Christmas in Houston: 17 Events + Festive Things to Do!

As one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the nation, it’s no surprise that celebrating Christmas in Houston means experiencing a city packed with festive events and holiday-themed things to do.

Between massive light displays, festive productions, holiday markets, and Christmas treats, there is no shortage of wonderful memories to be made. The Christmas season definitely brings the best out of Houston!

Here are the best Houston Christmas events and festive things to do in Houston in December!

downtown orb of holiday lights in houston in december

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Typical Houston Weather in December

With its location in Southeast Texas, not far from the Gulf of Mexico, it’s safe to say that December weather in Houston is typically extremely mild.

There’s no guarantee that you can get by without a coat, but then again–it’s not guaranteed that you’ll need one, either!

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Average Houston weather in December includes a high of 63° and a low of 48°.

The typical Houston December includes 6 days of rain.

houston christmas tree downtown by city hall at night

The Best Events to Celebrate Christmas in Houston

Grab breakfast with Santa.

Christmas in Houston (or anywhere else, for that matter) would not be complete without a visit from jolly Santa Claus.

While there are many opportunities to see him throughout the Houston area during the Christmas season, breakfast with Santa is a special treat to get up close and personal with him.

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It is certainly an event that children and adults can enjoy.

The Woodlands Resort and the Downtown Aquarium both allow for a magical experience with an appetizing breakfast and of course many picture opportunities.

While reservations are required, it is well worth it. 

young girl hugging santa claus

Check out the Galaxy Lights at the Space Center.

For a unique experience, head towards the Space Center of Houston and check out the Galaxy Lights.

Highlights of the event are extravagant light shows, a large outdoor light display with a light tunnel, a twinkling tree, and more.

Hot cocoa and holiday treats are available at the Zero-G Diner.

You will also be able to discover the everyday magic the Space Center showcases; rockets, space artifacts, astronaut gallery, and out-of-this-world exhibits.

There will be no shortage of photo opportunities and fun at this new favorite holiday tradition. 

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Strap on skates and hit The Ice at Discovery Green.

Just because freezing temperatures in Houston are unlikely, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy the Christmas event favorite of ice skating!

The Ice at Discovery Green gives Houston the experience of an open-air skating rink.

A true marvel, each November Kinder Lake is morphed into ice to become a 7,716 square feet Christmas wonder which features art-glass railings, mural kiosks, and traditional and international music.

Do not miss out on the Snack-N-Skate Shop which has an assortment of hot beverages and tasty treats!

woman wearing red gloves lacing up ice skates. ice skating is one of the best houston christmas events

Enjoy a classic Christmas event in Houston by seeing The Nutcracker.

Ring in the holidays with the beloved holiday classic The Nutcracker.

The Houston Ballet annually presents a stunning production of The Nutcracker at Wortham Theater Center.

The production is truly timeless, originating in 1892.

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Audience members follow the story of young Clara on a magical adventure that has a nutcracker prince, an evil mouse king, and even a sugar plum fairy.

Between the elaborate sets and costumes, intriguing story and music, it is sure to be a night to be remembered by all.

feet of a ballerina in a blue dress in front of a christmas tree. going to see the nutcracker is one of the best christmas events in houston december

Enjoy a winter concert with The Houston Symphony.

One of the best things about Christmas is the music.

Make memories with your loved ones by going to see the popular Houston Symphony at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.

The Houston Symphony never disappoints at Christmas time.

They always present beautiful concerts that are sure to make for the perfect holiday experience.

violinists in a symphony, close up image

Head to Galveston to experience the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights.

A short drive to Galveston will take you to the popular Moody Gardens that display a stunning festival of holiday lights.

If the mile-long trail of two million lights is not enough, Moody Gardens showcases numerous holiday attractions.

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Offerings include holiday 3D films, Rudolph in 4D, an arctic slide, train rides, pictures with Santa, Cirque Joyeux Noel, a dancing tree of lights, an outdoor ice skating rink, holiday dinners, and nightly fireside s’mores.

Even beyond the Christmas event itself, there is no shortage of things to do as their year-round attractions of an aquarium pyramid, rainforest pyramid, and colonel paddlewheel boat are available to be enjoyed as well. 

close up of a christmas lights houston display

Get into the Christmas spirit at Old Time Christmas Tree Farm.

The long-forgotten holiday tradition of cutting down your own Christmas tree can become a reality again at the Old Time Christmas Tree Farm in Spring.

Browse through their rows of meticulously grown trees to find that special tree meant for your home.

Do not worry because saws and measuring sticks are conveniently supplied. Pre-cut trees are also available for the less adventurous.

If the experience of chopping down your own tree is not enough, there are also photo opportunities with Santa, a train ride, and inflatables. 

young girl in a red dress at a christmas tree farm

Stroll through the Houston Zoo Lights.

For the ultimate holiday experience, take a stroll through the Houston Zoo and check out Zoo Lights.

