The start of a new year on the Texas Gulf Coast means the return of raucous revelry that dates back to more than a century. Mardi Gras! Galveston, known as the third-largest Mardi Gras bash in the U.S., returns to Galveston Island for its 112th annual celebration February 10-21.
Galveston's massive, always popular event is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees this year, many who'll pack the island during Carnival season for concerts, parades, balcony parties, elegant balls, and of course, beads.
As always, Mardi Gras! Galveston offers up diverse, family fun — and some adult debauchery — along some of the island's most familiar destinations. Fans can look forward to:
Party central With nearly all parades traveling through downtown, Galveston’s historic downtown entertainment district will be a fan fixture. Visitors can post up on the street or at a balcony party for ideal views — and bead tossing. The event's main concert stages are also downtown, a must-hit spot for the headlining shows. For some beachy fun, hang out on Seawall Boulevard to take in the parade and the waves.
Masked merriment While many choose to dress comfortably, stroll the area, and nab beads, others look forward to the upscale, masked merriment at the many black-tie, masked balls and soirees. The regal events feature lavish food and drink, live music and performances, dancing, and a bird's eye view of the parades below.
A true fiesta In a showcase of the event's diversity, Fiesta Gras! blends a Louisiana get-down with a Gulf Coast, Texas-Mexican party on Sunday, February 12. The annual Hispanic heritage celebration features live entertainment performances from Grupo Secretto, Kazzabe, and more. Expect some dandy and entertaining mariachis, themed parades, vendors, and exclusive meet and greet balcony parties, per a press release.
Family fun Who says kids can't get in on the fun? FamilyGras allows the whole family to take part in the activities on Sunday, February 19. Expect live family entertainment, the fan-favorite and adorable Krewe of Barkus & Meoux pet parade, the Mardi Gras Children’s Parade, and the Shriners Hospital Parade downtown.
Umbrellas, art, and more One of the Gulf Coast's most picturesque celebrations returns with the Umbrella Brigade, where hundreds pack the streets showing off vivid, wildly decorated umbrellas. Fit types can run or walk in the Jolly Jester 5K Jaunt, while creatives can draw up some buzz in the official poster contest.
Bead it Mardi Gras' tradition of bead tossing takes a sustainable turn with the Beads for Needs initiative. Here, thoughtful visitors can return their beads to a local collection bin, where students at Galveston Ball High will work to repurpose them — all while building life and entrepreneurial skills.
Those who want to get a jump on planning and lodging can score tickets and more information online.
Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.
According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."
The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.
It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.
Spring has officially arrived and events this week reflect the flavors of the season. There’s a brisket 101 class just in time for backyard barbecuing, a whiskey bottle release party with a baseball theme (and major league special guest), and a wine class featuring an Italian region well-suited for a spring vacation. Also experience a taste of Nigeria during a special pop-up dinner, and celebrate a beloved brewery’s 10th birthday by the weekend. Also, we're just over a week away from this year's Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, and tickets are going fast; find out more here.
Wednesday, March 22
Wine Dinner and Communal Gathering at FnG Eats Chefs Carlos Arevalo and Bob Stephenson of FnG Eats in Keller will gather together with customers during this four-course wine pairing dinner. Comfort food favorites on the menu include iron skillet cornbread, Wagyu meatloaf, and bourbon cherry chocolate bread pudding. Wines will be served with courses one through three, and a specialty sparkling cocktail will come with dessert. Dinner is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and will begin at 7 pm.
Thursday, March 23
Italian Wine Education Series at WineHaus The neighborhood wine bar will kick off an education series focusing on Italian wines, and the first region to be covered will be Piedmont. A guest speaker will guide participants through a tasting of six wines during the informative event. Wines to be sipped include millesimato brut, barbera d’asti, barbera d’alba, dolcetto, barbaresco, and barolo. Tickets are $40, including gratuity, and the class will run from 6-7:30 pm.
Nigerian Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Franson at Chef Point Chef Point Café owner and chef Franson Nwaeze will share the bold flavors of West Africa during this five-course dinner. Menu highlights include suya skewers, pepper soup, goat stew with jollof rice, and fluffy fried dough balls dusted with cinnamon sugar. The dinner is $71 per person and includes tax and gratuity. Drinks are extra and suggested pairings are the Nigerian Chapman cocktail, a bold South African cab, or simply a cold beer. Dinner will start at 6:30 pm.
