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Spirited events are happening all around Houston.
Cursed Cauldron

23 Houston Holiday Happenings to Get in the Spirit of the Season

Get jolly before Christmas by snapping photos with Santa, exploring local holiday markets, and cheers-ing with cocktails at these Houston restaurants, bars, and pop-up events

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Spirited events are happening all around Houston.
| Cursed Cauldron

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and restaurants, bars, and various locales in and around Houston are prepared to celebrate the spirit of the season with food, drinks, photo-ops with Santa, holiday markets, and more. Deck your calendar with the following festive events and pop-ups that are great for everyone — children, parents, friends, and coworkers — and then eat, drink, shop, and be merry this holiday season.

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Gingerbread Tea with Santa at Four Seasons Hotel Houston

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The Four Seasons Hotel is hosting an interactive gingerbread tea at Toro Toro on Sunday, December 17 with two seatings at noon and 2 p.m. Along with a selection of hot teas, pastries, and sparkling wine, attendees may partake in decorating gingerbread houses and enjoy a visit from jolly ol’ Saint Nick. Tickets are $95 per guest, with complimentary entry for children ages 5 and under.

Ugly Sweater Party + Silent Disco at Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown

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Turn up this season with a night full of holiday cheer at Rooftop Cinema Club. On Thursday, December 14, the outdoor theater will host a 21-and-up ugly sweater party, complete with a screening of the 2015 comedy The Night Before, followed by a DJed silent disco dance-off with holiday tunes and a judging of the ugliest sweater. Each movie ticket comes with bottomless popcorn and an alcoholic beverage.

Brunch with Santa at Ostia

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Enjoy Sunday brunch with Kris Kringle himself at one of Montrose’s favorite Italian restaurants. Hosted on December 17, Ostia will offer a combination of breakfast and lunch, including a holiday-inspired French toast, for $42 per person (kids 5 and under are free), and photo ops with Santa. Diners who donate a toy will receive a complimentary dessert of glass of prosecco.

Santa Brunch at Armandos

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In addition to its robust brunch menu, this Tex-Mex mainstay will get in the holiday spirit with a guest appearance from Santa for photo opps, plus Sangria Swirl margaritas and churro waffles from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Miracle at Johnny's Gold Brick

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The Miracle holiday pop-up has returned to Johnny’s Gold Brick, illuminating the Heights bar with Christmas lights and over the top holiday decor through December 30. Along with whimsical glassware and cocktails like the Christmapolitan and a Snowball Old Fashioned, expect countless photo ops to help you get in the spirit of the season. Reservations are available on Resy and are highly encouraged.

Lei Low

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This rum-filled tiki bar has gotten merry with Christmas decor galore and a full holiday menu of fun cocktails. Indulge in Lei Low’s “Holiday in Paradise” with its Ponche Pants drink, a combination of Oaxaca rum, tamarind, pomegranate, cinnamon, lime, and orange that’s served in a Santa pants mug, plus $7 chocolatey Elf Hooch shots, and a celebration of the return of Coquito season with its comforting version of this Puerto Rican holiday nog.

A Very Feges Christmas at Feges BBQ

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Catch this barbecue joint’s third annual holiday celebration, with photo opps with Santa from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, followed by a reading of the Night Before Christmas, and a screening of Elf. Holiday food and drink specials will be on offer throughout the night.

Two drinks surrounded by decorations at Feges BBQ.
Feges BBQ is getting Santa ready.
Feges BBQ

Magical Winter Lights®

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From now until January 7, explore more than 100 lantern sets designed as castles, worldwide landmarks, oceanic scenes, and magical lands at this dazzling display set up outside Katy Mills Mall. You will also encounter over 6 million lights divided into themed sections to make the evenings happy and bright. Tickets range between $18 and $25; a family four-pack is $88.

