Holidays in Houston 2023

Holidays in 2023 will certainly be jolly!  From performing arts and holiday festivals to Christmas markets and family-friendly events, we’ve got you covered. Plus, don’t forget that we have another blog totally dedicated to the best Christmas light displays in and around Houston.

Performing Arts

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A Christmas Carol
Nov. 17 – Dec. 30, 2023
Alley Theatre

Alley Theatre

Houston’s seasonal favorite, A Christmas Carol, is a new adaptation of the classic story pared down to its essential elements. Holiday magic adds to this heartwarming story, making the show a crowd-pleaser.

The Nutcracker
Nov. 24 - Dec. 27, 2023

Houston Ballet | Wortham Theater Center

Houston Ballet - The Nutcracker
Houston Ballet Principals Beckanne Sisk as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Chase O’Connell as the Nutcracker Prince with Artists of Houston Ballet and Students of Houston Ballet Academy in Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox (2022). Courtesy of Houston Ballet.

Houston's holiday tradition continues with the magic and wonder of Stanton Welch's The Nutcracker. Following the annual Stahlbaum Christmas party, journey through the glittering Land of Snow to the bright and joyful Kingdom of Sweets with Clara, Drosselmeyer and the Prince as he reunites with the Sugar Plum Fairy amongst the clouds, where the real magic happens. One of the most splendid ever staged, Welch's The Nutcracker features hundreds of characters, elaborate sets and stunning details that will captivate audiences and leave you finding something new with every performance. Reserve your seats early for Houston's premier holiday spectacular!

The Nightmare Before Christmas 
Dec. 9 - 10, 2023

Houston Symphony | Jones Hall 

Experience one of Tim Burton's most acclaimed films like never before! Join us for a special screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas, presented in its full cinematic glory on the big screen. You'll also have the enchanting opportunity to witness Danny Elfman's hauntingly charming score brought to life by a live orchestra. Turn it into a fantastic family outing! Enjoy a 20% discount when you purchase 4, 5, or 6 tickets for your family. Simply add the desired number of tickets to your cart, and the discount will be automatically applied.

Very Merry Pops!
Dec. 20 - 23, 2023
Houston Symphony | Jones Hall 

Gather with loved ones in Jones Hall -decked with boughs of holly- for a sparkling concert filled with all your holiday favorites. Featuring Broadway leading lady Mandy Gonzalez (star of Hamilton and In the Heights) and the Houston Symphony Chorus, this concert is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit quicker than you can sing “Jingle Bells.”

Holiday Festivals and Markets

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Home for the Holidays in Old Town Spring
Nov. 11 – Dec. 24, 2023

Old Town Spring

Head to Old Town Spring’s 43nd Annual Home for the Holidays festival featuring a spectacular display of twinkling holiday lights, entertainment, family-friendly activities and photos with Santa every weekend! Patrons will experience a Texas-style winter wonderland and hassle-free holiday shopping that includes unique gift ideas, hand-made and locally sourced products and more.

Moody Gardens Festival of Lights
Nov. 18, 2023 – Jan. 6, 2024

Moody Gardens - Holidays in the Gardens

Enjoy a festive stroll along this mile-long trail featuring more than two million lights and lighted scenes themed to holiday music that take you around the Moody Gardens property with spectacular views of Galveston Bay. Stops along the way bring you to see Star the Dancing Tree of Light, concession areas, hot chocolate, fireside s'mores and other festive foods, mistletoe, and plenty of photo opportunities!

City Place Giant Gingerbread Village
Nov. 28, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024

City Place, 1250 Lake Plaza Drive, Spring, TX 77389

City Place Giant Gingerbread Village

Since debuting three years ago, the Giant Gingerbread Village has quickly become a holiday tradition for thousands of greater Houston families and visitors. Upon arrival to the free holiday attraction, guests travel down a gumdrop, lollipop and candy-cane-lined path—guarded by two giant gingerbread men, naturally—to a raised clearing featuring cookie trees, a 16-foot-high gingerbread house, and a 12-foot windmill. The free, Insta-worthy attraction will be on display through the first week of January, along with the 35-foot glimmering Christmas tree rising from City Place Park’s main pond.

