While there’s dozens of events and happenings around Houston every week, there’s nothing quite like our holiday activities! It’s finally cold enough to bundle up in a coat, scarf, and a pair of boots and wander around the lighting displays, shopping destinations, and activities that our city so lovingly cultivates for us. Peruse the events below and jot down a few to try in every nook and cranny of Greater Houston this holiday season…


  • Zoo Lights: Nov 23, 2019 – Jan 12, 2020
    Experience one of Houston’s most beloved holiday traditions, Zoo Lights! Savor hot chocolate while roaming over fifteen miles of earth-friendly LED lights at the second most visited zoo in the country, the Houston Zoo.
  • Santa’s Wonderland in College Station: Nov 8 – Dec 30th, 2019
    Hayrides, carriage rides, snow tubing, shopping, Santa, snow and more abound at Santa’s Wonderland out in College Station! Pack up the family and grab your friends to share holiday memories sure to last a lifetime.
  • River Oaks Christmas Lights: Nov 22 – Dec 25, 2019
    River Oaks gets into the Christmas spirit each year with their home lights displays from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Stroll down charming southern streets as you’re transfixed by massive mansions smothered in thousands of lights with holiday themed yards to match!
  • Holiday in the Gardens: Nov 16, 2019 – Jan 12, 2020
    More than one million lights and lighted scenes weave you through Moody Gardens this holiday season! This along with their outdoor skating rink, concession stands, holiday buffets, and live entertainment makes Moody Gardens a ‘must-do’ on your holiday list.
  • 100th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting: Nov 30, 2019
    Venture down to Hermann Square at City Hall from 6-8 p.m. for a can’t miss Houston holiday tradition! Gaze in wonder at the Holiday Tree aglow with thousands of LED lights, glittering ornaments, and a mesmerizing star topper. Stay for the music, Santa, fireworks and tons of family fun.
  • 32nd Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting: Nov 28, 2019
    Kicking off the holiday season on a newly transformed Post Oak Blvd., join over 100k Houstonians for FREE live entertainment, mouthwatering concession stands, a visit from jolly Saint Nick, a fireworks extravaganza, and a dazzling new light show.
  • Sugar Land Holiday Lights: Nov 22 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
    2.5 million lights await you in Sugar Land this holiday season at the 6th annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights. Peruse the vendors for some last minute holiday shopping, nosh on some yummy holiday treats, and meet Santa all in one place!

Photo Courtesy of the Nutcracker Market


  • Nutcracker Market: Nov 14 – 17, 2019
    Talk about tradition! Since 1981, Houstonians have been shopping ‘til we dropped every November at the Nutcracker Market: a four-day shopping extravaganza at NRG Center! 11% of everything sold goes back to the Houston Ballet, so not only can you get all of your holiday shopping done in one (massive!) place, but you’re giving back to charity at the same time.
  • Winter Flea by Night at Discovery Green: Saturdays (Nov 16 – Dec 21, 2019)
    Enjoy the gift of joyful shopping at the weekly Winter Flea by Night presented by Green Mountain Energy®. Shop under the stars at this one-of-a-kind market nestled in the southeast end of the downtown park for everyone on your holiday list. It’s a treasure hunt of the very best kind featuring artful kitsch, vintage items, mid-century modern furniture, recycled and repurposed items and collectibles, and crafts by local artisans and designers.
  • Simon Malls (Galleria, Katy Mills Mall, Houston Premium Outlets): All Season Long
    We’re blessed with some amazing shopping opportunities here in Houston. Simon Malls has several shopping centers all over the city that are ready to welcome you this holiday season! Whether you’re in the Galleria, out in Katy, or up in Cypress there’s a Simon mall (or outlet mall!) close by.
  • Katy Old Fashioned Christmas Festival: Dec 7, 2019
    Historic Downtown Katy throws a heck of a shindig every year with its special Christmas market. Stroll through the booths of produce, antiques, jewelry, handmade goodies and more as you chomp on food truck delights and sing along with carolers. The best part of the festival? There’s 50,000 lbs of snow trucked in. Can you say epic snow ball fight?!
  • Home for the Holidays Gift Market: Nov 22 – 24, 2019
    There always seems to be that one person on your holiday gift list that you’re struggling to buy for, isn’t there? Katy’s Home for the Holidays Gift Market is here to help! Chock full of unique and fun gifts, this Market spans two days with over 175 vendors to scope out.
  • Merry and Bright Holiday Market : Dec 6-8, 2019
    Head on down for an incredible holiday shopping experience featuring the best vendors from Greater Houston as well as artisans and makers from many other states! Each vendor will feature their choice of true vintage goods, antiques, original art, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings, consumable yummies, seasonal plantings and so much more!


  • 70th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade: Nov 28, 2019
    Join in on the fun downtown for this 70-year-old holiday tradition which showcases Houston’s arts and cultural communities while entertaining thousands of parade-goers with colorful high- flying balloons, artistic floats, marching bands, dancers, costumed characters and more!
  • Texas Renaissance Festival: Now – Dec 1, 2019
    Some say that Ren Faire is halfway over, but the rest of us say that it’s just getting warmed up! Gobble down a few turkey legs and a bottle of mead or two as you prance through acres upon acres of food, vendors, and entertainment. If you’re feeling particularly festive, make sure to wear a costume and camp out on the grounds right outside of the festival!
  • The Nutcracker Ballet: Nov 29 – Dec 29, 2019
    What is it about The Nutcracker ballet that keeps us coming back year after year? Is it the music? The dancing? The costumes? The drama? I daresay it’s all of these things, and the Houston Ballet executes their rendition of The Nutcracker yearly with precision and beauty. Reserve your tickets now because they sell out quickly!
  • Dickens on the Strand in Galveston: Dec 6 – 8, 2019
    “Well, I say my good man, whatever are you doing avoiding Dickens on the Strand?!” Grab your favorite partner in crime and head on down to Galveston for a Victorian good time. Pop a few roasted chestnuts in your mouth while you stroll through old world London in the 1800’s, complete with costumes and entertainment!
  • 2019 Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour: Dec 6 – 7, 2019
    Whereas you wander around River Oaks looking at lights, you meander through actual houses in the Heights! Purchase your tickets now and tour five grand homes in the Heights this holiday season that are decorated from stem to stern with a “These are a few of my favorite things…” holiday theme.

With this many lights, shopping, and activities in Houston this holiday season, there’s sure to be something on this list for everyone! For additional articles, offers, and ideas for your time in Houston, visit travel.hilton.com/houston.

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