The holiday season has arrived in Houston and with it comes plenty of Christmas cheer! December brings abundant festive happenings around town offering fun ways for the whole family to soak in the joy of the season. From timeless shows like Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker to neighborhood light displays spreading cheer block to block, there are classic holiday pastimes for everyone to enjoy. And don’t miss the local vendor markets filled with gift ideas galore.
In this post, we’ll share some of our favorite Christmas and holiday-inspired events that should be on your radar this December!
Continue a cherished Houston holiday tradition this season by experiencing the magic of the performing arts. Treat yourself and your loved ones to two spectacular shows guaranteed to spark that holiday spirit – The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol.
Now in its 28th season, Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker has become a must-see event under the creative direction of Stanton Welch. Journey with young Clara to the whimsical Land of Snow and into the Kingdom of Sweets, showcasing intricate dances from around the world. With hundreds of performers, stunning costumes and sets, and festive details everywhere you look, this breathtaking production creates memories that will last a lifetime.
The holiday magic continues over at the Alley Theatre with their production of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. This 90-minute show brings the story’s crisp dialogue and subtle songs to life on stage. Through creative set transitions, get whisked away into the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s overnight redemption.
With shows throughout late November and December, you’ll have plenty of chances to take in these acclaimed shows this holiday season.
Kick off the holiday season by soaking in Christmas magic at two festive Houston happenings on Dec. 2! Start your evening at the free Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular in Hermann Square, where Houston’s City Hall becomes a winter wonderland. Marvel at the 52-foot holiday tree glistening with nearly 100,000 lights!
Then make your way to the iconic Continental Club, just a short METRORail ride away, for Disco Expressions’ holiday show. Hailed as Texas’ most authentic disco experience, Disco Expressions will wow you with nonstop ’70s hits, shimmering lights, and tons of retro flair. Their high-energy show promises to have you dancing like it’s 1979. Tickets start at just $15 in advance for this holiday tradition—it’s sure to sell out fast so secure your spot early and come prepared to boogie!
Continue the seasonal fun that weekend by wandering Midtown’s cherished Mistletoe Market in Baldwin Park on Dec. 8 and 9. Nestled under gorgeous oak trees, this longstanding Houston tradition showcases unique gifts and home goods from local makers and crafters. Enjoy twinkling lights strung overhead as you stroll from booth to booth, soaking in the sounds of carolers and the smell of tasty treats like hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies.
The best part? Lodgeur at Mid Main Lofts furnished apartments are located right in Midtown, just a short walk from both the Mistletoe Market and the iconic Continental Club. Stay in the heart of Houston’s holiday action – our prime location allows you to easily access these and other festive happenings all season long!
Downtown Houston is set aglow with holiday cheer during the City Lights Downtown Holiday Magic event, presented by Shell Energy, running now through Dec. 31, 2023. This expansive event features live music, craft making, and entertainment across 11 themed holiday villages spread throughout Downtown and Midtown Houston.
Highlights of this festive transformation include:
For more details on times, parking, prices, and related activities, click here.
Radiant Nature is a magical Chinese lantern festival coming to the Houston Botanic Garden from November 17, 2023 through February 25, 2024. This temporary exhibit features over 50 illuminated sculptural displays spreading holiday cheer. Walk through gorgeous lanterns representing flowers, animals, and landscapes as you explore themes of the four seasons. With interactive elements like an LED tunnel and kaleidoscope, this event makes for a special family outing or date night that will get you into the holiday spirit. Time your visit right to enjoy both the winter holidays and Lunar New Year celebrations. Don’t miss out on Radiant Nature’s vibrant photo ops and dazzling take on the gardens and Asian culture.
Looking for a unique way to celebrate the holidays this year? Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership for their special Christmas Cruise. This magical 45-minute pontoon boat ride along Buffalo Bayou lets you soak in the holiday spirit with the whole family.
The cruise features festive boat lighting so you’ll immediately feel like you’re part of a winter wonderland. Plus, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on board to spread some Christmas cheer! Reservations are required for this popular seasonal event. Tickets are just $12 for kids and $15 for adults.
Transport yourself to an underground winter wonderland this holiday season with Cistern Illuminated at the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. This magical lighting installation opens Nov. 25 and runs through Jan. 7, turning the Cistern’s 221 columns into a sparkling subterranean forest. Designed by Houston artist and engineer Kelly O’Brien, Cistern Illuminated provides a one-of-a-kind perspective on this former water reservoir. The reflective floor amplifies the lights, making it a winter lighting experience you won’t want to miss! Tickets start at $10.
And don’t overlook the Houston Zoo, which transforms every evening from Nov. 17 through Jan. 7 into a glittering seasonal attraction that has become a can’t-miss holiday tradition for so many families! Check out animal-shaped lanterns and an illuminated tunnel as you stroll through the zoo grounds. In addition to the spectacular light displays, enjoy holiday train rides, cookie decorating, simulated snow flurries, seasonal treats like hot cocoa, and more! Due to popularity, tickets often sell out fast, so order yours ahead of time!