25 ways to have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in the Houston area

Happy Thanksgiving!

70th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade Parade with Grand Marshall Jim McIngvale in downtown Houston, Thursday, November 28, 2019. (Photo by Donna Carson) (DONNA CARSON, Donna Carson)

This is the Things to Do newsletter. To subscribe, visit click2houston.com/newsletters.

Hey! Welcome to Things To Do, your weekly one-stop newsletter for all things related to weekend fun in Houston and beyond.

Naturally, many events this weekend have a distinct holiday flavor. Among this weekend’s events are a turkey trot, a Thanksgiving parade, holiday markets, stage spectaculars and yuletide train rides.

Scroll below for 25 ways to have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

MORE: Which Houston grocery stores are open, closed on Thanksgiving Day this year? Check our list!

Houston-area holiday happenings 🎄

Read on for a smorgasbord of seasonal offerings and holiday happenings.

File image of a Miracle Pop Up (Miracle)

Through Dec. 30 — Miracle Pop Up Bar, Various locations: Sip a Christmas-themed cocktail in a kitschy holiday oasis at one of several pop-up bars coming to the Houston area for the holiday season.

Nov. 23 — 38th Fort Bend Kia Sugar Land Turkey Trot, SugarCreek Village Shopping Center: “Burn off the calories before you eat the big meal! For the 38th year, the Sugar Land Turkey Trot, presented by Fort Bend Kia, will be held in the beautiful Sugar Creek neighborhood.”

Nov. 23 — H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade, downtown Houston: The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade returns on Nov. 23 for its 74th year, and is expected to draw thousands of spectators who will line the streets of downtown Houston in hopes of catching a glimpse of the enormous balloons, marching bands, star performers, and, of course, Santa Claus.

Nov. 24 — Fall Festival, George Ranch Historical Park: “Come out to the Park this Thanksgiving weekend for a Fall Festival, Ranch style! In addition to our regular tours, we’ll be making traditional pumpkin pie in our 1860s cast iron stove, branding boards at the cowboy campfire and talking turkey while crafting at the Ranch House. This is also your last chance to take some great family photos at the Pumpkin Round Up!”

Nov. 25 — Pearland Town Center Tree Lighting Ceremony, Pearland Town Center: “Come experience the joy of Christmas as Santa joins us to light the Pearland Town Center Christmas Tree in the heart of the center. Santa will arrive shortly after 6pm to light up our tree and set off a brief fireworks display! Come dance the night away on our LED dancefloor to a live performance from one of our favorite variety bands ever...The Slags! You can also enjoy our LED swings and seesaws and shopping at our Holiday Gift Market.”

Nov. 25 — City of Galveston Tree Lighting, Saengerfest Park: “Join the City of Galveston, the Historic Downtown Strand Seaport Partnership, and Galveston Historical Foundation for the official city tree lighting and party. This free-to-the-public event features an appearance by Santa, lighting of the city tree, performances by the Galveston Volunteer Band, and food and alcohol vendors.

Nov. 25 — League City Tree Lighting, League Park: “Cap off a day of merriment at League City’s Nutcracker in the Park event by joining us at 6:30 p.m. at League Park for the holiday tree lighting ceremony. Stay and enjoy hot chocolate, a free League City commemorative ornament, and music as we usher in the start of the holiday season together by officially lighting the City’s tree.”

MORE: Watch the holidays come alive at these Houston tree lighting spectaculars 🎄

Holiday light displays 💡

Radiant Nature (Tianyu Arts & Culture)

Through Jan. 1 — The Light Park, Hurricane Harbor and Typhoon Texas: With locations at Typhoon Texas Waterpark in Katy and Hurricane Harbor in Spring, the holiday attraction features millions of lights synchronized to holiday music and features dozens of animated figures in numerous displays, including a holiday light tunnel.

Through Jan. 1 — Sugar Land Holiday Lights, Constellation Field: More than three million lights will brighten Constellation Field during Sugar Land’s annual holiday lights extravaganza, held Nov. 17, through Jan. 1. See dazzling light displays, snap a photo with Santa, enjoy carnival rides, attend holiday movie screening and more at this holiday festival.

Through Jan. 7 — Galaxy Lights, Space Center Houston: Galaxy Lights consists of several indoor and outdoor light displays composed of hundreds of thousands of lights. Some of the displays include a high-tech kinetic light show featuring hundreds of suspended LED orbs that move in move in choreographed sequences to holiday music, as well as an LED light tunnel, a simulated indoor meteor shower, a massive model of the solar system, and a 40-ft tall,100-ft long shooting star made from LED lights.

Through Jan. 7 — Magical Winter Lights, Katy Mills: At this attraction on the Houston Raceway in Baytown, journey through more than 100 lantern sets in several themed sections including a magical castle, a Christmas village, a tribute to Houston, a dino fun zone, a space maze, and an ocean paradise.

Through Feb. 25 — Radiant Nature, Houston Botanic Garden: Sculpted in metal and covered in painted cloth, Radiant Nature’s enormous lanterns occupy several show gardens at the Houston Botanic Garden. The merry and bright displays feature dazzling, supersized flora and fauna.

Nov. 25-Jan.7 — Cistern Illuminated, Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern: The site-specific winter light installations will cast festive colored light throughout the space. The special angle of these lights will create a mesmerizing reflection of the Cistern’s ceiling on the glassy water below.

MORE: Where to find holiday lights shows in and around Houston

Yuletide train rides 🚂

Here are some seasonal celebrations railway enthusiasts can hop on board with.

