Where do we even begin with December events in Houston? It seems that everyone is in the holiday spirit and fun events are everywhere. From Houston to Galveston, Spring and beyond, there is fun for all ages. If you’re looking for a round up of the best holiday lighting, we’ve got that on our holiday lights blog. We’re also covering some of the best holiday hotels that make you feel like you’re visiting the North Pole. Happy Houston holidays!
A Christmas Carol
Dec. 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 20-24, 26-30, Times Vary
Usher in the spirit of the season with this magical and new interpretation of “A Christmas Carol” by visionary Tony Award® winners — playwright Jack Thorne (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) and director Matthew Warchus “Matilda.” With rich Victorian costumes, exciting magical elements created by acclaimed illusionist Jim Steinmeyer, and beautifully sung holiday carols, Charles Dickens' beloved story of Scrooge and his miraculous transformation is a must-see holiday activity. This Alley Theatre production is the perfect way for families to recapture the nostalgia of Christmases past and to create memories for many Christmases to come.
Expiration: Jan 2nd 2023
This holiday season will be brighter than ever as downtown Houston transforms into a festive destination to make special memories that will last a lifetime.
Take a stroll through amazing lighting displays and savor tasty bites at a special discount at 810 Billiards & Bowling Houston, Flying Saucer, GJ Tavern, J-Bar-M BBQ, MKT BAR at Phoenicia Foods, Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Shula's Steak House, The Rustic Downtown, and Xochi.
This special promotion runs from November 18, 2022 - January 2, 2023.
*Complimentary parking available at The Rustic in Avenida North, South, and Central parking garages.
The Polar Express at the Galveston Railroad Museum
Dec. 1-23, Times Vary
Head to Galveston for a train ride to the North Pole! Board a train car to dance with elves, enjoy hot chocolate and perhaps Santa will even make a visit. This magical train ride is based on “The Polar Express” book and movie, and is always a favorite holiday activity for families. Plus, the Galveston Railroad Museum is an absolute delight to visit, full of locomotive history and interesting exhibits. Tickets are limited, but still available. Throw on your pajamas and head to Galveston for a magical night living a Christmas classic.
Holiday Movies at Rooftop Cinema Club
Dec. 1-4 6-11, 13-18, 20-23, 27-21, times vary
Change up your date nights and friend dinners by heading to Houston’s Rooftop Cinema Club instead! With multiple screenings each day and a stellar holiday movie lineup, this is the perfect opportunity to snuggle up with your significant other or spend a day with your besties. From Christmas classics like “Home Alone,” “The Holiday,” “Die Hard” – it’s a Christmas movie – and “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,”’ you’re sure to find a movie that suits your taste. Plus, there are screenings of “The Wizard of Oz” and “When Harry Met Sally” on New Year’s Eve for a fun activity that deviates from the norm!
Party on the Pitch at Avenida – Houston’s FIFA World Cup Watch Party with Fox 26
Join Fox 26 at Avenida Houston for Party on the Pitch – Houston’s FIFA World Cup Watch Party. The games will be broadcasted in a large screen overlooking the Avenida Houston campus in downtown Houston. Be among a crowd of soccer enthusiasts and show your soccer pride at Avenida Houston!
- Other activities include:
- Live DJ
- Photo opportunities with 8” tall trophy and oversized soccer ball for friends and family
- Food and beverages available for purchase to munch on while watching the intense games
Lightscape Presented by Reliant
Dec. 1, 5-7, 12-13, 25, Entry 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.; Trail closes at 10 p.m.
Head to the Houston Botanic Gardens for Lightscape, presented by Reliant. This internationally acclaimed lights and music experience includes dazzling new displays along with the exclusive-to-Texas, “Bluebonnets” installation. Visitors will be the first in the U.S. to see “Framed” and “Nautilus Forest,” all created by Mandylights, a visual arts house with bases in Australia and the United Kingdom.The Houston Botanic Garden recommends purchasing early, to ensure getting your preferred date and timed entry before the exhibit sells out. Admission is timed at 15-minute intervals and perfect for all ages.
