Make your holiday season merry and bright with our top 25 Christmas events and things to do around Houston in 2018.

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If you’ve already decked your halls with boughs of holly and hung your stockings by the chimney with care, then you’ll definitely want to rock the night (or day) away at Houston’s biggest and best Christmas-themed events.

From holiday markets and seasonal concerts, to festive stage plays and Christmas lights galore, we’ve got you covered on all things Christmas this holiday season.

Note that events, installations, and attractions are not ranked, but listed in chronological order from their start date.

Top 25 Things to Do for Christmas 2018 in Houston

  • Holiday Markets & Shopping Pop-Ups Around Houston | Through Saturday, December 16 – Shop local this holiday season with our ever-growing list of pop-up markets and shopping events, which often feature free holiday entertainment and sweet treats. Favorites include First Saturday Arts Market in The Heights, Holiday Pop Up in the Park at Market Square ParkBeers & Cheers Holiday Market at Saint Arnold Brewing Co., and Russian Holiday Bazaar at Russian Cultural Center. Dates and times vary.
  • Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Main Street Theater | Through Sunday, December 23 Take a seat for Main Street Theater’s presentation of Miss Bennett—Christmas at Pemberley. The delightful sequel to Pride & Prejudice switches the focus toward Mary, the awkward middle sister on a quest for independence and love. Tickets start at $42. Showtimes vary.
  • Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas | Through Sunday, December 30 – Catch a performance of the classic, seasonal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s famously visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Alley Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. Tickets start at $37. Showtimes vary.
  • Holiday Concerts Around Houston | Through Sunday, December 30 Bask in the familiar sounds of all your favorite Christmas carols and classic holiday tunes at these touring concerts with a stop here in Houston. Some of our favorites include Pentatonix in Concert: The Christmas is Here! Tour at Smart Financial Centre, Martina McBride: The Joy of Christmas Tour at Smart Financial Centre, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s The Ghosts of Christmas Eve at Toyota Center. Prices, times, and locations vary.
  • Holiday Light Sightseeing in Houston’s Most Decorated Neighborhoods | Through New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1 (Approximately) – Pile in the car and cruise through River Oaks, Woodland Heights, Prestonwood Forest, and Houston’s other ‘hoods known for extravagant Christmas lights.
  • Sugar Land Holiday Lights at Constellation Field | Through New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1 – Head to the Sugar Land Skeeters’ home field for a stunning display of 2.5 million lights, with red and green lights lining the seating section, light tunnels, giant light displays and more. While you’re there, you can cross some holiday shopping off your to-do list, grab a bite to eat, and meet Santa. $14. Times vary.
  • Magical Winter Lights at Gulf Greyhound Park | Through Sunday, January 6 – Explore seven themed areas lit up by oversized Chinese lanterns at Sam Houston Race Park’s Magical Winter Lights. Along the trail, you’ll spot displays resembling everything from famous landmarks and a Christmas village to the Houston skyline and a dinosaur zone. Tickets start at $13. Times vary.
  • Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens | Through Sunday, January 6 – Brighten up your holiday season at the Festival of Lights in Moody Gardens, which features a mile-long trail of more than one million lights and illuminated scenes with views of Galveston Bay. The family-friendly mainstay also offers an outdoor skating rink, vendors serving hot chocolate and festive food, and live entertainment. Tickets start at $5.95. Times vary.
  • Zoo Lights at Houston Zoo | Through Sunday, January 13, 2019 – Stroll through the Houston Zoo with hot chocolate in hand while you admire glimmering displays made up of more than two million Christmas lights at this annual must-see attraction. You can check out the holiday train village, make your way through an illuminated tunnel, and take photos with Santa on select nights. Tickets start at $12.95. 5pm to 9:30pm.
  • THE ICE at Discovery Green | Through Sunday, January 27, 2019 – Though not specifically related to Christmas, Discovery Green’s beloved outdoor skating rink, The ICE at Discovery Green, returns as a defining staple of Houston’s holiday season. Check out the calendar for themed skate nights on select dates. Hours vary.
  • 11th Annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez in Galveston | Friday, November 23 | FREE – Enjoy the arrival of Santa Claus in a horse-drawn carriage, a ceremonial Christmas tree lighting, a performance by the Galveston Ballet, and live music from area choirs and bands when Hotel Galvez kicks off its yearly holiday celebrations. 6pm to 7:30pm.
  • Houston Ballet presents The Nutcracker at the Wortham Theater Center | Friday, November 23 to Saturday, December 29 The Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, and all of her magical toys return for the beloved Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, presented by the Houston Ballet at the Wortham Theater Center. Tickets start at $40. Showtimes vary
