13 Things Open on Christmas Day in Houston

Check out the Festival of Lights in Galveston on Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens
Check out the Festival of Lights in Galveston on Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens

In Houston, there are actually quite a few things to do on Christmas Day, and that's good news for those of us who find ourselves wishing for something other than eat more food or play another round of Scrabble Junior.

Here are 13 fun things to do on Christmas Day in Houston and the surrounding area that you can make a part of your holiday traditions. And here is our holiday guide for more Christmas and Hanukkah fun around the Bayou City.

1. Look at Christmas lights: Drive around Prestonwood Forest in Northwest Houston to see the beautiful (and insanely elaborate) holiday light displays on all of the homes. Each street has its own theme. And of course, the homes in the Heights and River Oaks and the Duke Family Christmas Light Show are always a sight to see. Check out our recommendations for the top residential light displays in Houston.


Visit the Gingerbread Village in Houston on Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of cityplacenow.com

2. Tour the Gingerbread Village at City Place: Follow the trail of giant candy canes, lollipops, gumdrops, gingerbread men, and cookie trees to a 16-foot high house and 12-foot tall windmill.

3. Head to GalvestonTake a day trip to Galveston and celebrate Christmas by the bay. There are some fun things to do on Christmas Day, like the Holidays at Moody Gardens, which includes the ever-popular Festival of Lights and a Christmas Day buffet, and festive Christmas Day brunches at the The San Luis or Hotel Galvez.

4. Visit Santa's Wonderland: What better way to celebrate Christmas Day than at Santa's Wonderland? Go snow sledding, take hayrides and train rides, roast s'mores, and visit with Santa himself. 


Taking a drive through elaborate holiday light displays is fun to do on Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of Dasher's Light Show, Facebook

5. Put on your holiday pjs and drive through Christmas light displays: Christmas Over Texas, Dasher's Lightshow, and The Light Park at Typhoon Texas and Hurricane Harbor Splashtown are all open on Christmas Day. Crank up the Christmas tunes and enjoy some spectacular light displays! 

6. Walk around the Mosaic of Light at Discovery Green: This unique installation causes shapes, lights, and shadows collide. By day the sculptures look like gold jewels, while they light up into glowing structures at night. Look for all the surprises hidden in the light and shadows. 

 
Take a short drive to one of the best holiday light displays near Houston. Photo courtesy of Magical Winter Lights, Facebook

7. Head to Magical Winter Lights: Prepare to be dazzled by some of the best holiday light displays around town. Although it is a bit of a drive (it takes place at the Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque) this holiday light display is definitely worth it. There is also a holiday market and children's fun zone.

8. Take in the magic at Sugar Land Holiday Lights: Constellation Field in Sugar Land is covered in thousands of lights that make up elaborate and stunning displays you can walk around and underneath. It's the perfect way to end Christmas as a family.

 
Ice skating is open on Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of Discovery Green 

9. Go ice skating at Discovery Green or The Woodlands Ice Rink: Either head downtown to Discovery Green or up north in The Woodlands near Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for some outdoor ice skating. You can even make a day of it in The Woodlands by also enjoying Christmas brunch at The Woodlands Resort.

10. Celebrate Christmas at Toy RanchFamilies are invited to spend the day decorating trees, taking pictures with Santa, listening to Christmas music, and sipping on hot cocoa.

11. Walk- or float-through lights at Texas Winter Lights: Take part in an interactive walk- or float-through lights experience at the Marriot Marquis Houston. Swim through the lights in the Texas-shaped lazy river, snap photos, enjoy nightly snowfalls, dine on a winter-themed dining menu, and more.

12. Book a holiday light tour with Houston Historical Tours: Don't feel like driving yourself? Choose from 9 different holiday light tours, ranging from 3-7 hours long. Tours can include stops for famous walk-through displays like Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights, while others include driving through some of Houston's best decorated and most festive neighborhoods. 

13. Walk through Friendswood's Lighted Holiday TrailWalk through over 100,000 twinkling holiday lights, mail letters to Santa, and snap some family Christmas photos at the Home for the Holidays Lighted Christmas Trail.

Children's Storytime in the Garden
Mercer Botanic Gardens - 10:30 AM Pick
Story Time on the Green
Central Green Park - 10:00 AM Pick
Playtime in the Plaza with The Jolly Trolley
Sugar Land Town Square - 12:00 PM
Online Guitar Lessons for Kids
Virtual - various times
Online Art Lessons for Kids
Virtual - various times
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides