Juneteenth is around the corner and many people are still looking for things to do for the holiday.  With the national acceptance of the holiday being new, I find that people, mainly Black people want to honor the day appropriately by focusing on the history.  The other thought is, lets rest.  Living in this country as a Black person can be traumatic.  Every day there is a new story of a person being harmed or killed simply because they are Black.  This is daunting to say the least, so taking a day off in this capitalistic system to rest and convene with community? I’d say there is value in that as well.

So my intention is to do that, rest and have a good time while honoring my ancestors.   I created a list of things to do for Juneteenth, mainly centering Houston.  But even if you do not live here, you can find some good ideas with the What to do for Juneteenth 2023 list.

Host Juneteenth Event

The first Juneteenth celebrations included red sodas, watermelon, tea cakes,  barbecue and outdoor activities.  I too have hosted Juneteenth celebrations for friends and had a great time doing it.  As you plan your event, take note of the original Juneteenth colors, red, white and blue which symbolized the citizenship of the free people.  Finally, remember the commercialization of the holiday often does not benefit Black businesses.  Be intentional in what/where you purchase from, and look for Black owned businesses like We Celebrate Black party supplies.  In Houston, you could even grab your food from the Black owned grocery store, Fresh Houswe.

For my event, I used many of my own recipes including the Juneteenth salad that I created highlighting collard greens.  Black food bloggers make SO much content for Juneteenth.  Be sure to seek out lists for creative ways to incorporate traditional Juneteenth foods. Eat the Culture will highlight Black food bloggers on their website and on Instagram in the lead up to the holiday.

Attend a Community Event

Emancipation Park Sign

Emancipation Park is the center of Houston’s Juneteenth events.

For Houston, the official Houston Juneteenth website has all of the best events for Juneteenth.  There are historic tours through the sites in the city, events at the historic Emancipation Park, bike rides and theater performances.  Events are already happening so be sure to check out the list as soon as possible. For example, the official Juneteenth event at Emancipation Park is Saturday June 10th rather than the Saturday before Juneteenth.

As expected, Galveston, the birthplace of Juneteenth, has tons of events as well.  Visit the tourism website, Visit Galveston for more details.  The events include tours, highlighting the murals on the island, a Juneteenth banquet and festival.  Similar to Houston, events are happening all month so be sure to get your calendar updated.

Reedy Chapel in Galveston

Reedy Chapel in Galveston is a historic site to visit that also hosts Juneteenth events

Clean/Support a Historic Black Cemetery

The freed people we are honoring on Juneteenth? Many of them are buried in cemeteries right in your communities in overgrown, and under supported cemeteries.  Look for cleanup events in your community and if there are none available, consider supporting with your coin.  In Houston, the Historic Olivewood Cemetery is the final resting place for some of the freed people who celebrated the first Juneteenth in Texas.  According to their website they will host a cleanup on June 17th.  Check their website for more details.

Visit Museums and Historic Sites

I did a detailed breakdown of the historic sites connected to Juneteenth in Houston and Galveston in a post last year.  Read that out here.  In Houston, there are several great museums open year around that focus on Black history.  Juneteenth is a great day to visit and support.  These include the Houston Museum of African American Culture, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, and the African American Library at the Gregory School to name a few.  In Galveston, there is a smaller African American Museum and the Bryan Museum which hosts Juneteenth events.

Baseball Game

Ice cream hat at Astros Baseball game

The Astors are hosting a Juneteenth event for their game on the 19th.  Seem odd to go to a baseball game? Remember baseball wants to bring African Americans back to the sport, as players and spectators.  Baseball also seems committed to honoring their own history with segregation/desegregation with the yearly commemorations of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.   Tickets start at $21 so it’s not too bad for a family outing.  Other teams around the MLB are also hosting events for Juneteenth so be sure to check your team’s schedule.

Visit a Black Owned Restaurant and/or Bar

The funny thing is Juneteenth falls on a Monday this year, and it is almost a tradition for Black owned restaurants to be closed on Mondays!  For a list of Black owned bars in Houston, check out this previous list.  From a quick review, I found a lot of the bars were open, but double check to be sure.  For restaurants, there were a small number that were open on Juneteenth that have patio, happy hour and cocktail vibes.  So far, all I’ve got are Warwick, Juliet and Bungalow.  I’ll circle back as I find more.  Looking for Black owned restaurants near you? Eat Okra and the Black Restaurant Week lists are a great place to start.

Dessert with scoop of ice cream

Dessert from Warwick


Curate the Juneteenth that works best for you! Whether that be something that dives deep into the history of free people in your area, celebrates Black businesses or a restful day.  All of these are a win and a way to honor our ancestors.

For non-Black readers of this article, please be mindful that there are mixed feelings about “sharing” this holiday beyond our own community.  Please be respectful of boundaries that Black people may setup regarding Juneteenth.