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Good cheer for all
Houston's best holiday events make the season bright with dazzling lights, performances, markets, and more
The holidays are in full swing across Houston, with a host of activities that offer something for every taste and budget. That means plenty of holiday performances on stages around town, concerts, and some beloved classics such as The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol.
Houston gets totally lit with dazzling holiday lights all around town, plus immersive activities — such as the only Harry Potter Yule event in North American — to get you into the seasonal swing. And what would the holidays be without shopping? Here's a go-to list for all the holiday fun around town.
Staged season fun
The Houston Symphony puts audiences in the holiday mood with its annual A Very Merry Pops concert, featuring sounds of the season and performances by the orchestra and the Houston Symphony Chorus, on stage December 15 through 18.
Main Street Theater's The Wickhams: Christmas At Pemberleyis a must for Jane Austen fans. It closes December 18. The company's Theater for Youth delivers a delightful Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at the MATCH through December 23.
Houston Grand Opera's mariachi opera El Milagro del Recuerdol Milagro del Recuerdo, a story of family, faith and two cultures runs through December 18 at the Wortham Theater Center. The Wortham is also the home stage for the Houston Ballet, which offers its holiday beloved bonbon The Nutcrackerthrough December 27.
At the Hobby Center, TUTS offers the family-friendly Mary Poppins, the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh musical about that practically perfect nanny and how she transforms the Banks household. Performances run through December 24.
Those looking to put a little rock and roll and soul into their holiday can check out the Ensemble Theatre's A Motown Christmas, running through December 24.
The Alley Theatre announced Wednesday it added six shows of What-A-Christmasto the schedule, with the show now closing on December 30. The comedy finds a drive-through worker on Christmas Eve learning a bit more about the spirit of the holiday. The new production of the Alley's holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, also bows out December 30.
For more must-see shows, check out these recommendations from our writer Tarra Gaines.
Light it up
There's nothing quite like the wonder of "silver lanes aglow." Lighting displays all over the Bayou City are sure to bring holiday delight.
Downtown transforms into Holiday Central with City Lights Downtown Holiday Magic, where visitors can find eight winter wonderlands ranging from light shows, the largest mistletoe mass in Texas, and more. Most activities are free. Check out our full roundup here.
Wander the winding paths of the Houston Botanic Garden throughLightscape, a dazzling display of illuminations set to holiday tunes. Timed entry begins daily at 5:30 pm, through January 1, 2023.
The family favorite Zoo Lightslets guests take in the Houston Zoo in a whole new way. The display runs through January 8, 2023. The saying that everything's bigger in Texas certainly applies to Magical Winter Lights at the Sam Houston Raceway, which offers a castle-themed entrance, lights, lantern display, and a circus for an extra fee. The magic sticks around through January 7, 2023.
Need more lights for the holidays? See our full list.
Shop 'til you drop
Mistletoe Marketreturns to Midtown's Bagby Park on December 9 at 5 pm and December 10 at 10 am. The first 50 guests receive a free Christmas ornament. Guests can enjoy shopping from a curated selection of more than 20 vendors, food, craft activities, music, and more at this pet and family-friendly market.
Heights Mercantile Holiday Market
On December 10 from 10 am to 5 pm, an array of popup shops will be open along the Mercantile promenade. It's the perfect spot to find something for everyone, while supporting local businesses and artists.
Holiday VIBE Market at Post Houston
Look for more than 150 local artists and artisans each day to turn up at this two-day event, December 10 and 11. Also on tap are a DJ and complimentary cocktails. When hunger strikes, hit up one of Post's restaurants to regain strength for further shopping.
The popular craft cocktail bar hosts this event on December 11, offering an array of cocktail-themed gifts and stocking stuffers, including Julep's own ready-to-drink cocktails. Show up ready to sip and shop. 4 pm to 7 pm.
Immersed for the holidays
Color Factory (3303 Kirby Dr.) presents Winter Colorland, a snowy, seasonal treat full of and Insta-worthy photo opportunities, including the favorite ski lift in a confetti snowstorm. From the entrance to each room and display, visitors can take in a pom pom wreath craft, adorable gifts, and fun around every corner. The dazzling, indoor Instagram paradise runs now through January 31, 2023. Tickets range $28-36.49.
Houston is the only city in North America to host Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration, an immersive tribute to the memorable ball in the books and movie. Costumed hosts coach guess though dances, fashion shows, romps, and more. Sip on butterbeer, nosh on Potter-themed bites, and rest in a courtyard with a Potter-themed ice sculpture. The ball is located at Galleria-area venue Paraiso Maravilla (5714 Fairdale Ln.), which is now open through January 20, 2023. Tickets are available here, with parking outside around $5. Check out our sneak peek here.