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Festive Fun

Holiday happenings this month

Friday, November 10, 9:19 am
Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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THE ICE Skate around The Ice at Discovery Green this winter. The annual Frostival event on Nov. 17 (rescheduled from Nov. 10) kicks off the season. (Photo: Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, courtesy of Discovery Green)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holiday season. We’re making Thanksgiving plans and marking our calendars for all of the fun events ahead. As you’re looking ahead to the holiday season, here are some upcoming events happening around town. 

Steel Magnolia Moms Holiday Market Nov. 2, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
The Powder Keg, 1300 Brittmoore
Admission: $5
Steel Magnolia Moms, a local nonprofit for moms of children with special needs, is hosting its fourth annual holiday market in which local artisans will sell clothing and accessories, household items, gourmet food items, art, gifts, jewelry, and more. Proceeds will support programs that help families with children who have special needs.  

Nutcracker Market  Nov. 9-12; times vary each day
NRG Center, 1 NRG Park 
Admission: $20 general admission
The beloved four-day shopping event will host more than 270 merchants from across the country, featuring a collection of unique holiday items, gourmet food, apparel, jewelry, accessories, home décor, gifts, toys, and more. 

Frostival & Green Mountain Energy Ice at Discovery Green Frostival: Fri., Nov 17, 5-10 p.m. (rescheduled from Nov. 10) The Ice: Nov. 10-Jan. 28; times vary each day. Open Thanksgiving Day, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 
Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney
Admission to Frostival: Free; Admission to The Ice: $17, plus tax, including skate rentals 
Skate around the ice rink at Discovery Green, Houston’s only outdoor skating rink. The annual Frostival event (rescheduled for Nov. 17) kicks off the season – make snow angels in the snow zone, take a photo with Santa, watch hip-hop dance performances, check out colorful art cars; and enjoy a DJ set from H-Town Frankie. Throughout the Ice season, there will be special events and happenings at The Ice, including Skate with Santa, Skating Stars, DJs, and more. 

Bellaire Arts and Crafts Festival  Sat., Nov. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Paseo Park, 5000 Bellaire Blvd. 
Admission: Free
The Bellaire Arts & Culture Board hosts the Arts and Crafts Festival, which will include a variety of local artisans selling crafts, artwork, and more. Beer and wine will be available at the event.  

The Galleria's Annual Tree Lighting and Ice Spectacular  Sat., Nov. 11, 12-6:45 p.m.
The Galleria, 5085 Westheimer Rd. 
Admission: Free
The Galleria's 34th Annual Ice Spectacular celebrates the holiday season with the lighting of its 55-foot Christmas tree. The 45-minute tree-lighting show will feature a performance by Jershika Maple, The Voice Season 21 contestant. The event will culminate with the lighting of the tree by Skating Santa and a fireworks display. 

Houston Zoo Lights
Nov. 17-Jan. 7, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Last entry at 9:30 p.m.
Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Dr. 
Admission: Adult/child (ages 3+): Starts at $22.95
The Houston Zoo will be transformed into an illuminated winter wonderland at the annual Zoo Lights presented by TXU Energy. Enjoy a “snowy” scene featuring ski lifts; life-sized animal lanterns along the Zoo Lights path; an illuminated, interactive dance floor; a colorful holiday light tunnel.  

Houston Botanic Garden

ILLUMINATING New this year, Houston Botanic Garden will feature Radiant Nature, in which more than 50 large Chinese lantern installations come to life in stunning displays that showcase the beauty of nature and celebrate the Lunar New Year. Pictured is the Wisteria Tunnel. (Photo: Tianyu Arts & Culture)

Radiant Nature at Houston Botanic Garden    Nov. 17-Feb. 25; open Fridays-Sundays; open certain weeknights around the holidays. See the website for specific dates. Timed entry is offered at 30-minute intervals from 6-8:30 p.m. each night the show is open. Last entry is 9 p.m. Radiant Nature closes at 10 p.m. 
Houston Botanic Garden, One Botanic Lane
Admission: $28/person. Children ages 3 and under are free.
New this year: More than 50 large Chinese lantern installations come to life in stunning displays that showcase the beauty of nature and celebrate the Lunar New Year. View a majestic 200-foot-long dragon, a soaring 12-foot-tall peacock with a fan that gracefully unfurls, and more. Explore an interactive zone buzzing with illuminated swings, whimsical seesaws, a digital kaleidoscope you can step inside, and other immersive features. Vendors will be on site offering festive food and drinks for purchase.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Mayor Sylvester Turner will serve as grand parshal for the 74th annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade along with co-grand marshals, Rockets legends, former Championship coach, Rudy Tomjanovich and Hall of Fame player, Calvin Murphy. 

74th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade Thurs., Nov. 23, 9 a.m.
Downtown Houston, starts at Smith and Lamar 
Admission: Free
Every year, several hundred thousand Houstonians line the streets to cheer on parade participants. The parade will travel over 20 city blocks and will feature elaborate floats, colorful marching bands, high-flying balloons, and some unique Houston elements.   

