to experience the best of it.
- Yes, we do enjoy experiencing and learning about culinary traditions, but we also enjoy corndogs, funnel cake, and pretty much any meat on a stick. It’s just who we are. Once again, no better place to find that than a festival – whether it’s a small town celebrating Mother’s Day, or the granddaddy of them all, the Texas State Fair. (Go ahead, let us know how great YOUR state fair is!)
- C’mon, it’s just plain fun learning about things like rattlesnakes! Okay, the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup is a poor example. Still, we challenge you to find more fun than you’ll have shucking crawfish with friends, or watching people build sand castles that you kind of want to move into. Watching bands and dancing in the street, admiring artists of all sorts, and browsing one-of-a-kind souvenirs that will forever remind you of that one day in… That, friends, is festival fun at its finest!
We love hitting the road to enjoy springtime festivals in towns and cities big and small, and there are some truly great ones. We’re taking you with us (vicariously, of course) as we run through some of the best spring festivals in Texas!
The Elephant in the Festival – SXSW
For many people, Texas plus festival equals SXSW, the annual entertainment symposium in Austin. We’re old enough – and have been attending long enough – to remember when it was just a few days of alternative bands you probably never heard of, hoping to land a record deal. As happens anytime there’s a crowd (plus music and alcohol), things quickly got out of hand. “South By” today is a multi-week event filled with lectures, films, book readings, software symposiums, business conferences, and yes, music. In fact, something like 2000 musicians, across all genres, from 60 countries will be performing over six days.
While SXSW is entertaining on many levels, it has become everything the original festival was (intentionally) not. It’s lost much of its authentic Texas festival appeal. But don’t worry, there is plenty more to celebrate across the Lone Star State. Whether you are road tripping for Spring Break, visiting for a weekend, or actually live here, we’ve got a lineup of spring festivals in Texas sure to satisfy everyone, from the Big D and Funky Town, all the way to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Note: These are all annual festivals. If you find one you like, but it’s a little late for this year, tuck this list away for a future spring festival season. For festivals that are not in Texas’ major cities, we’ve highlighted the two closest big cities you’re likely to be familiar with. Follow the links for festival locations, details, and tickets where needed.
Find Your Festival: 15 Spring Festivals in Texas
- Where: Dallas, Texas
- When / Admission:
- Dallas Blooms: 25 February to 16 April 2023 / Admission is $20/Adult, $16/Senior, $12/Child 2-12; Parking is $15 on-site
- Dallas Arboretum Food & Wine Festival: 23 March / Admission starts at $149 for non-members, $129 for members
- Dallas Arboretum Garden Market: 25 & 26 March / Included in your Dallas Arboretum admission
The Dallas Arboretum is a world renowned botanical garden, and is worthy of a visit on any trip to North Texas. There may be no better time to be at the Dallas Arboretum than in the spring, particularly when the Food & Wine Festival returns, and the weekend-long Garden Market. However, you have six full weeks to enjoy Dallas Blooms!
The annual spring season highlight event since 1984, Dallas Blooms has been called one of “The Best Places to See Stunning Spring Blooms Across the South” by Southern Living magazine. More than 500,000 blooms are featured, with different themes each week.
When selecting your tickets, you’ll need to also reserve a time, starting as early as 9am. Once you’re in the Arboretum, though, you can stay as long as you like, up to closing time at 5pm.
The Food & Wine Festival will be a one-night event, on March 23, 2023. The evening event features top Dallas chefs serving dozens of plates, two breweries, and more than two dozen wineries with more than 125 varieties for tasting. It all happens with live entertainment in the surroundings of the beautiful Dallas Arboretum on a spring Texas evening. Can’t. Be. Beat!
On the weekend following the Food & Wine Festival, the Dallas Arboretum hosts the Garden Market experience. Several dozen local vendors will showcase their products for sale throughout the park, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the arboretum. The Garden Market is included with your general admission.
Pro Tip: Check the Dallas Arboretum’s Hours & Admission page for discount days, where prices during the year can be as low as $2!
If you plan on driving to the Dallas Arboretum, you can reserve parking when buying your tickets, at $11 per vehicle. On-site, parking is $15. If you prefer public transportation, bus route 214 has stops near the Arboretum. Unfortunately, the DART light rail system’s closest stop is White Rock Station, about 4.5 miles away on the opposite side of White Rock Lake. If you’re up for a little urban hiking (okay, walking), you can reach the Arboretum following the roads and trails through White Rock Lake Park. It’s a scenic walk with stunning views of Dallas, and attractions like the Bath House Cultural Center.
