Home»All»Christmas Activities, Festivals, Shows, Lights & Family Fun… Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, During the Holidays 2017!

Christmas Activities, Festivals, Shows, Lights & Family Fun… Things to Do in Houston, with Kids, During the Holidays 2017!

See the 2019 Holiday post HERE!

Happy Holidays, Houston!  This list of holiday festivals, lights and shows is sponsored by Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Here’s what’s happening November 1, 2017  through January 2, 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!)

If you want this list emailed to you each week, sign up for the free newsletter HERE.

See the 2019 Holiday post HERE!

Quick Links:

Full list of things to do in Houston, with kids, November 1 – January 2
Discounts to Holiday Shows in Houston, 2017!
Free Photos with Santa
Things to do around Discovery Green, with kids, for the holidays
Trains Over Texas at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Stories by the Trains at Second Baptist (Free)
Hello, Trees! A Walking Serenade at Discovery Green
Giant Gingerbread House at Hilton Americas Houston!
Magical Winter Lights in La Marque
Nutcracker for Under $25
Houston Zoo Lights – Beat the Crowds!
Good Places to Take Family Photos in Houston

Holiday Lights:

Go HERE for the best neighborhoods and destinations! (We’ll update for 2017 when we get it together)

Zoo Lights – Dates TBD for 2017 – Houston Zoo (See our review HERE!)

Magical Winter Lights – November 10, 2017 – January 2, 2018 – Gulf Greyhound Park (See our review HERE!)

Festival of Lights – November 11, 2017  – January 7, 2018 – Moody Gardens

Lights in the Heights – December 9, 2017 – Woodland Heights
Tour the beautiful, lit up, neighborhood!

Dickinson Festival of Lights – through December 23, 2017 – Dickenson


As we find discounts, we’ll post them.  Also, not all shows are for little kids… Click the links and decide for yourself!

A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas – November 17 – December 23, 2017 – Alley Theatre

A Charlie Brown Christmas – November 21-December 21, 2017 – Main Street Theater at MATCH

Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular – November 24–25, 2017 – The Grand Galveston

A Scheherazade Thanksgiving – November 24-26, 2017 – Jones Hall

Houston Grand Opera: The House without a Christmas Tree – November 30-December 17, 2017 – HGO Resilience Theater (at George R Brown) {Wortham Theater was damaged by Harvey and will not reopen until next year.}  See our post HERE!

Panto Cinderella – November 29 – December 31, 2017 – Stages Repertory Theatre

Very Merry Pops – December 1-3, 2017 – Jones Hall

A Christmas Carol – December 1–2, 2017 – The Grand Galveston

Houston Symphony: A Grinch Christmas – December 2, 2017 – Jones Hall

The Nutcracker – December 10-January 6, 2018 – Smart Financial Centre (December 10-23, 2017), The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (December 30, 2017-January 6, 2018) {Wortham Theater was damaged by Harvey and will not reopen until next year.}

Sleeping Beauty And Her Winter Knight – December 12-24 – Theater Under the Stars

The Texas Tenors: Deep in the Heart of Christmas – December 15, 2017 – The Grand Galveston

Handel’s Messiah – December 15-17, 2017 – Jones Hall

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – December 21, 2017 – Toyota Center

SHEN YUN – December 22-27, 2017 – Jones Hall

Christmas Under the Big Top – December 15-19, 2017 – Second Baptist Woodway Campus

Festivals/Family Fun:

Texas Renaissance Festival – Weekends, through November 26, 2017 – 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 9-12, 2017 – 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 – Starting November 10, 2017 – Houston Museum of Natural Science
Create holiday memories by travelling across Texas by model railroad in this scratch built “O” scale model.

Santa’s Wonderland – November 10, 2017-January 7, 2018 – 18898 Hwy 6 South, College Station, 77845 
Biggest Christmas attraction in the state of Texas!  Several ticket options are available.

Home for the Holidays – November 11-December 23 , 2017– Old Town Spring – 403 Main St, Spring, TX 77373
The local shops come alive and visitors encountered strolling performers and festive exhibits!

Polar Express Train Ride – November 11-December 27, 2017 – 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 11, 2017  – January 7, 2018 – 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.

Ice Land Ice Sculptures – November 11, 2017 – January 7, 2018 – Moody Gardens – 1 Hope Boulevard Galveston, Texas 77554
A new rain forest theme… all carved out of more than 2 million pounds of ice!

Lighting of the Doves – November 18, 2017 – 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!

Via Colori Festival November 18 & 19, 2017 – 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 18, 2017 – January 14, 2018 – 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!

 ICE at Discovery Green – November 18, 2017 – January 21, 2018 – 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.

Turkey Trot – November 23, 2017 – 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. Use Code: 17BIGKID to save $5.

HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade – November 23, 2017 – Downtown Houston – Starts at Smith at Lamar
Thanksgiving Day Parade in Downtown Houston.  Arrive early for parking!