Everyone will enjoy Candy the talking zebra!

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There is also a 125-foot-long infinity tunnel of lights, a luminous garden, Santa’s workshop, and a special 4D experience.

Even though most of the animals are sleeping, with over two million lights, there will be no shortage of things to see.

Zoo Lights is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. 

houston oak trees decorated with christmas lights

Take a day trip to Santa’s Wonderland.

Maybe a bit of a drive for some, but definitely worth it is Santa’s Wonderland located northwest of Houston in College Station.

It is a Texas-sized Christmas event for sure! Take a hayride or carriage ride tour through Santa’s illuminating Wonderland filled with lights.

There is also a gingerbread village, a Santa station where you can meet and write letters to Santa, a walkable trail of lights, a live nativity scene, Santa’s barnyard petting zoo, and a train ride.

On top of all that, you can find  25,000 square feet of shopping, a food village, Christmas movies, hay maze, and even nightly Texas snow!

Truly there is something for everyone at this over-the-top Texas Christmas destination.

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Head to the coast for Jingle on the Boardwalk.

You definitely do not want to miss the fun at the Kemah Boardwalk during December in Houston.

On top of the already exciting carnival rides and multiple restaurants, they go out of their way with Jingle on the Boardwalk.

Experience visits with Santa, holiday music and movies, festive Christmas decorations, gift shopping, and live entertainment.

If you catch it on the right night, you will have the opportunity of the unique experience of watching the annual Boat Lane Parade.

From the boardwalk, you will have the perfect view of watching decorated boats parade down the channel.  

Aerial view of Kemah Boardwalk near Houston Texas

Seek out the best neighborhood Christmas lights in Houston.

Every December in Houston, residents of The Heights, River Oaks, and Prestonwood Forest do a splendid job of transforming their neighborhoods into a drive-thru spectacle for all of Houston to enjoy.

These neighborhoods take pride in adorning their homes with thousands of lights and decorations.

It truly is the ultimate free holiday experience.

Not only are the homes beautifully decorated, but these neighborhoods have a charm all in themselves. 

inflatable santa claus houston tx christmas events

Ride the Christmas Train at Victory Camp.

For the train connoisseurs out there, do not miss out on the Christmas Train at Victory Camp in Alvin.

Take a ride on an open-air train and experience Christmas in Houston in a whole new way.

The train ride showcases a beautiful light display that tells a magical story but there is so much more to love.

You can write letters to Santa, have storytime with Mrs. Claus, snap a picture with Santa, see the miniature holiday village, and grab some pizza at the on-site restaurant. 

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Attend A Christmas Carol at the Alley Theater.

For theater lovers, visiting the Alley Theater and watching their annual production of A Christmas Carol is a fantastic way to celebrate Christmas in Houston.

Adapted from the Dickens classic, audience members will experience theater at its best as they follow Scrooge as he receives visits from three ghost spirits on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Carol is sure to make for a memorable Christmas event.  

photo of ebenezer scrooge character from a christmas carol sitting in a chair

Check out the Home for the Holidays Festival.

Do not forget about your Christmas shopping!

Visit the historic Old Town Spring for their Home for the Holidays Gift Market.

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Old Town Spring has 100 storefronts featuring jewelry, clothing, artistry, collectibles, furniture, and more.

You are sure to find that special gift. Holiday lights, live entertainment, and photos with Santa are the icing on the cake for this ultimate shopping experience. 

wooden reindeer ornaments for sale at a christmas gift market

Visit Dickens on The Strand in Galveston.

Another long-standing holiday tradition that began in 1974, is the Galveston Historical Foundation’s Dickens on The Strand in Galveston.

The themed street festival highlights the Victorian era and features loads of entertainment, shopping, food, and drinks.

You truly can step back in time as patrons and vendors dress up in 19th-century Victorian attire, making the experience even more unique. 

small girls in victorian costumes celebrating christmas in houston area at dickens on the strand
eschipul / Ed Schipul, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Find the best drive-thru Christmas lights in Houston.

There are usually numerous drive-thru Christmas light shows that the family and you can pile into the car and visit.

Typically, admission is charged by the carload.

A few that stand out in the Houston area are Rudolph’s Light Show in Hockley and The Light Park at Hurricane Harbor Splashtown.

Everyone will enjoy gazing at all the lights and decorations from the comfort of their cars. 

white dog looking at holiday lights from inside silver car

Enjoy the magic of Sugar Land Holiday Lights.

Another great outdoor light festival not to be missed is the Sugar Land Holiday Lights.

This wonderland of lights is located at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.

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They have over three million lights, themed areas, onsite vendors for some holiday shopping, movie nights, food, and even Santa.

This popular Houston Christmas event really is a must-see by all. 

2 photos of christmas in houston tx, a tree downtown and a young girl at a christmas tree farm. black and red text on a white background reads "17 fun houston christmas events"

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