With gift-giving holidays around the corner, it’s no wonder that Houston’s favorite gal pal mecca is a destination event for the entire U.S.! That’s right, folks venture in from nearly every state to shop for presents for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and everything else in between. Friends from New York down to Florida, and Boston to L.A. flood into NRG Center in mid-November to comb vendor booths stocked to the brim with unique treasures. Scope out our tips and tricks guide below to have the best shopping experience at the Nutcracker Market this year!

Photo Courtesy of Houston Ballet's Nutcracker Market


Attend the Wells Fargo ‘Preview Party’

Anxious to be the first in line to all of the vendors? Bummed that you narrowly missed out last year on that incredible wreath or perfect pair of earrings? Then the Wells Fargo ‘Preview Party’  on Wednesday, Nov. 13, is your ticket to glory! For just $250 you’ll enjoy cocktails, a dinner buffet, live entertainment, and the opportunity to shop all 270 vendor booths. Plus, your ‘Preview Party’ ticket also affords you access to early admission on Thursday and Friday (at 8:30 am) and entry into the market all four days. This is the hottest ticket in town, so make sure to snatch yours ASAP.

Get there early

Nutcracker Market shoppers don’t play! They’re here for a good time and that hand-crafted rocking horse and will roll into the parking lot by 7 a.m. to get it. If you’re ready to load up on all the best merchandise, make sure that you’ve taken the day off on Thursday and are ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of your new best friends. Early Bird Tickets are $50 each and are good for entry all four days of the market – early entry is only on Thursday and Friday, though.

Make time to enjoy the activations

Major sponsors from all over create super fun activations for you and your besties to engage in. Photo booths, Instagram cutouts, phone charging stations, massive thrones, and more await you. Sure, you’re here to shop, but you’re also here to sleigh all day… #SantaPuns. Make sure that you take some time to snap a photo or two of yourself looking super cute – after all, the Market is a great place to see and be seen!

Grab some bubbly

The most hardcore shoppers pregame for the Market with donuts, tacos, coffee, mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and more. This is the biggest party of the holidays, after all, live it up! While tailgating isn’t officially encouraged, I’ve seen ladies roll up early together in separate cars and all park in one area with their trunks popped open then hop from car to car for all the yummies (one car had boozy drinks with all the fixins, another had a buffet of breakfast food, and so on). If early mornings aren’t your jam, there are plenty of bubbles and coffee to be had inside the Market.

Practice your patience

Last, but certainly not least, the Market is a perfect place to practice your patience. With over 115k attendees (and rising) over four days, the Market is well-stocked with items and people. Lines can get long and sometimes you’ll wait an extra minute or two, but it’s all worth it! Keep your eye on the prize and your hand on a mimosa and you’ll be just fine.


The Nutcracker Market kicks off everyone’s favorite time of year, and is your opportunity to cross off most gifts and decor on your holiday lists. Make sure you grab your tickets today either online or at your nearest Randall’s. If you’re searching for a hotel room for the Market, we’re their Official Hotel Partner this year and would love to host you! Check out our partner page and booking opportunities here. For additional articles, offers, and ideas for Houston, visit travel.hilton.com/houston.

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