Top spring & summer events in Houston in 2018
While San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas may boast more tourists per year, you’d be remiss not to make a stop in Houston if you’re planning a trip to Texas. Of its attractions, the city is widely known for Space Center Houston, where visitors can immerse themselves in the thrilling history and new innovation of NASA. But outside the center, there’s a ton going on in the city to keep you entertained. Whether you’re visiting or you actually live in Houston, you can find events to suit any taste, especially in the warmest days of spring and summer. From big-name concerts and Broadway shows on tour to thrilling matchups between the sports teams and their rivals, you won’t want to miss some of Houston’s best events.
Led by serious scorers James Harden and Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets have been firmly holding their spot atop the Western Conference of the NBA for nearly all of the 2017–18 season. The team is guaranteed a spot in the first round of the playoffs, so don’t miss your chance to see them battle it out starting the second week of April. Could they bring an NBA Finals victory back to Houston for the first time in 23 years? Pick up tickets to witness all the rim-rattling action for yourself.
Fresh off their World Series win in 2017, the Houston Astros are back and are continuing to dominate the American League of the MLB. Celebrate summer with one of the season’s favorite pastimes by getting a ticket to see this top-ranking team take the ballfield at Minute Maid Park. With 162 games between opening day and the end of the regular season, there’s no excuse not to watch the Astros vie for another victory against rivals like the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.
Houston Dynamo and Dash
Home to both the Houston Dynamo of the MLS and Houston Dash of the NWSL, the city is 1 of only 7 in the US to host both teams from the highest leagues of men’s and women’s soccer. Houston’s rowdy fans have been cheering on the Dynamo since 2006, watching as the team won back-to-back MLS Cups in their first 2 seasons. While the Dash have struggled in their early years since 2014, fans have still been filling up the seats at BBVA Compass Stadium. This spring and summer, grab tickets to cheer on these 2 teams as they fight their way up their respective leagues.
WWE: NXT Live
World Wrestling Entertainment—more commonly known as WWE—is the largest and most successful professional wrestling company in the world. Its productions thrill audiences with a mix of high-drama storylines, choreographed routines, and over-the-top effects that create an intriguing combination of theater and sport. While you can catch all the action on TV, there’s nothing quite like getting tickets to see the spectacle in person. On May 20, head to the Revention Music Center to catch WWE: NXT Live, the live version of the company’s reality-meets-competition show.
Soak in the last bit of summer and say hello to fall with tickets to the opening home games of the Houston Texans. After a disappointing 2017–18 season, the Texans are back at the beginning of September and are ready to regain their place atop the AFC South. Watch the team take the field at Houston’s NRG Stadium, which has also become known for hosting that annual NCAA Texas Bowl. Truly die-hard fans of the Texans won’t want to miss the chance to snatch up season tickets before they disappear.
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Kendrick Lamar, SZA & Schoolboy Q: Championship Tour
See 3 of the biggest names in today’s rap, R&B, and hip hop when Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Schoolboy Q hit the Houston metro area as headliners on their cross-country Championship Tour. On May 19, the trio are taking over the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion alongside fellow Top Dawg artists Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Lance Skiiiwalker, and SiR. Listen to songs from each artist’s respective albums, as well as hits from the critically acclaimed Black Panther soundtrack such as “King’s Dead,” “All the Stars,” and “X.”
Justin Timberlake: Man of the Woods Tour
Bust out your best dance moves as Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back to Houston on May 23 and 25. Taking the stage at the Toyota Center, the R&B star is treating fans to an electrifying set of new hits off his most recent album, Man of the Woods, along with favorites like “LoveStoned,” “Cry Me a River,” and “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Justin is joined on the road by The Shadowboxers, a Nashville-based pop group who recently signed to his artist development label, Villa 40.
Maroon 5 & Julia Michaels: Red Pill Blues Tour
As one of the top pop-rock bands in the world, Maroon 5 have developed a signature sound that can be heard on chart-topping hits such as “Moves Like Jagger,” “Payphone,” and “Sugar.” On June 10 at the Toyota Center, the group is performing all of these songs and more as part of their Red Pill Blues Tour. Opening for the band is Julia Michaels, an up-and-coming star that you may know from last year’s breakout singles “Uh Huh” and “Issues.” Chances are, though, you’ve been listening to her catchy lyrics for longer than you know, as she’s penned songs for Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez.
2018 Vans Warped Tour
Don’t miss your chance to catch the 2018 Vans Warped Tour on its final full cross-country run. For more than 2 decades, the traveling festival has drawn millions of fans of rock, punk, emo, indie, electronic, hip-hop, metal, and more to the biggest backyard party of the summer. On July 8, more than 50 artists will be playing across 6 stages at NRG Park. You can spend an entire day dashing between bands like 3OH!3, Bowling for Soup, Simple Plan, We the Kings, and The Used.
Luke Bryan: What Makes You Country Tour
Grab your cowboy hat and dust off your boots for a performance by one of country music’s hottest stars. Coming to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on September 7, Luke Bryan is promoting his most recent album and hits like “Light It Up” and “Most People Are Good.” Originally announced with only a handful of dates, the What Makes You Country Tour continues to add new performances as the shows sell out. It’s sure to be one of the biggest country events of the summer, so don’t wait long to pick up tickets.
