Christmas Festivals, Shows, Lights & Family Fun… Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, During the Holidays 2018!
As events pop up, we’ll add them to the list… and since this is being posted so early, be sure to click the links and check before you head out to each venue. (And for Fall Festivals, go HERE!)
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Full list of things to do in Houston, with kids, November 2 – January 7
This is the time to visit Discovery Green… ICE, Art & Giant Gingerbread!
Magical Winter Lights in La Marque… Now through January 6, 2019!
Houston Zoo Lights 2018: Beat the Crowds & Save Money at Houston’s Popular Holiday Event!
Sugar Land Holiday Lights… Now through January 1, 2019!
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend… Now Through January 5, 2019!
Trains Over Texas at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Schlitterbahn Galveston Indoor Waterpark… Play All Day without the Summertime Crowds!
Good Places to Take Family Photos in Houston
Discount Tickets to Houston Holiday Shows for 2018!
Festival of Lights – November 17, 2018 – January 6, 2019 – Moody Gardens (Each Thursday, November 22 – January 3, Bring a non-perishable food item and receive a special two-for-one admission discount to the Festival of Lights.)
Lights in the Heights – December 8, 2018 – Woodland Heights
Discount Tickets to Houston Holiday Shows for 2018 – We’ll update this link as we find more discounted shows!
Children’s Festival: Sesame Street Live! C is for Celebration – November 10 & 11, 2018 – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – November 11 – December 21, 2018 – Main Street Theater at MATCH
The Nutcracker – November 23 – December 29, 2018 – Wortham Theater
A Mozart & Brahms Thanksgiving – November 24-25, 2018 – Jones Hall
A Christmas Carol – November 30 & December 1, 2018 – The Grand Galveston
Houston’s Urban Nutcracker – December 1 & 2, 2018 – Hobby Center
Big Band Holidays – Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis – December 2, 2018 – The Grand Galveston
Lucinda y las Flores de la Noche Buena – December 2 & 8, 2018 – Lambert Hall
Very Merry Pops – December 7 & 8, 2018 – Jones Hall
A Polar Express Christmas – December 8, 2018 – Jones Hall
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – December 11-23, 2018 – Theater Under the Stars
Christmas Under the Big Top – December 14, 15, 16, 2018 – Second Baptist Woodway Campus
Home Alone—Film with Live Orchestra – December 14, 2018 – Jone Hall
The Nutcracker Tea – December 15, 2018 – The Grand Galveston
Nutcracker – December 15 & 16, 2018 – The Grand Galveston
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – December 21, 2018 – Toyota Center
A Charlie Brown Christmas – December 23, 2018 – The Grand Galveston
SHEN YUN – December 26, 2018 – January 16, 2019 – Jones Hall
Texas Renaissance Festival – Weekends, through November 25, 2018 – Todd Mission, Texas
Ticket deals can usually be found on coupon websites. Kids are free on Sundays.
The world’s largest Renaissance Festival has themes that change each weekend.
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market – November 8-11, 2018 – NRG Center – N Stadium Dr, Houston, TX 77054
This is not really a kid event… but it’s a fun shopping/people watching event for moms or dads. Kids can come, but no strollers are allowed!
Trains Over Texas – TBD – Houston Museum of Natural Science
Create holiday memories by travelling across Texas by model railroad in this scratch built “O” scale model.
Memorial City Lights Celebration – November 10, 2018 – The Square at Memorial City (located on Memorial City Mall’s west side between The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s Little Italy) – 303 Memorial City Way, Houston, TX 77024
A day full of entertainment and live performances culminates as Santa emerges from the Xfinity Fireplace to magically illuminate 3.5 million lights across all 265-acres of Memorial City as snow falls inside the Mall.
Inner City Nutcracker – November 14, 2018 – Miller Outdoor Theatre – 6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030
In this production, children from the community audition and then train to appear alongside elite youth and professional dancers in the full-length production of the Nutcracker ballet.
ICE at Discovery Green – November 16, 2018, to February 28, 2019 – Discovery Green – 1500 McKinney, Houston, Texas 77010
All ages are invited to skate at Discovery Green. There is a small toddler rink for the littlest ones to practice.
Santa is inviting kids to a summer inspired holiday party – Holiday Splash at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island. During the park’s Holiday Splash (weekends and select dates from November 17 through December 30th) Santa will be on hand to surf with kids on the Boogie Bahn. Because, as all Gulf Coasters know, Santa is a guy who can really boogie on that wave! Kids of all ages can also enjoy a summer replay on all the rides at Schlitterbahn’s indoor waterpark, home of the largest indoor river in the state
Polar Express Train Ride – November 17-December 27, 2018 – 789 Park Road 70, Palestine, Texas 75801
Ride on the Polar Express! Find the best pricing in November and early December… and book all tickets before they sell out!
Festival of Lights – November 17, 2018 – January 6, 2019 – Moody Gardens – 1 Hope Boulevard Galveston, Texas 77554
Find more than 1 million lights, live entertainment, ice skating, pictures with Santa and the Arctic Slide.
