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Greater Houston’s best neighborhoods & attractions for Christmas lights this 2023 holiday season

A dazzlingly lit home in River Oaks | Courtesy of Evan Clayson

Pile in the car for a leisurely holiday drive or take a hot cocoa-fueled stroll while you ooh and ah at Houston’s most popular Christmas light displays—in residential neighborhoods and at city landmarks alike.

Every year, Houston neighborhoods light up like a Christmas tree (literally), with homes, streets, and yards decked in the season’s finest adornments.

In most cases, checking out some of Houston’s best neighborhood Christmas light displays won’t cost you anything more than the gas it takes to get there. Just be sure you respect the neighborhoods and the residents who so kindly showcase their homes.

Appropriate hours to do Christmas light drive-bys are typically from 7pm to 10pm; and the light displays usually start going dark and coming down the weekend following New Year’s Day.

More Holiday Attractions & Things to Do

2023 Christmas Lights in Houston Neighborhoods

  • River Oaks – For one of the most extravagant displays of holiday lights in the city, you’ll want to check the grand, decked-out homes and towering oak trees around one of Houston’s most prominent neighborhoods, River Oaks. Enter from Kirby—either from Shepherd or Westheimer—and begin winding your way through the hood as you uncover enclave after enclave of bright holiday lights and tradition. You can also park your car near the River Oaks Country Club to traverse the hood’s most popular streets by foot.
  • The Heights & Woodland Heights – With its annual Lights in the Heights block party, this friendly neighborhood brings all the charm and holiday spirit. You’ll find shimmering displays throughout the month of December, from the fun and funky to the quaint and beautiful. And all of it is easy to see by foot or with a quick drive through the hood. Check out the area bordered by I-10, Heights Boulevard and 19th Street, and I-45.
  • Downtown Houston | Market Square Park, Main Street Square, Discovery Green & Avenida Houston – Check out the annual, towering Holiday Tree at City Hall and wander through light tunnels and displays at Winter Wanderland on Bagby Street; spend some holiday cheer in the beautifully adorned Market Square Park (and steal a kiss from your sweetheart under Texas’ biggest mistletoe ball), marvel at the Deck the Trees display in the windows of George R. Brown Convention Center (facing Avenida de las Americas, a.k.a. Avenida Houston), and don’t miss making a pit stop to skate or take in the vibes at The Ice at Discovery Green (make sure you book a spot in advance if you’re planning to skate, though).
  • Prestonwood Forest near Willowbrook – Nestled in Northwest Houston, this neighborhood subdivision has been a holiday destination since the ‘70s. During its annual Nite of Lites (which begins this year on Saturday, December 9), hundreds of homes light up, all competing in a holiday-spirited competition with categories like Best House, Best Door, Best Mailbox, Best Block, and the People’s Choice Award. The map includes the area around Prestonwood Forest from Cypresswood to 249, and from Ravenhurst and Schroeder to Charlynne Oaks to Hargrave.
A tree with multicolored lights in front of an empty bench and other lit trees in the distance
Market Square Park joins in on festive light fun throughout Downtown | Courtesy of Downtown Houston
  • The Woodlands – You’ll find that most neighborhoods in the Woodlands feature homes, if not whole streets, that offer extravagant Christmas lights. In the past, the Panther Creek and Alden Bridge neighborhoods have been known for setting the bar high, several of the homes featuring over-the-top displays, some of which are choreographed to music. In addition, a stroll along the tree-lit Woodlands Waterway is a holiday tradition worth starting, as is checking out Market Street, with its soaring Christmas tree and twinkling lights.
  • Houston’s Shopping Districts | Uptown, River Oaks District & Highland Village – Running along Post Oak and Westheimer, these merry and bright shopping districts are well worth a drive-by, or a stop-in if you want to hit all of those holiday sales. Drive down Post Oak and south towards the Galleria, taking in the white lights on the Christmas trees lining Uptown’s main holiday thoroughfare. When you arrive to Westheimer, take a left and cross under the Loop to head towards the dazzling River Oaks District and Highland Village.
  • Garden Oaks/Oak Forest – The Shepherd Park Plaza neighborhood has rocked over-the-top lights and decked-out holiday displays since the late 1960s. The nearby Candlelight Park gets in on the action, too; both residential areas bringing entire streets together to create a magical experience complete with Santas, inflatables, fun themes, and shimmering lights.
  • Pecan Grove – This festive Richmond neighborhood draws locals in with its showstopping Christmas lights. Plantation Drive is the main strip, with some streets being more decorated than others. Take a drive to take in the neighborhood’s holiday spirit.

2023 Ticketed Christmas Light Displays Around Houston

City Lights twinkle throughout the holiday season across Downtown Houston | Courtesy of Downtown Houston

City Lights in Downtown Houston

Through Sunday, December 31, 2023 | Some FREE

Take in lighted sights across Downtown this holiday season, where 11 holiday attractions from Discovery Green to the Theater District and Post Houston offer the chance to get into the spirit of the season.