The Dallas Arboretum sits on beautiful White Rock Lake in northeast Dallas, less than 30 miles from DFW Airport, and 11 miles from Dallas Love Airport.
- Where: Palestine, Texas
- When: 17 March to 2 April 2023
- Admission: Free
Love exploring smaller towns, wooded parks, and hiking or biking trails? The Dogwood Trails Festival in Palestine, Texas is just the ticket for you. This annual celebration of beautiful flowering trees began in 1938, and now blooms over three weekends in March and April. Even if you’re not in town for the weekend, the Dogwood Trails are in bloom every day along three scenic drives, and a hiking/biking trail.
Free attractions available each weekend of the festival include a Fairy Garden Trail, Forest Picnics in the Park, Stained Glass Tours, and the Dogwood Jamboree. Be sure to allow extra time for one don’t-miss attraction any time you’re in Palestine: the Piney Woods Excursion Train at the Texas State Railroad. The restored sight seeing coaches and steam engine take you on a 25 mile trip that goes back time as well as into the Piney Woods.
There is a host of activities, both free and paid, sprinkled throughout the roughly two weeks of the Dogwood Trails Celebration. Check the festival website to find your favorites!
Palestine is located about 130 miles southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth, or 176 miles northeast of Austin.
- Where: Houston, Texas
- When: 24-26 March 2023
- Admission: $18/Adult, $5/Children 5-15, $75/VIP – All tickets plus fees; Parking garage reservation with shuttle: $25
Houston is often called the Bayou City thanks to the area’s waterways and proximity to the Texas Gulf Coast. Hence the Bayou City Art Festival in Houston’s Memorial Park. This festival ranks among the Top 10 of the nation’s juried fine arts festivals. Over 300 artists working in 19 disciplines will have works on display, and for sale. There will be two stages of live entertainment, children’s activities, and (our favorite) food trucks.
Memorial Park is just 25 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), and 15 miles from William P. Hobby Airport.
- Where: Llano, Texas
- When: 24-26 March 2023
- Admission: $25/Adult, 17 and under are free; Additional charges for competitions and camping
LEAF, or the Llano Earth Art Festival, is the first of two festivals in our list in the central Texas city of Llano. But this festival is one of a kind! For one thing, it’s the home of the World Rock Stacking Championships, and you can enter. The rock art competitions feature solo and team artists in four different categories.
Not into rock stacking? You can skip it, instead. That is, you could enter the rock skipping contest! Or you can roll over to the food trucks, live bands, workshops, forums, and exhibitions! It all takes place on the banks of the lovely Llano River in Grenwelge Park.
Another thing that makes the Earth Art Festival unique is “theme camping.” Whether car camping, or setting up a tent, campers are encouraged to adopt a theme for their campsite that will be fun for them and other festival goers. LEAF Theme Camps in the past have ranged from quiet spaces to full on parties and interactive art installations. All theme camps are mapped out so your fellow festival goers can visit, making each camp a part of the festival experience.
You may want to consider staying in Llano for a few days, because just a week later comes festival number two!
- Where: Llano, Texas
- When: 31 March to 2 April 2023
- Admission: Free; Saturday evening concert: $25pp General Admission, $40pp VIP
Three interesting facts about Llano, Texas: It is the Deer Capital of Texas, with the highest density of white-tailed deer in the U.S. It is, geographically, the heart of Texas. And it hosts the Llano Fiddle Fest on the first weekend of April, every year! Three days of literal fiddling about: fiddle competitions, fiddle concerts, and even air-fiddling. (The one thing we can do with a fiddle!) There are events scheduled in several venues throughout Llano, both indoors and out.
To be honest, any excuse is a good one to visit Llano, nestled in the Texas Hill Country along the crystal-clear Llano River. The entire downtown area is a National Historic District, with very modern wineries a stone’s throw away. Speaking of stones, Llano is home to Enchanted Rock, and hosts the World Rock Stacking Championships, part of the annual Llano Earth Art Fest. Want more? Bluebells cover the rolling hills from mid-March through Memorial Day.
Llano is in Central Texas, just 75 miles west of Austin, and 216 miles southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth.
- Where: Ennis, Texas
- When: Bluebonnet Trails: 1-30 April 2023; Bluebonnet Festival: 14-16 April 2023
- Admission: Free
Texas is nearly synonymous with Bluebonnets, which is why the Ennis Blue Bonnet Trails and Festival is one of North Texans’ favorite spring events. While this is the second bluebonnet festival in our list, this celebration is second to none. 2023 marks 70 years of bluebonnet trails in the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas. That makes them the oldest known such trails in the state!
