It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and restaurants, bars, and various locales in and around Houston are prepared to celebrate Christmas with food, photo-ops with Santa (and one with the Grinch), plus holiday markets, and more. Deck your calendar with the following 10 festive events that are great for everyone — children, parents, friends, and coworkers — and then eat, drink, shop, and be merry this holiday season.Read More
10 Houston Holiday Happenings to Get in the Spirit of the Season
From snapping photos with Santa to exploring holiday markets, here’s where to get jolly before Christmas
Magnolia Farmers & Artisans Market
This annual outdoor Christmas extravaganza and market features music, locally-grown produce and handmade products ideal for preparing Christmas dinner and gifting, as well as food trucks and fun surprises. Depending on your mood, take pictures with Santa or the Grinch. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 18.
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 at Sam Houston Race Park. Guests will encounter over six million lights divided into themed sections to make the evenings happy and bright. Tickets range between $17 and $25; a family four-pack is $88.
Cookies & Wine Pairing, Decant Urban Winery
Christmas calls for cookies, and Decant Urban Winery delivers in the form of cookies and wine pairing classes. Participants may arrive anytime from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 15 and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 18 to participate in a self-guided class. A small number of additional cookies will be available for purchase to go. The cost is $40 per guest.
Dinner with Santa, Urbe
Have a festive dinner with Santa, who will be appearing at Urbe from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, and Wednesday, December 21. The menu for adults is a la carte, while children’s meals are $15. Reservations are recommended.
Photos with Santa, Backstreet Cafe
Meet and take photos with Santa, complete with a backdrop of Backstreet’s picturesque patio all decked out for Christmas, on Sunday, December 18 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Victorian carolers will join the fun from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and set the tone with holiday merriment.
SantaCon Pub Crawl, the Dogwood
Combine folks wearing Santa hats, suits, and other festive ensembles with bar hopping, and you have SantaCon. Beginning at 1 p.m. at the Dogwood, this adults-only ticketed event costs $109 per person, which includes a wristband and access to a digital map that outlines participating bars, and more.
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HTX Holiday Market Expo
Houston Mouves is hosting a free holiday market from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 17. The entire family is welcome to join, with the event featuring more than 30 vendors and artists; door prizes and giveaways; a 360-degree photo booth; live music; and food. Kids can snap pictures with Santa and send letters to the North Pole. RSVP at Eventbrite.
Breakfast with Santa & Sharky, Aquarium
Indulge in a breakfast buffet with Santa at this family-friendly downtown restaurant. Fill up on French toast, pancakes, eggs, honey-glazed ham, bacon, fruit, pastries, and more. Guests can pose with Santa and the Aquariums’ mascot, Sharkey, and will have the opportunity to participate in Christmas crafts. Seatings begin at 8:30 a.m. on December 17, December 18, and December 21 through December 24 at a cost of $16 to $22.
Children's Museum Houston
Before leaving cookies and milk out for Santa at home on Christmas Eve, take a trip to the Children’s Museum Houston on December 24 to meet the man in red between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to take photos and share wish lists. Head to the museum’s cafe to refuel with burgers, tacos, chicken tenders, salads, fruit, yogurt, and more, offered a la carte. General admission is $15.
Naughty or Nice Ball Pit Bar
Vibe 713 has been transformed into the Naughty or Nice Ball Pit Bar for the season. Open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily through Christmas Eve, the adults-only pop-up features a life-size ball pit packing over 80,000 balls, holiday photo-ops like posing with giant presents or in front of the bar’s ornament wall, holiday karaoke, and Christmas cocktails and mocktails with snack pairings. Tickets may be purchased for $26 online.