The vast majority of us would say that we adore the holiday season. We see all the beautiful lights scattered in the darkness, the aroma of glorious and warm food, all our family around and of course – festive decorations and activities everywhere!
But yes, there are clearly lots of ways you could celebrate the holidays and Houston is no exception. There’s many places to visit and lots of things to do, so where exactly would you start when it comes to planning your festive season?
Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve got a list of the 12 best ways you can celebrate the holiday season in Houston in 2023. So, if you’re ready to plan your next Christmas festivities – read on and discover some potential plans!
If you want your kids to have a really amazing Christmas in Houston, then you don’t need to look much further than the first inclusion on our list – Rudolph’s Light Show. Having said that, due to the magnificence of it, adults are encouraged to go too!
It’s a truly magical experience. Huge, brightly lit tunnels with massive snowmen and giant Santas all surrounded by over a million lights! What makes this place even more special is how the lights actually operate.
They will move to the sounds and pacing of the radio, and of course – the radio is all holiday songs at this time of year! This particular event opens around the early days in November and then closes in early January for the rest of the year.
Next up in our list we have something that can be extremely special for some people. Houston during the winter can be described as pretty mild when you compare it to other places in the country (Also check out The Best Breweries In Houston).
As a result, it’s really unlikely that you’ll see any frozen lakes or other areas where you can lace up your ice skates for some magical festive fun – but luckily, we’ve got this majestic place in Houston.
Grab your ice skates and head down to Discovery Green Ice Rink, which is open everyday of the week throughout the year, not just for the holidays. But obviously, during the holiday season, it’s something much more beautiful and iconic.
The lights that surround the ice rink are so gorgeous that during this time of the year when you’re skating around, it really feels like you’re in a Christmas movie!
You have to remember a few things though. You’ll need to get your tickets online for safety reasons and these are eight dollars each on Mondays or fifteen dollars for the other days, but this includes skate rental!
If you’re hoping to take in a little bit of culture while you’re in Houston, then why not set your sights on the Houston Ballet and watch The Nutcracker, which is an absolute holiday classic, and is extremely well done.
It’s become a tradition of sorts for people who live in the area, and indeed for tourists who have traveled down to this part of the world for the holidays – in fact, it started as far back as 1973!
It’s a really magical and family friendly event to go and witness, and the tickets start at 27 bucks – but that money actually doesn’t simply go back into the performer’s pockets.
The Houston Ballet are really philanthropic and are heavily involved in charities. Tickets are available from the end of November and finish at the end of December – so keep this in mind!
One of the best things to do around Houston during the holiday season is to simply stop and marvel at the beauty of the lights all around. In the town, you can go and witness the winter lights.
These are shown within a massive 20 acre lantern festival, and this particular lantern festival is split into specific lantern sections with accompanying acts like acrobatic performances, group games, an interactive dinosaur area and even a carnival with super fun rides.
As you can guess, this is one of the best things to do for families, as a lot of the events and activities are heavily focused towards kids, but this doesn’t mean adults will get bored.
You will enjoy the wonder of the lights, the entertainment, the music and much more! What’s more, you will be involved in a part of American history – because this is the largest lantern show (with over 100 different lanterns) in the country!
A massive favorite for people around the holiday season is to take as many pictures as physically possible. Maybe you want them scattered across your social media accounts, maybe you want to create a collage – or maybe you’re looking to make a family portrait.
Whatever the reason, you’ll be constantly looking for new photography opportunities, and perhaps none are better than this beautiful, magnificent Christmas tree that is situated outside of Houston’s City Hall.
It has become iconic to see the lighting of this Christmas tree, which occurs every year on December the fourth. As soon as this happens, every resident in the area knows – it’s Christmas time!
The tree is lit with brightly glowing energy efficient LED lights and an amazing star atop of the picturesque point, and it shines all the time right up until New Year’s Eve.
Many families have made this into their yearly traditional event to both start their holiday season and to finish it. So, if you’re looking for something super special and really connecting for you and your family – look no further than City Hall’s tree!
Any kid in Houston will tell you that Christmas isn’t the same unless you’ve taken a trip on the Christmas train! It’s located at Victory Camp in Alvin and it’s one of the most unique and special events of the year, and definitely gets you into the holiday spirit.