  • Holiday Latin Jazz Fest at Jones Plaza | Saturday, November 24 – Listen to live jazz music from Grammy-winner Poncho Sanchez, as well as Francisco Torres, Jose Valentino, Raquel Cepeda, and Houston’s own Jose Antonio Diaz at the Holiday Latin Jazz Fest in Jones Plaza. The fest also offers dance entertainment as well as Latin food and drinks. Tickets start at $5. 11am.
  • 16th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Sugar Land Town Square | Friday, November 30 | FREE – Watch in amazement as a towering, 40-foot tree covered in Christmas lights is illuminated for the first time this holiday season at the sixteenth annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Sugar Land Town Square. Following the ceremony will be live entertainment, holiday refreshments, and an appearance by Santa. 5pm to 8pm.
  • 99th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting at City Hall | Friday, November 30 | FREE – Join Mayor Sylvester Turner at City Hall for Houston’s annual holiday extravaganza, which features live entertainment, fireworks, a tree lighting, and family-friendly activities. Bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Salvation Army and receive a festive Santa hat. 6pm to 8pm.
  • 45th Annual Dickens on the Strand in Galveston | Friday, November 30 to Sunday, December 2 – Travel back in time as Galveston’s historic Strand is transformed into Charles Dickens’ Victorian London for this annual, family-friendly event. Gear up for parades, live entertainment on six stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers, and a visit from the characters of Dickens’ books. Tickets start at $13. Times vary.
  • 9th Annual Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival in Historic Downtown Katy | Saturday, December 1 | FREE – Browse a holiday market offering produce, arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, accessories, jewelry, gifts, and handmade goodies at the ninth annual Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival. While you shop, expect roaming carolers, food trucks, entertainment, a beer garden, pictures with Santa, and 50,000 pounds of snow to keep the kiddos entertained. 10am to 5pm.
  • Christmas in the Park at George Ranch Historical Park | Saturday, December 1  through Saturday, December 22 – Travel back in time to Christmas pasts to explore the historic decor and customs practiced between 1830 and 1930. You can snag a festive treat at the 1830 Prairie Home or visit Santa’s temporary workshop on the grounds of George Ranch Historical Park. The old-fashioned event is offered every Saturday in December leading up to Christmas. Tickets start at $10. Saturdays 9am to 5pm.
  • Holiday on 19th Street in the Heights | Friday, December 7 | FREE – Enjoy free in-store cocktails, roaming carolers, and real snow as the shops on historic 19th Street open their doors for a special Friday evening of shopping and holiday cheer. 6pm to 10pm.
  • Houston Sypmphony presents A Very Merry Pops with Ali Ewoldt at Jones Hall | Friday, December 7 to Sunday, December 9 Get in the Christmas spirit with a spectacular concert starring the Phantom of the Opera Broadway star, Ali Ewoldt, who will belt out all of your holiday favorites while backed by the Houston Symphony. Tickets start at $40. Showtimes vary.
  • 2018 Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival | Friday, December 7 to Sunday, December 9 | FREE – Do as the Germans do and celebrate Christmas with plenty of food, beer, and wine, as well as live music on four stages, a petting zoo, and a holiday market featuring more than 200 vendors with antiques, arts and crafts, souvenirs and more. Times vary.
  • Lights in Heights in the Woodlands Heights | Saturday, December 8 – Stroll through the beautifully decorated streets of Woodlands Heights during one of Houston’s biggest holiday events, Lights in the Heights. Every year, the neighborhood streets are closed off, allowing pedestrians to roam freely as they admire the gorgeous homes, which host private parties often feature musical performances on the porch. After admiring the festive scenery, make your way to area bars and restaurants for tons of after-party fun. 5pm to 9pm. 
  • 57th Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade on Clear Lake | Saturday, December 8 – Deck the hulls and take in your holiday lights by the shores of Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. More than 100 watercraft adorned with Christmas lights and decor will travel from South Shore Harbour Marina, and past Kemah Boardwalk into Galveston Bay before circling back and making the return journey. Click here for viewing location suggestions. 6pm to 9pm.
  • Santa Hustle 5k & Half Marathon in Galveston | Sunday, December 16 – Race a 5K or half marathon through Galveston while dressed up as old St. Nick—no need to purchase a costume; you’ll get a beard, hat, and performance hoodie with registration, and can upgrade to receive candy cane socks, a red tutu, arm warmers, and face tattoos for an additional fee. You can enjoy cookies, candy canes, and holiday tunes all along the way, then stick around for an after-party. Tickets start at $44.75. 7am.
  • Houston Symphony presents Handel’s Messiah at Sugar Land Baptist Church and Jones Hall | Thursday, December 21 to Sunday, December 23 – Hear the ever-exuberant choruses of songs like “Hallelujah” and “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” in Handel’s Messiah, a powerful and timeless production performed by the Houston Symphony, chorus, and guest soloists at Jones Hall. Tickets start at $58. Showtimes vary.

Find More Things to Do in Houston All Year Long

You can find more fun in our interactive event calendar and 365 Weekend Guides.

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Christmas tree at City Hall | Photo: 365 Houston
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