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Houston Holiday Events and Festivals

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Texas Renaissance Festival
Oct. 8 – Nov. 27. The Texas Renaissance Festival is an interactive theme park that embraces different eras, including the 16th century and beyond. The 55-acre theater is filled with live entertainment, food and fun. The enchanted 55-acre village comes to life as all of Europe comes to pay homage to the King and Queen with Eight Themed Weekends. Hundreds of costumed performers are showcased in over 200 daily performances. Visitors meander along shaded cobblestone walkways visiting almost 400 shops overflowing with unique arts and crafts of offering delicious foods and beverages. All ages will be amused by the games of skill and human-powered rides. Revel in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and beauty of this authentically recreated 16th Century British village with lush landscaped grounds and vines. A perfect day ends as behold the burst of Royal Fireworks held above the Festival’s lake. All ages. $15-$30. Weekends, 9am-8pm. 21778 FM, 1774. Todd Mission.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Christmas Illumination.
Nov. 19 – Jan. 1.  SeaWorld San Antonio has transformed into a winter wonderland, lighting up Texas with the largest lighted Christmas display in the state. Bring your family to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends to enjoy what are sure to become new holiday favorites, such as Dine with Rudolph and Rudolph’s Christmas Town. SeaWorld will be adorned with carolers, holiday treats and beloved traditions like Home For the Holidays with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and Shamu Christmas: Miracles to help make spirits bright.  For a detailed activity list and to purchase specially priced Annual Passes, visit SeaWorldSanAntonio.com.

 

Zoo Lights
Nov. 18 – Jan. 14.TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo will transform the Zoo with more than 300,000 LED lights illuminating more than 50 animal-themed light displays, 15 miles of tree-lighting, and seasonal songs and stories. Sip hot chocolate as you stroll through the Zoo and take in all the awe-inspiring sights, including whimsical colorful projections over 15 feet tall, life-size lighted animal sculptures and “Holly Berry,” a 1958 Cadillac featuring vibrant lights choreographed to joyful music. All ages. $9.95-$19.95. Houston Zoo. 6200 Hermann Park Dr., Houston.

Uptown Holiday Lighting
Nov. 24. On Thanksgiving evening, thousands of Houstonians and out-of-town guests gather along Post Oak Boulevard for the annual Uptown Holiday Lighting.  This fun-filled family event kicks off the holiday season with more than half a million twinkling lights, a sparkling electric light parade, an exciting holiday stage show and a special appearance by Santa Claus.  An incredible explosion of fireworks lights up the Houston skies and music fills the air during the dramatic finale. All ages. Free. Post Oak, Houston.

15th Annual Festival Of Lights
Nov. 12 – Jan. 8. As the largest holiday lighting events on the Gulf Coast, the Festival of Lights receives over 125,000 visitors, many of whom have made the festival their own holiday tradition. In addition to over 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays and nightly live entertainment, visitors can strap on a pair of skates and glide across the ice at the area’s only Outdoor Ice Skating Rink. Guests can slide into a thrilling experience with the Texas-sized Arctic Slide. Indoors, guests can take pictures with Santa or enjoy a variety of holiday-themed films at the MG3D Theater and 4D Special FX Theater. All ages. $10.95. 6-10pm. Moody Gardens. 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston.

ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, Caribbean Christmas
Nov. 12- Jan. 8. Guests will embark on a breathtaking underwater journey from the shores of Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico. As they explore the oceans depths, they will dive for sunken treasure and see Christmas surprises along the way. An ice slide takes the form of a towering oil rig and an opportunity to venture through the beautiful Flower Garden Banks for encounters with spectacular schools of colorful tropical fish, eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, Hammerhead sharks and more on the way to their Caribbean island destination. There is even an opportunity to enjoy some festive holiday spirits inside of the new ICE LAND at Shiver’s Ice Bar. All ages. $10.95-$26.95. Moody Gardens. 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston.

Neighborhood Centers presents TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot
Nov. 24. The TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot is the second largest foot race in Houston and has been a family tradition for nearly 25 years. The event supports Neighborhood Centers and will feature 10K, 5K, Wheelchair Race, and Kids K races. Neighborhood Centers has been around for more than a century. They build strong communities by investing in the strengths of people, and connect hardworking families to opportunities by linking them to education, job training, economic support such as free tax preparation and business development. They also have one of the only dementia-specific day centers for seniors. This holistic approach is how they keep Houston a place of opportunity. All ages. 7:30am. $15-$37. Dillard’s Post Oak. 4925 Westheimer Rd., Houston.

iRun Productions presents Pearland Turkey Trot
Nov. 24. The Pearland Turkey Trot will feature a 4-mile, 6-mile run/walk or 1-mile family run. Kids under the age of 12 can run the Tot Trot Kids K. Proceeds benefit the Forever Parks Foundation of Pearland. All ages. $15-$45. 7:30am. Pearland High School Stadium. 3775 S. Main St., Pearland.

31st Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting
Nov. 24. The 31st Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting will feature Santa as he makes his annual appearance to light up more than a half-million lights on 80 trees lining Post Oak Boulevard and on area building rooftops. The event culminates with a fireworks extravaganza. All ages. Free. 4pm. Uptown Houston. 1908 Post Oak Blvd., Houston.

67 Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
Nov. 24. 9-11am. Houston’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1949, when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Houston Foley’s department store. Join us again this year as we embrace the holiday spirit with a stunning showcase of sensational floats, high-flying balloons, marching bands and live entertainment. The parade will wind through 20 blocks of downtown Houston beginning at Smith at Lamar, north to Walker, east to Milam, south to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, west to Smith, and north to end at Smith and Dallas. A limited amount of seats are available at the parade’s starting line. All ages. Free-$28. 8:15am.

