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Holiday events around town

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting

Ring in the season downtown Dec. 4 with the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting. (Photo: Richard Carson)

This holiday season, consider tiaking family and friends to some seasonal events around town and in nearby Galveston.

Zoo Lights

Houston Zoo

Now-Jan. 9. 6-10 p.m. Mon.-Thur.; 6-11 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Closed Dec. 25-26.

The Houston Zoo is transformed into a dazzling wonderland of colorful lights, holiday music and animal sculptures.

Admission: $15-20; free 1 and under. 

2015 Magical Winter Lights

Sam Houston Race Park

Now-Jan. 10. Times vary.

Light up the holiday season with larger-than-life lanterns shaped like landmarks and landscapes from around the world, international performances, food, carnival rides and holiday shopping.

Admission: Adult: $27-29; child (4-12): $16-18; children under 4: free

The ICE at Discovery Green

Discovery Green, downtown

Now-Feb. 7.

Discovery Green Park will host a 7,716-square-foot ice-skating rink, holiday music and fun events throughout the season.

Admission: $14 includes skate rental

Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

The Brown Theater at The Wortham Center, downtown

Now-Dec. 27. Performance times vary.

Enjoy this popular holiday tradition. Houston Ballet performs Ben Stevenson’s beloved version of The Nutcracker.

Admission: $29-149 

Holiday in the Park

Bellaire Town Square, Bellaire

Dec. 3, 6-8:30 p.m.

Santa, holiday music, the official tree lighting, rides aboard a kiddie train, holiday crafts, pony rides, moon bounces and a petting zoo. Highlight: 40,000 pounds of snow, with two snow slides.

Admission: Free

Mayor’s Holiday Celebration

Houston City Hall, downtown

Fri., Dec. 4, 6-8 p.m.

Ring in the holiday season with the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Presented by Reliant. Holiday music, Santa, fireworks, a lit holiday tree and more.

Admission: Free.

Home Alone with the Houston Symphony

Jones Hall, downtown

Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.

Experience the holiday classic Home Alone in a new way – with the Houston Symphony. The film starring Macaulay Culkin will play with accompaniment from a live orchestra.

Admission: $35-129

4th Annual Southside Place Winter Wonderland Carnival

Southside Place Clubhouse Grounds, 3743 Garnet St.

Sat., Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Food, carnival games, inflatables, a mechanical bull, a rock-climbing wall, face-painting, balloon artists. Photos with Santa and a huge pile of snow.

Admission: Free.

2015 Chanukah Fest: Menorah Lighting at City Hall

Houston City Hall, downtown

Sun., Dec. 6, 2-6 p.m.

Celebrate Chanukah with a rock concert by the band 8th Day, a Judah the Maccabee live statue, booths, fire jugglers and arts and crafts stations. The menorah lighting will take place at 6 p.m. and will conclude with a fireworks display.

Admission: Free.

West U Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Across from West U Community Center, 6104 Auden

Mon., Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m.

Performances by the St. Andrews Children’s Choir and youth programs from the West U Rec Center will set the tone for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. Cookie decorating, live reindeer, a photo booth, Santa and snow.

Admission: Free.

Santa’s Holiday Market

CityCentre, 800 Town and Country Blvd.

Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Head to CityCentre to shop from Santa’s Holiday Market, which will feature local vendors, gifts and stocking stuffers. From 12 to 4 p.m., there’ll be Santa sightings in his reindeer-driven sleigh, plus strolling Dickens carolers.

Admission: Free

The Heritage Society’s Annual Candlelight Tour

The Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park, downtown

Dec.12, 5-10 p.m.; Dec. 13, 5-9 p.m.

Take in Houston’s history through decorated buildings and historic characters. Hear about Houston’s early residents and customs with a cup of cocoa in hand. Children’s activities in Santa’s Workshop, plus performances.

Admission: Adult: $10; senior: $8; youth (6-18): $5; child (5 and under): free

2015 Gingerbread Build Off

Hermann Square, City Hall, downtown

Sat., Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Architects will build gingerbread houses. More than 3,000 are expected to cheer on the teams and view the edible masterpieces. Includes a kids’ construction zone and Santa appearance.

Admission: Free; team registration to participate: $125

32nd Annual YMCA Jingle Bell Run & Walk

Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA, 808 Pease St.

Sun., Dec. 13, noon

More than 7,000 will participate in this annual run/walk downtown. 5-mile Timed Race, 3-mile Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run. Costume contest, live music, kids zone, food trucks.

Admission: Prices vary.

Galveston’s Santa Hustle

You can burn some calories on the island Dec. 20 at Galveston’s Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk. (Photo: Galveston CVB)

Galveston Events

Festival of Lights

Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Blvd.

Now-Jan. 10, 6-10 p.m.

More than 1 million lights within 100 animated light displays. Live entertainment. Ice skate, experience the Arctic Ice Slide, take photos with Santa.

Admission: $10.95 (including skating)

Ice Land: Ice Sculptures

Moody Gardens

Now-Jan. 10. Times vary.

Chill out with SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, Squidward and other SpongeBob favorites, all carved out of more than 2 million pounds of ice.

Adult: $27; child (4-14): $22

Dickens on the Strand

2300 Strand

Fri., Dec. 4-Sun., Dec. 6. Times vary.

Travel back to 19th-century Victorian London in this annual holiday street festival. Parades, entertainment, strolling carolers, musicians, bagpipers, costumed vendors, crafts, gift items.

Admission: Adults: $13-15; kids: $7-9. Attendees in Victorian costume are admitted for half-price. Everyone free Friday night.

East End Christmas Homes Tour: A Victorian Christmas

Meet at EEHDA Cottage, 1501 Postoffice St.

Fri., Dec. 4, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Explore Victorian architecture on the 26th annual home tour, in which four homes will be decorated for the holiday season. Three East End sites also included. Refreshments available at the EEHDA Cottage. Proceeds benefit the East End Historical District Association.

Admission: $17

Santa Train

Galveston Railroad Museum, The Strand

Sat., Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-noon

All aboard! Santa is coming to the Galveston Railroad Museum. Enjoy holiday lights and decorations, and learn about railroads.

Admission: adults (13+): $10; seniors (60+): $8; children (4+): $5; children 3 and under: free

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

The Grand 1984 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice St.

Sat., Dec. 19, 2 and 7 p.m.

The popular red-nosed reindeer performs on the stage.

Admission: $25-65

Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk

Saengerfest Park, 2300 Strand

Sun., Dec. 20, 8 a.m.-noon

The fourth annual Santa Hustle starts and ends at Saengerfest Park. Race participants receive a Santa hat and beard along with dri-fit sweatshirts. Music, candy and cookies on course.

Admission: $50-65

Merry Texas Christmas Y’All: Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel

The Grand 1984 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice St.

Tues., Dec. 22, 8 p.m.

Deck the halls with the sounds of Western swing at The Grand.

Admission: $30-50

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