Porch Swing Pub

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This Heights hangout has basically gift-wrapped itself for the holiday season, offering a merry place to imbibe and calm your inner Grinch. Find plenty of Christmas-themed cocktails, fun photo ops for the Gram, plus Christmas Bingo every Tuesday at 7 p.m. through December 19, and live DJs on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tinseltown pop-up at Chatter’s Cafe

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Drink and be merry at the Tinseltown bar pop-up, which has taken over Chatters Cafe through December 30. Bask in the cheery atmosphere, as nostalgic holiday tunes flood the room, and partake in a Christmas-themed beverage menu, which includes hot drinks and zero-proof cocktails. Tickets are $22 per guest for 90-minute sessions.

Guests seated at tables under a ceiling bedecked with garlands and surrounded by red drapes and holiday decor.
All is merry and bright at the Tinseltown bar pop-up at Chatter’s Cafe.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse

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The intergalactic cocktail bar and pizzeria trades in some of its spacey theme for some seasonal cheer, complete with holiday lights, fun inflatables, and a cozy outdoor firepit. Expect the same delicious fare, including pizza fries, ironclad-style pizzas with crispy edges, and inventive cocktails, plus specials that you can only get this time of year.

Treat yourself to classic cocktails, various versions of mint juleps, and holiday cocktails — all the while basking in the glow and holiday cheer that this James Beard Award-winning bar is bringing this holiday season.

Holly Jolly Holiday Bar at the Big Casino

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Downtown newbie, the Big Casino, has been transformed into the Holly Jolly Holiday Bar for a holiday pop-up through December 30. The immersive experience features floor-to-ceiling tinsel, trimmings, and ornaments, plus a variety of holiday-themed cocktails and mocktails. General admission starts at $15 for a 90-minute session, but you can also splurge on the burlesque brunch, which starts at $65 and includes a burlesque performance, entree, and themed cocktail.

Holiday High Tea at the Lancaster Hotel

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If planning a visit to the Wortham Theater for the Nutcracker, consider Lancaster Hotel’s elegant holiday afternoon tea before or after the show. Two seatings are offered at noon and 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through December 31, during which a selection of hot teas, tea sandwiches, cranberry scones, and seasonal patisserie are on offer. The experience is topped off with a complimentary tea tin to takeaway, packed with Lancaster’s specialty holiday spiced black tea.

Yule Cocktail Pop-Up Bar at Swallow’s Nest in Finn Hall

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Starting on Wednesday, December 13, Swallow’s Nest bar transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with elves, fairies, and other magical creatures, plus lively events that include burlesque performances, live carolers, and an Elves workshop series that offers hands-on experiences like wreath and ornament making and cooking decorating. The creators behind the Cursed Cauldron pop-up will offer themed cocktails like Nutcracker Nog, Snow Queen Spritz, and non-alcoholic Cauldron Cocoa topped with toasted marshmallow. Finn Hall vendors will complement the experience with pastries and yule cake.

Texas Winter Lights at Marriott Marquis Houston

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The Altitude Rooftop & Pool, located on the 6th floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel, has been transformed into a winter wonderland. Coined Texas Winter Lights, the display of 1,500 glittering lights across the sprawling terrace is shown daily until Sunday, December 31, along with plenty of photo displays and treat stations with candy and churro bars. Attendees can also float the famed Texas-shaped lazy river, which has been heated to 80 degrees. As a first this year, those looking for additional holiday cheer can reserve a 6-course dining experience in the Gastrodome, an igloo-inspired set up that can accommodate up to 10 people.

Holiday Happenings at Discovery Green

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Discovery Green is a draw for visitors year-round, but it feels especially magical during the holidays with the park illuminated with twinkling lights. Stock up on Christmas or Hanukkah gifts at the weekly holiday Flea by Night market, then wind down by gliding around the Green Mountain Energy ice-skating rink. Finish off the evening with a seasonal cocktail, like the pumpkin espresso martini or Woodford Reserve-fueled cinnamon whiskey sour, at the Grove. 

Wonder Bar

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This interactive bar lives up to its imaginative reputation by getting into the Christmas spirit, with fun installations that serve as the perfect backdrop for selfies, bright lights, and plenty of drinks — whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year.