Note: Maps for the Bluebonnet Trails are not available until bluebonnet season begins, usually in March. The 2023 festival schedule has also not yet been released.
The small town of Ennis is no stranger to world-class festivals – it also hosts the National Polka Festival every summer! In the spring, though, the fields around Ennis erupt in hues of blues, and the city has mapped out over 40 miles of Bluebonnet Trails to help you meet the best blooms up close and personal. The trails are set up by April first every year, and the Bluebonnet Festival takes place in mid-April. The historic downtown area is filled with arts & crafts, food vendors, kids’ activities, and live entertainment, culminating with nightly concerts. The Wine Wander through downtown Ennis is a popular festival event, and requires a $30pp ticket. The rest of the weekend is free!
While you’re in town, you should stop by the vintage Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, The museum sits right on the railroad tracks at Main Street and Ennis Avenue, in the city’s 1915 railroad restaurant building. It’s adjacent to the streets that host the festival, so there is zero walk-time to get there (but there is a $3 admission fee). Then stick around after dark for a movie at the retro Galaxy Drive-In Theatre. You read that right: Drive-in theatre. It’s a seriously fun blast from the past!
Ennis is just under 45 miles southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth, and about 175 miles northeast of Austin.
Thinking of staying in Ennis for the weekend? Read our review of the Ennis Holiday Inn and Suites. Read our review here.
- Where: Burnet, Texas
- When: 7-9 April 2023 (Easter Weekend)
- Admission: Varies by event; many are free
Every year, during the second weekend of April, 30,000 people descend on the small town of Burnet (population: 6,000) for an annual celebration of the State Flower of Texas: Bluebonnets. This isn’t just any Bluebonnet Festival, because Burnet is officially the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas. And this is a traditional home-town celebration the whole community takes part in.
The schedule for 2023 has not been released, but the fun usually starts the day before the festival with a carnival on Thursday. Then the Kiwanis Club kicks things off on Friday with an All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast, to fuel you up for the weekend ahead. Over the next three days there is so much to take in: arts and crafts, demonstrations, performances, and live entertainment are just the beginning. There are two parades to enjoy: A pet parade, and the Bluebonnet Festival Grand Parade, with marching bands, classic cars, and more. And we’ve only scratched the surface.
They don’t stop with 5- and 10k races, there are rubber ducky and wiener dog races, too. There’s a classic car show, a “wild west” style shoot-out, and even a demolition derby! With all of these activities, the festival takes place in locations all across Burnet. Some events do have admission fees, but most are free.
[Tweet “Find Your Festival: More than a dozen spring festivals in Texas are calling you to visit the Lone Star State!”]
- Where: Port Aransas, Texas
- When: 14-16 April 2023
- Admission: Ticket prices for 2023 have not yet been announced.
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon battling the sun and tides to build the perfect sand castle, then you’re our kind of people. And the Texas SandFest is a springtime highlight for people like us!
Every April for the last 25 years, sand sculptors and artists have gathered at Port Aransas to build their dream castles – and statues, artworks, and monuments to the shore. You can even enter the competition, if you’d like! There are divisions for Amateurs, Semi-Pro, and Master sand sculptors, solo or team. Yes, this is serious stuff but, if you’re like us, the real joy is walking the beach admiring the amazing artistry in sand.
SandFest wears the title of Largest Native-Sand Sculpture Competition in the USA, and is an internationally recognized event. The three-day festival includes food, drinks, shopping, and live entertainment, too. While you’re there, explore Port A’s five nature preserves for hiking, biking, and birdwatching – thousands of birds migrate through the area, in addition to hundreds of resident species. Or grab a rod and reel; Sportfishing is the king of all sports here, the Fishing Capital of Texas!
Port Aransas is on Mustang Island, just across the bay from Corpus Christi, Texas. You can reach the island by ferry, road, and public transportation from Corpus Christi. Flying into Corpus Christi, you would land at Corpus Christi International (CRP). If you’re up for a road trip, San Antonio is about 190 miles to the northwest, and Houston is 230 miles to the northeast.
- Where: San Antonio, Texas
- When: 20-30 April, 2023
- Admission: Varies per event
If you’re thinking about roller coasters and thrill rides, you’re thinking of Six Flags Fiesta Texas which, yes, is in San Antonio. However, Fiesta San Antonio is completely different. For one thing, most events are free, and there are so many of them!
Fiesta San Antonio is a collection of events all over town, and there is literally something for everyone. Fiesta Flower Show, Fiesta Oyster Bake, Fiesta Pop, Fiesta Masquerade, Fiesta Carnival…there’s even a Fiesta Fiesta at Hemisfair! Eating, dancing, football, futball, musica, running, biking…really, something for everyone. To find your something, scroll through the Official Fiesta Event Calendar, organized by day so you can see what’s happening while you’re visiting.
