Driving around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights is a treasured childhood pastime for many of us, and Houstonians are dedicated to keeping this tradition alive. With magical light displays, imaginative holiday decorations and homeowners who transform their front lawns into winter wonderlands all across the city, Houstonians take the phrase “merry and bright” to a whole new level. No matter which Empire community you live in, there’s sure to be a spectacular light display near you, so bundle up the kids, grab some hot chocolate, jump in the car and go Christmas cruising.
THE HOUSTON ZOO
Find one of city’s best-loved holiday displays at the Houston Zoo, which is home to a 100-foot long infinity tunnel of light, a 4-D enchanted forest, giant ice dragon, a “snowy” winter wonderland and plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate every moment. The zoo also offers opportunities to decorate your own churros, make s’mores and much more. For more information, visit the Houston Zoo.
LIGHTS IN THE HEIGHTS
Admire the holiday handiwork of Woodland Heights homeowners at Lights in the Heights on Saturday, December 14. Stroll along the pedestrian route (the route map can be viewed here) while taking in the beautifully decorated homes, which include displays that range from classic white twinkle lights to electric and colorful scenes. Plus, enjoy the seasonal sounds of carollers, jazz bands and more playing on their porches as you walk along.
Prestonwood Forest’s annual Nite of Lites event encourages visitors to share in the community’s spirit of well-decorated homes by voting for their favorite in two categories: an individual home prize and block recognition. Recognized in the Greater Houston area for over 40 years, the Nite of Lites begins the second week of December and runs until the end of the month.
Pecan Grove residents love to show their holiday spirit this time of year with a Christmas Lighting contest. Front lawns are lit and decorated as early as November 25, with community visitors voting for first, second and third place winners.
JOHNSON’S CHRISTMAS CORNER
The Johnson family moved into their home in Cypress, Texas in 2005 and have been decorating it for the holidays ever since. Their impressive display includes 70,000 lights synchronized to more than 50 songs as well as snow and bubble machines. And for neighbors on the nice list, Santa is available certain nights for family photos.
SUGAR LAND HOLIDAY LIGHTS
A fitting name for a city with one of the best holiday displays, Sugar Land, Texas, transforms its Constellation Field into a sparkling winter wonderland with more than three million lights and numerous themed displays. The ticketed event promises fun for the whole family with a variety of vendors, food stations and the chance to meet Kris Kringle in person.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy at Dewberry Farm, from a wagon ride through the Christmas Tree Forest to see the incredible Trail of Lights, to a whimsical Christmas village with twinkling lights, garlands, tinsel and more.
Bringing the spirit of Christmas to Katy, Texas, this family has been decorating their home for 13 years, with new themes introduced annually. Visitors wanting to see the light show should visit between 5:30pm and 9:00pm Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30pm and 10:00pm Friday and Saturday, tuning their radio to FM 89.9 to hear music timed to the lights.
CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE OF LIGHTS ON LAKE CONROE
Residents and visitors alike are invited to set sail on the Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on Lake Conroe on Saturday, December 14; or, nab a viewing spot to watch the beautifully-lit boats sailing towards the Waterpoint Marina. Visit their website for ticket information and availability.
MARKET STREET IN LIGHTS
If you missed the Woodlands’ 70-foot Christmas tree lighting celebration back in November, don’t be a humbug. The tree, which is synchronized to twinkling lights and holiday music, remains lit until the end of the year, making holiday shopping on Market Street a memorable experience.
HOUSTON’S MAGICAL WINTER LIGHTS
Step into a larger-than-life festival at Houston’s Magical Winter Lights fest, which offers a fresh take on traditional holiday light shows that include landmarks from around the world and more than 100 individual lantern sets in eight uniquely-themed sections.
MOODY GARDENS FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
One of Galveston’s top light displays, the Moody Gardens are where you’ll find a four-story digital Christmas tree, more than two million festive lights, ice sculptures, live performances and more. For more holiday festivities in Galveston you don’t want to miss, click here.
Images courtesy of The Houston Zoo (zoo); Culture Map Houston (Lights in the Heights); Chron (Nite of Lights); My Fort Bend (Pecan Grove); Johnson’s Christmas Corner via Facebook (Johnson’s Christmas Corner); Sugar Land Holiday Lights (Sugar Land); Dewberry Farm via Twitter (Dewberry Farm); Christmas Katy (Christmas Katy); eTrade (boat parade); Elektromain Image (Market Square); Eat Work Travel (Houston holiday lights); Vadim Troshkin via Pinterest (Moody Gardens).