Free & Cheap Holiday Movies in Houston

Houston holiday moviesThere is no shortage of free and cheap holiday movies in Houston this season!

Here is a cheat sheet to keep you organized & ensure you don’t miss your favorite!

A Christmas Story (Studio Movie Grill, $5)
December 3

Elf Quote-Along (Central Green Park, free)
December 4, dusk

Elf! (Kings Harbor Waterfront Village, free)
December 4, 7 pm

A Christmas Story (Discovery Green, free)
December 5, 7:30 pm

Polar Express (Dow Park Pavilion, free)
December 5, 7 pm

Miracle on 34th Street (Discovery Green, free)
December 12, 7:30 pm

Jingle All the Way (Tomball Depot, free)
December 13

Elf! (Sugar Land Town Square, free)
December 13, 7:30 pm

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Market Square Park, free)
December 13, 7 pm

Frozen (Discovery Green, free) — not holiday but winter!
December 19, 7:30 pm

The Muppets Christmas Carol (Studio Movie Grill, $5)
December 23

It’s a Wonderful Life (Studio Movie Grill, $5)
December 24

Home Alone (Discovery Green, free)
December 26, 7:30 pm

Locations:
  Discovery Green — 1500 McKinney (downtown)
  Market Square Park — 301 Milam (downtown)
  Sugar Land Town Square — 2711 Town Center Blvd.
  Central Green Park — 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd, Katy
  Tomball Depot — 201 S. Elm
  Dow Park Pavilion — 610 E. Augustine, Deer Park
  Kings Harbor Waterfront-- 1660 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Kingwood

15 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Houston

Thanksgiving week fun in Houston

 

 

If you’re entertaining family or friends in Houston for Thanksgiving, then check out these Thanksgiving week ideas for lots of local fun:

 

 

WEDNESDAY, November 26

Houston Ballet Tree Lighting1. Houston Ballet Tree Lighting — The 27th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is at 11 am, November 26, at the Wortham Theater Center. Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker will flip the switch for the big event in the Wortham Grand Foyer. Enjoy costumed characters from The Nutcracker, local musical groups, and refreshments. Wortham Theater Center is located at 501 Texas at Smith Street.  photo courtesy Houston Ballet

2. Children’s Museum of Houston — Enjoy the Great Gobbler Thanksgiving Parade Wednesday beginning at 1 pm. Kids will design banners, vests, and pennants for the parade beforehand. Then visit with Santa from 2 pm – 4 pm. {Auditorium doors open at 12:30 pm to the first 160 parade participants.} Located at 1500 Binz.

3. City Hall Farmers Market — Get healthy and buy local produce for your Thanksgiving Day feast from the City Hall Farmers Market, Wednesday, 11 am – 1:30 pm. You’ll also find locally prepared foods ready to eat for lunch. Located at 901 Bagby.

4. Central Green Park — Catch a free outdoor movie at Katy’s Central Green Park! Despicable Me begins at dusk for relaxing moments on Thanksgiving Eve! Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

THURSDAY, November 27

5. Thanksgiving Day Parade — Don’t miss Houston’s 65th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, Houston on Parade, presented by H-E-B. The fun kicks off in downtown Houston Thanksgiving Day, 9 am.  Grand marshal is TLC’s The Little People couple, Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold and their two children. Viewing is free along the parade route. No bleacher or VIP seats are available for purchase. The parade begins on Lamar at Smith and ends at Smith and Dallas.

6. TXU Energy Turkey Trot — Get an early start to your day at TXU Energy Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving morning, 7 am. It can be a family memory! Races include 5K, 10K, and kids run. Prices are $30-$35 for adults and $10 for kids. Proceeds benefit families served by Neighborhood Centers.

7. Uptown Holiday Lighting — Catch the Uptown Holiday Lighting Thanksgiving Day night for the spectacular 29th annual kick-off of the holiday season. Holiday music and treats from your favorite food trucks and concessions begin at 4 pm with live music on stage at 5 pm. At 7 pm, Santa lights Post Oak Boulevard’s 80 trees with half-a-million twinkling lights. Fireworks will top the night. Uptown Houston is on Post Oak Boulevard between San Felipe and Westheimer. This is a wonderful free family event with music, holiday characters, and Santa! photo: flickr/heytiffany

FRIDAY, November 28

8. Pop Shop Houston — Skip Black Friday crazies and head to Pop Shop Houston November 28-29, noon – 8 pm at Silver Street Studios and November 30, noon – 6 pm. The 3-day event features an indie craft, art and music fest with lots of independent handcrafted goods and activities plus crafts for the kids and its first Fashion Show. Don’t miss the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest Sunday! Silver Street Studios is located at 2000 Edwards.