Since everybody loves a parade, there are three of them during Fiesta San Antonio! Our favorite is the Battle of the Flowers Parade, which sort of started the whole fiesta madness. There’s also the iconic Texas Cavaliers River Parade on the world famous San Antonio Riverwalk, and the Fiesta Flambeau Parade, America’s largest illuminated parade! You can find details and ticket information in the Fiesta San Antonio Parade Guide.
Events happen all over the greater San Antonio area, except for Fiesta Texas. While you’re running around town for the Fiestas, remember the Alamo! Together with the world famous San Antonio Riverwalk, and the Tower of the Americas at Hemisfair Park, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
- Where: Fort Worth, Texas
- When: 20-23 April 2023
- Admission: Free
Dallas-Fort Worth’s largest arts festival is truly legendary! The 36th Edition of the Main Street Arts Festival will span nine blocks of downtown Cow Town, bringing together Visual Arts, Music, and Culinary Arts for a blockbuster weekend surrounding historic Sundance Square and stretching the entire length of Main Street. (Hence the name!)
This is literally the largest four-day arts event in the Southwest. The world class display of Fine Arts is considered one of the best in the country. You’ll have many chances to take home a painting that speaks to you – perhaps even painted while you wait! Music on Main features live performances across the spectrum, from jazz and orchestra, to rock, to the brand new Squonk Opera Stage at the historic Fort Worth Courthouse. In addition to downtown’s fantastic restaurants, you’ll love the Food Alley, plus wine and craft beer stations. And Main St. Creates was created just for the kids to explore and enjoy the arts.
Downtown Fort Worth is worth a weekend (or more) on its own. From the Stockyards (featuring a daily cattle drive!) to General Worth Square, where President Kennedy gave his final speech, the city is drenched in history. The nearby Cultural District features award-winning museums and galleries, and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Downtown Fort Worth is roughly 25 miles from DFW Airport, which has TexRail train service right to downtown (except on Sundays). Dallas Love Airport is 33 miles away, and can also be reached by rail, though not directly. Because parking is always a challenge, we recommend ride-share, or parking at a TexRail or TRE park-and-ride lot, and taking the train to downtown.
- Where: Fort Worth, Texas
- When: 22-23 April 2023
- Admission: 2023 ticket prices have not yet been announced
Any time you’re in the Fort Worth vicinity, it’s worth visiting the Fort Worth Botanic Garden! There are a variety of displays and festivals at the Garden throughout the year, and the Spring Japanese Festival is one of the most popular. Which means you should expect crowds, and parking challenges; if you can, take a bus or ride-share to the park.
The Japanese Garden is arguably the most stunning area in the Botanic Garden’s 110 acres. For the Spring Japanese Festival, there are vendors, displays, and performances, in addition to the garden’s usual exhibits, plants, and structures. And if you happen to be back in Fort Worth on the first weekend in November, plan on attending the Japanese Fall Festival as well, to see the garden in all of it’s autumn beauty.
Your admission fee gets you into the Botanic Gardens. While you’re there for the festival, you should explore more of the 12 garden collections spread over 110 acres. The world-class Fort Worth Zoo is nearby, as are the city’s best museums and galleries, if you’d like to make a weekend of it.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is in the city’s Cultural District, close to Interstate 30 and just west of Downtown Fort Worth. It is served by Fort Worth’s Trinity Metro Line 007.
- Where: Muenster, Texas
- When: 28-30 April 2023
- Admission: $10 on Friday and Sunday, $15 on Saturday, Children under 12 are free; Parking $5
Tired of waiting until Oktoberfest to celebrate all things German? This is your festival!
Muenster, a small city of about 1500 people in north Texas, was founded in 1889 as a German Catholic community. Today, they throw one of the state’s biggest parties every year, on the last full weekend of April: Germanfest! Thousands of people come for three full days of German food and international fun. Like any good festival, Germanfest has a namesake 5k run, along with a bicycle rally, and a carnival. There is daily entertainment, and attractions for the entire family.
A highlight for children is the Karneval and Kinder Theatre, featuring mimes, magicians, clowns and storytellers. Meanwhile, a highlight for everyone is the food! German sausages and cheeses, apple strudel, and homemade bread, cakes and pies. Topping it off is the Germanfest Sausage and Rib Cook-off.
Muenster is about 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth, off of Insterstate 35. When you get there, parking will be $5 per day. There are a few B&Bs in town, and in nearby St. Jo, but your best lodging options are in DFW, or Gainesville.
