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The Best Houston Christmas Events in 2023 for Families!

The Best Houston Christmas Events in 2023 for Families!

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 an enchanted stroll through the 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 in 2023.

Christmas in Houston- The Best Houston Christmas Events

Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo

Christmas in Houston light displays
Zoo Lights ,photo by Flickr/snap713

Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo

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. Stroll through Holiday Grove to marvel at the animal themed lantern displays, say hello to Santa at his workshop, and enjoy a gooey s’more at the firepit.

This nightly event requires separate admission and tickets cannot be purchased at the gate. The event runs November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024.

The Houstonian Hotel and the River Oaks Neighborhood

The Houstonian Lobby at Christmas
The Houstonian Lobby

Ooh and aah over the spectacular Christmas lights and holiday décor at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa which always gets decked out for the season.

Wander through the property to enjoy the 19-foot-tall Christmas tree, the Merry Mansions Gingerbread display, 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.

Look for amazing deals on family-friendly hotels in Houston.

Living History Houston Christmas Events

Dickens on the Strand
Dickens on the Strand, photo courtesy of the Galveston Historical Foundation

Kick up your boots and get cozy at the Campfire Christmas at George Ranch Historical Park on December 16th, 2023. Families will love seeing what Christmas was like for the first settlers in Texas.

This year, the event will feature dancing at the Christmas Ball, a campfire, and a rustic dinner. The park hosts S’mores with Santa on December 9th.

Enter the 19th century Victorian world of Charles Dickens at the Annual Dickens on The Strand Festival December 1-3, 2023 on Galveston Island. This holiday street festival entertains families with parades, live entertainment, roving Christmas Carols, food, hot chocolate, and gift-buying opportunities galore. Attendees are strongly encouraged to go in Victorian attire.

 Christmas in Houston – Ice Skating

Christmas Events in Houston in lncude Ice Skating
ICE at Discovery Green, Photo by Flickr/Kim Alaniz

Discovery Green is home to a large outdoor ice-skating rink from November 10, 2023 – January 28, 2024. Skate under the downtown skyline and enjoy a variety of holiday programming throughout the season including a skate with Santa on select Saturdays. Timed-entry tickets must be purchased online. The rink offers double-bladed skates for young children learning to skate.

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 55′ 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. Opening day is November 4 and The Nutcracker on Ice takes place on November 11 and November 13.

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! The rink is open November 18, 2023 – January 15, 2024.

Find out what made our list of the Top 10 Things to do in Houston with Kids!

Thrilling Houston Holiday Parades

Christmas in Houston
Houston Christmas Parade, Photo by Flickr/Ed Uthman

Start off the holiday season with the 73nd 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. This year’s parade will be held on November 23, 2023.

Join families gathering for the Christmas Boat Lane Parade along the Kemah Boardwalk. Bring hot chocolate and festive snacks and watch as the long line of decked-out boats goes sailing past. This year’s parade will take place on December 9 2023.

Christmas in Houston: All Wrapped Up Together

Christmas Events in Houston
Magical Winter Lights, photo by Flickr/Jim Whitaker

Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens is one the biggest Christmas experiences in the state from November 18, 2023 through January 6, 2024. 

There is a Rudolph 4D experience, 3D holiday films, arctic tube slide, train ride, s’mores, a four-story-tall dancing tree of light, and the Festival of Lights. The Festival of Lights is a mile-long walking trail filled with treats, light displays, activities, and carolers. Christmas Wish: A Holiday Spectacular is a Broadway-style show that will be performed December 22- 30, 2023 at the resort.

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 to present immense lantern displays organized into themed areas. Visitors will also love the holiday market, cultural performances, character encounters, amusement rides, and so much more. Use code: Early15 to save! This event takes place November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024.

Is there a Houston Christmas event we missed? Does your business have updated information to share? Email [email protected] and tell us about it!

Special thanks to Texas TourismBay Area Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Mocha Dad for their great suggestions for Kid-Friendly holiday events in Houston, Texas.

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.