9. Friday Night Flicks at The ICE – Catch a free outdoor movie at Friday Night Flicks at The ICE November 28, 8:30 pm at Discovery Green. Maleficent is the feature this week. Movies will be oriented towards the rink but you are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs and watch from the White Promenade or The Lake House deck. Free movies are held each Friday during the skating season. Discovery Green is located at 1500 McKinney.

10. Galveston Tree Lighting — Head to the island for the Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez Friday, 6 pm. Galveston Ballet and other talent will perform at this free family event. Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage for souvenir photos. Located at 2024 Seawall.

SATURDAY, November 29

11. Central Green Park — Head to Central Green Park in Katy Saturday for Arthur Christmas beginning at dusk. Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

EVERY DAY

12. Zoo Lights — Enjoy the Houston Zoo in a whole new light with TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo. The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland every night through January 4 with more than 50 animal-themed light displays and 15 miles of tree lighting, 6 pm – 10 pm each night. Sip hot chocolate or listen to carolers amidst the thousands of LED lights — a total of 2 million lights. Tickets are $12.95 – $14.95 each (depending on the night) or save $2 when purchasing online. During Houston Zoo Lights, the zoo will close at 5 pm and reopen at 6 pm.

13. Landry’s Weekend Adventure — Explore three Houston-area venues for the price of one! Landry’s is offering the Landry’s Weekend Adventure Pass with unlimited three-day admission and rides to Downtown Aquarium, Kemah Boardwalk, and Galveston’s Pleasure Pier for $39.99. This coupon is valid Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

14. The ICE at Discovery Green -- If you love the idea of skating outdoors, then head to The ICE at Discovery Green, which is open November 25 through February 8, 2015. $13 covers the skating fee for kids and adults. Enjoy Cheap Skate Nights each Monday for $6 skating, with Houston on the Cheap as the media partner! Discovery Green is located downtown at 1500 McKinney. photo: Discovery Green

15. Festival of Lights – Head to Galveston for Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens with 1 million lights, live entertainment, plus extra options for outdoor skating, holiday films, Ice Land ice sculptures, and more. Get 2-for-1 admission on Fridays when you donate a non-perishable food item. Food benefits Galveston County Food Bank. Tickets are $8.95.

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Zoo Lights Returns to Houston Zoo Through January 4

Zoo Lights displaySee the Houston Zoo is a whole new light! Zoo Lights returns to the Houston Zoo beginning tonight, November 21 through January 4, with two million lights illuminating throughout the area.

Houston Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland each night from 6 pm – 10 pm. You’ll enjoy colorful light displays, festive holiday music, strolling carolers and nightly performances, hot chocolate, and more. Several animal yards are lit up each night. Many animals are sleeping but expect to see many cats, large and small!

Browse indoor settings such as the Aquarium, Reptiles, and Natural Encounters. My family went and enjoyed seeing the Houston Zoo in a whole new experience at night. I also loved “Holly Berry,” the glowing 1957 Cadillac art car with lights and music. The cold weather that night just topped off the fun!

Zoo Lights car

Zoo Lights at Houston Zoo

Zoo Lights is separate admission from the Houston Zoo. During Zoo Lights, the zoo closes at 5 pm and re-opens at 6 pm for the magical light display.

There is a new pricing structure with Prime Nights (Friday & Saturday) at $14.95 and Value Nights (Sunday – Thursday generally) at $12.95. Houston Zoo members pay $10.95 and $12.95 depending on the night. Save $2 when you buy tickets online. No additional ticket fees are added — and you can skip the lines.

