h-town All aglow
Houston's most spectacular winter light shows and events electrify for the holidays
These welcome, cooler temps beckon weather-weary Houstonians outdoors with a host of holiday light displays all over the city. These showcases are a fun — and family-friendly — way to get into the winter groove…and maybe even get some Clark Griswold inspo for home lighting projects.
Look for classics like Zoo Lights, which immerses visitors in a dazzling spectacle on zoo grounds, and relative newcomers like City Lights Holiday Magic 2023, a follow-up to the wildly popular downtown event highlighting 11 themed settings.
Consider this a handy checklist as Houston gets lights it up for the holiday season; we’ll update this list as more events open this season.
Lighting up now
Head downtown to "Houston's Living Room" asThe Four Seasons presents its annual tree lighting on Friday, November 17. The grand affair in the Four Seasons' elegant lobby includes a hot chocolate station, TUTS Choir performance, eggnog and Champagne, and the lighting of the hotel’s stunning Christmas trees.
Four Seasons Houston throws an elegant holiday lighting affair each year.Photo via Four Seasons Houston
Also downtown, City Lights Holiday Magic 2023 runs November 17 to December 31 with 11 different themed villages across dozens of city blocks, allowing guests to create their own experiences.
Check out the 30 illuminated Christmas trees in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Visit the Land of Sweets in the Hilton Americas Houston. Head over to Main Street for Santa's Village. See Market Square Park transformed into Mistletoe Square. And walk through 100,000 twinkling lights in the Theatre District. Download a pass to see and check off all the attractions. Christmas music on Fridays at Trebly Park's Twinkle Town makes for another holiday treat. Most activities are free.
This City Lights Holiday Magic Winter Wonderland feature is an IG fave. Photo courtesy of Central Houston
Even more downtown fun comes with the return of Texas Winter Lights at the Marriott Marquis Houston's Altitude Rooftop & Pool with more than 1,500+ glittering lights, dozens of Instagram-worthy displays, and experiences to surprise and delight all the senses. The hotel's iconic Texas-shaped lazy river comes alive with floating orbs, colorful archways overhead, and a nearby grove of trees adorned in bright white lights. Free to hotel guests; tickets start at $25 for non-hotel guests.
A cherished Houston favorite, Zoo Lights, is now running at the Houston Zoo through January 7, 2024. Explore the zoo after dark, with lighted trails taking visitors through an Enchanted Forest, stopping for selfies at a color-changing tree and taking part in other festive activities. Pro-tip: Wander quietly and peek at some of the slumbering beasts, like a majestic, snoozing tiger. There are timed entry slots every evening, with prices starting at $27.95.
Or, wander through more nature at Radiant Nature at the Houston Botanic Garden, a winding trail of more than 50 Chinese lantern displays. On view from November 17 to February 25, 2024, they showcase the beauty of nature and celebrate the tradition of the Lunar New Year. The cost is $28.50 per person with timed entry every evening.
Peek into 'Zodiac' at Radiant Nature at Houston Botanic Garden.Photo via Houston Botanic Garden
Sugar Land's Constellation Field is transformed into a winter wonderland in the 10th Annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights presented by Houston Methodist through January 1, with over 3.5 million lights. There are movie nights, photo opportunities with Santa, giveaways, theme nights and more. Tickets start at $12.
Further south, Galaxy Lights, Space Center Houston's annual spectacular is an immersive experience with space-themed light installations. The new Deep Space Backyard is a journey through the solar system. A crystal fireworks display showcases the colors of the galaxies, one of only two such displays in the world. Tickets start at $19.95. Through January 1, 2024.
Blast off with Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston. Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston
After Galaxy Lights, head to Galveston for Moody Gardens' Holiday in the Gardens, a multi-activity extravaganza with something for everyone.
Take an enchanting train ride at Moody Gardens Holiday in the Gardens.Photo via Moody Gardens
There's the Ice Land and Festival of Lights, with a stroll along a mile-long trail of twinkling lights that transform the space into a fairy land. A train ride though the lights is a must-try island holiday experience.
The 3rd Annual Energy Corridor Tree Lighting, held at the Hyatt Regency West Houston on November 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., this is a chance to hear holiday holiday music, wonder at the dazzling 50-foot Christmas tree and shop for unique gifts at the Candy Cane Lane Holiday Market. The event is free to attend.
Magical Winer Lights at Katy Mills is a winter wonderland for all ages, with thousands of lanterns creating worlds of all shapes and sizes. The display is on view from November 17 through January 7, and tickets are $25, with discounted admissions for seniors. There's also a separate carnival ticket, available for $25.
Holiday Lights at Constellation Field in Sugar Land features more than 3,000,000 lights, 10 themed areas, holiday shopping, and much more. One of Sugar Land's iconic holiday happenings, this showcase is completely family friendly, offering plenty to do for all ages. $15 adults, $12 children ages four to 12. Through January 1, 2023. 6 pm.
Deck the Park at Memorial Park
Deck the Park brings thousands of lights along the park's half-mile promenade at the the Eastern Glades. For the first time, the event will be free to the public. Opening on Friday, December 1, the event is a family-friendly affair, featuring crafts, treats, and more. Event runs through January, 2024. Sundown.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will preside over his final Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular at City Hall. The 104-year-old, family-friendly tradition is free and features live music and the lighting of the holiday tree. This year’s holiday tree is 52-foot White Fir shipping in all the way from Grant’s Pass, Oregon. The towering tree will be adorned with 99,680 LED lights and some 4,000 ornaments. Saturday, December 2. 6 pm. Free.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will preside over his final\u00a0Reliant Lights Mayor\u2019s Holiday Spectacular. Photo courtesy of City of Houston