The Christmas Train (The Christmas Train)

Through Dec. 23 — Polar Express, Galveston Railroad Museum: At select times through the end of December, railway enthusiasts can indulge in some yuletide train fun at the Galveston Railroad Museum’s annual Polar Express holiday event. First, swing by the museums at gander at dozens of trains decked out in holiday decorations and lights then hop aboard the event’s titular Polar Express for a 1-hour trip to meet Santa.

Nov. 24-Dec. 23 — The Christmas Train, Victory Camp in Alvin: The Christmas Train chugs into Alvin on Nov. 24, beginning another run of the popular holiday attraction. On this yuletide train, passengers will enjoy an eight-to 12-minute ride through a winter wonderland (a.k.a., Camp Victory) decorated with over 300,000 lights and hundreds of Christmas decorations including a gingerbread village display, penguin snow lands, and life-size storybook illustrations.

Houston-area holiday markets 🛍️

Here are some of the best holiday markets to shop this week.

Nutcracker Market 2022 (Briana Zamora-Nipper, KPRC 2)

Nov. 24-26 — Bay Area Nutcracker Market, Pasadena Convention Center and Municipal Fairgrounds: “The 8th Annual Bay Area Nutcracker Market is a holiday tradition! Bring your BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING CREW, and enjoy 3 DAYS of shopping FUN!”

Nov. 24-26 — Black Friday Holiday Flea 2023, Silver Street Studios: “Located inside the 20,000 sq ft air conditioned Silver Street Studios, you’ll find a curated market of one-of-a-kind collectibles, jewelry, vintage, art, mid-century modern furniture, original designs, full bar, local food. We are committed to supporting local small businesses from HTX and all around Texas.”

MORE: Find one-of-a-kind gifts at these festive Houston-area holiday markets

Christmas tree farms 🎄

This year, leave your plastic pine in the box and cut down your own tree at one of these Houston-area tree farms.

File image of a tree (Pixabay)

Nov. 24-Dec. 23 — Dewberry Farm, Brookshire: Hitch a wagon ride for a trip to Dewberry Farm’s 40-acre Christmas tree forest. Find your tree, cut it down (Dewberry Farm will supply you with a saw) and ride back to Santa’s workshop for tree baling services. For soft, full foliage, choose a Leyland. Suffer from allergies? Go with a Murray. Each tree is individually priced and cost between $80 to $320. Trees are between 6 and 14 feet tall. If you’re craving some holiday magic, stay for an evening of fun. Each night, Dewberry Farm will transform into a twinkling wonderland where you can see two lights shows, meet Santa, take a train ride and more.

Opens Nov. 24 — High Star Christmas Tree Farm, Hockley: You’ll find Virginia Pines ripe for the cutting at this Hockley tree farm. The lot will remain open every day of the week through the holiday season. Trees range from $30 to $150. Once you’ve chopped down your tree, take a selfie with Santa and take a ride on the Merry Tree Express, a tractor-drawn train.

Nov. 24-Dec. 10 — Double Creek Farm, Livingston: Cut your own Christmas tree at this Livingston tree farm. Pick from Virginia pines, Carolina Sapphires and pre-cut spruce, firs, and pines from Michigan. Handmade wreaths are also sold here. Activities on-site include hayrides, a bounce house, a fire pit and duck races.

MORE: Pick your own Christmas tree at one of these Houston-area farms

Houston holiday shows 🎭

For theatergoers, Houston offers a rich menu from which to choose.

Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker 2021 (Lawrence Elizabeth Knox 2021, Houston Ballet)

Through Dec. 17 — “Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley,” Main Street Theater: “The final installment of the Christmas at Pemberley trilogy follows two close friends: Mr. Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana, and the youngest Bennet sister, Kitty. It is Christmastime at Pemberley and the pair impatiently await the imminent arrival of Henry Grey, Georgiana’s shy, secret correspondent. When Henry enters a family holiday in full force and is met by the unwelcoming presence of Mr. Darcy, Georgiana fears her chance at love will be lost forever. But somehow, love always finds a way!”

Through Dec. 30 — “A Christmas Carol,” Alley Theatre: “Celebrate the holidays with the Alley’s hit new adaptation with colorful Victorian costumes, special effects, lively dancing, stunning sets, and just the right blend of Christmas carols. It is a dazzling Christmas feast with the beloved story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his miraculous transformation.”

Through Dec. 24 — “A Motown Christmas,” The Ensemble Theatre: “Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with this festive holiday revue. It’s the perfect blend of traditional Christmas carols paired with the soulful sounds from such Motown celebrities as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and The Jackson 5.”

Nov. 22-Dec. 23 — “A Texas Carol,” A.D. Players: “The Dinkel family is back by popular demand! This laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming story was a huge success for A.D. Players last season and returns for another year! The Dinkel family is headed to Mee-Maw Jane’s East Texas ranch for what might be her last Christmas. The only problem? When the first grandchild arrives, Mee-Maw is already gone! Now how to keep that fact (and her body) from the rest of the family and save Christmas?”

Nov. 24-Dec. 27 — “The Nutcracker,” Houston Ballet: “Following the annual Stahlbaum Christmas party, journey through the glittering Land of Snow to the bright and joyful Kingdom of Sweets with Clara, Drosselmeyer and the Prince as he reunites with the Sugar Plum Fairy amongst the clouds, where the real magic happens.”

MORE: These electrifying Houston stage spectaculars scream ‘Christmas’

💌 Like what you see?

Get our Things to Do newsletter, a preview of events and activities assembled by the KPRC 2 Digital Team and delivered to your inbox each week. To subscribe, visit click2houston.com/newsletters.

Have an event you’d like to feature on click2houston.com? Submit an event to our community calendar.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.