Mayor’s Holiday Celebration
Celebrate a holiday tradition in the heart of downtown Houston on Dec. 4 with music, Santa and fireworks. The 96th annual event features a larger-than-life tree decorated with glistening lights, ornaments and a star on top. Bring a toy donation to support the Salvation Army of the Greater Houston Area, and get a complimentary light-up Santa hat. The free festivities begin at 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m., with the tree lighting at Hermann Square City Hall.
Holiday Tree Lighting and Kwanzaa Celebration
This celebration will begin on Dec. 12, and last year the festival brought over 2,000 guests. The main event—the lighting of the tree—is conducted by council member Dwight Boykins and Santa, and is followed by a fireworks show. Live music and performances by Kwanzaa drummers, University of Houston Acabellas group and Orion the Band featuring Leroy Allen are all on the program’s agenda. The free event also showcases a boutique fashion show by Melodrama Boutique, and includes a kids’ zone with an ice skating rink, face-painting, train rides and real snow to play in.
The Heritage Society’s 53rd annual event from Dec. 12 to 13 features a tour around Houston’s historic buildings, which are decked out for the holidays. Guests will hear the history behind Houston and a few of its iconic structures while sipping hot chocolate and listening to live entertainment. This traditional holiday event also hosts an art market and children’s activities at Santa’s Workshop. Light tours begin at 5 p.m. and run through 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 p.m. on Sunday. Adult tickets are $10 while students get a $5 discount.
Festival of Lights
Through Jan. 10 you can experience a holiday spectacle of over one million lights at Moody Gardens in Galveston. Guests can gaze upon 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays to brighten the gardens. Kids activities include and an outdoor ice skating rink, train rides and pictures with Santa. Admission tickets are $10.95, and for $7 more take a ride down the new Arctic Ice Slide.
From now until Jan. 9, stroll through blinking light displays of animals synchronized to classic holiday tunes. Take a walk around the zoo and among the wild beasts with over two million lights surrounding the park. If you’re lucky, some animals may be out for you to get a late night peek at. Non-members pay $14.95 for tickets on value nights and $19.95 per ticket on prime nights.
Magical Winter Lights
Making its debut in Houston, the holiday light festival at Sam Houston Race Park features designs made from Chinese lanterns. Structures vary from iconic worldwide landmarks to historic Houston representations. Through Jan. 10, walk among breathtaking designs such as a dinosaur land and displays represented from every country. Carnival rides, food and cultural performances will be held every day for all ages to enjoy. Snow Sisters from the widely popular Disney film, Frozen, will also make an appearance on select dates from meet and greet opportunities. Don’t miss out on this new Houston holiday light experience.
Field of Lights
Wander through an art installation of 4,500 illuminated fiber optic glass spheres and stems on display by artist Bruce Munro through Feb. 21 at Discovery Green. Although his art display has made an appearance in Houston before, this year you can experience his work during the winter months when attending any free event at the park. Some shows this season include the Crique La Vie on Dec. 4 where Houston’s own circus group performs in collaboration with Los Trompos. Also on the calendar is the Rainbow on ICE event on Jan. 22 for a city-wide LGBT celebration. Make sure to include Munro’s artistic walk-through as stop on your way to these spectacular shows.