For the past 86 years, the city of Houston, Texas has attracted both locals and visitors alike for the legendary, and largest of it's kind, Houston Rodeo. What began as a general gathering of cowboys, farmers and livestock at Sam Houston Coliseum, has gradually grown into an event like no other. Today, the Houston Rodeo now calls the 70,000 seat arena that is NRG Stadium, home. Housed in the massive NRG Park which boasts over 2 million square feet of exhibit space, the Houston Rodeo is now so much more than just bull riding and livestock auctions.
Below, we've provided an insiders guide into one of Houston's greatest events, breaking down the main attractions and why it has remained so beloved over the years.
No surprise, one of the main attractions at the modern day Houston Rodeo is the music. While fans can expect the cream of the country music crop to perform throughout the scheduled weeks, the lineup boasts an array of talented musicians. The 2018 lineup will feature gospel and soul singer Leon Bridges, the 2018 Grammy Best New Artist Winner Alessia Cara, reggaeton singer J Balvin and pop rock group OneRepublic.
But it is Texas, and true to their down home roots,16 of the 20 total artists are country superstars. The likes of Garth Brooks, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Kelsey Ballerini, Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, Chris Young, Cody Johnson, Calibre 50, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Brad Paisley are set to perform this February 27 through March 18.
Houston Rodeo 2018 Lineup
While you may plan your trip to see one of the many exciting performances, be sure to get there early, because there is such more to the Houston Rodeo than music.
Featuring a full carnival included with an admission ticket to the grounds, visitors have the option to enjoy the thrills or go just to chill, literally, in the air-conditioned, 4 person cabins on the rodeo's own Ferris wheel. And, if you're out and about with little ones, the Junction is the place for you. What used to be known as Kid Country, includes camel rides, pig races and a petting zoo, just to name a few. Not to mention a gorgeous antique double carousel. For more information on the Junction's events and kid friendly activities, click HERE.
You may have heard tales of the fried foods at various rodeos, but I assure you, all others pale in comparison to Houston's when it comes to cuisine. From the legendary and enormous turkey legs, to the deep fried Oreos and Twinkies, you wouldn't believe what the over 300 vendor stands sell throughout the park. Even more enticing, the deliciously fun tradition called the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards, which honors venders with categories such as “Best Food-on-a-Stick" to “Best New Flavor." The 2017 winners of those two awards were, respectively, “Shrimp Diablo" from Berryhill, and “Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cream Pie" from Mad Hatter Funnel Cakes.
Keep an eye out for the always fun, Most Creative Food Award, which went to “Nitro Pop" from Cowboy Kettle Corn at last year's rodeo.
Berryhill's “Shrimp Diablo." The Houston Rodeo Official Site
Mad Hatter Funnel Cakes' “Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cream Pie." The Houston Rodeo Official Site
Cowboy Kettle Corn's “Nitro Pop." The Houston Rodeo Official Site
Navigating such a massive event may seem daunting, but the rodeo's great at providing information and resources to help. Handicap Accessible and on-site parking are available, with a tram system to transport you from the lot to the grounds, details on which can be found HERE.
Once you're inside, reference these maps below to help you get around.
Tickets for all access to the grounds are just $15 dollars for an adult day pass, and $5 for children. If you're a local or on an extended trip and plan to visit multiple times, there is a season pass option for only $35 dollars, the same price for both adults and children.
See you at the rodeo!