Special Holiday Events In & Around Houston for 2017

From festive train rides to winter wonderlands to tamale festivals and new for 2017, a holiday sing-off…  Houston has something for everyone this holiday season, and our guide to holiday events in and around Houston will ensure a very merry season for all. And one of our absolute favorite places to get in the holiday spirit is with our friends and sponsors over at Rice Village District!  From shopping, pampering, dining, and celebrating, Rice Village will make this season even more merry than the last. {And don’t forget… Valet parking is offered Thursday thru Sunday, and there is free convenient garage parking for two hours to make shopping a breeze too.}

Since 1938, Rice Village has been one of the most beloved retail and mixed-use districts in the city of Houston.  This year they are bringing back an old favorite with a new twist — a Christmas tree lighting ceremony “Pitch Perfect” style with a holiday sing-off hosted by Dancing with the Stars professional and Emmy-nominated choreographer Tony Dovolani.  We’ve got the full scoop below in the guide, but be sure and mark your calendars to spend November 29th at Rice Village District to kick off the 2017 holiday season in Houston!

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on all of our social media outlets {FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest} andsubscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest Houston happenings as well!

Holiday Events at the Children’s Museum of Houston {Ongoing} 
From Thanksgiving with Santa, to Sleeping Beauty, to a Rocking New Year’s Noon… The Children’s Museum has your family covered this season!

Winter Wonderland in the Woodlands {Ongoing} 
Check out The Woodlands and their 2-acre Winter Wonderland fantastically decorated with huge displays, bright lights, musical angels, and more. Plus, no trip to The Woodlands would be complete without filling your shopping bags – check out the huge Woodlands Mall, but definitely save some time for the newer Market Street for every store, boutique, and eatery you can imagine.

Old Town Spring’s Home For The Holidays {November 11th – December 3rd} 
Don’t miss the 37th annual Texas hometown holiday celebration in Old Town Spring, complete with beautiful light displays, gorgeously decorated winding paths, shopping, and tons of family-friendly activities. Santa’s charming workshop is typically open from 11am – 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Polar Express Train Ride {November 11th – December 27th | Departure times vary}
All aboard for the Polar Express in Palestine! Throw on your favorite Christmas PJ’s and experience a magical journey to the North Pole. After being served cocoa and yummy treats, just 30 minutes later your children will be greeted by Santa and all his elves, with a special gift from the jolly man himself.

Frostival at Discovery Green {November 18th | 6 – 10pm} 
Winter arrives at Discovery Green for this FREE and fun-filled night celebrating the opening of The ICE at Discovery Green powered by Green Mountain Energy Company as well as the debut of the winter art installation, Hello Trees.  Enjoy a live musical performance by the Peterson Brothers, live ICE battles with Reverend Butter, interactive ice sculptures, tunes from DJ Caps, and more!

The ICE at Discovery Green {Opens November 18th} 
The ICE at Discovery Green is officially the Southwest’s largest outdoor skating rink. Special events happen all season long at the ICE in addition to the regular skate times, so make sure to check the website for all the details. 

Fall & Winter Discovery Camps {November 20th – 22nd; December 26th – 29th; January 2nd – 5th} 
Looking for a way to fill the hours during the holiday breaks? Girls and boys are invited to get smart and get fit over the holidays with The Health Museum of Houston. Campers will play medical detectives, learn about strong bones, how the human skeleton works, and even take part in a mini medical school! 

The Rice Village Sing-Off & Christmas Tree Lighting {November 29th | 6 8pm}
Rice Village District is bringing back their historic Christmas tree lighting … but with a modern twist on the holiday event by pairing it with a star-studded a cappella competition inspired by the popular movie franchise Pitch Perfect.  Emcee of the competition will be famed Dancing with the Stars professional and Emmy-nominated choreographer Tony Dovolani. Judging the competition is Houston’s own Freddy Cruz of 104.1 KRBE, Chloe Dao of Project Runway, and Houston Chronicle Music Critic Joey Guerra.  This is a FREE event for the family, so be sure to stick around for the tree lighting to follow!

