Thanksgiving Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Parades, Turkey Trots, Holiday Lights, Nov. 23-26

Things to do around Houston with kids this Thanksgiving weekend

First and foremost: Happy Thanksgiving! While our city suffered major devastation earlier this year, we still have so much to be thankful for in our great city, and for those interested in spending paying it forward we've rounded up some wonderful holiday volunteering opportunities

If you find yourself in a last-minute panic over how to feed incoming guests and decide you just want to scrap the cooking entirely, there are plenty of great restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day ready to serve you and your family and friends. 

After Thursday's feast, it's officially time to start looking at Christmas. That means planning photos with Santa, as well as breakfast, brunch, and more with the big guy. There are also still plenty of craft fairs and markets happening, making gift-buying for the holidays a breeze, especially if you decided to opt out of the Black Friday shopping craziness. 

Find yourself in need of some family-friendly activities to fill up the upcoming weeks and weekends? Check out our fall bucket listevent calendar, and November GoList for tons of family events and activities. You can also subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to make sure you're always in the loop with everything happening around Houston. 

Have an event you want to share? You'll definitely want to submit your event to our calendar, and we'll share it with all of our loyal readers.

Now, let's get on to this weekend's events!

Ready to {turkey} trot on Thanksgiving/Photo via YMCA of Greater Houston

Thanksgiving Day - Thursday

City of Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade - Downtown

H-E-B presents the city of Houston's 68th annual Thanksgiving Parade, where families can expect traditional parade floats, attractions, and entertainment. The parade winds through 20 blocks of downtown Houston throughout the morning, beginning at Lamar and Smith.

Thanksgiving Public Skate at The Ice at The Galleria - Galleria 

Get moving after a day full of food by spending the evening skating at The Ice at The Galleria. Doors open at 5pm. 

2017 TXU Energy Turkey Trot - Galleria

Join 20,000 of your closest runner friends for one of the largest foot races in Houston on Thanksgiving morning, and support Neighborhood Centers in the process. Neighborhood Centers is the largest community development organization in Texas and is dedicated to bettering Houston-area families.

Katy Family YMCA Turkey Dash - Katy

Come out for the 15th annual Katy Family YMCA Turkey Dash this Thanksgiving and enjoy a morning filled with running, a Thanksgiving costume contest, and lots of post-race fun. All proceeds from this race are given to the Annual Campaign to provide scholarships to various programs.

Bay Area Turkey Day 10k/5k/Kids K - Clear Lake

Kick off Thanksgiving the right way by running the Bay Area Turkey Day fun run with the family.

Pearland Turkey Trot - Pearland

Runners and walkers of every fitness level are welcome at this Thanksgiving fun run. Runners can choose from a 4 and 6 mile distance, walkers can sign up for the 1 mile family walk, and kids can get in on the action by participating in the Kids K.

32nd Annual Sugar Land Turkey Trot - Sugar Land

Known as the original Turkey Trot in the Greater Houston area, the 32nd annual Sugar Land Turkey Trot is one you don't want to miss. Costumes are encouraged at this race, and the winner of the costume contest will be awarded a $100 Finish Line gift card. Participants are encouraged to bring canned goods, warm clothing, and running shoes for East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry in Stafford.

Lake Jackson Turkey Trot - Lake Jackson

Start off Thanksgiving Day on a positive note by doing something active while supporting the students of the Lake Jackson Intermediate Band Program. All you need to do is sign up for the Lake Jackson Turkey Trot and show up to the start line Thanksgiving morning.

The Harvest Thanks for Giving Family Fun Run - Missouri City

The 2nd annual Thanks for Giving Family Fun Run is the perfect way to spend the morning with family before digging in to your Thanksgiving feast. Proceeds from the race help Lunches of Love provide free, nutritious sack lunches to Fort Bend children during extended school holidays and weekends.

L3 Turkey Day 5k - Kingwood

Start Thanskgiving Day with a family Turkey Trot. 

See all Thursday events.

Larger than life holiday light displays/Photo via Sugar Land Holiday Lights

All Weekend - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Sugar Land Holiday Lights - Sugar Land

The annual Sugar Land Holiday Lights puts more than 2.5 million lights on display with eight themes and more than 100 walkthrough displays, a massive inflatable snow globe, apperances by Santa Claus, local food trucks, and lots of activities for the kids.

Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights - Galveston

Head down to Moody Gardens for its massive annual Festival of Lights. Activities include outdoor ice skating, an ice slide, pictures with Santa, and tons of holiday games and activities. There are even showings of classic holiday films.

Zoo Lights - Museum District

The Houston Zoo is transformed into a magical winter wonder light experience for the entire family to enjoy.