If you’re hungry for more after Germanfest, consider visiting Muenster again in September for, you guessed it, Oktoberfest.
- Where: Buda, Texas
- When: 29-30 April 2023
- Admission: $5 gate admission for kids and adults
For many Texans, and dog lovers from pretty much anywhere, perhaps the best news in this entire post is this:
The Wiener Dog Race is back!
One of the great things of festival season is the sheer variety of what we celebrate. Perhaps the most unique, and certainly one of the best loved, is the Country Fair and Wiener Dog Race in Buda. Yes, Wiener Dog Race, with all (or, at least, some) of the thrills of greyhound racing, only cuter! Of course, things aren’t limited to dachshunds. There’s a pet parade open to all, along with arts and crafts, kids games, live entertainment, vendors, and an IBCA-sanctioned BBQ cook-off. Just, maybe don’t order a hot dog.
The fun takes place in the self-proclaimed Wiener Dog Capital of Texas! Buda is less than 20 miles from Austin, and 60 miles from San Antonio. Being just off of Interstate 35, it’s a great stop on a Central Texas Road Trip. Nearby you can enjoy the Schlitterbahn water parks and natural springs in New Braunfels, get a dose of charm and history in Gruene, and shop your heart out at the San Marcos Outlet Stores. If the weather’s warm enough, enjoy a Texas summer tradition, tubing on the Guadalupe River.
[Tweet “Bluebonnets and fiddles to Wiener Dogs and crabs: 15 Spring Festivals in Texas You Will Love”]
View this post on Instagram
Official dates + times for the Spring 2020 @pecanstreetfest | MAY 2-3 | 6th street between ih35 and 6th | dig it
- Where: Austin, Texas
- When: 6-7 May 2023, and 16-17 September 2023
- Admission: Free
For more than three decades, the 6th Street Historic District of downtown Austin has been showing off the city’s artsy side at the Pecan Street Festival. It’s a juried event that happens every May and September, attracting hundreds of local and national artisans, and tens of thousands of festival-goers. You’ll find original, handcrafted creations in just about every medium you can imagine: glass, metal, wood, clay, leather, stone…even repurposed and reimagined materials. Food vendors and live entertainment round out the festival experience.
Despite the name, don’t go looking for Pecan Street when you go; it was long ago renamed, and is now the world famous 6th Street. Austin is served by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and the Capital Metro Route 20 runs between the Airport and the 4th/5th/6th Street area.
- Where: Crystal Beach, Texas
- When: 10-12 May 2023 (Mother’s Day Weekend)
- Admission: Day passes are $10 on Friday, $15 on Saturday, or $20 for the whole weekend. On Sunday, everyone gets in for free!
This springtime festival promises something just a little different: Music, arts, and… crabs! Crystal Beach, on the Texas Gulf shore, celebrates Mothers Day in style with a three-day-weekend-long festival devoted to one of the Gulf of Mexico’s tastiest denizens. It just so happens that Mothers Day is also soft-shell crab season!
There’s more to do than cracking claws, though: live music, an RV show, carnival rides, a 5K run, a 1k fun run, and a 0k Crab Run, which is just our speed! There is an annual Gumbo Cook-off, more wiener dog races, and yes, artsy stuff too. But really, you – and thousands of your new best friends – will be there for the crabs! Which has earned the Texas Crab Festival a place on USA Today’s “10 Best Festivals to Dive Into,” and an appearance on Food Network’s “Eating America with Anthony Anderson.”
By The Way The Texas Crab Festival is a non-profit. After paying for festival expenses, all proceeds help fund youth scholarships and camps, local schools, and volunteer fire departments. Helping a good cause has never been so much fun!
Crystal Beach is located on the Bolivar Peninsula, south of Houston. The easiest way to get there requires driving to Galveston Island, and taking the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. If you happen to be road tripping from east of Houston, it’s easiest to exit Interstate 10 at Winnie, and take Highway 124 down to the shore, turn right and keep going. If you’re flying into Houston, Crystal Beach is about 60 miles from central Houston taking the ferry route, or 100 miles taking the long, land-locked way around via Highway 124.
Do all of these Spring Festivals in Texas have you “Festivaled Out”?
How many festivals is too many? Trick question! We can never get enough. How about you? What festivals do you enjoy attending, springtime or any time? Let us know in the comments.
We think attending spring festivals in Texas is the perfect way to make the most of the beautiful weather, and recharge from those winter blues. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to take in some of these fun events. Please let us know if you do, and which ones you like best!
Thanks for coming along for the read!