November is here, which means the holiday onslaught is upon us. Have no fear; while you’re planning holiday trips and travel, we’ve compiled some must-do activities to entertain everyone. From new art exhibits and festivals to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, Houston has no shortage ways to enjoy the upcoming holiday season.
All Saints Day - Nov. 1
Before we dive into Thanksgiving, Nov. 1 is All Saints Day. Learn more about Dia de los Muertos Celebration at the National Museum of Funeral History. This exhibit explores a Latin custom that focuses on gathering family and friends to pray and remember those who have died. The exhibit will focus on the tradition’s history with authentic altars made by local artists. For the younger visitors, enjoy a free viewing of Disney’s “Coco” which is based on Dia de los Muertos. However, the National Museum of Funeral History offers more than just this exhibit. Learn more about the funerals of presidents, popes and celebrities while exploring the compassion behind funerals, truly making morbidity interesting.
A Houston Holiday Tradition - Nov. 8 - 11
Just because you’re not in Europe, doesn’t mean you can’t experience an amazing Christmas market. The Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market at NRG Park is a great shopping stop for unique gifts by local, national and international artisans and vendors. In its 38th year, the Nutcracker Market is truly the best way to kick off holiday season shopping with items for every holiday gift list. From home décor to toys, gourmet and fun food items, clothing, purses, jewelry and more there are hundreds of vendors and booths to peruse. As an added bonus, you’re shopping for a cause with proceeds from each admission ticket benefiting the Houston Ballet Foundation. The event is Nov. 8 through Nov. 11, but be sure to purchase ahead of time, as tickets sell out quickly.
Houston Cinema Arts Festival - Nov. 8 - 12
The Houston Cinema Arts Society is hosting the 2018 Houston Cinema Arts Festival from Nov. 8 through Nov. 12. The event is a must-visit for any cinema enthusiasts or movie buffs. The five-day, multi-venue film and art festival includes narrative and documentary features, video installations, multimedia performances, panel discussions, workshops and performance art. Venues include the Rice Media Center, Brasil, White Oak Music Hall, Sawyer Yards, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and more. Not only will visitors get to see incredible films, but they’ll get to experience great venues around Houston. Patrons can either buy tickets to individual events or buy the all-access pass for $99.
Celebrate Holiday Diversity - Nov. 15
There may not be a more beautiful venue for a Thanksgiving celebration than the Rothko Chapel. On Nov. 15, celebrate the 34th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service lead by clergy and members of nine different faiths from across Houston. Leaders and participants will offer prayers of thanksgiving and read texts on thankfulness. This year’s theme is “Care for Creation” which is a time to show appreciation for the world and people around us. The service is free and open to all who wish to participate.
Houston Turkish Festival - Nov. 17 - 18
Travel halfway around the world without leaving Houston. Arts, crafts, food, drinks, music and entertainment abound at the 26th Annual Houston Turkish Festival. A staple on the Houston festival scene, the event is perfect for families. Kids under 12 are free and there are plenty of complimentary activities like magic shows, face painting, arts and crafts, and storytelling. For parents there will be plenty of Turkish wine, beer and authentic Turkish coffee, which is brewed on sand. Visitors can shop the grand bazaar and have the chance to win round trip airline tickets to Turkey. The festival will take place at Jones Plaza on Nov. 17 – 18.
Zoo Lights - Nov. 18 - Jan. 14
Feeling festive? Bring the family to sip hot chocolate and stroll the beautiful zoo grounds while you take in the sights and sounds of the season. TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights returns to the Houston Zoo beginning November 18 through January 14. Two million LED lights will illuminate the area, transforming it into a wonder wonderland. Perfect photo opps for the family include the giant Christmas tree that measures over 33 feet tall and the beautiful oak trees that border the reflection pool.
Tickets are available online and prices range from $11.95 - $19.95 per person.
Thanksgiving Day Parade - Nov. 22
Before you carve the turkey and settle down to watch football, head to the 69th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade in downtown Houston on Thanksgiving morning. The event starts at 9 a.m. and ends around 11 a.m. As one of Downtown’s signature events, guests can look forward to marching bands, fun floats, performance groups and of course, Santa! The parade began in 1949 and continues to delight revelers of all ages. The event is free for all with the opportunity to purchase general seating if desired.
Houston Mayor Rings In The Season - Nov. 30
As you transition out of Thanksgiving mode and into Christmas make sure that the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting is added to your calendar. On Nov. 30, all things will be merry and bright as Houston rings in Christmas season with the 99th annual tree lighting. There will be music, fireworks, family fun and Santa. The event takes place in Hermann Square at City Hall at 6 p.m. Anyone attending is invited to being an unwrapped to the Reliant booth and donated to a child in need. Start the season with a truly festive and family-friendly experience.