Time off during the holidays often means an opportunity to schedule a family vacation or visit family and friends in other parts of the country. A large metropolitan area like Houston, however, has much to offer the family looking for some fun and entertainment without traveling far from home. Theatres, outdoor entertainment and holiday-themed events take place throughout the area and require no overnight stay. Here are some places to consider taking your family for a holiday staycation in the Houston area.
Houston Theatre District
615 Texas Ave.
Houston, TX 77002
(855) 302-8734

Houston’s Theatre District is world class and ranks among the very best in the United States. The Houston Ballet, Houston Symphony and other performing arts are available for your viewing pleasure year-round and the holiday season is one of the best times of the year to watch performances of holiday-themed plays and concerts. Lovers of traditional classics will enjoy watching the Houston Ballet perform “The Nutcracker” followed by the Houston Symphony and its performance of “Very Merry Pops.” Those who prefer rock and roll with their holiday entertainment will enjoy the Trans Siberian Orchestra and its performance of “The Christmas Attic.” The holiday-themed plays and performances make the Houston Theatre District a great place to visit for a family staycation.

Moody Gardens
1 Hope Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
(800) 327-8135

No holiday staycation in the Houston area would be complete without a visit to the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. This annual event has been a holiday tradition on Galveston Island for years and thousands of families make a trip to the Festival of Lights each year to celebrate the season. Walk along the mile-long pathway and take in the sights and sounds of the holidays as you and your children gaze in awe at the magnificent light displays. Take pictures of your children along the way and sip on a cup of hot chocolate as you breathe in the fresh, cool air. The large light display and the family togetherness make Moody Gardens a great place to visit for your holiday staycation.

Kemah Boardwalk
215 Kipp Ave.
Kemah, TX 77565
(281) 535-8100

Kemah Boardwalk is Houston’s premiere family playground. The amusement park is best known for its rides, restaurants, entertainment and all-around family fun. During the holiday season, Kemah Boardwalk expands its entertainment to include several holiday-themed events such as Jingle on the Boardwalk, Christmas Boat Lane Parade and a New Year’s Eve Family Celebration. With the emphasis on holiday-themed events and a family-friendly atmosphere, Kemah Boardwalk makes a perfect choice for a holiday staycation.

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Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 533-6500

Houston Zoo is one of the most popular attractions for families and during the holidays, the zoo lights up for the occasion with its annual Zoo Lights. This year’s display will feature more than one million lights, transforming the animal sanctuary into a brilliant display of color and sound. The Enchanted Forest will feature life-size animal sculptures and festive holiday music will keep guests happy and enhance the holiday spirit. The animal exhibits will be open as always and photographic opportunities will abound at Zoo Lights, making the Houston Zoo an excellent option for a family staycation.

Dewberry Farm
FM 362 & Morrison Rd.
Brookshire, TX 77423
(281) 934-3276

Most every kid in the Houston area has been to Dewberry Farm at least once and the holiday season is one of the best times for a repeat visit. During the holidays, a visit to this rural entertainment complex can be both fun and memorable thanks to Dewberry Farm’s Christmas tree farm and holiday park themes. Kids will love riding the zip lines and swings and families will enjoy a hay ride to the Christmas Tree farm where they can select their own Christmas tree, cut it down and bring it home for decoration. It’s just a short drive into the country and the family memories it creates makes Dewberry Farm a great place to visit for a holiday staycation.

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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.