Downtown’s Family-Friendly Holiday Guide

Whether you’re looking for a Saturday afternoon ice skating soiree with the little ones, or something for your extended family to do while in town – we’ve got you covered. Below is a list of our favorite events to experience with your family in tow!

MISTLETOE ON THE GO!

Pucker up—Texas’ biggest mistletoe ball is coming back to downtown this holiday season. Mistletoe on the Go!, a 150-inch ball of kiss-inducing greenery hanging from a 15-foot giant candy cane, will be located at Market Square Park starting November 16 through New Year’s day. Passersby are invited to stand under the massive ball and kiss—just because!   Share your smooches using #XOmistletoe.

HOLIDAY ART MARKETS

WINTER FLEA BY NIGHT

Nov 23 & 30, Dec 7, 14 & 21 Presented by Green Mountain Energy, this popular flea market expands to a weekly event for the winter! The destination market features an array of artful kitsch, vintage items, recycled and repurposed objects and collectibles with live music, food trucks and more! 6 pm-10 pm.  Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. discoverygreen.com

POP SHOP HOLIDAY AT THE PARK

Dec 7 Cross a few names off your Christmas list at Popshop America’s Holiday Market in Market Square Park! Find the perfect gifts and enjoy demonstrations by local artisans, stylish DIYs, live music, a hot chocolate bar and more. Free. 10 am-4 pm. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. popshopamerica.com

SIGNATURE EVENTS

70TH ANNUAL H-E-B THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE

Nov 28 The Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade is a 70-year-old holiday tradition showcasing the Houston community and entertaining thousands of parade-goers lining the streets on Thanksgiving morning. Decorative floats, talented marching bands, high-flying balloons, and other uniquely artistic entries will take over Downtown for this special day of celebration. The parade route begins at Lamar and Smith. Free. 9 am. houstonthanksgivingparade.org

100TH ANNUAL RELIANT LIGHTS MAYOR’S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR

Nov 30 This spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, fireworks and family fun, leaving behind a towering holiday tree, glowing with lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper to light up the streets of Downtown Houston this holiday season. Free. 5 pm. City Hall, 901 Bagby. houstontx.gov

11TH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD BUILD-OFF

Dec 7 Architecture Center Houston will host the 11th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall's Hermann Square Saturday December 7, 2019. Competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100% edible materials. More than 4,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids' construction zone, and see Santa! Free. 10 am – 4:30 pm. Hermann Square, 900 Smith Street.  aiahouston.org

HOLIDAY FUN

BUFFALO BAYOU CHRISTMAS CRUISES

Dec 6-7, 13-14 & 20-21 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership in celebrating the holiday season with 45-minute pontoon boat rides along Buffalo Bayou! Enjoy festive boat lighting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and hot chocolate to keep your spirits warm. $15. Various times. 1001 Commerce. buffalobayou.org

HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD DECORATING CLASS AT PHOENICIA

Dec 7, 14 & 21 A festive event where kids can decorate gingerbread houses, enjoy holiday activities and a tasty seasonal brunch menu. There will be plenty of hot cocoa, holiday music and fun International holiday stories for all! Space is limited and registration is required. Ages 3-11. 11 am – 12:30 pm. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown. 1001 Austin. phoeniciafoods.com

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

Dec 7-8, 14-15, & 21-24 Families are invited to the Downtown Aquarium for a ho-ho-holiday Breakfast with Santa. The buffet-style breakfast will feature an assortment of food, fun with Sharkey and an active Santa Claus swimming around in the tank with all the different marine life, taking photos with the guests. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. downtownaquarium.com

THE ICE AT DISCOVERY GREEN

Through Feb 2 Ice skating returns to Downtown Houston this holiday season! Lace up your skates and get ready for a memorable winter experience on the largest outdoor ice-skating rink in the Southwest. Admission $15. For schedule of weekly events, holiday hours and more information, visit discoverygreen.com/ice

SCREEN ON THE GREEN PRESENTED BY BANK OF AMERICA

Watch a great throwback movie from the hill or catch a peek from The ICE! See website for full movie list and details. 7 pm.

Nov 23 Dumbo (PG) 2019, 112 min.             

Dec 5 Miracle on 34th Street (NR) 1947, 96 min.  

Dec 12 It’s a Wonderful Life (PG) 1947, 130 min.      

Dec 19 A Christmas Story (PG) 1983, 98 min.

Dec 26 A Dog’s Way Home (PG) 2019, 137 min.              

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