Parking can be tricky on busy nights. Ride the METROrail to the Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo station and walk across the street. Or on some busy nights, the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza garage will be open at 6411 Fannin for a flat fee — including a roundtrip trolley ride to the Zoo’s main entrance. Just watch for the signs if it’s open.

photos: Vicki Powers

Half-Price Holiday Fun: Festival of Lights, A Christmas Carol at Alley, Santa’s Wonderland & more

The daily deal folks added some great half-price deals for holiday fun in Houston. Here are a few that caught my eye today:

Moody Gardens Festival of LightsMoody Garden Festival of Lights & Pyramid$23 for Festival of Lights and Discovery Pyramid featuring the Ice Age Exhibit for Two ($49 value) or $45 for Festival of Lights and Discovery Pyramid featuring the Ice Age Exhibit for Four ($99 value)

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas (Alley Theatre @UH) – $30 for A Christmas Carol at Alley Theatre @ UH ($55 value)

Santa’s Wonderland (College Station) — $35 for Santa’s Wonderland for 2 plus hayride ($51.90 value) or $65 for 4 plus hayride ($103.80 value)

A Cardboard Christmas$10-$20 for ticket to A Cardboard Christmas, a new heartwarming holiday play at Grace Theater ($20-$40 value)

The 12 Divas of Christmas: All-Female Holiday Concert$17.50 for admission to The 12 Divas of Christmas: All-Female Holiday Concert at The Kaleidoscope ($35 value)

Bayou City Chorale Holiday Concert$10-$20 for admission to Bayou City Chorale Holiday Concert: 100 Voices in Harmony ($20-$40 value)

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas$23.50 for “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” by Chip Davis at Jones Hall ($41 value)

Galleria ice skatingIce Skating Camp at The Galleria$30-$40 for half-day or full day Ice Skating Camp at The Galleria during Thanksgiving Break week ($60-$80 value).

A Christmas Carol $7.50 for A Christmas Carol December 5-21 ($15 value)

An Irish Christmas$20 for An Irish Christmas featuring dance, music, storytelling and more ($40 value)

Ho Ho HumbugFREE tickets (+ $7 service fee) to Ho Ho Humbug at Studio 101 ($25 value)

Sister’s Christmas Catechism $10.50 for Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold ($21 value)

Chris-ma-hanu-kwanzika$15 for Chris-ma-hanu-kwanzika ($30 value)

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Early Black Friday Sale November 21 at Walmart

Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014Have you heard the news? Walmart is kicking off Black Friday a week early — on Friday, November 21!

Thanks to fellow Houston blogger Paul at I Heart The Mart for keeping us in the loop! Basically, the retailer is putting some of the competition’s best Black Friday deals on sale a week early.

Here are a few in the sales flyer:

  • 40″ Samsung: $298
  • Samsung Chromebook $199
  • Leap Pad 2: $49
  • 32″ Samsung LED: $198

Find all the details in his post here. Not sure yet how much will be available online.

Free Weekend Fun in Houston November 21-23

It’s another weekend in Houston with plenty of free fun! Check out these 14 Free Things to Do in Houston November 21-23:

Houston skyline

FRIDAY

Celebrate China — It’s the last event of the year at Miller Outdoor Theatre! Air China performs Friday and Saturday this weekend, 7:30 pm. This Broadway-style musical from our sister city (Shenzhen, China) “bridges Chinese and Western performing arts with spoken word, lyrics, music, acting, singing and dancing.” It is performed in both Mandarin and English. Located at 6000 Hermann Park Drive. Free reserved tickets are available on performance day at the Miller box office, 10:30 am – 1 pm.

Chill in the winter wonderland — Make holiday crafts, get a free photo with Santa, and enjoy all the free games and activities at Bass Pro Shops’ Santa’s Wonderland. The fun continues seven days a week through Christmas with games such as slot car racing, laser arcade, remote control trucks and activity tables. Craft making is 5 pm – 7 pm weekdays and noon to 5 pm weekends. Check out the full event calendar online here. Two locations at 5000 Katy Mills Circle and 1000 Basspro Drive in Pearland.

SATURDAY

Wander art warehouses — Houston’s 21st annual Artists Warehouse ArtCrawl hits the Houston Warehouse District Saturday, November 22, 10 am – 9 pm. This free event features more than 170 artists in art buildings, working studios, and homes showcasing their talent. Check out the ArtCrawl map online. Free parking donated by UH-Downtown.

Via Colori Chalk FestivalMarvel at the chalk artistsVia Colori was cancelled on Saturday due to weather. It will kick off Sunday at 10 am.  photo: Vicki Powers

Gaze at the stars — Thanks to the North Houston Astronomy Club, folks can gaze at the stars, planets, and other celestial bodies Saturday, 6 pm. Located at Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center in Humble. Reservations required.