The open air coaches take you around to see over 300,000 christmas lights, wrapping nearly 300 christmas trees. And don’t worry, you’ll also get a chance to snack! There’s pizza served along with popcorn and warm drinks to get you right into the mood for Christmas!
Let’s all be honest for a second – who among us doesn’t love a zoo? Any time of year, heading to the zoo is a massive favorite among adults and children alike, but what about if you were to head to the zoo during the holiday season?
That’s exactly what you can do in Houston and it is one of the most popular and most amazing things to do around this time of year. Uniquely, you can go through the zoo at night time so you can see the Christmas lights in all of their majesty.
All around the zoo, you can see the animals and marvel in the wonder of the lights that surround them. Luckily, as some animals are nocturnal, this is one of the rarest times you can actually see them active.
So not only will you be enjoying the Christmas lights, which are magnificent here, but also you get to see animals more active than you usually would! It’s a perfect opportunity to get your camera out and snap as many pictures as you can!
So get yourself down to the zoo at this time of the year and enjoy everything on offer.
When it comes to traditional Christmas snacks and food items, gingerbread houses are probably on your list of the best. However, you may not have ever seen a gingerbread house competition before – so Houston gives you that chance!
Within the architecture center, you can either get involved or simply watch the annual gingerbread house competition, which is normally filled with students and architecture firms who showcase their amazing skills.
If you take your kids with you, don’t worry about them getting bored either – there’s a chance to go and see Santa at the kids’ construction zone throughout the event, and what’s even better is, the event is totally free!
A favorite among some families during the holiday season is to travel around local areas and hunt for the most amazing Christmas lights. Houston is no exception to this and you can spot some picturesque designs around the City.
Head down Main Street and keep your eyes peeled for some of the best sparkling lights, twinkling trees, huge Christmas banners and big decorative Santas as you go from one side to the other.
Truly a glorious thing to do, and you better be sure to take your smartphone or camera and get all the best pictures that the local area has to offer you!
On a starry night at any time of the year, there’s nothing more beautiful and magical than stargazing – but when it comes to Christmas, it adds just a little bit more in terms of its majesty and wonder. This is a unique experience if this sounds good to you.
Head to the Houston Museum Of Natural Science where you can take part in a live stargazing show. It’s fun for people of all ages while you travel through space! Take a glance at the moon, meteor showers, other constellations and lots of other things that outer space has to show us.
You get to visit the George Observatory which will show you the most mysterious and darkest areas of our galaxy, and what makes this even more amazing is the fact that it’s run by Star Trek and X-Men superstar Patrick Stewart!
The show runs from September to the end of December and it’s definitely an event that you’ll never experience before or after and definitely an unforgettable thing to do.
At the Space Center in Houston, which you may already be familiar with, you can get involved with one of the most technologically advanced and supreme Christmas experiences that anybody would be lucky to take part in.
With a unique interactive lighting display, the staff here will show visitors all of the rarest space artifacts that you will likely never have seen before. Using models of each planet, they will take you through a journey of wonder and glory.
Once you’ve finished this amazing experience, you and your family can get a unique photograph in front of their massive 20 foot sparkling Christmas tree!
So, if you’re someone that wants to revel in a part of huge American history, see the wonders you’ve likely not seen before and enjoy both an educational and fun experience with your family and friends – then you absolutely need to head here for Christmas!
Finally on our list, we have an event that everybody always loves to do every single year, regardless of where you are in the world! The Tomball German Christmas Festival and Market is among the greatest of its kind in the world.
Everybody from tourists to local residents always say they love this open air market. There’s superb live music events, excellent quality food, classically German cuisine and drinks on top of that, intriguing antique stores and of course – the traditional and gorgeous Christmas trees and lights all around you!
You’ll have your opportunity to buy whatever you like here to take home with you and enjoy an amazing Christmas with your family and friends – and of course, you’ll also be making fond memories while you’re there.
Christmas in Houston has plenty to offer, but you’ll need to make your choices for where you’ll go and what you’ll do. We hope our list has helped you make a great decision! Happy holidays!
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