Following up to my 7 Austin Things You Must Do This Winter, I reached out to my network and got the best places a true Houstonite would go. So let’s get in the holiday spirit, Houston!
#1 Lights in the Heights
Similar to Austin’s 37th street decorations, the Heights have their own tradition. This event began by neighbors meeting up to celebrate the holiday season. Houstonites would share homemade cookies in their open houses for friends and visitors to enjoy. In the years that followed, about a dozen musicians performed on porches! How cool is that!
The event has grown today to have over 70 entertainment groups, all volunteers. Lights in the Heights® in 2014 be scaled back considerably, however. Meaning no food vendors or activities on the Norhill Esplanade, as well as parking restrictions to look out for. The main event will take place on Saturday December 13th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. As always, be wary of the law – public intoxication & underage drinking will not be tolerated. For more information, refer to Arts Hound.
Kinder Lake has been transformed into a 7,716-square-food open-air ice rink, making it the largest outdoor skating rink in the Southwest! With a sound system emanating carols and classic tunes, you are sure to get in the mood, and with dates until February 8th, you can go to many times this season. Check out this calendar for weekly events, as well as the special events.
#3 Highland Village
No longer are holiday lights reserved for houses, shopping centers have gotten into the spirit too! (& I have to say, shopping with these awesome decorations definitely encourages my shopping behavior) This center’s theme are giant red bows, and light up palm trees, a southern twist on Christmas Trees.
#4 River Oaks
Many Houstonite’s past time is driving around River Oaks. The houses are lined on both sides of the street with classic christmas lights. Take a spin in this neighborhood, you won’t be disappointed.
#5 Zoo Lights
TXU Energy decks the halls at the Zoo with more than 2 MILLION LIGHTS. Needless to say, this year is set to out do years prior with new attractions. This venue has dates until January 4th, and it should be noted that admission is separate from general admission. The Zoo closes at 5pm and reopens for Zoo Lights at 6pm.
Drop the bags and go for a spin around this huge Christmas Tree! I’ve been going here ever since I was little with my cousins, and have very fond memories here. The Galleria can seem a tad overwhelming, but I promise it is worth the crowd.
Another place to swipe your credit cards while your blades scrape against ice in Houston is at another mall. This rink large enough to host NHL & IHL games, so in a way it’s for jocks. However, it also caters to the artsy folks with its Nutcracker on Ice, encouraging students of all ages to audition.
Galveston’s 41st Annual Dickens on The Strand, a world famous Victorian holiday festival, returns to Galveston Island December 5-7, 2014. Imagine the Renaissance Festival but christmasy! There will be costumed vendors in street stalls, rolling carts laden with holiday food and drink, and Victorian-inspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, holiday decorations and gift items. You are even encouraged to dress for the part and be admitted for half the price! You can check out more humorous photos at Galveston History.
This list, like Santa’s Nice List, goes on and on!! I have embedded a Google Map of other places, including: Dickinson Festival of Lights, The Woodlands, and Moody Gardens. You should also check out this site describing these areas.
I better not see any of y’all being a Scrooge this year, and to ensure that doesn’t happen, I’m opening up my schedule to all of y’all to join me at these places!