Highlights include the illuminated walk-though tunnel at Winter Wonderland along Bagby Street, Jingle Town at the new Lynn Wyatt Square in Theater District, and plenty of holiday fun around Discovery Green and George R. Brown.

Open daily 5pm to 10pm.

Cruise through tunnels of twinkling lights and holiday displays at Dasher’s in Northwest Houston | Courtesy of Dasher’s Lightshow

Dasher’s Lightshow at Sam Houston Race Park

Through Sunday, December 31, 2023

Get in the spirit with a daily light-filled spectacle that you can drive through in Northwest Houston, past giant Christmas trees, snowmen, and through acres of land.

Tickets are sold per person for $9.95, with discounts available for groups of 4 and more.

Times vary.

Head up to the 6th floor for holiday fun at the Marriott Marquis Texas pool | Courtesy of Marriott Marquis

Texas Winter Lights at Marriott Marquis Houston

Through Sunday, December 31, 2023

Have some Texas-sized fun in the 6th floor Altitude Rooftop & Pool at the Marriott Marquis in Downtown during Texas Winter Lights, an interactive light experience available nightly.

Enjoy festive signature cocktails, huge light displays, walk-through experiences and plenty of social-worthy elements.

And yes, the Texas-shaped lazy river is open for floating and heated to 80° all winter long.

Tickets are $25 and up; $15 and up for ages 2 to 12.

Open daily 5pm to 10pm.

Wander through millions of twinkling holiday lights at Constellation Field | Courtesy of Sugar Land Holiday Lights

10th Sugar Land Holiday Lights at Constellation Field

Through New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1, 2024

More than three million lights create a sparkling winter wonderland at the home of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.

Walk the ballpark and enjoy 10 themed areas, a holiday market, a snow play area, visits with Santa Claus, and more.

Prices vary by date: $15 and up; $10 and up for ages 4 to 12; free for ages 3 and under.

Sunday to Thursday 6pm to 9pm; Friday and Saturday 6pm to 10pm.

In Katy & Spring, you can roll through holiday light installations at the Light Park | Courtesy of the Light Park

The Light Park in Katy & Spring

Through New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1, 2024

Roll into the holiday season at the Light Park in Katy and Spring, which features an interactive holiday experience that sends cars through millions of twinkling lights, accompanied by holiday music and festive cheer.

The Light Park is featured at Typhoon Texas in Katy, and at Hurricane Harbor in Spring.

Tickets are $39 per vehicle and up.

Times vary.

The Festival of Lights offers a stroll through holiday attractions at Moody Gardens in Galveston | Courtesy of Moody Gardens

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens

Through Saturday, January 6, 2024

Brighten up your holiday season at the Festival of Lights in Moody Gardens, which features a mile-long trail of more than two 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’s rainforests.

Tickets start at $25 for individual attractions; holiday passes, which include admission to multiple attractions, start at $65; $45 for ages 4 to 12 and 65+.

Times vary.

More than 6 million lights across multiple displays await at Magical Winter Lights | Courtesy of Magical Winter Lights

Magical Winter Lights at Katy Mills

Through Sunday, January 7, 2024

One of the city’s most popular attractions opens its gates at a new location in Katy this year.

Wander through a lit-up wonderland filled with millions of lights, dazzling lantern sculptures, interactive displays, and a carnival with fun for the whole family.

Tickets are $25; $18 for ages 3 to 12 and 65+; free for ages 2 and under.

Friday and Saturday 5pm to 11pm; Sunday 5pm to 10pm.

See life-sized animal lanterns and enjoy holiday concessions at Zoo Lights | Courtesy of Houston Zoo

Zoo Lights at Houston Zoo

Through Sunday, January 7, 2024

Stroll through the Houston Zoo with hot chocolate in hand while you admire glimmering displays made up of gleaming Christmas lights at this annual must-see attraction.

Take advantage of holiday photo ops, make your way through an illuminated tunnel, see life-sized animal lanterns, and more.

Prices vary by day; $22.95 and up.

Open daily 5:30pm to 10:30pm.

Take a journey through space history this holiday season at Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston | Courtesy of Space Center Houston

Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston

Through Sunday, January 7, 2024

The cosmic spectacle returns to Space Center Houston, transforming the campus into a twinkling wonderland of space-themed light installations, high-tech experiences, holiday treats and more in a one-of-a-kind event that can only be found in Space City.

Tickets range from $19.95 to $27.95; free for ages 3 and under. Save $5 on each ticket when you use promo code 365XLIGHTS at checkout.

Open daily 6pm to 10pm.

More than 50 lantern displays await at Radiant Nature this holiday season | Photo Edmond Wong; courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden

Radiant Nature at Houston Botanic Garden

Through Sunday, February 25, 2024

More than 50 larger-than-life Chinese lantern installations decorate the Houston Botanic Garden, bringing to life stunning displays that showcase the beauty of nature and celebrate the promise of the Lunar New Year.

Tickets are $28.50; free for ages 3 and under.

Open Fridays to Sundays and select weeknights from 6pm to 10pm; last entry at 9pm.

More Holiday Attractions & Things to Do

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