Lighting of the Doves – November 17, 2018 – Town Green Park at The Woodlands Waterway – 2099 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas
This festival has snow, sledding, shopping, entertainment, fireworks… and Santa arriving on the water! See the Doves light up along The Woodlands Waterway!
Holiday Market – November 17, 2018 – January 6, 2019 – Hermann Park (by Kinder Station) – 1700 Hermann Drive, Houston, Texas
The Holiday Market at Hermann Park is a free curated outdoor market featuring local makers, artisan goods and artisan foods managed by Sawyer Flea and co-sponsored by Hermann Park Conservancy. The market is located in Lake Plaza between the Houston Zoo and Kinder Train Station. The Holiday Market will be open daily November 17th – January 6th from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. It will also be open from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 8th. It will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Ride the Holiday Train – November 17, 2018 – January 6, 2019 – Hermann Park Kinder Station – 1700 Hermann Drive, Houston, Texas
Holiday train rides in Hermann Park will run through January 6, 2019. The train is decorated in festive garlands and, after dark, it glows with colorful lights. The holiday train hours vary so check the website for the extended hours each week. Pinewood Cafe is open during the holiday train hours giving riders a chance to get a snack or a warm drink before or after the train ride.
Via Colori Festival – November 17 & 18, 2018 – Streets Surrounding City Hall – 900 Smith St, Houston, TX 77002
200 artists paint the streets surrounding City Hall! Watch the artists work, enjoy music, activities and food! Via Colori is a fundraiser for The Center for Hearing and Speech.
Zoo Lights – November 17, 2018 – January 13, 2019 – Houston Zoo – 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77030
Tour the Zoo after dark! The Zoo closes at 5:00pm and reopens at 6:00pm for this event. Check their website for “value” nights and “prime” nights. “Value” nights are less busy and cheaper!
Turkey Trot – November 22, 2018 – Galleria – 4925 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77056
The largest Thanksgiving Race in Houston and it takes place in the Galleria area. The event benefits children and seniors Neighborhood Centers serves every year. There’s opportunity to participate as a walker, runner and also volunteer.
HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade – November 22, 2018 – Downtown Houston
Thanksgiving Day Parade in Downtown Houston. Arrive early for parking!
Christmas in the Country – November 23, 2018 – December 30, 2018 – Dewberry Farm – Morrison Road and, FM 362, Brookshire, TX 77423
Dewberry Farm will be transformed into a whimsical Christmas Village, with twinkling lights, garland, ribbons and tinsel. Hop a wagon for a merry ride across the prairie to experience the magic of over one million lights, fantasy displays and holiday music! Enjoy 40+ attractions … including the Dewville Express Train, all included in the price of admission.
Lights, Snow & Ugly Sweaters – through January 6, 2019 – Children’s Museum of Houston – 1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004
Special Holiday Activities:
Chase the Museum’s ginormous new lights!
Dodge your opponents in the ultimate plush snow fight, Dec. 22 to Jan. 6.
Expect 100-percent chance of snow during REAL Snow Days, Dec. 22 to 24.
Make instant snow in Science Station, now to Dec. 19 .
Cruise down the most diverse neighborhood in town in “Seasons of Sharing” exhibit!
Rock your favorite ugly sweater for $3 off admission!
Dec. 8: Grinchy Who-Bilation: Join us for a “Who-pla” of Grinch-themed activities!
Dec. 22: Frozen Over: Join Elsa, Anna and other Frozen characters for a sing-along, ornament-making, and a Frozen marathon!
Dec. 24: Cookies with Santa: Fuel up with milk and cookies and meet the man in red as he prepares to embark on his epic journey!
Dec. 31: New Year’s Noon Bash: Ring in the new year at the stroke of noon with a parade, ball drop, and New Year’s dance party!
Christmas Trains – Starting November 25, 2018 – Multiple Locations
The trains will NOT be at Woodway this year due to construction. Instead they will be at the South, West, North, Cypress AND 1463 campuses!
South – Beginning November 25, 2018
West, North, Cypress & 1463 – Beginning December 2, 2018
Storytimes: Cypress: December 3, 12, 20, 2018, 1463: December 5, 12, 19, 2018
Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting – TBD – Post Oak Boulevard – Uptown Park
From the website: “Due to the construction of Post Oak Boulevard, the Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting event, annually held on Thanksgiving evening, is being postponed until 2019.”
Holiday Movies on the Green – Thursdays, November 29-December 27, 2018 – Discovery Green – 1500 McKinney, Houston, Texas 77010
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, Elf, A Nightmare Before Christmas and Polar Express.
Dickens on the Strand – November 30 – December 2, 2018 – Galveston – Strand National Historic Landmark District
Victorian holiday festival! Six stages, strolling carolers, musicians, bagpipers, jugglers and even more entertainers. Costumed vendors peddle their wares from street stalls and rolling carts laden with holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired gifts.
Christmas Train – November 30 – December 23, 2018 – 1407 Victory Lane, Alvin, Texas 775711
Old-fashioned train ride through our winter wonderland of lights and religious scenery. Over 300,000 lights sparkle along the 3/4 mile track.
