weekend event planner

Here are the top 14 things to do in Houston this weekend

Here are the top 14 things to do in Houston this weekend

ugly sweater party
Throw on those ugly sweaters and throw down. Photo by Getty Images

With just nine days to Christmas, many are prepping their homes, shopping for last-minute gifts, and more. But for those able to take a little time for themselves, this weekend offers some holiday fun. Look for a trail of lights, groundbreaking opera, a hilarious twist on Harry Potter, Pixar putt-putt, and more.

Plus, for those dressed in festive attire such as ugly sweaters and onesies (seriously), this weekend will bring a chance to score some swag for your drip. Here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, December 16

Hometown Holidays & Trail of Lights
The 3rd Annual Hometown Holidays & Trail of Lights will feature a trolley ride, over 100,000 lights, live performances, Santa, shopping, and more. All proceeds go to Time to Level the Playing Field, a nonprofit which provides musical instruments to local schoolchildren who might not be able to further their musical education without it. BTW, it's free for children ages 3 and under. Through Wednesday, December 23. 6 pm.

Houston Grand Opera presents The Snowy Day
Ezra Jack Keats’s award-winning work was the first mainstream children’s book to feature a Black boy as its protagonist. The story comes to life for the holidays in this world premiere opera from the creative duo of composer Joel Thompson and librettist Andrea Davis Pinkney. HGO Studio artist and soprano Raven McMillon takes on the role of Peter and director Omer Ben Seadia brings the wonder and magic of the boy’s wintry world to life. 7 pm (2:30 pm Sunday).

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience
Created by two-time Olivier Award-nominated and BBC actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, this event takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books (and a real-life game of Quidditch) into 70 minutes. It includes all the characters, a special appearance from a fire-breathing dragon, endless costumes, jokes, songs, props, and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic, plus lots of mayhem. Through Sunday, January 2. 7:30 pm (2, 5 & 8 pm Saturday; 2 & 5 pm Sunday).

Friday, December 17

Pixar Putt at Discovery Green
Following a four-month run in New York City, this ultimate pop-up, open-air mini-golf experience will arrive Houston this weekend. Made up of 18 fun and interactive holes inspired by the stories, characters and icons from some of Disney and Pixar's most beloved films -- Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, etc. --Pixar Putt is set to take guests to infinity… and beyond. Through Sunday March 20. 3 pm (10 am Saturday and Sunday). 

Apollo Chamber Players presents Holiday Voyage
Apollo’s fourth-annual holiday concert promises to lift spirits and spread joyous holiday cheer. The cross-cultural program features Christmas, Jewish, and Kwanzaa-inspired music. The program will include the world premiere of Brian Nabors' Kwanzaa Suite, Mark Buller's String Quartet No. 4, Fantasia on Three Christmas Carols, Arcangelo Corelli's Christmas Concerto for string quartet, and Jovino Santos Neto's Suite Brasileira de Natal (Brazilian Christmas Suite) Selections. 7 pm.

Black Orpheus (Orfeu negro) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
After you're done checking out the MFAH's "Afro-Atlantic Histories" exhibit, head over to the Lynn Wyatt Theater for this festive 1959 flick, playing on Friday and Saturday night. This film brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the exuberance of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With a memorable soundtrack by Brazilian composers Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá, Black Orpheus endures as one of the best-known Brazilian films around the world. 7 pm.

McBride Sisters Wine Tasting
Toast to the holiday season with a McBride Sisters wine collection tasting at the luxe, downtown C. Baldwin Hotel. Mingle at the elegant, buzzy lobby bar and sample a trio of wines from McBride Sisters, the largest, Black-owned wine company in the United States and one of the most inclusive, accessible, socially aware, and sustainable wine brands. Light bites from Rosalie will also be served, including arancini with pesto aioli and charcuterie boards. 7 pm.

Saturday, December 18

10th Annual Tamale Festival Houston
Houston’s diverse culture will be celebrated at this tenth-annual festival. An East End Houston tradition since 2011, this year's fest will be in a new location: Midway’s future mixed-use development, East River. It will be bigger and better than ever, featuring homemade tamales from East End vendors and other local kitchens, art displays, craft booths selling holiday merchandise, live musical performances, kid’s activities, and more. 11 am.

Kicksmas at Avenida Houston
Pay homage to Houston’s sneakerhead community with this first-annual event. People that attend will have the opportunity to receive a free shoe customization from one of two local artists on a first come, first served basis. Shoes must be new or gently worn. The event will also feature live music, station giveaways from 97.9 The Box, and various minority-owned businesses offering sneaker-related items, such as shoe-cleaning supplies, doormats, vintage apparel, and more. First 100 people to donate a pack of socks will receive a free Kicksmas gift.

Due to tomorrow’s weather forecast, the event has moved to the second floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center. 1 pm.

Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at The Rustic
Houstonians are invited to head over to The Rustic as the venue decks the halls with tasteless winter-wear during its Ugly Sweater Party, featuring a performance by Shane Smith & the Saints. Partygoers are encouraged to proudly don their tackiest holiday sweaters, because the attendee with the ugliest sweater will win a $75 Rustic gift card. The second-place winner will receive a $50 gift card and third place will win a $25 gift card. 7 pm.

Truck Yard presents Holiday Onesie Party
Truck Yard will spread the festive fun for free and host its comfiest holiday party again. With raffle prizes every 30 minutes, holiday drinks specials, spiked hot cocoa and a snowball fight—this event is sure to put even the biggest Scrooge in a jolly mood. In addition to the holiday events, Truck Yard will have also live music, local beers and food trucks to spread the cheer. And those that dress up in holiday onesies will receive raffle tickets. 7 pm.

Sunday, December 19

Christ the King Lutheran Church presents Finding Bethlehem: A Creche Festival
One of the most enduring and universal Christmas traditions is the creche, or the Nativity scene: a representation of the story of Christ's birth. Artists from around the world honor the Incarnation of the Word by combining the historical significance of the Christmas Nativity through specific cultural lenses with their artistic interpretations. Over 120 nativities will be displayed for the exploration of the spiritual and artistic meaning of the Nativity. 9 am.

'93 Til 1 Year Anniversary Block Party 
Restaurant and record bar '93 Til will be going all out for its first anniversary block party. We're talking Lone Star Beer for 93 cents, vendors, live music from DJ Badwxlf, drink specials, raffles and, of course, an ugly sweater contest. Of course, you can also order their delicious food or intriguingly named drinks, like the Figgy Smalls, the Violette Femme or the hot drink they call I'm in Love with the Cocoa (if you don't get it, you don't listen to rap). Noon.

Houston Masterworks Chorus presents Christmas with Masterworks, Rejoice!
Houston Masterworks Chorus will present a simple Christmas concert, conveying the opportunity to experience an array of impressive, Christmas/holiday-themed music-making from around the world. The concert will include the Ose Shalom simple message of peace; Betelehemu, a piece from Nigeria that reflects the African Christian Christmas message in the native melodies and rhythms; and the Latvian My Song with a text espousing the power of the song. 4 pm.