Montrose restaurant Riva’s continues its tradition of filling its space with the gaudiest of Christmas decor, complete with hundreds, if not thousands of twinkly lights, and unbeatable plates of Italian fare, including veal parmesan and creamy penne dishes. Sunday brunch is also a hit among Riva loyalists. Be warned: the experience is for ages 13 and up only.

Eloise Nichols Hotty Toddy Holiday Pop-Up Bar

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‘Tis the season for hot toddies, and Eloise Nichols is the place to partake. The Adair Family restaurant is featuring a dedicated holiday drink menu showcasing six seasonal cocktails for $10 each. Try the Four Roses Bourbon-fueled Eloise Hot Toddy, hot mulled wine, or the house nog. Visit Eloise Nichols’ daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and enjoy the drinks at the bargain price of $7.

An overhead shot of the Eloise Hot Toddy, made with Four Roses Bourbon, lemon, turbinado, and cinnamon, and garnished with a lemon slice, sitting on top of a menu.
The Eloise Hot Toddy is made with Four Roses Bourbon, lemon, turbinado, and cinnamon.
Adair Concepts

Miracle at Winnie's

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Like Johnny’s Gold Brick, the Miracle holiday pop-up is in effect at Winnie’s through December 30. Unlike its Heights counterpart, which is taking reservations, the Mid Main bar is opening its seating up to walk-ins only, with sessions limited to 90 minutes. From wall to wall, the bar is furnished with holiday trimmings and its menu has been refreshed to include holiday-themed sandwiches, snacks, and cocktails.

The Toasted Coconut

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This Montrose tiki bar is known for being festive year-round, but for the holidays, it’s definitely decking out its digs to make the season bright. Settle in for a signature cocktail, like its rum-loaded Toasted Coconut or its Tropic Like Its Hot, and a filling dish like its cheeseburger or pork dumplings, and then bask in its decorations. The dining room feels like a cozy living room thanks to a fireplace backdrop with a mantel ornate with stockings and a gaudy Christmas tree.

Grand Prize

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In addition to its weekly lineup of events and specials, including its Wednesday drag competition, Grand Prize Bar is decked out in holiday decor that will make any outing of the week a more joyous occasion. Explore its two floors of cocktails and illuminated fun, including the upstairs area, which is ornate with Christmas trees and a pool table for some friendly competition.

Gingerbread Tea with Santa at Four Seasons Hotel Houston

The Four Seasons Hotel is hosting an interactive gingerbread tea at Toro Toro on Sunday, December 17 with two seatings at noon and 2 p.m. Along with a selection of hot teas, pastries, and sparkling wine, attendees may partake in decorating gingerbread houses and enjoy a visit from jolly ol’ Saint Nick. Tickets are $95 per guest, with complimentary entry for children ages 5 and under.

Ugly Sweater Party + Silent Disco at Rooftop Cinema Club Uptown

Turn up this season with a night full of holiday cheer at Rooftop Cinema Club. On Thursday, December 14, the outdoor theater will host a 21-and-up ugly sweater party, complete with a screening of the 2015 comedy The Night Before, followed by a DJed silent disco dance-off with holiday tunes and a judging of the ugliest sweater. Each movie ticket comes with bottomless popcorn and an alcoholic beverage.

Brunch with Santa at Ostia

Enjoy Sunday brunch with Kris Kringle himself at one of Montrose’s favorite Italian restaurants. Hosted on December 17, Ostia will offer a combination of breakfast and lunch, including a holiday-inspired French toast, for $42 per person (kids 5 and under are free), and photo ops with Santa. Diners who donate a toy will receive a complimentary dessert of glass of prosecco.

Santa Brunch at Armandos

In addition to its robust brunch menu, this Tex-Mex mainstay will get in the holiday spirit with a guest appearance from Santa for photo opps, plus Sangria Swirl margaritas and churro waffles from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Miracle at Johnny's Gold Brick

The Miracle holiday pop-up has returned to Johnny’s Gold Brick, illuminating the Heights bar with Christmas lights and over the top holiday decor through December 30. Along with whimsical glassware and cocktails like the Christmapolitan and a Snowball Old Fashioned, expect countless photo ops to help you get in the spirit of the season. Reservations are available on Resy and are highly encouraged.