The Houston Ballet Presents ‘The Nutcracker’
Dec. 4, 9-11, 16-24
One of Houston’s ultimate holiday traditions is the Houston Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ performance. A visual delight, the ballet company’s grand sets, stunning costumes, iconic score and storied talent bring this story to life every year. Be there as Clara and Drosselmeyer make their journey to the Kingdom of Sweets and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince in the land where the real magic happens. One of the most splendid ever staged, Stanton Welch’s “The Nutcracker” features hundreds of roles and a myriad of exquisite details that will leave you finding something new in every performance. Tickets are required, so be sure to buy in advance.
Teddy Bear Tea at the St. Regis
Dec. 4, 11, 18-21
Embrace the spirit of the season with the delightful Teddy Bear Tea at the St. Regis hotel. In a fun twist on tea time, the St. Regis is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland full of activities for kids of all ages. Everyone is invited to enjoy a ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas marionette show, cookie decorating, face painting, balloon animal artist, Ice Princess story time and magic show. Guests are welcome to bring a new teddy bear that will be donated to the Houston Area Women’s Center. This sweet tradition requires a reservation, so be sure to plan in advance. Plus, there are plenty of holiday packages to enjoy a holiday stay at the St. Regis!
Islamic Arts Festival
The 9th annual Islamic Arts Festival is back! This event is the oldest and largest festival of its kind and features renowned artists from across the U.S. Visitors will be able to meet some of the artists while experiencing their work in person. Along with browsing artwork, there will be interactive art sessions, opportunities to learn about Islamic art and culture, along with ethnic cuisine available for purchase. Be sure to check out some of the live demonstrations on calligraphy, henna tattoo, Ebru, painting, and Arabesque pattern coloring. Check the schedule for some of the interactive children’s art opportunities as well!
Skate with Santa at Discovery Green
Dec. 10, 17, 7 p.m.
Forget your typical mall Santa and head to Discovery Green to ice skate with him instead! Children of all ages are invited to skate with Santa Claus this holiday season at the Green Mountain Energy Ice rink. Round up the family and glide beneath the glittering holiday lights and sites of downtown Houston! Tickets are $17 + tax, skate rental is included. Plus, there’s more to discover downtown like the nearby Downtown Magic City Lights on Avenida Houston.
Very Merry POPS
If you need a bit of holiday cheer, you must head to the Houston Symphony’s Very Merry POPS concert. Fun, upbeat and full of top talent, POPS is the perfect way to get in the spirit of the season! The sensational N’Kenge, star of Broadway’s “Motown: The Musical” and “Caroline, Or Change,” joins the Symphony and Chorus for this heartwarming concert brimming with traditional carols, festive favorites, and plenty of yuletide cheer.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Kemah Boardwalk
Dec. 31 at 10 p.m.
Ring in 2023 on the Kemah Boardwalk! You don’t even have to make it to midnight to revel in the new year. At 10 p.m. there will be an amazing fireworks display at the storied boardwalk. For those wanting a day full of celebration, there will be free concerts in the plaza with Dead Stereo from 1 - 5 p.m. and Velvet Punch from 5 - 10 p.m. There are also ten waterfront restaurants, 13 amusement rides, midway games, shopping and Boardwalk Inn hotel, which makes it the perfect getaway to close out 2022.
Where to Stay for the Holiday
Grand Galvez Resort and Spa
Already an iconic Texas hotel, the stunning Grand Galvez in Galveston always adds extra magic to the season. The coastal town of Galveston becomes a “Winter Wonder Island” with more than 50 days of magical activities, making Grand Galvez the perfect place to stay. Plus, a stay at this luxurious hotel would be a perfect present for you and your significant other to enjoy!
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa
There are plenty of holiday activities in and around Houston, but holidays at The Houstonian are truly an institution. As soon as you walk in the Grand Lobby, you’re greeted by over-the-top Christmas décor, giant gingerbread houses, and even entertainment. Outside there is a giant live oak with over 10,000 lights. Who said a Christmas tree can’t be an ancient live oak!? The entire experience at The Houstonian is Instagram-able and shouldn’t be missed. Plus, there are additional activities like Hotel Lobby Holiday Libations and Light Bites throughout the entire month.