Friday, March 24
TX Whiskey’s Limited-Edition Baseball Bottle Release Party Spring means baseball season is on the horizon, and Whiskey Ranch will celebrate with a special bottle release party. Visit to buy a bottle of TX Whiskey sealed with a specialized cap made from a baseball, with complimentary bottle engraving. The distillery will also screen the baseball classic A League of Their Own and welcome former Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland as a special guest. The $10 admission includes your first cocktail. The event will run from 6-9 pm.
Saturday, March 25
Martin House Brewing Company 10-Year Anniversary The Riverside brewery will celebrate a decade in business with a party. There’ll be two new taproom-exclusive beer drops, more than 30 kegs from the cellar, live music, food vendors, hula dancers, and more. New beer launches are Rum Ham, an imperial sour infused with cherries, pineapple and honey ham, and Triple Texan, a triple red tripled IPA. The $25 ticket will cover one souvenir pint glass and four pours. The family-friendly event will run from 12-6 pm.
Sunday, March 26
Brisket 101 at Panther Island Brewing Pitmaster Dayne Weaver of Dayne’s Craft Barbecue will walk participants step-by-step through his process of smoking tender, flavorful brisket. Attendees will be treated to a feast of barbecue along with three Panther Island brews and a souvenir glass. The class is $175 per person, plus tax and a service fee, and will run from 11 am-3 pm.
Located in a two-hour triangle between Austin and San Antonio is Kerrville, the official capital of the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 1889 with a spirit of innovation, the city still holds fast to its entrepreneurial roots as the home of James Avery Artisan Jewelry and a plethora of galleries, museums, and shops.
It's also an outdoor lover's dream. Kerrville is situated along the banks of the Guadalupe River, which serves as the map for the multi-use Kerrville River Trail and provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Here are more activities to discover during your time in Kerrville:
Art for all
The world-famous brand James Avery Artisan Jewelry calls Kerrville home, and visitors can learn about the history of the company in a museum-like setting while also shopping for their very own piece of jewelry to take home.
The company's presence is felt throughout the city, most notably with the popular Mother's Love James Avery memorial sculpture right outside the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center. This is one of the 28 public art pieces dotted throughout downtown — keep an eye out for “Lupe” the Guadalupe Bass in Louise Hays Park and the “Welcome To Kerrville” mural.
Find peace with the The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, featuring eight bronze sculptures inspired by Christian scriptures, including a seven-story-tall steel cross, that are surrounded by a prayer rock garden.
Visit the campus of the Hill Country Arts Foundation in nearby Ingram and come face to face with Stonehenge II, a nearly life-size replica of the famous stones in England that also include two 13-foot-tall Easter Island head copies.
Head into the 20,000-square-foot Rivers Edge Gallery to view an expansive variety of contemporary and traditional artwork, or explore life during the frontier days at The Museum of Western Art. The museum also offers workshops on such skills as leather working and candle making.
The Schreiner Mansion Historic Site, built by former Texas Ranger Charles Schreiner, offers a guided tour of the mansion with history on the family that ran a major department store in Kerrville (now Schreiner Goods) and established the Schreiner Institute, now known as Schreiner University.
Catch live music and other events at the iconic Arcadia Live Theater, see a play in the intimate black box VK Garage Theater, or pay tribute to Point Theatre, the oldest-running outdoor theater in Texas. The Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts also hosts Symphony of the Hills, nationally acclaimed musicians, and theater performances by Playhouse 2000.
Events for everyone
There's something for every season here, with the spring bringing the Kerrville Easter Festival (held this year on April 8, 2023) and the Kerrville Easter Bike Ride (April 7-9, 2023).
The Texas Masters of Fine Art Show (May 26-28, 2023) overlaps with the famous Kerrville Folk Festival (May 25-June 11, 2023), and the height of summer brings Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, scheduled for July 4.
Fall sees the Kerrville Triathlon Festival and the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair on the same weekend — September 23-24, 2023 — with the Kerrville RiverFest and Kerrville Chalk Festival following October 14 and 15, 2023.
The Texas Furniture Makers Show is scheduled for November 2-December 15, 2023, and lots of folks turn out for the Kerrville Renaissance Festival that runs weekends in late January and early February.