An Old Fashioned Christmas – December 1, 2018 – Jesse H. Jones Nature Center – 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338
Experience traditions of earlier times as the homestead comes to life with 19th century holiday customs. Enjoy music, a holiday craft, tree lighting, wassail and cookies, and an early visit from Saint Nicholas. Reservations required.
Holiday Gingerbread Decorating Class – December 1, 8, 15, 2018 – Phoenicia – 1001 Austin St, Houston, TX 77010
Children ages 2 to 11 are invited to decorate gingerbread houses and enjoy hot cocoa, holiday music and other seasonal activities at Phoenicia Specialty Foods. Tickets are $55; space is limited and registration is required
Santa Lands at Lone Star Flight Museum – December 1, 8, 15, 22, 2018 – Lone Star Flight Museum – 11551 Aerospace Ave., Houston, TX 77034
We’ve got our flight plan and we are checking it twice! Come watch Santa arrive on our ramp and taxi into the museum December 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd at 11:00 a.m. Gather the whole family and take your photo with Santa and our decorated PT-17 Stearman! Free with museum admission; children 3 and under always free.
Candlelight Tour – TBD for 2018 – Sam Houston Park – 1000 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002
This Houston holiday tradition will take you and your loved ones back in time, to an open-hearted world filled with families gathering in cozy homes to count their blessings over a warm hearth.
Holiday Festival – December 1 & 2, 2018 – Levy Park – 3801 Eastside St, Houston, TX 77098M
Music, a market, a family photo booth and even an ugly sweater contest for dogs. The free two-day festival is from noon – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with canine friends welcome.
Teddy Bear Check Up – Decmeber 8, 2018 – Health Museum – 1515 Hermann Dr, Houston, TX 77004
“A Beary Healthy Holiday” is a fun family event held during the Holiday Season. Families will enjoy a delicious breakfast, music, a visit and photo opportunity with Santa Claus, a Holiday performance , face painting and much more.
Breakfast with Santa – December 8, 2018 – Hermann Park – 1700 Hermann Drive, Houston, Texas
Celebrate the holiday season with your family with a fun day including breakfast, ride on the Hermann Park Railroad, pedal boat ride, and pictures with Santa!
Holiday Party at Kinder Station – December 8, 2018 – Hermann Park Train Station – 1700 Hermann Drive, Houston, Texas
Come and enjoy free crafts and face painting. Park members also enjoy free train rides.
Gingerbread Build Off – December 8, 2018 – Hermann Square by City Hall – 900 Smith St, Houston, TX 77002
Architecture Center Houston will host the Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square. Competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100% edible materials.
Homestead Holiday – December 8, 2018 – Jesse H. Jones Nature Center – 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338
Enjoy homemade cookies and wassail as the homestead comes to life with old-fashioned Christmas traditions, including jolly old Saint Nicholas
Breakfast with Santa – December 8, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 2018 – Downtown Aquarium – 410 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002
Santa is stopping by the Aquarium this holiday season! Dine with him and our mascot, Sharkey, and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, exhibit discounts and more! (Reservations Required)
Holiday Open House – December 11, 2018 – Adventure Kids Playcare Memorial – 10403 Katy Fwy #220, Houston, TX 77024
Adventure Kids Playcare Memorial City invites guests to a fun-filled evening for light bites and refreshments while guests participate in holiday themed games, face painting, arts and crafts and more. Santa Claus will be making an appearance to greet and take pictures with the children
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend – December 14, 2018 – January 5, 2019 – Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens – 6003 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77265
Santa and his reindeer will return for 17 dazzling nights in December and January for the 4th annual Christmas Village at Bayou Bend. From December 14 through January 5, the 14-acre estate transforms into a winter wonderland and spreads holiday cheer with sparkling lights, carolers, a hand-crafted model train and festive activities for all ages – including a cotton snowball toss and reindeer games! Visitors can also enjoy holiday-themed tours of the Ima Hogg’s historic mansion, featuring live actors, theatrical effects and Christmas decorations.
Fun2Go Misters Party Bus Christmas Lights Tour – December 22, 2018 – Starts at Grand Luxe Cafe – 5000 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77056
Your kids will surely boast in “oohs and aahs” as we drive by the gorgeous homes in River Oaks in the comfort of our PAJAMAS. Not to mention the take home gift. Each child will be taking home a goody bag filled with ingredients to create your own Reindeer feed to set out in your yard for Santa’s arrival. RSVP Required.
Critters’ Christmas – December 22, 2018 – Jesse H. Jones Nature Center – 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338
Learn how to make decorative edible treats for the birds and other wildlife that visit your yard this time of year.
Rockin’ New Year’s Noon Bash – December 31, 2018 – Children’s Museum of Houston – 1500 Binz, Houston, Texas 77004
The end-of-year bash rings in the New Year at the stroke of noon with a parade and shimmering ball drop. 9:00am-3:00pm
High Noon Countdown – December 31, 2018 – The Woodlands Children’s Museum – 4775 W Panther Creek Dr #280, The Woodlands, TX 77381
Celebrate making New Year hats and creative art projects. 10:00am-12:00pm.