Holiday in the Plaza
Sat., Nov. 25, 12-5 p.m.
CityCentre, 800 Town and Country Blvd.
Admission: Free
Visit and take photos with Santa and two of his reindeer during CityCentre’s annual Holiday in the Plaza presented by Sewell Cadillac. Dance to holiday classics with performances by the Houston Show Choir.

City of Bellaire’s Holiday in the Park  Thurs., Nov. 30, 6-8:30 p.m.
Bellaire Civic Center, 7008 S. Rice Ave.
Admission: Free
The City of Bellaire hosts its annual Holiday in the Park, including school choir performances, snow slides, food, and more. 

West U Christmas Tree Lighting  Mon., Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m.
West U Community Building and Senior Center, 6104 Auden
Admission: Free
The City of West University Place welcomes the holiday season with the lighting of the Christmas tree. Also, in celebration of West University Place Centennial, the City’s Centennial logo will be unveiled for the first time. Take home a special commemorative ornament to add a piece of local history to your Christmas tree.

Worth the Drive 

Texas Renaissance Festival

The Texas Renaissance Festival - the nation's largest Renaissance event - includes a wide range of attractions for the whole family.

Texas Renaissance Festival  Open weekends through Nov. 26, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Texas Renaissance Festival grounds, 21778 Farm to Market 1774, Todd Mission, TX 
Admission: Tickets are date-specific; $10-34
The nation's largest Renaissance event includes a wide range of attractions for the whole family. The festival features more than 20+ stages of music and stage acts, more than 500 shoppes and artisans, rides and games, unique food and drink, and much more. Themed weekends include Heroes and Villains (Nov. 4-5); Barbarian Invasion (Nov. 11-12); Highland Fling (Nov. 18-19); Celtic Christmas (Nov. 24-26). 

Santa’s Wonderland  Nov. 10-Dec. 30, every evening, including major holidays. Hours vary. 
Santa’s Wonderland grounds, 188898 Hwy 6, College Station 
Admission: Tickets range depending on date. Onsite adult admission is $54.95; children $49.95. Discounted tickets in advance online. Some activities are excluded from general admission. 
Santa’s Wonderland, located in College Station, Texas, features a multitude of festive, family-friendly holiday attractions spread across acres of wonderland. Activities include Santa's Hayride Tour, Meet Texas Santa (who will be clad in cowboy boots and hat), Snow Tubing, Snow Playground, Walkable Trail of Lights, Christmas Shopping, Santa’s Barnyard (including a petting zoo and pony rides), campfires, live music, Christmas movies, and more.

Polar Express Train Ride Nov. 10-Dec. 23, weekends and select dates
Galveston Railroad Museum, 123 25th St. 
Admission: Adult tickets start at $39; child tickets (3-12) start at $34. 
Set to the soundtrack of the motion picture, The Polar Express is theatrically recreated to immerse passengers in the sights and sounds of the classic children’s tale while they travel for a magical one-hour trip to meet Santa. Meet many of the characters from the film. Come dressed in PJs and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate served by singing chefs. The train ride consists of six separate cars pulled by vintage locomotives from the Galveston Railroad Museum’s collection.

Space Center Houston’s Galaxy Lights    Nov. 11-Jan. 7, 6-10 p.m.; closed Nov. 13-16, Nov. 23, Dec. 7, Dec. 24-25
Space Center Houston, 1601 E NASA Parkway
Admission: $19.95-27.95; kids 3 and younger are free
Galaxy Lights, presented by Reliant, is a space-themed holiday light show. Light displays give a nod to Houston and our city’s role in the history of space exploration. Enjoy festive treats and cozy bonfires, including make-your-own s’mores, and hot cocoa.  

Sugar Land Holiday Lights
Nov. 17-Jan. 1; Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday and holidays, 6-10 p.m. 
Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Dr., Sugar Land 
Admission: Varies by event date. No ticket needed for kids 3 and younger. 
The 10th annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights presented by Houston Methodist features 3.5 million lights, Santa Claus (until Dec. 23), a dazzling 40 ft. lit-up tree, light shows, numerous themed displays, plus holiday vendors offering gifts to browse and great food. 

Holiday in the Gardens Nov. 18-Jan. 6
Moody Gardens, Galveston, One Hope Blvd. 
Admission: Ice Land: Starts at $29 for adults; $24 for kids/seniors; Festival of Lights: Starts at $25 for adults, $21 for kids/senior. Holiday Pass and other packages available. 
Moody Gardens transforms into Holiday in the Gardens, offering festive, family-friendly attractions include Ice Land, Festival of Lights – a mile-long walking trail decked out with two million lights and filled with sound-enhanced, lighted, and animated displays themed to holiday music – an outdoor ice rink, an Arctic Slide, train rides, holiday 3D and 4D films, and more. 

Dickens on The Strand   Dec. 1-3 
The Strand, Galveston
Admission: Adults: $20 in advance; youth: $15 in advance. Separate tickets for special events.
Travel back in time during the 50th Annual Dickens on The Strand, a holiday street festival that turns the Strand into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. The festival includes costumed characters, street performers and vendors, parades, holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts and more. Attendees are encouraged to dress in period costumes.

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