Houston is one of the nation’s most diverse cities with at least 70 distinct ethnic communities where 100 different languages might be heard. There are always hundreds of activities and different cultures celebrating different traditions. But some of the most traditional are also the most popular. Here are a few of the “must see” events that should receive attention from visitors from all around the world over Thanksgiving weekend in Houston.

Thanksgiving Day Parade
Texas Ave along Bagby to McKinney
Houston, TX 77002

Houston’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the largest parade in Texas, and one of the largest in the USA., attracting crowds of up to 400,000 with spectacular floats and hot air balloons. The parade is under new management this year, as Houston Festival Foundation will no longer undertake the event. But a coalition of H-E-B, Houston Central, the Houston Arts Alliance and many of the other former sponsors and past co-organizers soon formed to continue the tradition. The parade route is usually Thanksgiving Day starting at mid-morning through downtown streets from Texas Avenue to McKinney Avenue. Check with the parade producer Ward and Ames for details.

Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 639-4629

Earlier this year, the Houston Museum of Natural Science unveiled the most ambitious and impressive dinosaur exhibition in the USA. Visitors who have seen museums across the country for decades and trained anthropologists, including Houston’s current Mayor Annise Parker, have come away from this exhibition utterly amazed. At the Morian Hall of Paleontology, visitors embark on a prehistoric safari and see animated ancient creatures climbing trees, hunting and eating. Fossil remains of gigantic marsupials show that many things have been bigger in Texas since prehistoric times.

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Johnson Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
(281) 244-2100

The Johnson Space Center has always provided a unique opportunity to learn from exhibits of America’s manned space program, starting with the life-size model of the shuttle outside. But the future promises to be even more challenging with plans to develop an advanced Space Port at Ellington Airport. Designers and aerospace industry leaders from across the country met at Houston and discussed plans with Houston’s Aerospace department, unveiling the current design. Current exhibitions include galleries of astronauts, memorabilia of space flights and working machines originally designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Renaissance Festival
21778 FM 1774
Todd Mission, TX 77363
(800) 458-3435

Houston’s Renaissance Festival is the largest of its kind. It has been described as an interactive theme park or as a live Medieval Village, with pubs, stocks for evil doers, falconers, lords and ladies in period costume and occasional knights in shining armor in the streets, along with shows, plays, jousts, falcons, elephants and more. Prepare to spend an entire day of fun and photo ops as the Renaissance comes alive. Thanksgiving weekend is the last weekend of the festival, so make sure you don’t miss it.
Houston Rockets Game
Toyota Center
1510 Polk St.
Houston, TX 77002

Sports fans have several opportunities to see Houston professional teams in action over the holiday weekend (not to mention many college matches). The Houston Rockets play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, November 27 at 7 p.m. at Toyota Center, and against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, November 29. The Houston Texans play the New England Patriots on Sunday December 1 at Reliant Stadium.

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Marc Pembroke is a freelance writer covering all things Houston. His work can be found on Examiner.com.