It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Houston, Texas! Holiday shopping and festive tree lighting ceremonies are just around the corner. Get into the spirit of the season with hot chocolate at the Houston Zoo or Magical Winter Lights.
Don’t forget to mark the occasion with a keepsake photo with Santa. Here are some of our favorite Houston Christmas events. Updated for the 2020 season!
Christmas in Houston: Light Displays
Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo is a family favorite. Perfectly lit pathways meander beneath sparkling, majestic oaks. Families will be delighted to stroll right by the sleeping animals. Many of the cats at the zoo (ocelots, cougars, leopards, and more) are still active at night.
Holiday music, hot chocolate, and festive treats will get guests in the spirit of the season. Don’t miss the enchanted forest where you can see holiday trains chugging through the landscape, life-sized animal sculptures, and the dollhouse village. This nightly event requires separate admission.
Ooh and aah over the spectacular Christmas lights and holiday décor at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. Wander through the property to enjoy the 19-foot-tall Christmas tree, the six-foot-tall Gingerbread Houses, sweet treats, and nightly live music from local musicians.
Last but not least, opt to keep things free and low key. Simply pile into the car, play some Christmas carols, and cruise the neighborhoods of Houston. You will be amazed at the light displays at the homes in the upscale River Oaks Neighborhood. River Oaks Country Club, Inwood Drive, and Willowick are the don’t miss streets.
Living History Houston Christmas Events
Kick up your boots and get cozy around the campfire at the Children’s Campfire Christmas held December 14th and 21st, 2019 at George Ranch Historical Park. Families will love seeing what Christmas was like for the first settlers in Texas.
A light dinner is included, along with a hayride through the park, Christmas crafts, and a campfire sing-along. More Christmas fun can be found at George Ranch Park throughout the month of December. Note: As of 11/6/20, George Ranch Historical Park has not updated their event calendar. This even may be cancelled for 2020.
Enter the 19th century Victorian world of Charles Dickens at the Annual Dickens on The Strand Festival December 5-6, 2020 on Galveston Island. This holiday street festival entertains families with parades, live entertainment, roving Christmas Carols, food, hot chocolate, and gift-buying opportunities galore.
The largest outdoor ice-skating rink in the Southwest is ICE at Discovery Green. Skate under the downtown skyline and enjoy a variety of holiday programming throughout the season.
Opening night is November 13, 2020 includes ice sculpture carving, live music, and more. Due to Covid-19, this will be a timed, ticket event and advance purchase is required.
Check the schedule to see outdoor movies, live music, and Jazz on Ice. Perfect for young families is the Ice Box, a special, toddler-friendly rink.
Ice at The Galleria was named one of the top 10 places to skate in the USA by Olympian Evan Lysacek. Perhaps it’s skating under the amazing glass atrium, or twirling around the tall Christmas Tree during the holiday season that warrants this honor. Families can enjoy Kids Night Out with drop off daycare service and fun activities on the ice.
The Ice Rink in the Woodlands is a fun place for families to enjoy ice skating plus all the Christmas events of Holiday in the Woodlands. As a bonus, there is a separate ice rink for beginners and children 5-years-old and under. Perfect for families with young kids to enjoy their first skating experience!
Find out what made our list of the Top 10 Things to do in Houston with Kids!
Thrilling Holiday Parades
Start off the holiday season with the 70th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by H-E-B. It’s free and open to the public. Find a seat curbside and bring chairs and blankets for the parade’s start at 9 am. Cancelled for 2020.
Join families gathering for the Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Saturday, December 12, 2020, along the Kemah Boardwalk. Bring hot chocolate and festive snacks and watch as the long line of decked-out boats goes sailing past.
Christmas in Houston: All Wrapped Up Together
Moody Gardens hosts one the biggest Christmas experiences in the state from November 21, 2020 through January 2, 2021.
There is a Rudolph 4D experience, an Arctic slide, train rides, S’mores, a four-story-tall dancing tree of light, and the Festival of Lights. The Festival of Lights is a walking trail filled with treats, activities, and carolers.
Stay at the Moody Gardens Hotel for a front seat pass to ALL of the action. Plan on spending a week here, you’re going to need it!
Houston Magical Winter Lights returns to La Marque for its fifth year to present immense lantern displays organized into eight themed areas. Visitors will also love the holiday market, cultural performances, character encounters, amusement rides, and so much more. The festival has been cancelled for 2020.
Looking for more Christmas Events in Texas? Check out our guides to Christmas events in Austin and Christmas events in San Antonio! Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.