Enjoy Moody's Festival of Lights. Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens
Enjoy Moody's Festival of Lights. Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens

Best Holiday Light Shows: Drive-thru, Walk-thru, and Drive-by Christmas Displays in Houston

There's something magical about Christmas lights that make the holidays come alive (even in Houston when it's 80 degrees in the winter). Twinkling lights and snowy scenes always help make spirits bright! From drive-thru (and drive-by) experiences to free walking adventures, and out of this world displays to an old school Santa's workshop, we've rounded up a little something for everyone. For the best over-the-top light displays around town, check out one of the locales or events below.

In light of Covid-19, all ticketing availability is subject to change. We encourage you to check ahead of time for the most up-to-date safety and health protocols in place at each venue and to practice social distancing and wear masks while in public spaces.

Photo courtesy of Rudolph's Light Show

Drive-thru and Drive-by Holiday Light Shows

Rudolph's Light Show - Hockley
19623 Bauer Road, Hockley
Over 1 million synced lights dance to holiday music that plays through your car radio as you drive through Rudolph's Light Show. Plus, venture through giant Christmas trees, snowmen, and more. Open daily. Tickets are $30 per vehicle online in advance and $35 at the gate. 
Covid-19 update: Because guests remain in their vehicles the entire time, social distancing is built in to the experience!

The Light Park - Hurricane Harbor Splash Town
21300 Interstate 45 N, Spring
Experience the magic of holiday lights in a socially distant way this year by driving through The Light Park, which features an interactive holiday experience that includes millions of twinkling lights, holiday music, and festive cheer. Open daily. Tickets are $35 in advance online per car and $40 at the gate. No limos, RVs, or trailers allowed. 
Covid-19 update: Because guests remain in their vehicles the entire time, social distancing is built in to the experience!

Prestonwood Forest's Nite of LightsCypress
Prestonwood Forest Drive and Hwy. 249
Since the '80s, Prestonwood Forest has lit up during the holidays with extravagant light displays with themes on each street. Visitors are invited to drive through the neighborhood and judge which streets and houses have the best and most award-worthy holiday decorations. The schedule for ‘Lights On’ is at dusk or by 6 pm. To reduce late night traffic, ‘Lights Off’ is encouraged to be 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday and 10 p.m. on weekdays.
Covid-19 update: Because guests remain in their vehicles the entire time, social distancing is built in to the experience!

Free Holiday Light Walks

The Woodlands Town Center - The Woodlands
2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands
Winter Wonderland in The Woodlands is a colorful light display with different scenes and themes located near the township's Town Center ice rink. While guests have to pay to ice skate, admiring the lights is free! The trees along The Waterway are also wrapped in holiday lights making for a beautiful night-time stroll after dinner. 

Uptown Holiday Lights
Post Oak Boulevard and Westheimer
The annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting is going virtual this year, but the more than 300 artisan-made holiday trees that line over 2 miles of Post Oak Boulevard continue to light up the night throughout the holidays. You can take a stroll down the boulevard or enjoy it from your car.

CityCentre's Twinkling Lights
800 Town and Country Boulevard, Houston
Thousands of twinkling lights adorn the tree-lined streets at CityCentre. In addition to plenty of holiday shopping and tasty restaurants, CityCentre boasts an enjoyable green space that is decorated immaculately during the holiday season. Check the website for other seasonal events like ice skating and visits with Santa.

Memorial City Mall
303 Memorial City Way, Houston
3.5 million twinkling holiday lights span Memorial City Mall, making it a holiday light experience you don't want to miss. You can even complete all of your holiday shopping at the many stores throughout the mall. Check the website for details on Santa visits (he's got special hours for sensory-friendly experiences for kids with special needs and their families), indorr snowfall and live music.

Friendswood's Home for the Holidays Lighted Christmas Trail
1100 S. Friendswood Drive, Friendswood
Walk 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. 

Galaxy Lights for the holidays at Space Center Houston

The Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston are out of this world. Photo courtesy the space center

Holiday Light Shows and Experiences

Galaxy Lights - Space Center Houston
1601 E NASA Pkwy, Houston
Space Center Houston's Galaxy Lights embraces all things galactic with astronaut- and space-themed displays. Enjoy an indoor meteor shower, travel through a tunnel covered in 250,000 dazzling LED lights, and check out six aluminum 20-foot lit trees that represent Space Station partners surrounded by multicolor glowing stars along the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Covid-19 update: All guests 2 and older are required to wear face masks and follow social distancing protocols while at the Space Center.
 