Beyonce & Jay-Z: On the Run II Tour
See the entertainment industry’s most influential couple with tickets to the On the Run II Tour at NRG Stadium on September 15 and 16. Husband-and-wife duo Jay-Z and Beyoncé are closing out summer with a bang, providing all of the tantalizing spectacle, triumphant vocals, and tight choreography that they brought on their first On the Run Tour. Combining slick raps with booty-shaking anthems and emotional duets, it’s easy to see why this insanely powerful and talented couple is on the top together.
Of all the standups that come to Houston, Jim Gaffigan may just be the only one that’s appropriate for everyone from the kids to the grandparents. Returning with his Fixer Upper Tour on April 20, Gaffigan is sure to have viewers rolling in the aisles with his clean brand of humor that highlights fatherhood, laziness, and food. Whether he’s joking about having too many children, the letter he received from a serial killer, or his love of Hot Pockets and cake, he can always be counted on to bring the laughs.
If Jim Gaffigan isn’t your style, there’s always Lewis Black. Best known for his belligerent brand of comedy, he’s bringing his signature rants to the Revention Music Center on April 28. Voted by Comedy Central as one of the greatest comedians of all time, Black puts on a show that boasts a unique mix of standup and acting as he portrays a man who’s approaching the limits of his mental stability. You’re sure to be crying your way through the show as he shouts on and on about history, politics, and culture.
See for yourself why Kathleen Madigan has been called both “the funniest woman in America” and “easily one of the best comics alive” with tickets to Boxed Wine and Bigfoot at the Revention Music Center on May 4. The longtime comedian is known for her no-holds-barred sense of humor and refusing to shy away from any topic. Watch as she goes to town on everything from politics to religion to her favorite way to spend the holidays—alone and drunk—in this night side-splitting night of laughter.
LIT AF Tour Hosted by Martin Lawrence
Don’t miss your chance to see the legendary Martin Lawrence, yet another star voted by Comedy Central as one of the greatest comedians of all time. On May 26 at the NRG Arena, the standup is hosting a hilarious night featuring fellow comedians Michael Blackson, Rickey Smiley, and DeRay Davis. Titled the LIT AF Tour, the show guarantees to be a laugh-a-minute riot filled with satirical observations on anything and everything from race to celebrity to the absurdities we all experience in our daily lives.
Certainly not for the faint of heart or the politically correct, Bill Burr returns to Houston with his trademark brand of rage-fueled comedy. For 2 nights on July 26 and 27, the comedian known for his defiant and cynical sense of humor is revealing his unfiltered views on everything from politics and gender to conspiracy theories and sports. Named by The New York Times as one of the most “distinctive voices in the country for years,” Burr may not be sensitive, but he wins the audience over as he rants into the night.
THEATER & DANCE
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See the musical described as the “most influential Broadway show of our generation” with tickets to Hamilton between April 24 and May 20. Follow the adventures and exploits of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton as he makes his mark on the New World through war, scandal, and rivalry. Bringing together a multiethnic cast, rhythmic choreography, and a score fueled by rap, R&B, and traditional-style showtunes, 11-time Tony-winning Hamilton lets you to watch history come alive in a way that feels truly revolutionary.
Maks, Val & Peta: Confidential
Experience the contagious energy and deep connection of dance as Maks, Val, and Peta take the stage at Smart Financial Centre on April 26. Starring Peta Murgatroyd and brothers Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Confidential is a celebration of the pros’ real-life family bonds, love lives, and dreams. Following the brother’s smash-hit tour in 2016, Peta has teamed up with husband Maks and brother-in-law Val for a show that promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Guys and Dolls
From June 12 to 24, you can jump at the chance to see a modern reimagining of the beloved Tony-winning classic Guys and Dolls at The Hobby Center. From the director who wowed Houston in 2016 with his production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, the show takes you back to a time in New York City when gangsters, gamblers, and the women who love them captured the nation’s attention. With charming characters, exuberant dance routines, and catchy songs like “Luck Be a Lady,” Guys and Dolls is truly a delightful show for the ages.
Houston Ballet: Swan Lake
Get swept away by the beauty and grace of the Houston Ballet with tickets to see Tchaikovsky’s iconic Swan Lake. During the final week of June, the ballet is transporting viewers into the stunning world of an enchanted forest. Follow the story of a cursed maiden who’s forced to live as a swan by day, and the prince who will stop at nothing to be with her. Watch as the beautiful and tragic production unfolds with new inspiration from Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott and the 19th-century painting based on the poem.
Love Never Dies
The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, the spellbinding sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Running at The Hobby Center in the third week of July, the show travels back to the early 20th century, a decade after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House. This electrically charged new work tells the tale of the Phantom’s new life among the rides, freak shows, and games of New York’s Coney Island. Though he’s finally found a place for his own music to soar, he’s never stopped yearning for his one true love, Christine, and he makes a final bid to win her back.
Bring It! Live
On August 5, don’t miss the thrilling and explosive performance of Bring It! Live, a show that takes all of the inimitable energy of hip-hop majorette dance competitions and brings it to the stage. After a 2017 tour that enamored audiences across the country with its fierce and original dance routines, Bring It! Live is back this year and hotter than ever. Be wowed by The Dancing Dolls from Lifetime’s reality show Bring It!, and all of the high-octane numbers that prove they can do just that.