Houston's dazzling holiday spectacles light up top entertainment stories of 2021

Houston holiday spectacles light up top entertainment stories of 2021

Lightscape Houston Botanic Garden
Holiday light shows topped our list of the hottest entertainment stories. Photo courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden

As Houston slowly returned to pre-COVID activity, few of our sections saw a jump like our entertainment section. And why not, with locals — cramped in their homes for a year — eager to experience the city again. Holiday lights dominated, as did stories of a rap superstar moving to the Bayou City and adult mini-golf. 

"Aquabanas" at the Crystal Lagoon in Texas City made a splash, as did a new amusement park at Big Rivers and the confirmed rumors of Top Chef filming in Houston. In all, between lights, rappers, and giant skulls downtown, it was wildly entertaining year. 

Here, then, are our top entertainment stories for 2021.

1. Houston's most spectacular winter light shows dazzle for the holidays. From cosmic Christmas at Space Center Houston to a wild affair at the Houston Zoo and a wondrous spectacle at Houston Botanic Garden, these spectacular shows lit up the holidays and continue to do so, drawing tens of thousands who bask in the glow. 

2. Five reasons why ballin' rap superstar 50 Cent moved to Houston. In a single tweet, Curtis 50 Cent Jackson announced that he had taken up residence in Houston. Our esteemed writer Craig Lindsey opined as to why, with reasons including lower taxes and Megan Thee Stallion.

3. Sophisticated new spin on mini-golf rolls into downtown with cool tech and adult fun. First opened in London, Puttshack will offer four, nine-hole courses with over-the-top designs, choice bites, and cocktails. The 26,000-square-foot venue is expected to open in late 2022.

4. Houston's hottest new entertainment destination rocks out downtown. Originally dubbed The Terminal, the 5,000-capacity live music venue at Post Houston has now been rebranded to 713 Music Hall. Expect a slew of hot shows to come — as allowed by current COVID conditions. 

5. Houston's coolest crystal lagoon makes a splash with new floating cabanas. Lagoonfest Texas in Texas City floated out the idea of floating cabanas — dubbed “aquabanas” (see what they did there?) — designed to marry the thrill of water with the chill of sipping cocktails in a cabana.

6. Former President Donald Trump heads to Houston on new 'History' tour. Controversial Former President Donald Trump made headlines again with the news that he was heading to Toyota Center as part of a moderated discussion with TV host/author Bill O’Reilly.

7. Houston's newest amusement park thunders into water park with 11 raucous rides. Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures, the splashy destination, announced “Big Rivers Fairgrounds,” its new theme park featuring 11 amusement park rides — from kiddie rides to thrill rides.

8. Rumor no more: Top Chef selects Houston for new season. After weeks of rumors, Bravo officially confirmed that Season 19 of Top Chef would be filmed in Houston, prompting a flurry of sight-ems, Instagram posts, and more in the aftermath.

9. Massive IG-worthy skulls dominate downtown in time for Día de los Muertos. In honor of Día de los Muerto, 10 massive skulls, measuring seven feet tall, lined the park and along the plaza at Avenida Houston. Visitors packed the downtown area to snap selfies and create vivid Instagram stories.

10. Sporty British pub/restaurant darts into buzzy Houston mixed-use development. Flight Club brings a retro Brit vibe, plush booths, semi-private gaming areas, vibrant vintage signage and decor, and a ubiquitous red phone booth to an 8,500-square-foot space in Regent Square.