Lei Low

This rum-filled tiki bar has gotten merry with Christmas decor galore and a full holiday menu of fun cocktails. Indulge in Lei Low’s “Holiday in Paradise” with its Ponche Pants drink, a combination of Oaxaca rum, tamarind, pomegranate, cinnamon, lime, and orange that’s served in a Santa pants mug, plus $7 chocolatey Elf Hooch shots, and a celebration of the return of Coquito season with its comforting version of this Puerto Rican holiday nog.

A Very Feges Christmas at Feges BBQ

Catch this barbecue joint’s third annual holiday celebration, with photo opps with Santa from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, followed by a reading of the Night Before Christmas, and a screening of Elf. Holiday food and drink specials will be on offer throughout the night.

Two drinks surrounded by decorations at Feges BBQ.
Feges BBQ is getting Santa ready.
Feges BBQ

Magical Winter Lights®

From now until January 7, explore more than 100 lantern sets designed as castles, worldwide landmarks, oceanic scenes, and magical lands at this dazzling display set up outside Katy Mills Mall. You will also encounter over 6 million lights divided into themed sections to make the evenings happy and bright. Tickets range between $18 and $25; a family four-pack is $88.

Porch Swing Pub

This Heights hangout has basically gift-wrapped itself for the holiday season, offering a merry place to imbibe and calm your inner Grinch. Find plenty of Christmas-themed cocktails, fun photo ops for the Gram, plus Christmas Bingo every Tuesday at 7 p.m. through December 19, and live DJs on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tinseltown pop-up at Chatter’s Cafe

Drink and be merry at the Tinseltown bar pop-up, which has taken over Chatters Cafe through December 30. Bask in the cheery atmosphere, as nostalgic holiday tunes flood the room, and partake in a Christmas-themed beverage menu, which includes hot drinks and zero-proof cocktails. Tickets are $22 per guest for 90-minute sessions.

Guests seated at tables under a ceiling bedecked with garlands and surrounded by red drapes and holiday decor.
All is merry and bright at the Tinseltown bar pop-up at Chatter’s Cafe.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse

The intergalactic cocktail bar and pizzeria trades in some of its spacey theme for some seasonal cheer, complete with holiday lights, fun inflatables, and a cozy outdoor firepit. Expect the same delicious fare, including pizza fries, ironclad-style pizzas with crispy edges, and inventive cocktails, plus specials that you can only get this time of year.

Julep

Treat yourself to classic cocktails, various versions of mint juleps, and holiday cocktails — all the while basking in the glow and holiday cheer that this James Beard Award-winning bar is bringing this holiday season.

Holly Jolly Holiday Bar at the Big Casino

Downtown newbie, the Big Casino, has been transformed into the Holly Jolly Holiday Bar for a holiday pop-up through December 30. The immersive experience features floor-to-ceiling tinsel, trimmings, and ornaments, plus a variety of holiday-themed cocktails and mocktails. General admission starts at $15 for a 90-minute session, but you can also splurge on the burlesque brunch, which starts at $65 and includes a burlesque performance, entree, and themed cocktail.

Holiday High Tea at the Lancaster Hotel

If planning a visit to the Wortham Theater for the Nutcracker, consider Lancaster Hotel’s elegant holiday afternoon tea before or after the show. Two seatings are offered at noon and 2:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through December 31, during which a selection of hot teas, tea sandwiches, cranberry scones, and seasonal patisserie are on offer. The experience is topped off with a complimentary tea tin to takeaway, packed with Lancaster’s specialty holiday spiced black tea.