Kerrville’s mild weather allows for outdoor activities year-round. Hop aboard the Hill Country River Rat, a unique outdoor river activity where visitors can peddle to provide horsepower on a 25-foot-long, custom-made, 12-passenger pontoon boat.
Aside from water fun on the Guadalupe River, biking is also a popular outdoor activity. Pedal leisurely on the 10-foot-wide Kerrville River Trail, the city’s unofficial crown jewel, that parallels the Guadalupe for six miles. You can also walk your dog, go for a run, or relax on a bench and spot birds in the shade of Kerrville’s signature cypress trees.
There are multiple trail segments and trailheads that can be accessed along the Kerrville River Trail, notably Kerrville-Schriener Park and Louise Hays Park.
At 517 acres, Kerrville-Schriener is the largest municipal park in Kerrville, offering plenty of green space with a playground, butterfly garden, sand volleyball, basketball, 10-plus miles of hike and bike trails, river access, and more.
The popular Louise Hays Park features an interactive fountain, a playground, pavilions, trail heads, numerous picnic areas, and a stage that hosts music and dance performances. Louise Hays Park is also home to a variety of special events, such as Get Outdoors Day, Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, and the Kerrville Triathlon Festival.
To learn about the different critters and creatures that call Kerrville home, the Riverside Nature Center is the perfect place to explore. Wander through the gardens, educational exhibits, a gift shop, and much more.
Additional outdoor activities include golfing at Kerrvilles’ three golf courses — Scott Schreiner Golf Course, Comanche Trace, and The Riverhill Country Club — playing tennis at the HEB Tennis Center, and hunting at Y.O. Ranch or Shonto Ranch.
Time to eat
Enjoy dining with a view of the Hill Country and the Guadalupe River while exploring the craft food and beverage scene when you dine in Kerrville. From upscale dining experiences and wine tasting opportunities to delicious taco and coffee spots on the go, there's no shortage of choices.
For a meal with a view, check out 1011 Bistro, Cafe at the Ridge, Thai Ocha, Pinnacle Grill, and Billy Gene’s. Texas tacos are obviously a must, so head to El Sol De Mexico, Mary’s Tacos, Taqueria Jalisco, El Jimador Restaurant & Bar, and Rita’s Famous Tacos.
Make sure to sample the local libations during your stay — Kerrville is located in the Hill Country after all. Turtle Creek Olives & Vines, Kerrville Hills Winery, and Wine-O-Bout It satisfy vino connoisseurs, while craft brew enthusiasts will cheers to options like Pint & Plow Brewing Co., Basement Brewers of Texas, and Trailhead Beer Garden.
Other popular eateries include Bumdoodlers Lunch Company, Francisco’s Restaurant, Grape Juice, and Rails: A Cafe at The Depot.
Shop to it
Visitors flock to downtown Kerrville to explore upscale shops as well as unique boutiques and antique stores. Schreiner Goods stocks a curated selection of women’s clothing, accessories, and stylish home goods, while Rustic Elegance is a home furnishing aficionado's dream store.
Stop by Creations, a destination for fabric artists; shop for crystals and other mystical items at The Fairy Moon Emporium; or go antique hunting at Sunrise Antique Mall. Of course, shopping for a piece of James Avery jewelry is a given while in Kerrville!
Rest your head
The River Trail Cottages are a fun way to depart from the normal hotel experience, with a unique variety of retro overnight options like Motor Court Cottages, newly built midcentury-themed Depot Alley or River View cottages, and vintage RVs filled with modern amenities.
At the River House, all guest rooms offer direct access to the river and the Kerrville River Trail that leads straight through downtown. The facilities also come with grills, bicycles, river floats, fishing poles, kayaks, and backyard games.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Guadalupe River Camp Resort is the perfect place for families traveling with little ones. Enjoy putt-putt, jumbo-sized jumping pillows, laser tag, playgrounds, and a water slide park.
For those looking for a resort feel, a stay at Inn of the Hills Hotel & Conference Center is an excellent choice. The hotel features a courtyard, swimming pools, 21,000-square-foot conference center, delicious dining at the full-service restaurant, and the Inn Pub, which features entertainment on the weekends and is the only dance hall in Kerrville.