Holiday Flea: Black Friday Weekend at Silver Street - Greater Heights

Buy handmade crafts, arts, and other gifts created by local artists, designers, and craftsmen at the Holiday Flea at Silver Street Studios. There are also local food trucks and food vendors, a pet adoption event, live music, and more.

Smile with Santa at Market Street - The Woodlands

Take photos with Santa at Market Street in The Woodlands. You'll find him next to Maggie's.

Magical Winter Lights - La Marque

Magical Winter Lights immerses guests in elaborate light displays of various themes, like Mystery of the East and Dinosaur Land. There is a holiday market, carnival games, arts and crafts, a food court, and children's fun zone.

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas - Downtown

Enjoy Houston's rendition of the holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol," which follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey with three ghostly spirits.

Pearland Exchange Club Winter Market - Pearland

Find unique holiday, high-end crafts and gifts at this free, family-friendly market. In addition to lots of great vendors there are also food trucks, beverages, a humidor, and family fun. 

MATCH Presents: A Charlie Brown Christmas - Downtown

Enjoy the holiday classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and see the Peanuts gang discover the real meaning of Christmas at the Main Street Theater. 

The Woodlands Ballet Theatre Presents "The Nutcracker" - The Woodlands

The Payne Academy of Performing Arts and Woodlands Ballet Ensemble present "The Nutcracker."

See all Weekend Events

Celebrating the start of the holiday season at Deck the Trees/Photo via the Alley Theatre


Professor Hughdini at The Woodlands Children's Museum - The Woodlands

Get a dose of magic from Professor Hughdini as he performs acts that mystify the mind. 

Funfetti Fridays on The ICE at Discovery Green - Downtown

Turn Friday night up a notch at Funfett Fridays by skating your way around the ice while listening to a live DJ spin your favorite tunes. 

Movie Night at Levy Park: A Christmas Story - Upper Kirby

Watch the holiday favorite A Christmas Story under the stars. 

11th Annual Deck the Trees at Alley Theatre - Downtown

Watch the Alley Theatre undergo it's holiday transformation at the 11th annual Deck the Trees Tree Lighting Ceremony. 

10th Annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez - Galveston

Celebrate the start of the holidays at the 10th annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebation. The evening includes live holiday entertainment, a visit from Santa, and the lighting of Hotel Galvez's Christmas tree. 

Storybook Theater at The Woodlands Children's Museum - The Woodlands

Foster a love of reading early on by attending Storybook Theatre every Friday at The Woodlands Children's Museum. Each week brings a new book coupled with songs, rhymes, and finger plays. 

See all Friday events

Skating with Santa/Photo via Discovery Green


Breakfast with Santa at Maggiano's - Galleria

Dig in to a breakfast buffet featuring eggs, bacon, French toast, Italian potatoes, fresh fruit, and more, then enjoy crafts for the kids and photos with Santa. Reservations are required.

Shop Small Saturday at Sugar Land Town Square - Sugar Land

Support your local small businesses at Shop Small Business Saturday. In addition to being able to visit tons of great local shops and restaurants, from 10am-5pm the kids have a chance to meet Frosty, Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Nutcracker Toy Soldier, and Christmas carolers. 

Holiday Tree Lighting at Hendley Green - Galveston

You'll find fun for the whole family at this Holiday Tree Lighting. Kids can mail letters to Santa and snap photos with him, there are family-friendly games throughout the afternoon, and the lighting of the Queen's Christmas Tree happens at 5:30 p.m. 

Skate with Santa at Discovery Green - Downtown

Have fun with Santa on the Ice at Discovery Green!

Holiday Wonderland in Burrough's Park - Tomball

Burroughs Park welcomes the entire family for holiday games and activities, crafts, a petting zoo, screenings of favorite holiday movies, and more, plus Santa will make an appearance too!

Jingle & Mingle at The Square - Memorial

Join Memorial City's giant reindeer every Saturday for dancing and singing to live music in the snow at Jingle & Mingle. 

See all Saturday Events.

Spend the night watching figure skating stars take over the ice/Photo via Discovery Green 


Photos with Santa at Sugar Land Town Square - Sugar Land

Visit Santa Claus and take a FREE photo with him at the Sugar Land Town Square. 

Zines y Más - Galveston

Spend the afternoon checking out new zines, music, prints, gifts, and other merchandise at this FREE family-friendly pop-up market. 

Houston Skating Starz at Discovery Green - Downtown

Enjoy this FREE event at Discovery Green and watch Houston's top figure skaters show off on the Ice!

Sunday Family Zone at MFAH - Museum District

Families are invited to drop in and enjoy a variety of games, activities, looking guides, books, and mini-tours of the galleries.

Sunday Family Studio at MFAH - Museum District

The Museum of Fine Arts hosts this workshop for families to enjoy creating masterpieces together.

See all Sunday Events.

Photo courtesy Discovery Green