Yule Cocktail Pop-Up Bar at Swallow’s Nest in Finn Hall

Starting on Wednesday, December 13, Swallow’s Nest bar transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with elves, fairies, and other magical creatures, plus lively events that include burlesque performances, live carolers, and an Elves workshop series that offers hands-on experiences like wreath and ornament making and cooking decorating. The creators behind the Cursed Cauldron pop-up will offer themed cocktails like Nutcracker Nog, Snow Queen Spritz, and non-alcoholic Cauldron Cocoa topped with toasted marshmallow. Finn Hall vendors will complement the experience with pastries and yule cake.

Related Maps

Texas Winter Lights at Marriott Marquis Houston

The Altitude Rooftop & Pool, located on the 6th floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel, has been transformed into a winter wonderland. Coined Texas Winter Lights, the display of 1,500 glittering lights across the sprawling terrace is shown daily until Sunday, December 31, along with plenty of photo displays and treat stations with candy and churro bars. Attendees can also float the famed Texas-shaped lazy river, which has been heated to 80 degrees. As a first this year, those looking for additional holiday cheer can reserve a 6-course dining experience in the Gastrodome, an igloo-inspired set up that can accommodate up to 10 people.

Holiday Happenings at Discovery Green

Discovery Green is a draw for visitors year-round, but it feels especially magical during the holidays with the park illuminated with twinkling lights. Stock up on Christmas or Hanukkah gifts at the weekly holiday Flea by Night market, then wind down by gliding around the Green Mountain Energy ice-skating rink. Finish off the evening with a seasonal cocktail, like the pumpkin espresso martini or Woodford Reserve-fueled cinnamon whiskey sour, at the Grove. 

Wonder Bar

This interactive bar lives up to its imaginative reputation by getting into the Christmas spirit, with fun installations that serve as the perfect backdrop for selfies, bright lights, and plenty of drinks — whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year.

Riva's

Montrose restaurant Riva’s continues its tradition of filling its space with the gaudiest of Christmas decor, complete with hundreds, if not thousands of twinkly lights, and unbeatable plates of Italian fare, including veal parmesan and creamy penne dishes. Sunday brunch is also a hit among Riva loyalists. Be warned: the experience is for ages 13 and up only.

Eloise Nichols Hotty Toddy Holiday Pop-Up Bar

‘Tis the season for hot toddies, and Eloise Nichols is the place to partake. The Adair Family restaurant is featuring a dedicated holiday drink menu showcasing six seasonal cocktails for $10 each. Try the Four Roses Bourbon-fueled Eloise Hot Toddy, hot mulled wine, or the house nog. Visit Eloise Nichols’ daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and enjoy the drinks at the bargain price of $7.

An overhead shot of the Eloise Hot Toddy, made with Four Roses Bourbon, lemon, turbinado, and cinnamon, and garnished with a lemon slice, sitting on top of a menu.
The Eloise Hot Toddy is made with Four Roses Bourbon, lemon, turbinado, and cinnamon.
Adair Concepts

Miracle at Winnie's

Like Johnny’s Gold Brick, the Miracle holiday pop-up is in effect at Winnie’s through December 30. Unlike its Heights counterpart, which is taking reservations, the Mid Main bar is opening its seating up to walk-ins only, with sessions limited to 90 minutes. From wall to wall, the bar is furnished with holiday trimmings and its menu has been refreshed to include holiday-themed sandwiches, snacks, and cocktails.

The Toasted Coconut

This Montrose tiki bar is known for being festive year-round, but for the holidays, it’s definitely decking out its digs to make the season bright. Settle in for a signature cocktail, like its rum-loaded Toasted Coconut or its Tropic Like Its Hot, and a filling dish like its cheeseburger or pork dumplings, and then bask in its decorations. The dining room feels like a cozy living room thanks to a fireplace backdrop with a mantel ornate with stockings and a gaudy Christmas tree.

Grand Prize

In addition to its weekly lineup of events and specials, including its Wednesday drag competition, Grand Prize Bar is decked out in holiday decor that will make any outing of the week a more joyous occasion. Explore its two floors of cocktails and illuminated fun, including the upstairs area, which is ornate with Christmas trees and a pool table for some friendly competition.

Related Maps