There are many signs of the holiday season here in Houston. Stores put up their holiday displays, gingerbread and peppermint goodies start appearing everywhere and gift guides aplenty flood our inboxes and our mailboxes. In addition to making time for holiday decorating, deciding what lights to buy and getting presents, calendars start to fill up with seasonal events. We’ve compiled a list of Best Holiday Lights Houston 2017 to help you make time for some special memories this year.
Nothing puts everyone in the mood for Christmas quite like lights. Depending on which lights displays you choose to see, you may opt to stay in the car, which can be easier for friends and family members who are younger or older, who might have a harder time walking long distances or standing for long periods of time. Driving around to see lights can also be a good option for those rare Houston days where the weather outside is frightful and you’d rather be cozy inside your car. When holiday budgets are tight, driving around to see neighborhood lights can also be a less costly alternative to buying tickets for a holiday performance.
With the help of our list, you don’t have to check items twice or worry about who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Just pile everyone into the car, turn on your favorite holiday tunes and get on the road!
Prestonwood Forest Christmas Lights
Prestonwood Forest, a neighborhood in northwest Houston, has a long tradition of going all out for the holiday season. This year is the 40th annual Nite of Lites event, which takes place from December 9 until New Year’s Eve. Almost 800 homes participate in a friendly competition to decide who receives the distinction of Best House, Best Door, Best Mailbox and even Best Lamp Post. Touring guests can vote online for the People’s Choice Award.
Judging takes place on December 9th as the event kicks off. Check out this year’s map of four different ways to enter the neighborhood by car to make your plan.
Festival of Lights Houston
This unique festival of lights features thousands of lanterns that are launched at nightfall. Normally held in November, participants can decorate their lanterns with a marker or leave them blank. The event offers attendees live music and a laid-back atmosphere. However, because of Hurricane Harvey, the festival has been moved to April 14, 2018.
Moody Gardens offers its own Festival of Lights which turns the park into a glittering wonderland from November 11 until January 7. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or to turn your winter fun into a full weekend getaway, you can enjoy Ice Land, the Festival of Lights, Cirque Joyeux Noel, 3D films, Rudolph in 4D, ice skating, an arctic slide, train rides, photos with Santa and more at the Galveston theme park.
You can also sneak a peek to see the ice carvers create the sculptures, enjoy lunch with the team and meet a real penguin for $179. Group rates and hotel packages are available as well. Tickets vary depending on what you want to experience. Admission to Ice Land costs between $16.95 and $26.95 a person, while tickets to the Festival of Lights run from $10.95 to $15.95, plus add-ons.
Sugar Land Holiday Lights
Located at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, the Sugar Land Holiday Lights turn the entire field into a light show. With more than 2.5 million twinkling lights, you’ll feel as if you’ve found Santa’s workshop. Visitors can enjoy the sights and sounds in eight themed areas, plus holiday movie nights, Santa Claus, holiday shopping and more. You can bring guests and family to see this holly jolly spectacle from November 24 to January 1. General admission tickets are $14 with discounts for military, seniors and groups. Children under 3 are free.
Magical Winter Lights Houston
Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque hosts Magical Winter Lights: the Houston Lantern Festival & Holiday Celebration, a beautiful display of lights throughout the park. From November 10 until January 2 you can take in these life-size light attractions. This year, event organizers will add The Lone Star State section to the other themed sections: Magical Wonderland, Mystical Forest, Santa’s Christmas Village, Mystery of the East, Dinosaur Land and Landmarks of the World and the area with lantern activities.
The park also offers a carnival-type atmosphere with an area designated for carnival-type rides, games and food.
Tickets are $21 for adults and $13 for seniors and children 4-12 when purchased online. You can also purchase family 4-packs of tickets for $76. Purchase in advance to save on prices at the door. Kids can enjoy unlimited carnival rides with the purchase of a $20 wristband.
Christmas Lights in Houston
Been to all the destinations we’ve listed above and still need your Christmas lights fix? Houston is a big city and there are lots of places—from neighborhoods to theme parks and other venues—open to the public that deck the halls this holiday for your viewing pleasure. Check out these neighborhoods, amusement parks and other public places to plan the perfect holiday outing.
Shepherd Park/Candlelight Park
These two neighborhoods in northwest Houston feature displays sure to elicit excitement with oversized cut-outs, balloon arches and more. Started in the 60s, the neighborhood went all out, although the tradition almost died out when homes changed ownership and electric prices went up. Two residents encouraged homeowners to decorate a few years ago and the whole neighborhood has since embraced the tradition, including lit arches over the streets.
This upscale neighborhood is always a must-see if you enjoy looking at Christmas lights. Located near River Oaks Boulevard and San Felipe Street, these stately homes and their huge oak trees are lit up with millions of glimmering lights. You can enter the neighborhood from either Shepherd or Westheimer.
The Houston Zoo illuminates their trees and paths with more than two million twinkling lights, justin time for the holiday season. The 15-mile path features a light-bedazzled old Cadillac in a scene set to music, carolers, light displays, a 33-foot-tall Christmas tree and much more. Grab a hot chocolate to warm you up as you stroll through this year’s Zoo Lights. This experience to remember runs from November 18, 2017 to January 14, 2018. You can also enjoy holiday disco, a train ride, a lit carousel, a light tunnel and much more along the way.
Zoo Lights is closed on November 17 and 24 and also on December 14, 24 and 25. The zoo is open from 6 to 10 p.m. during value nights and for an extra hour on prime nights. Tickets are $11.95 for members on value nights and $16.95 for non-members. On prime nights, tickets are $16.95 for members and $19.95 for non-members. Discounts are offered to groups of 20 or more, members of the military, first responders and educators.
Dickinson Festival of Lights
This walk-through event features light displays and tunnels throughout the property at Paul Hopkins Park. Now in its 19th year, the festival opens November 25 at 6 pm and remains open nightly until 8:30 p.m. The lights, shuttle and buses are free, but cookie decorating, concessions, pictures with Santa and fun blinking gift items are available for purchase.
Parking is also free and available on the west side of the park on Mondays through Thursdays between November 28 to December 15. Weekend parking and parking from December 16 through 30 are available at the Dickinson Plaza Shopping Center for free, as well as a shuttle service to take you to from the parking areas to the festival.
Christmas Boat Lane Parade
If you’re looking for a unique take on Christmas light looking, more than 100 decorated power and sailboats will cruise the Clear Lake channel on December 9 from 6 to 10 p.m. for the 56th Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade. You can watch from the South Shore Harbour Marina, Nassau Bay Lagoon, Kemah Boardwalk and from both sides of the Kemah/Seabrook Channel. If you own a boat or want to rent one, you can also view from the lake, or even enter your own boat in the parade.
Still want more ideas of where to see the best Christmas lights in Houston? Check out our list from last year for other festively-lit events and venues in and around Houston.
Light Up Your Home This Holiday Season
Feeling inspired to recreate your own magical wonderland? ABC Home & Commercial Services can help you transform your yard into an unforgettable creation to bring the magic of Christmas to life for you, your family and visitors. Want your tall trees dripping with lights, your house trimmed like a giant Christmas package or your yard converted into Santa’s workshop? Our professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services can help you plan and install your Christmas lights even if you’re feeling overwhelmed or if you just lack the time or creativity.