Everyone looks forward to the holiday season. The time spent with family, the great shopping, the entertainment and the memories created this time of year are priceless. In the Houston area, there is no shortage of events promoting the holiday season and family togetherness. Here are some of the best places to visit in Houston during the holiday season.
Moody Gardens
1 Hope Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
(800) 582-4673

Date: Now through Jan. 3, 2015

A Galveston, Texas landmark, Moody Gardens entertains visitors year round, but it takes on a whole new dimension during the holiday season. The event everyone looks forward to at Moody Gardens this time of year is its Festival of Lights, a seven-week event that transforms Moody Gardens into a holiday wonderland. The displays are amazing, featuring more than 1 million lights and more than 100 sound-enhanced light displays. Children can have their picture taken with Santa and adults and kids alike can rent a pair of skates and glide across the ice at the area’s only outdoor skating rink. The large size of the event and the memories it creates make Moody Gardens a top destination for the holiday season.

Memorial Park
1001 E. Memorial Loop Drive
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 524-3567

Date: Dec. 14, 2014

Head on over to Memorial Park for the Annual Reindeer Romp, an event in its third season. Guests gather near the park around 4 p.m. for this one-day event on December 14, 2014 and are encouraged to purchase reindeer antlers from Memorial Park before hiking the trails. The money raised from the antler sales will go to the Memorial Park Conservancy and will be used to further protect and preserve the natural beauty of the park. Guests will then hike the trails through Memorial Park before stopping at Beck’s Prime for an after-hike meal and good cheer. It’s a great way to exercise, breathe in the crisp outdoor air and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season in a natural setting.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
2005 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380
(281) 363-3300

Date: Dec. 4, 2014

Cynthis Woods Mitchell Pavilion is known for its outdoor concerts, but the large facility will transform into a winter wonderland on December 4, 2014 for Holly Jolly Jingle. A Christmas event of substantial proportions, Holly Jolly Jingle is a free event open to families and will feature Christmas carols, arts and crafts, visits with Santa and encounters with other popular holiday characters such as Frosty the Snowman and others. There will even be actual snow for the kids to play and a train ride on the Candy Cane Express. Holly Jolly Jingle is a great way to enjoy an evening of good tidings and the free admission makes it a perfect choice for families.

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Theater District
Houston Theater District
Houston, TX

Houston’s world renowned Theater District can always be counted on for holiday entertainment and this year is no exception. The holiday entertainment this year runs for almost two months and features performances from the Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy holiday classics such as “The Nutcracker,” “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” “Very Merry Pops” and the “Christmas Attic,” each with multiple showings. Unlike the theater companies in other large cities, Houston’s Theater District never shuts down and the entertainment continues all the way to year’s end and beyond. A live performance of a holiday-themed play or musical is a great way to enjoy the spirit of the season and Houston’s Theater District is ready to provide exactly the entertainment you desire during this special time of the year.

South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center
2500 S. Shore Blvd.
League City, TX 77573
(281) 334-1000

Date: Nov. 29, 2014

For those who love to shop during the holiday season, a visit to the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center is a must. The most anticipated event is the Eminent Holiday Shopping Market, scheduled for Saturday, November 29, 2014. Situated near the shores of Clear Lake, South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center transforms itself into a shopping mecca for this event, featuring specialty items for the home, holiday decorations, food, clothing and more. Parents and children will have a blast looking for unique decorations, presents and holiday treats as they browse through the rows of holiday-themed merchandise. Eminent Holiday Shopping Market only comes once per year, but it’s an event worth adding to your busy holiday schedule and a shopping extravaganza you won’t forget.

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Bryan Carey is a Houston, Texas resident with an avid interest in restaurants, dining, breweries, wineries, festivals, cultural events, museums, theatre, concerts, and other forms of entertainment. He has been writing about entertainment, travel, and related topics for more than fifteen years and has thousands of articles to his credit. His work can be found at Examiner.com.