Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
It’s the most sparkliest time of the year—or, at least, it’s time for all those lights and big Christmas trees to make their appearances around town. In a city the size of Houston, attending only one tree lighting will not do. We have you covered, though, with six—free!—tree lighting events (featuring the occasional Santa) to get you prepped and ready for that holiday spirit.
5015 Westheimer Rd
Where: In the middle of the Ice Rink at the Galleria
Why you should go: Like any good mega retail shopping mecca, the Galleria had their tree lighting event in early November before we were even finished eating our Halloween candy. Just because we missed the official lighting, though, doesn’t mean that visiting this huge tree is not worth your time. Their impressive Christmas tree stands 55 feet tall and features 450,000 lights and over 5,000 ornaments.
Pro tip: If you want to get up close and personal, lace up some skates and hit the Ice at the Galleria. Holiday pricing is between $18 and $20, and you can find their hours here. While you’re at the mall, take a photo with Santa and cross some items off your shopping list.
When: November 28, 4-7pm
Where: Uptown Houston, 1908 Post Oak Boulevard
Why you should go: What fun is seeing one tree being lit when you could see 300? The Uptown Holiday Lighting Event and Fireworks Show has just that, with Santa conducting the ceremonial lighting of 300 all-new, 20-foot trees, each with 249 individually controlled LED lights. This will be the first year this new lighting technology will be used to make Post Oak Boulevard sparkle and dance through the holiday season. As if that wasn’t enough, the event ends with a fireworks show.
Pro tip: The Houston Concert Band will keep everyone in a festive mood, and there will be holiday concessions for sale along with some art cars on display. If you miss the lighting but want to check out the new trees on your own, don’t forget to download the specially designed Uptown Music App.
When: November 30, 5-8pm
Where: Hermann Square at City Hall
Why you should go: Mayor Sylvester Turner will be kicking off the celebration of 100 years at City Hall with the Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular. This centennial event will feature the lighting of the Houston holiday tree and signals the start of holiday events downtown. The Grammy-nominated sisters Chloe x Halle will be headlining the event, with additional performances by American Idol finalist Uché and Grammy-nominated rapper B.O.B. Theater Under The Stars (TUTS) will also be bringing the holiday spirit to Houston with a number from Elf: The Musical.
Pro tip: There’s Santa in Gingerbread Village where you can snap your holiday photo for free! The city is also collecting donations for the World’s Ultimate Toy Drive, to benefit Toys for Tots, if you want to bring a new toy to donate.
When: December 2 at 5:30pm
Where: In front of the West U Community Building, 6104 Auden Street
Why you should go: The West U Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony keeps the focus on local flair. There will be performances from Tippie Toes and Gwen’s Dance Studio ballerinas, cookie decorating stations, and even a professional ice sculptor. The event will also feature several holiday-themed “selfie stations” with a giant gift-wrapped box and mistletoe gazebo. Finally, you won’t want to miss the tree lighting itself…and a special appearance by Santa Claus.
Pro tip: They will also announce the winners of the West U Coloring Contest. You have from now until November 26 to turn in our entries. You can find all of the rules and the coloring page itself here.
When: December 5, 6-8:30pm
Where: Bellaire Town Square and Loftin Park
Why you should go: Bellaire’s Holiday in the Park is an event we look forward to each year. While the tree lighting is certainly something to see (it’s Bellaire’s official one!), this event also boasts storytelling, a petting zoo, and our favorite…snow slides.
Pro tip: Photos with Santa are available for purchase from Natural Expressions, and there’ll be a number of booths from local restaurants and civic groups.
Sugar Land Town Square
Sugar Land, TX
When: December 6, 5-8pm
Where: Sugar Land Town Square Plaza
Why you should go: The city of Sugar Land is celebrating their 60th birthday with the annual lighting of the tree. The crowd will count down from 10 before the 40 foot-tree, showcasing special 60th-anniversary ornaments, is lit—followed by a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” The event ends with a small fireworks display and snow throughout the plaza.
Pro tip: In addition to the tree lighting, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance for photo ops. There will also be holiday crafts, face painting, and performances by several local artists and choirs.