Dickens on The Strand {December 1st – 3rd} 
The magic of Galveston’s Victorian festival returns yet again! Be transported back in time with elegant costumes, street peddlers, parades, carolers, and plenty of holiday eats and drinks. Bonus :: If you dress up in a Victorian-era costume, your entrance fee is 50% off!

Kemah Boardwalk’s Jingle on the Boardwalk  {December 1st – 24th} 
From snow patches and Santa’s Workshop to holiday movies and live music, there’s something for everyone at this holiday celebration. On December 9th, don’t miss the annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade where hundreds of decorated boats cruise down the bay. They also have a huge New Year’s Eve celebration with family fun and fireworks too!

Alvin’s Christmas Train {December 1st – 23rd | Departure times vary} 
Hosted by Living Stones Church and Victory Camp, the holidays come alive on this 3/4 mile track accented by over 300,000 lights and Christmas displays, gingerbread houses, and more. The train conductor does recommend purchasing tickets online in advance, but walk up tickets are also available on a first come, first serve basis.

Brenham’s Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade {December 1st & 2nd}
Each year Brenham hosts their fabulous Christmas stroll where you can shop among the beautifully decorated downtown shops, enjoy wonderful eats, and take in a breathtaking lit parade. A completely FREE event that is sure to put a smile on your face as you enjoy the small-town charm of this nearby town. Parade starts at 6pm on Saturday, December 2nd.

Snowfest Festival  {December 1st | 5:30 – 9pm}
Head to the southwest and check out the beloved Snowfest tradition in Missouri City. The annual tree lighting, fireworks, photo with Santa, moonwalks, and of course, the epic 3 lane snow hill are all part of this fun, family-friendly event. The city’s police officers will also be on site to collect new, unwrapped toys for their Blue Santa Toy Drive. 

Pearland’s Hometown Christmas Festival {December 1st –2nd | Fri, 7 – 10pm; Sat, 10am – 5pm} 
One of it’s biggest bashes of the year, the City of Pearland is once again hosting their Hometown Christmas Festival. Expect a gorgeous lighting of their town Christmas tree, Winter Wonderland, horse and carriage ride, Holiday Gift Market, local performances, plus cookies with Santa too.

Tamale Festival {December 2nd | Noon – 10pm}
If you aren’t a native Houstonian, you might be surprised to discover that tamales are a BIG deal around the holidays here. This fun and festive event celebrates the diversity of Houston, and of course, all things TAMALE. Come hungry and ready to dance the afternoon away, while enjoying the various vendor booths and local offerings.

Katy’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival {December 2nd | 10am – 5pm} 
This year’s festival will feature a beer garden, food trucks, vendors, a Santa visit from Noon – 4pm, and a Snow Park from 11am – 5pm with 50,000 pounds of snow for the kiddos!

Christmas in the Park {December 2nd – 23rd} 
Once again, the George Ranch Historical Park is taking us back for a peek into how the first settlers in Texas celebrated Christmas.  Experience a festive hayride, try wassail and gingerbread, and stay for a special story time with Santa.  Special holiday activity classes will be held every Saturday through the month of December and on December 20th – 23rd. 

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend {December 15th – January 6th} 
Our friends at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston present a spectacular Christmas tradition as they deck the 14 acre halls of Bayou Bend. Expect over-the-top decorations, thousands of lovely lights, and fun performances. Stay tuned for details and ticket information!


Looking for more holiday fun? Don’t miss The ULTIMATE Guide to Holiday Events in Houston below!


Please Note :: While we make every effort to crosscheck current links and event details on our guides, we always encourage you to do the same before making final plans. If details are missing or incorrect, please let us know so that we can make every attempt to correct them.  And if you know of any other holiday happenings around town, include them in the comments to keep the list going as well!

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