Houston & the International Quilt Festival 2024
Houston & the International Quilt Festival 2024
This is an inspiring and hugely popular tour to Houston, Texas to experience one of the world's largest annual quilt shows, which this year will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Details of special exhibits are still to be announced, but we are promised a celebration of red, white and blue!
Houston - melange of international appeal and Southern charm
Houston is a vibrant, multi-cultural city boasting a myriad of museums and cultural institutions and a world-class culinary scene, not to mention the largest annual quilt show in America. This outstanding annual textile extravaganza features quilters from all over the world - it's like walking through a huge quilt museum, with the added bonus of plenty of shopping stalls, workshops, lectures, and lots of buzz and excitement!
What We Love
- Three full days to explore the Houston International Quilt Festival - inspiration guaranteed!
- Heaps of free time to enjoy the cosmopolitan diversity and old west charm of America's fourth-largest city.
- A choice of hotels in the heart of downtown Houston.
- Visiting Houston Space Centre for an out-of-this-world experience!
- Shopping at GRS Creations & Fabric Store in Old Town Spring - a hidden gem with eleven rooms of fabulous fabric and trimmings to browse through. Bring a bag - there are always tempting treasures to find!
- Visiting Galveston Island and strolling through Moody Gardens and a Rainforest Pyramid.
Experiences you will treasure
- Three inspiring days at the International Quilt Festival - the largest quilt show in the world
- Visiting the Houston Space Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute and NASA visiting centre. Touch a moon rock, see original spacecraft and space suits and wonder at the ingenuity
- Travelling to Galveston Island on the Gulf of Mexico to shop, eat, and explore the tropical oasis that is Moody Gardens and the Rainforest Pyramid.
- Browsing through one of the best shops for quilting supplies and shopping for your future projects
- Going just north of Houston to visit Old Town Spring, a 19th century railroad hub and now a beautifully preserved historic town filled with charming boutiques, restaurants, antique stores, and much more.
What people say
The International Quilt Festival in Houston is just fabulous! The fabrics and kits, tools and threads were wonderful and quite a lot of them seemed to come home with me. There was a relaxed, fun easy-going atmosphere to the show
Mrs K Knox
How much is it?
Everything is BIG in America - and this show certainly is!
Founded in 1974, Houston's International Quilt Festival is the largest annual quilt show in America, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the George R Brown Convention Centre each year.
As well as displays of more than 1,500 quilts and unique works of textile art by makers from all corners of the globe, the festival also boasts an inspiring workshop and lecture programme, as well as 1,000 booths selling quilts, fabrics and textile supplies. Three days here will provide long term inspiration for quilting and textile enthusiasts of all kinds, and offers a unique opportunity to forge creative friendships with the international quilting community.
The Special Exhibits section is an annual highlight. Treats in previous years have included a showcase of quilts that have graced the covers of the iconic US Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and Kaffe Fassett's display of Heritage Quilts in America.
Please note, workshops and excursions offered at the Festival should be booked directly through the organisers as they are not included in our tour programme.
A Deeper Dive
Space Centre Houston, the official visitor centre of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre, is the only place in the world where you can enter a replica space shuttle resting on top of the original shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905. This extraordinary re-creation gives a real insight into the workings of the shuttle, allowing visitors to walk through seven dynamic areas within the aircraft, including the flight deck, mid-deck and payload bay. And as if that wasn't excitement enough, a visit here also includes the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a real launch in the multi-screen Blast-Off theatre, an opportunity to take an interactive, virtual journey across the solar system and into the future of space exploration, and a 90 minute tram tour behind the scenes of NASA and Mission Control.
Houston's downtown Museum District is the city's cultural heart, with venues exploring subjects ranging from natural science to the African-American experience. Particular highlights include the Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Housed in buildings designed by architect Renzo Piano (and widely regarded as masterpieces of modern architecture), the Menil collection contains 15,000 works dating from the Paleolithic era to the present day, including an impressive collection of 20th Century surrealist art, a permanent installation of work by Cy Twombly and a chapel dedicated to the paintings of Mark Rothko.
With over 65,000 objects ranging from Antiquity to contemporary times, the Museum of Fine Arts is a place to return to time and again. However, must-see collections for a one-off visit include The Glassel Collection of African Gold, the 19th century paintings of the American wilderness, the displays of contemporary decorative arts and the textile and costume galleries, home to some exquisite examples of English and French haute couture. Architecture aficionados should also make a point of visiting the Museum's Cullinan Hall and Brown Pavilion, both of which were designed by that master of modernism, Mies van der Rohe.
Houston is an international city and its culinary scene reflects its ethnic diversity - at the last count there were 10,000 restaurants offering cuisine from more than 70 different countries and regions of the US. And it isn't just the variety that's impressive; many people also consider Houston to be America's food capital so, whether your taste is for waffles and chicken wings, Creole gumbo and jambalaya or European fusion, this is the perfect place to indulge your appetite!
Houston has plenty to tempt shoppers too, from the Art Deco splendour of the Rover Oaks Shopping Centre to the independent craft artists at the Houston Centre for Contemporary Craft. We make a special visit to Joann Fabric and Craft Store which boasts the city's best selection of fabrics, yarns, beads, scrapbooking, and paper crafting goods.
Galveston Island, lying fifty miles south of Houston on the Gulf of Mexico, is a relaxed retreat with mile upon mile of beaches and a wealth of stately historic homes belonging to generations of the most powerful families in Texas. Although many of the island’s buildings were destroyed in the Great Storm of 1900 many, such as the 1859 Ashton Villa, 1892 Bishop's Palace and 1885 Moody Mansion did survive and offer a fascinating glimpse into turn of the century family life among Galveston's elite.
Other highlights include The Grand 1894 Opera House, ranked among the US's finest historical theaters, and the Rain Forest Pyramid at Moody Gardens. This fascinating tropical garden provides a rare, up-close and interactive experience with endangered plants and animals, ranging from Giant Amazon River Otters to Saki Monkeys and Chinese Alligators in an extraordinarily realistic replica of a real rain forest.
Historic Old Town Spring, just thirty minutes from Houston, shot to fame in the 1930s when the infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde robbed the town bank. (The bullet holes are still there today.) Today Old Town Spring is a charming little town filled with art galleries, antique stores and independent Victorian-style shops, including GRS Creations. Known as ‘the hidden quilt shop in Old Town Spring’, it has eleven rooms stocked with more than 18,000 bolts of fabric. Our visit to Old Town Spring includes time at this treasure trove, so make some room in your suitcase.
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