Make your holiday season merry and bright with our top 25 Christmas events and things to do around Houston in 2019.
If you’re counting down the days until Christmas and have already started jamming to Holiday tunes, you’ll probably want to mark your calendar for a few of these events and seasonal attractions. From Christmas light displays to shopping markets, theatrical performances, skating rinks and home tours, there’s something for everyone, “kids from 1 to 92”.
Note: Items are broken into events and ongoing activities and are listed in chronological order by start date and end date.
Scheduled Events & Things to Do for Christmas in Houston 2019 in Houston
This holiday season, Houston is home to a number of festive events taking place on specific dates and weekends, which you’ll find below. Scroll down to view ongoing events and installations taking place throughout the holiday season.
- The 32nd Annual Uptown Holiday Lighting | Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28 | FREE – Following a two-year hiatus due to construction, Uptown’s iconic holiday lighting returns with more than 300 twenty-foot-tall holiday trees along Post Oak Boulevard from the West Loop to Richmond Avenue. The family-friendly event will feature live music, food and drink, holiday characters, a special appearance from Santa, and a firework display. 4pm to 7pm.
- 12th Annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez | Friday, November 29 | 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 Wortham Theater Center | Friday, November 29 through Sunday, 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 Wortham Theater Center. Tickets start at $39, but you may find cheaper or better seats on TicketNetwork’s resale site. Showtimes vary.
- 100th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting at City Hall | Saturday, 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.
- 46th Annual Dickens on the Strand in Galveston | Friday, December 6 to Sunday, December 8 – 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 are $13; $7 for ages 7 to 12 if purchased online before Friday, December 2, 2019. Tickets are $15 at the gate; $9 for ages 7 to 12. Tickets at the gate are half-price for guests wearing Victorian-era attire. Times vary.
- Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Sugar Land Town Square | Friday, December 6 | 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 annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Sugar Land Town Square. Following the ceremony will be live entertainment, holiday refreshments, and photo ops with Santa. 5pm to 8pm.
- Holiday on 19th Street in the Heights | Friday, December 6 | 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.
- Jingle All the Way 5K, 10K & 1K in the Energy Corridor | Saturday, December 7 – Outpace the abominable snow monster during the third annual Jingle All The 5K, 10K, 1K at Addicks Park and Ride. The family-friendly race includes post-run refreshments and a special appearance from Santa. Registration for the 5K is $44.75; Kids 1K registration is $19.75. 8am.
- 10th Annual Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival in Historic Downtown Katy | Saturday, December 7 | FREE – Browse a holiday market offering produce, arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, accessories, jewelry, gifts, and handmade goodies at the tenth 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.
- TUTS’ Elf – The Musical at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts | Saturday, December 7 through Sunday, December 22 – Follow the story of Buddy the Elf, who ventures from the North Pole to New York City to meet his long-lost human father as TUTS presents Elf – The Musical at Hobby Center. Based on the beloved 2003 movie, the all-new production features show-stopping musical numbers and plenty of heart-warming humor. Tickets start at $40, but you may find cheaper or better seats on TicketNetwork’s resale site. Showtimes vary.
- Christmas in the Park at George Ranch Historical Park | Saturdays from Saturday, December 7 through Saturday, December 21 – Travel back in time to Christmas pasts and explore the historic decor and customs practiced between 1830 and 1930. 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, with special campfire celebrations on the 14th and 21st from 6pm to 9pm. Tickets start at $15. Campfire Christmas presale tickets cost $25; $15 for ages 4 through 12; $20 for members and seniors. All prices increase by $5 at the gate. 9am to 5pm daily.
- 2019 Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival | Friday, December 13 to Sunday, December 15 | 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.
- Houston Symphony presents A Very Merry Pops at Jones Hall | Friday, December 13 to Sunday, December 15, and Tuesday, December 17 – Get in the Christmas spirit with a spectacular concert of all your holiday favorites played by the Houston Symphony. Tickets start at $25, but you may find cheaper or better seats on TicketNetwork’s resale site. Showtimes vary.
- Lights in Heights in the Woodlands Heights | Saturday, December 14 | FREE – 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 that sometimes 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. Times vary.
- Houston Symphony presents Handel’s Messiah at Jones Hall | Friday, December 20 to Sunday, December 22 – 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 $26. Showtimes vary.
- Holiday Markets & Shopping Pop-Ups Around Houston | Through Sunday, December 22 – Shop local this holiday season with our ever-growing list of pop-up markets and shopping events, which often feature free holiday entertainment and splurge-worthy treats. Favorites include First Saturday Arts Market in The Heights, Holiday Pop Up in the Park at Market Square Park, and the Midtown Mistletoe Market. Prices, times and locations vary.
- Holiday Plays and Performances Around Houston | Through Sunday, December 29 – From familiar classics to modern tales, holiday productions abound throughout this celebratory season. Snag tickets to Alley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley at Main Street Theater, or The Hip Hop Nutcracker at Smart Financial Centre to get in the seasonal spirit. Prices, times and locations vary.
- Touring 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 stops in Houston. Some of our top picks include Pentatonix in Concert: A Pentatonix Christmas Tour at Smart Financial Centre, Il Divo: A Holiday Song Celebration at Revention Music Center, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories at Toyota Center. Prices, times, and locations vary.
Ongoing Activities & Things to Do for Christmas 2019 in Houston
During the holiday season, Houstonians can find dozens of markets, performances, lighting displays, and other events to fill their Christmas calendars. These events take place throughout the holiday season, listed in chronological order of their final date.
- Home for the Holidays in Old Town Spring | Through Sunday, December 22 | No Cover – Pop into local businesses and restaurants around Old Town Spring every weekend in November and December for festive exhibits, strolling carolers, holiday decor, visits from Santa, unique gift ideas, and live entertainment. Hours vary.
- Holiday Light Sightseeing in Houston’s Most Decorated Neighborhoods | Through New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2020 (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 Sunday, January 5, 2020 – 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. Sunday through Thursday, tickets are $15; $12 for children and seniors. On Friday and Saturday, tickets are $16; $14 for children and seniors. Times vary.
- Magical Winter Lights at Sam Houston Race Park | Through Sunday, January 5, 2020 – 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 cost $22 for ages 13 and up; $13 for ages 4 through 12 and 65+. Children 3 and under are free. Times vary.
- Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens | Through Sunday, January 5, 2020 – 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 eats, and live entertainment, plus the Ice Land attraction, where a team of skilled ice carvers have transformed two million pounds of ice into a festive journey around the world. Tickets start at $18.95. 6pm to 10pm.
- Zoo Lights at Houston Zoo | Through Sunday, January 12, 2020 – 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 snap a selfie on the giant ice throne, play in the snow, 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, February 2, 2020 – 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. Tickets start at $15, plus fees. Times vary.
Find More Things to Do in Houston All Year Long
Be sure to subscribe to our free Weekend Guide email to receive a round-up of great things to do this weekend in Houston in your inbox every Thursday. If you don’t want to miss a thing, you can also opt in to our Daily Update emails (emailed six days a week).