'Tis the season
Get in the holiday spirit at festive events in Houston and Galveston.
Fri., Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m.
Hermann Square at City Hall, downtown
Ring in the season with the annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting downtown. There’ll be music, Santa, fireworks and a tree lighting. You are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Reliant booth; the toy drive benefits the Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command.
Sat., Dec. 2, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Jones Hall, downtown
Admission: Starting at $25
Kick off the holiday season with Dr. Seuss’ classic tale of the Grinch. Join the Houston Symphony and singers from local high schools. There will be a holiday sing-along.
Sat., Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Evelyn’s Park, Bellaire
Browse gifts for last-minute holiday shopping in a beautiful setting outdoors.
Mon., Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m.
Community Building, West University
Join the City of West University Place Parks and Recreation Department for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in front of the Community Building.
Main Street Square, downtown
Sat., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
This winter market will feature artists, food trucks, a children’s imagination station, photo opps with Santa, music, a DJ and Christmas carolers. All booth fees benefit Hoof Prints and Heart Beats equine therapy.
Sat., Dec. 9, 8 a.m.
Race fee: $35
Wear a Christmas costume for the Rudolph 5k Fun Run benefitting Firefighters Helping Firefighters. Photos with Santa, face painting and breakfast tacos.
City Hall’s Hermann Square, downtown
Sat., Dec. 9, 10 a.m.
Admission: Free to spectators
Competing teams will create gingerbread masterpieces. More than 4,500 are expected to cheer on the teams, enjoy the kids’ construction zone and visit with Santa.
Dec. 10-23, Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land
Dec. 30-Jan. 6, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, downtown
Admission: Begins at $25
As a result of flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston Ballet’s home venue, The Wortham Theater, is closed through May. The Nutcracker will play at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land and then at The Hobby Center.
Chabad of Uptown, Uptown
Wed., Dec. 13, 6-8 p.m.
Admission: $8-15 adult; $5-10 child
Play in the snow and light the menorah in celebration of Chanukah. There will be Chanukah crafts, a dreidel prize wheel, donuts, a latke bar, drinks, snow cones and snow.
Weds., Dec. 13, 6 p.m.
Watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York at CityCentre while sipping on hot chocolate or cider. Houston Christian High School’s choir will perform a Christmas concert at 5 p.m. to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
Dec. 14, 15, 16, 8 p.m.; Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m.
Sugar Land Baptist Church (Dec. 14); Jones Hall (Dec. 15-17)
Admission: Begins at $29
Celebrate Christmas with a classic musical tradition led by Houston Symphony conductor Paul Agnew.
Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens, Memorial
Dec. 15-Jan. 6, except Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31; Sun.-Thurs., 5:30-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m.
Admission: (Nonmembers) $15 adult; $10 youth; free 4 and younger
Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens will host carolers, a snowball area, a handcrafted model train, a trail of lights and holiday-themed tours of Ima Hogg’s historic mansion.
The Alley Theatre, downtown
Admission: Begins at $28
A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas returns to The Alley Theatre with a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve.
Now-Jan. 2; Sun.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-11 p.m.; Closed on Dec. 4 and 11.
Gulf Greyhound Park, La Marque
Admission: $21; $13 child and senior; free under 4
The festival features large lanterns shaped like landmarks and landscapes from around the world, cultural performances, food, carnival rides, entertainment, live music and holiday shopping.
Houston Zoo, Museum District
Now-Jan. 14; value nights: 6-10 p.m., last entry: 9 p.m.; prime nights: 6-11 p.m., last entry 9:30 p.m. (see zoolights.houstonzoo.org)
Admission: $11.95-19.95; free for 1 and under
The Houston Zoo hosts a wonderland of colorful lights, holiday music and animal sculptures.
Discovery Green, downtown
Now-Jan. 21 (see discoverygreen.com/ice)
Admission: $14 regular
Kinder Lake at Discovery Green is transformed into a 7,716 square-foot ice skating surface through Jan. 21. The winter art installation is Hello Trees: A Walking Serenade by Daily tous les jours.
On Galveston Island
Strand St., downtown Galveston
Dec. 1-3; times vary
Admission: Friday: free; Saturday/Sunday: $9-15
Galveston’s historic Strand Street will be transformed into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. Characters from Dickens novels will walk the streets, and costumed vendors will peddle holiday food, Victorian-inspired crafts, decorations and gifts. Wear Victorian costume for half-price admission.
Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23; times vary
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
On Saturdays in December, Santa will bring extra cheer to the pier. Watch holiday movies, enjoy festivities and rides. Activities at Santa’s Workshop 12-4 p.m.: photos with Santa, letters to Santa and cookie decorating. Holiday movies 7-9 p.m.
Weds., Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saengerfest Park, Galveston's Historic Strand District
Enjoy a day of holiday tunes from area school choirs, bands and church choirs at the annual Holiday in the Park. Take photos with Santa.
Dec. 9-10, times vary
The annual birding event will celebrate the arrival of these large, majestic birds. Activities will be held indoors and outdoors around the island.
Dec. 15-25, 7:45 p.m.
Moody Gardens Convention Center
Admission: $39-59 and up
Cirque Joyeaux Noel features a cast of performers from all over the world and includes acrobatics, illusions and comedy. This year’s show includes The Pompeyo Family and their rescue dogs, featured on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Tickets include dinner and admission to Moody Garden’s Festival of Lights.
Sat., Dec. 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Galveston Railroad Museum, The Strand
Admission: $12 adults; $5 train rides
Santa is heading to town aboard Galveston Railroad Museum’s Harborside Express train. Visit with Santa, stroll through the Garden of Steam and enjoy holiday lights, decorations and crafts.
Sun., Dec. 17, 8 a.m.
Hustle to the Island to watch thousands of “Santas” participate in half-marathon and 5k races. All racers receive a Santa shirt, hat and beard to wear while running and can stop at cookie and candy stations along the routes.
Saengerfest Park, Galveston's Historic Strand District
Stroll through Christmas trees and artisan-made pieces as they light up Saengerfest Park. There will also be an interactive photo frame and giant snow globe for photos. (The snow globe will be available Dec. 9, 16 and 23.)
Now-Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Explore a 28,000-square-foot “ice land” at Moody Gardens this holiday season. Ice carvers will use 2 million pounds of ice to create rainforest-themed ice sculptures and slides for kids and an ice bar serving drinks for adults.
Now-Jan. 7, 6-11 p.m. nightly
The 16th annual Festival of Lights will include a mile-long trail of more than 100 sound-enhanced, animated light displays.
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