Christmas in Houston is sure to be a fun time! While snow doesn’t often come in December, you can still experience plenty of Christmas cheer with many of the amazing Christmas lights displays!
Seeing the Christmas lights is fun for all ages, and children will love them, making it the perfect annual family tradition. But plenty of adults will be sure to enjoy seeing them as well. But if you want to see some stunning Christmas lights, where should you go?
Houston is a big city (much bigger than many people think), so you can find Christmas light displays all over the city. Some are huge events and can sprawl whole city blocks, while others are much smaller.
But big or small you’ll be sure to have a good time. So, if you’re looking to see some Christmas lights this year, let’s look at our picks for the best Christmas lights in Houston.
The Best Christmas Lights in Houston
With so many Christmas lights displays to see, choosing our top picks wasn’t easy. Houston is a very festive city during Christmas time, so you have plenty of options.
We’ve selected our favorites based on several factors, including location, size, activities, and much more.
1. The Houston Zoo Lights
|Late November - Early January
|$10 - $20
|Houston Zoo, Hermann Park Dr, Houston, Texas, 77030
A trip to the Houston Zoo is a great day out any time of the year, but it’s extra-special at Christmas. For the past eight years, the zoo has celebrated Christmas by holding its own unique animal-themed lights display!
The Houston Zoo can be found at Hermann Park and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The now annual Christmas lights display is usually held around late November to early January, giving you plenty of time to visit.
It’s ideal for children and families but will be plenty of fun for adults too! Highlights of the display in previous years have included a 30-foot Christmas tree, traditional Texas-style lights, and plenty of animal-themed displays.
It’s not your usual trip to the zoo as the animals will be safe indoors resting, but it’s still sure to be a fun night out. Other activities are held during the event like workshops for children, and you can even visit Santa himself!
2. Prestonwood Forest Lights
|Mid-November - Early January
|Prestonwood Forest, Houston, Texas, 77070
You can find Prestonwood Forest towards the northwest of Houston. This quiet community is close to Cypresswood and the Houston Methodist Hospital. The sprawling neighborhood totally transforms around the Christmas period into a stunning Christmas lights display!
To simply describe the spectacle that awaits you won’t do this display justice! But I’ll do my best to showcase just how amazing the Prestonwood Forest lights look. For over 40-years, people all around the neighborhood have decorated their homes to create fantastic festive displays.
There is a great sense of community, and friendly competition has homeowners compete to win awards. Locals and tourists alike can benefit by visiting the neighborhood during Christmas to see how the area is transformed.
Households are encouraged to think outside the box with their displays! So, while you might see plenty of traditional lights like snowmen, Christmas trees, and Santas, you’ll likely see plenty of more unique, unusual displays as well.
Visiting is free too! This is always a bonus, and adults and children alike will be sure to enjoy exploring around the neighborhood. Bring a few hot drinks with you, and you could easily spend most of the night admiring the beautiful displays.
3. The Moody Gardens Festival of Lights
|Mid-November - Early January
|Moody Gardens, Galveston Island
We’ve already mentioned some of the great gardens you can visit in Houston. But a trip to the Moody Gardens around Christmas time is something extra-special! The Moody Gardens Festival of Lights takes place on Galveston Island.
The festival is an annual tradition, and each year new attractions are added. Classics like Christmas trees, nutcracker figures, traditional Christmas toys, and more are among the incredible displays. We particularly like the large Christmas train.
A mile-long trail around the gardens is decorated, so you’ll have plenty to see! It’s estimated that over 2 million lights are illuminated during the display, so you can imagine just how stunning it is to see up close.
4. Candy Wonderland Lights Display
|Early November - Early January
|Quincannon Lane, Houston, Texas, 77043
The quirky Candy Wonderland Christmas lights display is held on Quincannon Lane in central Houston. This annual event is a favorite of many Houston families, and if you’re visiting Houston during December, we strongly recommend stopping by! Best of all, it’s completely free too.
Held and hosted by the Spring Shadows neighborhood, these magnificent lights are sure to add some extra-festive magic to your Christmas celebrations. As the name implies, this event is candy-themed, with highlights including illuminated gingerbread men, huge candy canes, and much more.
It’s like seeing a fairy tale up close and sure to wonder and delight young children. The Candy Wonderland Lights Display is a vehicle-only experience, so you can’t travel on foot. While this is a shame, it does allow the hosts to build much larger displays.
The wonderland is undoubtedly a delight to see and will be a great way to bring some festive cheer. It can get very busy so expect to wait and travel slowly around the neighborhood. But this will give you even more time to admire the lights.
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5. River Oaks District’s Lights Up
|Late November - Late December
|River Oaks, Houston, Texas
Found just off the River Oaks Blvd, you’ll find the fantastic Lights Up Christmas lights display! This annual event is ideal for anyone looking to see some stunning Christmas lights. The River Oaks community is well-known in Houston for its grandiose Christmas lights display.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and this certainly holds true when you see these great lights. The local River Oaks community up the ante every year with more extensive and more intricate displays.
Large light-up Christmas trees, penguins, polar bears, snowmen, and much more can all be seen around the neighborhood. There are also some great dessert stores you can visit that are open late during the festive period.
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy an ice cream or some hot chocolate while checking out the lights?
You can drive around the sprawling displays or travel by foot, and best of all, the Lights Up Christmas display is entirely free. It does get very busy, though, so it may take a while to see everything.
6. The Galaxy Lights Display
|Mid-November - Early December
|NASA Parkway, Houston, Texas, 77058
Houston is the capital for space exploration, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn of this stunning space-themed lights display. Held at the popular tourist attraction Space Centre Houston on the NASA Parkway, this spectacular and otherworldly annual event is a great place to see a new spin on the traditional Christmas lights display.
The attraction usually opens around mid-November and lasts till early January, so you have plenty of time to visit. During the display, you’ll see some striking space-themed lights, including aliens, rocket ships, planets, and more.
The event is very high-tech, and organizers are always looking for new ways to improve the display. So, you can look forward to seeing some very advanced technology, including laser lights, music, themed displays, and even a replica shuttlecraft!
You’ll be able to get some fantastic photographs as your journey around the exhibition space, so if you enjoy space or Sci-Fi, be sure to visit. Tickets cost around $20, and it’s recommended that you spend about 90 minutes at the display to ensure you see everything.
#7. The Shepherd Park Plaza Christmas Lights
Finally, we have another fantastic central Houston lights display. Just past Ella Blvd, you’ll find the famous Shepherd Park Plaza. Every Christmas around mid to late November the plaza is transformed into a fantastic festive wonderland!
The Christmas lights display at the plaza has a very rich history; it was started in the late 1960s and is a favorite of many locals. You can see some beautiful displays, and homeowners are encouraged to think outside the box to stand out.
Whether you’re traveling by car or on foot, from musical displays to traditional lights, there is plenty to see. It might not be the most intricate or complex Christmas light display in Houston, but it’s got a classic charm that is sure to appeal to families. Best of all, visiting the Christmas lights is also completely free.
|Late November - Early January
|Shepherd Park Plaza, Houston, Texas, 77018
So, that is seven impressive Christmas lights displays in Houston you can look forward to visiting during the festive season. There is plenty of magic to see in Houston during the Christmas period, from traditional lights to out-of-the-world exhibitions and candy wonderlands.
If you’re looking for more great outdoor places to visit, check out our guide to the best parks in Houston.