 

The Polar Express Train Ride
Nov. 18 – Dec. 23. Passengers are invited to wear their pajamas on the train, just like in the movie! On board the passenger cars are festively decorated for the holidays. The Conductor will welcome everyone aboard and punch each passenger’s train ticket. En route to the North Pole the book THE POLAR EXPRESS™ will be read and music from THE POLAR EXPRESS™ movie will be played. Passengers are served hot chocolate and cookies by dancing chefs. Upon arrival at the North Pole Santa Claus and elves are visible waving to the train as passengers watch from aboard the train. Santa Claus and elves then board the train. Elves will be in each train car and will entertain passengers and lead them in singing Christmas carols. Santa Claus will move through each train car and greet each child, giving them their own personal silver sleigh bell. All ages. $20-$115.

Santa’s Wonderland
Nov. 11 – Jan. 1. Santa’s Wonderland is a Texas Christmas Experience and is the Biggest Christmas attraction in the state of Texas!  It’s a happy place that exists to preserve & perpetuate the true meaning and “Spirit” of Christmas! Santa’s Wonderland is also here to brighten the lives of all of our guests each Christmas season! Santa’s Wonderland is composed of Santa’s Town, our nostalgic Texas Christmas Village, and our headlining attraction, the magnificent Trail of Lights!  Santa’s Town is the place for food, musical entertainment, shopping, and a myriad of fun and unique activities for people of all ages and our Trail of Lights provides our guests with the opportunity to tour exquisitely crafted Christmas scenes that sparkle with over 3 million lights! Santa’s Wonderland is a place for making memories. All ages. $29.95-$42.95. 18898 State Highway 6 South, College Station.

Dewberry Farm Christmas
Over the river and through the woods, to Dewberry Farm we go for our Christmas tree cutting adventure! Dewberry Christmas Tree Farm is a choose-and-cut tree farm located in the country just west of Katy, Texas. It’s just a short country drive from Houston! Take a hayride or ride the Dewville Express Train to the “forest” on the back 40 acres. Search the Christmas Forest for the right tree. Cut your tree (we furnish saw) or we cut it for you. Ride back to Santa’s Workshop for tree baling. While the tree is being processed (shaken to remove loose needles, etc), the kids can enjoy the fun activities that Dewberry Farm is famous for including a giant frontier log-hewn play fort called Fort Dewhickey. You can ride the old-fashioned carousel, pedal carts, cow train or zip line, climb on hay mountain or slide down slide mountain. Parents can do a little Christmas shopping in the Country Store and the Sweet Shoppe. When you are hungry, we have lots of good country cooking at the farm. All ages. Admission is free. Trees range from $25-$250. Dewberry Farm. FM 362 and Morrison Rd., Brookshire.

 

 

ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures, Caribbean Christmas
Nov. 12- Jan. 8. Guests will embark on a breathtaking underwater journey from the shores of Galveston Island through the Gulf of Mexico. As they explore the oceans depths, they will dive for sunken treasure and see Christmas surprises along the way. An ice slide takes the form of a towering oil rig and an opportunity to venture through the beautiful Flower Garden Banks for encounters with spectacular schools of colorful tropical fish, eagle rays, turtles, dolphins, Hammerhead sharks and more on the way to their Caribbean island destination. There is even an opportunity to enjoy some festive holiday spirits inside of the new ICE LAND at Shiver’s Ice Bar. All ages. $10.95-$26.95. Moody Gardens. 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston.

Deck the Trees
Nov. 18 – Jan. 3. Each holiday season the Alley Theatre presents the Deck the Trees Celebration. This Alley tradition brings new and longstanding Alley supporters together to celebrate the myriad of gifts that theatre infuses into the lives of young people and those young at heart. The Deck the Trees Celebration will transform Alley Theatre’s lobby into a winter wonderland of trees, that are decorated by Houston’s top designers and sponsored by generous businesses and individuals. This family-friendly event has become a treasured tradition throughout the Houston community, and we want you to be a part of it! All ages. Free. Alley Theatre. 615 Texas Avenue, Houston.

 

Holiday Splash at Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark
Nov. 25 – Dec. 31. Schlitterbahn’s fun doesn’t end with the summer. The heated indoor waterpark celebrates the season with Holiday Splash, offering themed rides like the Snow Globe Float, an indoor light show, an ornament factory, kids’ reindeer games and even the opportunity to go surfing with Santa. 10am-5pm. Sat. & Sun only, Open Dec. 19-23, 26-31 during the week. $25.99 adult, $20.99 kids.

43rd Annual Dickens on the Strand
Dec. 2-4. Travel back in time as downtown Galveston’s Strand Street is transformed into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens with this exciting festival. Fri. 5-9pm, Sat. 10am-9pm, Sun. 10am-6pm. $15 adult, $9 kids 7-12.

Santa Train at the Galveston Railroad Museum
Dec. 10. Welcome Santa as he comes to town aboard the Galveston Railroad Museum’s Harborside Express Train. 10am-5pm. $10 adult, $5 kids 4 and up.

Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K
Dec. 18. Run with thousands of Santas through the streets of Galveston along the Gulf waters. All ages. Half Marathon 8am, 5K 8:30am. $72 for Half Marathon, $52 for 5K.

Holiday with the Cranes
Dec. 10-11. Celebrate the magnificent 4-foot-tall Sandhill Cranes that arrive just in time for the holidays, with special events from sunrise to sunset! All ages. 8am-5pm. $25-$100.

 

Please check back frequently, as we add holiday events to this page regularly. For more events, check our our Full Event Calendar, for daily fun for the family.

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