DEW the Lights - Dewberry Farm
FM 362 & Morrison Rd., Brookshire
Dewberry Farm has a whimsical Christmas Village where guests can shop, meet Santa, "choose-n-cut" a Christmas tree, and enjoy loads of rides, activities, and photo ops. But the real attraction is the lights! Hop on a big red wagon for a ride through the woods to a spectacular Christmas lights show — the magical Trail of Lights. 
Covid-19 update: Dewberry Farm requires, in accordance with the state mandate, that customers wear a face covering wherever it is not feasible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing from another individual not in the same household.
 
The Holidays at Moody Gardens - Galveston
1 Hope Blvd., Galveston
Guests can expect dazzling light displays and tons of holiday activities during The Holidays at Moody Gardens, from outdoor ice skating to showings of classic holiday films, an Arctic Slide, train rides, fireside s'mores, and other festive family fun. 
Covid-19 update: All local and statewide health standards and requirements are being strictly adhered to throughout Moody Gardens.

Sugar Land Holiday Lights - Sugar Land
1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land
Sugar Land's Constellation Field comes alive at night with more than 100 walkthrough displays made up of 2.5 million lights. Kids are especially entranced by the massive inflatable snow globe and activities.
Covid-19 update: All local and statewide health standards and requirements are being strictly adhered to and guests will be temperature checked upon arrival.

 

Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo

The light displays at the zoo are ferociously fantastic. Photo courtesy of Houston Zoo

Zoo Lights - Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston
Lions and tigers and light displays, oh my! The Zoo completely transforms into a holiday wonderland with colorful scenes around every corner. You can read more about tips and tricks for enjoying Zoo Lights here
Covid-19 update: All guests 10 and older are required to wear face masks and follow social distancing protocols while at the Zoo.
 
Santa's Wonderland - College Station
18898 Hwy. 6, S., College Station
Although this requires a bit of a drive, a trip to College Station is definitely worth it to experience Santa's Wonderland. Tour Santa's magical world, take a hayride, a carriage tour, and enjoy the beautiful light displays.
Covid-19 update: All local and statewide health standards and requirements are being strictly adhered to at Santa's Wonderland.
 
Texas Winter LightsDowntown Houston
1777 Walker Street, Houston
Take part in an interactive walking or float-through lights experience at the Marriott Marquis Houston. Guests can swim through the lights in the Texas-shaped lazy river, snap photos among the lights, play light-up lawn games, and dine at High Dive. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 2-6. 
Covid-19 update: Guests are required to wear a face mask when in public areas of the hotel and social distancing is encouraged.
 
5111 Pine Ave, Pasadena
Indulge in some holiday magic at the annual Hometown Holidays and Trail of Lights. With over 100,000 lights to see, games for the kids, and more there is no shortage of holiday cheer to enjoy. 

Holiday Light Tours

Houston Historical Tours Holiday Lights Tour - Various locations
Hit multiple Houston hotspots for holiday lights with your choice of 9 holiday light tours by Houston Historical Tours. Bus tours last from 3-7 hours and take you to various stopping points to see light displays while enjoying holiday music and playing trivia games on board.
Covid-19 update: All guests are asked to wear masks and gloves and will be temperature checked upon arrival.

River Oaks Christmas Lights - River Oaks
1600 River Oaks Blvd, Houston
Travel into a holiday wonderland as you tour the River Oaks neighborhood. Homes are decked out in unparalleled holiday lights' displays and Santa is even hanging out at one of the houses! 
Covid-19 update: Because guests remain in their vehicles the entire time, social distancing is built-in to the experience!

For more neighborhoods and homes around Houston with over-the-top light displays, we've got you covered! Check them out here.

This post originally published in 2017.

Holidays at Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens - various times Pick
Santa's Wonderland
Santa's Wonderland - various times Pick
Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo
Houston Zoo - various times Pick
Santa Visits
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Neighborhood Guides
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