A Mexican holiday of reflection, celebration, and tribute to ancestors and loved ones who have passed on, Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead has found great significance in Houston, where Mexican and Mexican American culture and traditions thrive.
Traditionally observed on November 1 and 2, the holiday honors the ancestors with days of music, dancing, flowers, art, and yes, food and drink — and this year, many local restaurants, bars, and hospitality establishments are welcoming Houstonians to join in on the festivities. Here are a handful of ways to celebrate in the city this fall:
This list will be updated, so be sure to check back for new additions.
Check out Eater’s guide to Halloween in Houston here.
Celebrate in the city: The City of Houston will host its 2nd annual Día de Los Muertos festival, with live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, and a procession starting at 7 p.m. with a parade of colorful costumes. RSVP for this free event on Eventbrite. from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, November 5. Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby Street.
A tribute: Now through November 6, Toro Toro is paying homage to Mexican tradition with a three-course pre-fixe menu, featuring dishes like seafood verde pozole and mole coloradito enchiladas, plus a special cocktail menu created by beverage manager Johnathan Jones. $80 per person. 1300 Lamar Street, 77010.
Work up an appetite: Tex-Mex institution Spanish Village will kick off five days of lunch and dinner specials to commemorate the holiday, featuring a special lunch and dinner menu that will include $14 fried beef or chicken chimichangas served with beans and rice; $14 burritos; and saucy chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and jack cheese and served with poblano rice and vegetables for $16 each. November 1 through November 5. 4720 Almeda Road, Suite A. 77004
Then, satisfy your sweet tooth: Local chocolatier Cacao & Cardamom will debut its sugar skulls, plus skull-shaped caramels, and a candy smash pumpkin filled with peanut butter marshmallow rocher and pumpkin spice dulcey almond dragees. Try the sweet and spicy strawberry serrano bar. 5000 Westheimer Road, Suite 602, 77056.
- From October 27 through November 2, diners at Monkey’s Tail can indulge in drink specials and pay tribute to their deceased loved ones by sharing photos on the ofrenda, or offerings altar. The restaurant will also begin its annual tamales lunch service on November 1, with six tamales for $9 or 12 for $16. 5802 Fulton Street, 77009.
- Arnaldo Richards’ Picos Restaurant will take to Spring’s City Place with various flavors of their famed ready-to-eat tamales and other signature items, including warming pozole, and queso. Those who stop by can also pick up packages of tamales to prep later by putting in an advanced order online by noon on November 1. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, November 2. 1250 Lake Plaza Drive, Spring, TX 77389.
- Julep will also host its own Día de los Muertos party on Saturday, October 29, with tamales from Cochinita and Co. served starting at 6 p.m., live set by TJ Pico starting at 9 p.m., and a costume party with a $300 cash prize held at midnight, followed by a bar takeover by Mexico City bar Licorería Limantour on November 1. The cocktail bar will welcome Licorería Limantour co-owner Benjamin Padrón and bar manager Eduardo Nava, who will craft a special Día de los Muertos menu from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The featured signature cocktail will be the Margarita al Pastor — an exciting drink take on tacos al pastor made with roasted pineapple and fresh coriander. 1919 Washington Avenue, 77007.
James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega's Dia de Los Muertos dinners:
- Hugo’s will host a four-course dinner, with dishes like spiced sweet potato soup with almonds and sesame; crispy sweet potato cakes with rabbit tinga; a pozole verde with pork; a Day of the Dead sweet roll with orange blossom cream; and more. $45 per person plus gratuity. Reservations are encouraged. October 28 through November 1. 1600 Westheimer Road, 77006.
- Caracol will host a four-course pre-fixe tequila dinner on October 27, featuring drinks made with Casa del Sol, and dishes like corn tamales, braised short rib with cremoso de calabaza and mole mascota, and a Day of the Dead bread pudding with spiced pumpkin ice cream and spiked hot chocolate made with tequila and Ancho Reyes chile liqueur. $110 per person plus tax and gratuity. Tickets are available online. Reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Food is served at 7 p.m. Guests can also experience the more pared-down three-course version from October 28 through November 2, with an optional $30 tequila pairing. $49 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online. 2200 Post Oak Boulevard.
- Urbe will close its restaurant doors to throw a riveting Dia de Los Muertos event that will stay true to traditional Mexican celebrations. Find interactive stations filled with street food; Patron-based cocktails; beer, and sangria; plus desserts ranging from tres leches and churros to aguas frescas, flan, and more. When not stuffing your face, get your face painted, dance to the live music, and compete in a contest for best dressed. $55 per person plus tax and gratuity. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, November 2. 1101 Uptown Park Boulevard, Suite 12, 77056.
- Xochi will also host a four-course dinner celebration, including an assortment of appetizers, sliced striped bass ceviche, corn soup, braised beef cheeks with creamy corn rice and mole pasilla, and chocolate pudding with sponge cake. Tickets, for $110 per person, can be purchased online. 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 2. 1777 Walker Street, 77010.