And to complement the fun and festive sights, City Place Plaza and Park will be downright packed with free entertainment in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The live events will wrap up after Friday, December 23, 2022, while the Gingerbread Village will remain open daily through Sunday, January 7, 2023.

Dickens on the Strand
Dec. 1 - 3, 2023

Dickens on The Strand

For 50 years, Galveston Historical Foundation has hosted Dickens on The Strand in downtown Galveston to experience the architecture, sights, and sounds of a Victorian holiday. Each square will feature entertainment, Dicken’s pubs, and food options with a specially designed holiday market on Pier 21. The market features numerous craft, food, and holiday vendors that guests seek out each year.


Family Holiday Fun

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33rd. Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Wortham Theater Center
Nov. 22, 2023

Sugar Plum Plaza

Houston First Corporation (HFC), Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera (HGO), and DACAMERA are excited to invite the public to kick off the holiday season at the 33rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Wortham Theater Center. The event is free and open to the public. The annual holiday tradition will feature the illumination of a spectacular Christmas tree with more than 19,000 dazzling lights and include appearances by costumed characters from the Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Guests will also be treated to a performance by the Jalen Baker Trio presented by DACAMERA. HGO and Mercury will also provide musical entertainment. There will be holiday arts and crafts, and the Houston Ballet will provide story time with a character from The Nutcracker. Guests can also take advantage of a pop-up Houston Ballet boutique and do some holiday shopping. Cookies and refreshments will be available, along with ticket and holiday-themed giveaways. Of course, the star of the event, Santa himself, will make an appearance and take photos with guests, whether they’ve been naughty or nice. View details HERE. Just outside the Wortham, explore Sugar Plum Plaza, one of 11 holiday villages that make up City Lights Downtown Holiday Magic presented by Shell Energy. They are open to the public and mostly free through December 31, 2023.

Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 2, 2023

Hermann Square at City Hall

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Reliant will kick off the holiday season at the Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular in Hermann Square at 104-year-old City Hall. The annual event is fun and free for the entire family. Enjoy live music and the lighting of the holiday tree. This year’s holiday tree is 52 ft White Fir, from Grant’s Pass, OR. It will feature 99,680 LED lights and 4,000 ornaments. Stop by for free photos with Santa in his North Pole-themed booth. 

Breakfast with Santa at the Aquarium

Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17, 21-24, 2023

Santa will travel all the way from the North Pole to Houston’s Downtown Aquarium for breakfast with boys and girls on the nice list! At Breakfast with Santa, enjoy a delicious meal and get your picture taken in a safe and socially distanced environment. Keep a close eye on the aquarium tank, you may see Santa swimming with the fish! Reservations required. View menu, prices and reserve HERE.

The Christmas Train
Nov. 24-25. Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14-19, 20-23, 2023

The Christmas Train

Head to Alvin, Texas, for a truly Texan Christmas experience. The Christmas Train is fun and interactive ride with over 300,000 lights and hundreds of Christmas decorations. Colorful gingerbread villages, penguin snow lands and life-size storybook illustrations are all some of the scenes you and your family will experience along the way. Enjoy handmade pizza at Big Al’s Pizza Parlor, hot cocoa, cookies, popcorn and cotton candy. On your mark, get set, go! Race your friends around the go-kart track for loads of lightning-fast fun. A great activity for anyone 52″ and up. And don't miss The Great Elf Show! Sit back and enjoy this live stage free show full of crazy antics, adorable characters, and the heartwarming message of Christmas. Tickets to The Christmas Train can be purchased online.

Breakfast with Santa at The Woodlands Resort
Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 2023

The Woodlands Resort - Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy a staycation aThe Woodlands Resort, but make sure you meet up with Santa while you’re there! The whole family can enjoy Breakfast with Santa that includes a full breakfast menu. It is the perfect photo opportunity and time for children to tell Santa all their Christmas wishes. Not staying at the resort? No problem - the event is open to the public. Make your reservations early!


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Tired of looking at the same four walls? Book a night at one of Houston's top hotels for a nice change of scenery. The city's hospitality industry has committed to offering you and your loved ones an unforgettable experience. Before you book, check out these HOUSTON HOTEL DEALS.


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