Dickinson Festival of Lights – November 25, 2017 – December 23, 2017 – Dickenson – Paul Hopkins Park
See the lights and Santa!  Free Parking and shuttle service is provided on busy nights at Dickinson Plaza Shopping Center.

Skate with Santa – November 25, December 2, 9, 16, 23, 2017 – ICE at Discovery Green – 1500 McKinney, Houston, Texas 77010  
The man in the jolly red suit is on hand to skate with kids

Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting – 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.”

Mayor’s Holiday Celebration – December 1, 2017 – City Hall – 901 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas 77002
Tree lighting, music, Santa and family fun in Downtown Houston!

Dickens on the Strand – December 1-3, 2017 – 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 – December 1-23, 2017 – 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 2, 2017 – 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.

Santa to Land at the Lone Star Flight Museum – December 2, 9 and 16, 2017 – Ellington Field – 11551 Aerospace Ave, Houston, TX 77034
Santa’s got a new sleigh! Houston-area families are invited to watch Santa as he arrives in a Stearman PT-17 and taxis into the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Airport. Santa arrives in style on December 2, December 9 and December 16. Photo opportunities with Santa and the PT-17 are available and will be taken inside the museum’s Waltrip Hangar. A general admission ticket is required and children age three and under are free.

Candlelight Tour December 5-16, 2017 – 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.

Stories at the Trains – December 6, 13, 20, 2017 – Second Baptist at Woodway – 6400 Woodway Drive, E Building, Houston, Texas 77057
Listen to the Christmas stories by the giant model train layout!  It is open to everyone!

Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival – December 8-10, 2017 – Tomball Train Depot – 201 S Elm St, Tomball, TX, 77375
Great family festival just outside Houston.

Trees & Stars Winter Celebration – December 9, 2017 – Houston Arboretum – 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77024
Enjoy festive food, Saint Arnold beer, Katz Coffee, and a hot chocolate bar inside. Outside, hike through the winter woods and look through telescopes to see the moon and stars.
Wear walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.  Ages 5 and older.  Registration required.

Breakfast with Santa – December 9, 2017 – 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 9, 2017 – 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 9, 2017 – 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 9, 2017 – 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

Teddy Bear Check Up & Breakfast with Santa – December 9, 2017 – Health Museum – 1515 Hermann Dr. Houston, Texas 77004
Bring your children and their favorite teddy bear for an annual check-up at The Health Museum. Kids get hands-on experience checking their Teddy’s health while learning proper oral hygiene, how to listen to the heart with a stethoscope, keeping Teddy fit with stretches and moderate exercise and administering a band-aid for the occasional boo-boo. Enjoy a visit from Santa Claus who will be onsite for photos plus holiday and science themed activities and crafts.  Teddy Bear Check-up is included in regular admission price. Breakfast and photos with Santa are free to members.

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend – December 15-30, 2017 – Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens – 6003 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77265

Discover an immersive Christmas experience at beautiful Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. A dazzling bridge brings visitors into a winter wonderland featuring thousands of lights and activities for all ages throughout the 14-acre estate.

Fun, holiday-themed tours of Ima Hogg’s historic mansion crafted by Todd Waite feature live actors, theatrical effects, and Christmas decorations.

Brunch with Santa – December 16, 2017 – Phoenicia Foods Downtown – 1001 Austin St, Houston, TX 77010
The Houston Fire Department will have a truck on site for Operation Stocking Stuffer Toy Drive, Santa & Ms. Claus will be visiting with families and taking photos with the lil’ ones, there will be a Yule-tide brunch specials including Gingerbread waffles, Children’s Holiday Cookie decorating and more!

Rockin’ New Year’s Noon Bash – December 31, 2017 – 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, 2017 – 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.

Sharkey’s New Year’s Eve Celebration – December 31, 2017 – Downtown Aquarium – 410 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002
Balloon Drop, Buffet and all day adventure pass.  11:00-2:00pm & 3:30-6:30pm

New Year’s Eve Family Celebration – December 31, 2017 – Kemah Boardwalk – 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX 77565
Live music and fireworks at 10:00pm.

New Year’s at Splashway Campground – December 31, 2017 – Splashway Sheridan – 5211 Main St, Sheridan, TX 77475
This New Year’s Eve, bring the family to Splashway and escape the hustle and bustle of your daily lives. Take some time before school and work start again to unwind and relax, as a family. We’ve got outdoor activities, comfortable lodging options, and plenty of amenities for the whole family. On New Year’s Eve, we’ll be hosting an exclusive celebration for our guests, with music, fireworks*, and a grand countdown!

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  1. shoshana
    December 2, 2017 at 6:29 pm — Reply

    your link to trains over texas is dead

  2. ellen
    December 21, 2017 at 6:34 pm — Reply

    Where is the picture with the lights with I (heart) Houston, pictured above, located?

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