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Holiday events in Houston: List of fun things to do in and around H-Town

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas across the Houston area. If you're looking for family-friendly events or the best light displays, we've got you covered!

HOUSTON — There's plenty to see and do in Houston and surrounding cities over the holidays, including dazzling light displays that guarantee to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Whether you're looking for ways to entertain the kiddos, date night hot spots or places to show off Houston to holiday visitors, we've got you covered! 

Houston holiday events

Downtown Holiday Magic

Houston First and Central Houston have transformed downtown Houston into a holiday destination called City Lights Downtown Holiday Magic.

It's mostly free and open to the public and features eight unique, themed villages.

  • Main Street Square – Santa’s Village
  • Winter Wanderland on Bagby Street
  • The Plaza @ Avendia - Deck the Trees
  • Marriott Marquis – Texas Winter Lights
  • Market Square Park – Mistletoe Square
  • Wortham Theater – Sugar Plum Plaza
  • Hilton Americas – Land of Sweets 
  • Discovery Green – Holiday Ice Village

We explored some of the best spots to snap those selfies, like getting inside a snow globe at the Marriott, mingle with the minions inside the Hilton or be angelic on Bagby. It's become such a popular selfie spot that people pull over just to snap a pic.    

Zoo Lights

Stroll through the Houston Zoo to see their lovely holiday lights from Nov. 18 to Jan. 8. The beautiful Zoo grounds provide the perfect setting to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

Zoo Lights is even bigger and better this year with some new additions.

  • More life-sized animal lanterns 
  • A new photo op area featuring ski lift chairs set in a “snowy” winter scene
  • A colorful holiday light tunnel sponsored by PNC
  • An illuminated, interactive dance floor for all ages in The Children’s Zoo plaza 

Zoo Lights is open most evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Closed Dec. 7, Christmas Eve and Christmas)  

Ticket prices vary depending on when you go, but they range from $21 to $25 for adults and children over 2. Discounts are available for military, first responders and teachers. You need to buy your tickets in advance.

Uptown Holiday Lighting

The Uptown Holiday Lighting has been a Thanksgiving evening tradition in the heart of the Galleria area for more than three decades.  

Tens of thousands of people gathered along Post Oak Boulevard to see a million LED lights come alive, shop at the festive market and enjoy the grand finale fireworks. There was also a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus. 

If you missed the lighting, you can see the 300 20-foot-tall holiday trees nightly on Post Oak from the West Loop to Richmond Avenue. 

Mayor's Holiday Spectacular

Downtown is the place to be on December 3 for the annual Mayor's Holiday Spectacular. 

This year's headliner is the one and only Gloria Gaynor whose long list of hit songs includes the iconic "I Will Survive," "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You."

KHOU 11's own Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan will also perform.

The event at City Hall kicks off at 5 p.m. and also features Santa, fireworks and the lighting of the beautiful Christmas tree at Hermann Square. 

Credit: City of Houston

Lightscape at Houston Botanic Garden

Lightscape, "the internationally acclaimed lights and music event," returns to the Houston Botanic Garden this winter. 

Artists from across the globe created "dazzling new immersive installations" along the trail that winds through the Garden. They include a beautiful display called "Bluebonnets," which is unique to Texas.

Lightscape is open on select nights through Jan. 1. Timed tickets are $28 for adults and $18 for children.

Sugar Land Holiday Lights

You can't help but get in the Christmas spirit when you "celebrate the season in the most magical way" at the 9th annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights at Constellation Field.

"This sparkling wonderland" features millions of lights, a new 40-foot Christmas tree, a carnival, Santa and a sensational light show through Jan. 1. They have fun themes, giveaways, movie nights and even a few nights where you can bring your four-legged family members. See the full schedule and get tickets here.

Credit: Sugar Land Holiday Lights
Sugar Land Holiday Lights

The Light Park in Katy or Spring

You don't even have to leave your car for "the most EXCITING and ELECTRIFYING light show south of the North Pole!" the Light Park's website promises. It's open seven nights a week through Jan. 1. 

There are two Houston-area locations: Texas Typhoon waterpark in Katy or Hurricane Harbor Splashtown in Spring. 

Online tickets are $39 per vehicle. 

Magical Winter Lights in Baytown

Six million lights and 100 glowing lanterns combine for a breathtaking display at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown. From massive dinosaurs to princesses to space shuttles, they have something for everyone. 

Magical Winter Lights runs nightly through January 7 and promises to be even bigger and better in 2022. 

Buy tickets online

  • Children 4-12 & Seniors 65+: $17
  • Ages 13-64: $25
  • Children 2 and under are free

Galveston holiday events

Moody Gardens: ICE LAND, Festival of Lights 

After a two-year hiatus, the popular ICE LAND at Moody Gardens is back this year with a North Pole meets the Caribbean vibe. 

Award-winning master ice carvers from Harbin, China have been busy creating "ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas." They'll turn two million pounds of ice into breathtaking works of art. To keep them from melting, they're kept in a 28,000-square-foot tent where the temperature is kept at nine degrees.

RELATED: 'Caribbean Christmas': ICE LAND, Festival of Lights open next week at Moody Gardens in Galveston

The attraction opens on Nov. 19 and runs through Jan. 7.  

ICE LAND ticket prices start at $29 for adults and $24 for kids and seniors. You can buy tickets here.

Along with ICE LAND, visitors can enjoy the other star of the show with the Festival of Lights. The mile-long walking trail features two million lights and animated displays with spectacular views of Galveston Bay.   

Tickets for the Festival of Lights start at $25 for adults and $21.00 for kids and seniors. A holiday pass will cover ICE LAND, Festival of Lights attractions and the Aquarium Pyramid. Prices start at $65 for adults and $45 for kids and seniors. 

For more information visit www.moodygardens.org or call 409-744-4673.

Polar Express

One of the newest holiday traditions in Galveston is The Polar Express train ride at the Railroad Museum.

The family-friendly event rolled into the island on Nov. 11 and the round-trip rides to the "North Pole" will continue through Dec. 23.

Tickets range from $30 to $100, depending on the date and time. More details here. 

RELATED: All aboard! Tickets on sale for The Polar Express train ride in Galveston

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Dickens on the Strand

Take a trip back in time to 19th-century Victorian London at Galveston's 49th annual Dickens on the Stand. Enjoy parades, live entertainment, shopping and more as you stroll through the Strand Dec. 2-4.

Schedule of events | Buy tickets

Market Street in Lights in The Woodlands

Market Street in The Woodlands is magical this time of year. They have a Texas-size, 70-foot-tall Christmas tree and nightly synchronized light and music shows.

Market Street in Lights also offers plenty of shopping and dining options.  

Home for the Holidays in Spring

Old Town Spring is all decked out for its 42nd annual Home for the Holidays. Enjoy the "Texas-style winter wonderland" while you browse for unique gifts at all the shops. 

There's live entertainment and photos with Santa on weekends and it's all free.  

Posted by Home For The Holidays in Old Town Spring on Monday, November 21, 2022

The Christmas Train in Alvin

All aboard for this "unique holiday experience unlike anything else in Houston."

 You'll see all the festive light displays as you ride through Victory Camp on The Christmas Train called "Old Smokey." There's also an elf show, go-karts and more! 

 You can buy tickets for the train online for $10 or get them at the gate for $12. 

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