In-person shopping returns to Nutcracker Market this year for 40th anniversary. Here’s what you can expect.

Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market.
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. (Image provided by Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market.)

As many Houstonians know, the pandemic year of 2020 prevented the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market from happening as it would normally.

This year, however, the market is returning in full force with in-person shopping at the NRG Center -- and celebrating a redo of its 40th anniversary, which was last year.

“Forty years is such a momentous occasion, especially after the challenges of last year,” said Patsy Chapman, CEO of the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. “I cannot wait to stand in the main aisle of the Market and simply enjoy the undeniable spirit of this event.”

In the last four decades, the Market has grown tremendously — from a church bazaar in 1981 to the extravaganza it is today, bringing in more than 100,000 guests and becoming the second-largest fundraising event at NRG Park.

This year, the event will run Nov. 11-14. With this year looking different than last year, what can you expect from the event?

At Market

There are already more than 265 booths on the books, with 50 new merchants making their debut.

At the Market, you can expect to find:

  • Apparel
  • Accessories
  • Jewelry
  • Gourmet food
  • Home and holiday decor
  • Toys
  • Kitchen wares
  • Gifts and more

Repeat shoppers will see some fan favorites that include the Round Top Collection, the Royal Standard, Texas Tamale Company, Paul Michael Company and many other big-name merchants.

If you’re a shopper who likes to plan ahead, click or tap here to see the full list of merchants.

When

The Market days and special event times are as follows:

  • Thursday, Nov. 11 -- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 12 -- 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 13 -- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 14 -- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Special events

The Wells Fargo preview party:

Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets start at $250.

Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Show and Luncheon:

Thursday, Nov. 11 from 10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $150.

Macy’s Fashion Show and Luncheon (featuring the Macy’s Fragrance Pop-Up Shop)

Friday, Nov. 12 -- 10:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $150.

Note: Special event tickets are good for repeat admission all four days and early 8:30 a.m. admission on Thursday and Friday.

Getting to the shopping and food

Now, let’s get to the most important stuff: When and how you will get access to this event.

General admission

Discount general admission tickets, which are good for one-day admission, are already available at Ticketmaster.com, but they will also be available at participating H-E-B Business Centers beginning Oct. 11.

Only $20 cash or check will be accepted at the NRG ticket windows during Market days, but ATMs will be located next to the ticket windows, along with two more that will be available once guests are inside.

Special event tickets

Special event tickets, which include the Wells Fargo Preview Party, Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Show and Luncheon, as well as Macy’s Fashion Show and Luncheon, can be purchased now by calling 713-535-3231.

Early bird tickets

Early bird tickets are $50 and must be purchased In advanced for guests who want them mailed or held at will call. They will need to be purchased by calling 713-535-3231 by Nov. 5.

The early bird tickets may also be purchased at the NRG ticket windows during Market days for $50 cash or check only. ATMs will be located next to the ticket windows, along with two more that will be available once guests are inside.

Early bird allows for 8:30 a.m. admission on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, as well as repeat admission for all four days of Market.

Group general admission

Discounted group general admission tickets must be ordered no later than Nov. 5 by calling 713-535-3231.

All people are required to have a ticket, regardless of age.

The Nutcracker Market will follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NRG Park safety guidelines at the time of the show.

For more information on all things Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, tap or click here.