Field of LightBe amazed with light — Don’t miss Field of Light Opening Celebration Saturday, 5 pm – 7 pm. This new art installation will be illuminated at Discovery Green through February. NOTE: Performances have been cancelled due to weather. Watch for new dates. Located at 1500 McKinney. photo: Discovery Green

Celebrate China — It’s the last event of the year at Miller Outdoor Theatre! Air China performs Saturday this weekend, 7:30 pm. This Broadway-style musical from our sister city (Shenzhen, China) “bridges Chinese and Western performing arts with spoken word, lyrics, music, acting, singing and dancing.” It is performed in both Mandarin and English. Located at 6000 Hermann Park Drive. Free reserved tickets are available on performance day at the Miller box office, 10:30 am – 1 pm.

Kick off the holidays in Katy — The Home for the Holidays Tree Lighting returns Saturday, 5 pm – 8 pm. The 7th annual celebration features music, kid fun, and lighting of the 30-ft tree. Located at LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Celebrate the holidays — Enjoy Home for the Holidays in Old Town Spring with live entertainment, Christmas carolers, lights, and holiday decorations. Different entertainment each weekend. Historic Old Town Spring is located at 130 Spring School Road in Spring.

Chill in the winter wonderland — Make holiday crafts, get a free photo with Santa, and enjoy all the free games and activities at Bass Pro Shops’ Santa’s Wonderland. The fun continues seven days a week through Christmas with games such as slot car racing, laser arcade, remote control trucks and activity tables. Craft making is 5 pm – 7 pm weekdays and noon to 5 pm weekends. Check out the full event calendar online here. Two locations at 5000 Katy Mills Circle and 1000 Basspro Drive in Pearland.

SUNDAY

Marvel at the chalk artists — SUNDAY ONLY now, due to weather.  Via Colori is in its 9th year as a street festival fundraiser for The Center for Hearing and Speech. This free event November 23 features 200+ artists creating street chalk art, live music, kids’ craft zones, Mood Lounge, and more. Kids can create their own 2ft. square chalk masterpiece for a $10 donation. Free festival hours are 10 am – 6 pm Sunday only at Hermann Square downtown.

CityCentre glistenLighting of the snowflakes — Don’t miss CityCentre Glisten Holiday Lighting Sunday 6 pm – 8 pm for the annual lighting of the snowflakes on the CityCentre plaza. Enjoy tunes from the live DJ! CityCentre is located at Beltway 8 and CityCentre Way. photo credit: CityCentre

Create holiday memories — The Woodlands features two events moved to Sunday due to weather. Enjoy the Lighting of the Doves Festival along the Woodlands Waterway at 5 pm with live music, ice carver contests, kids’ activities, bubble runners, Santa Claus, and fireworks. At the same time, it’s the iWOW celebration (International Winter on the Waterway) promoting the cultural diversity of The Woodlands with food, entertainment, arts and crafts, and music. Get info on parking in The Woodlands here.

Chill in the winter wonderland — Make holiday crafts, get a free photo with Santa, and enjoy all the free games and activities at Bass Pro Shops’ Santa’s Wonderland. The fun continues seven days a week through Christmas with games such as slot car racing, laser arcade, remote control trucks and activity tables. Craft making is 5 pm – 7 pm weekdays and noon to 5 pm weekends. Check out the full event calendar online here. Two locations at 5000 Katy Mills Circle and 1000 Basspro Drive in Pearland.

Via Colori: Houston’s Free Chalk Art Festival Fundraiser November 23

Via Colori Chalk Art FundraiserVia Colori is one of my favorite fall events in Houston. I marvel at the creativity and colorful world the chalk artists create right on the downtown streets. And then sadly, the images are washed away Sunday afternoon before rush hour traffic hits downtown Monday morning!

Via Colori Chalk FestivalVia Colori is in its 9th year as a street festival fundraiser for The Center for Hearing and Speech. This free family event November 23 only (Saturday cancelled due to weather) features not only 200+ artists creating street chalk art but also live music, kids’ craft zones, 2-day IKEA Scavenger Hunt with 21 clues (register online here), interactive activities, and more. Kids can create their own 2ft. square chalk masterpiece for a $10 donation.

New this year: Tromp I’oeil, a 3-D chart art section and the Mood Lounge, sponsored by Kroger, for lounge access and mini events all weekend.

Head downtown November 23 to find free festivities at Hermann Square Park, City Hall, 10 am – 6 pm Sunday.

In addition to street parking, several downtown lots and garages are available: Heritage Plaza Garage (1111 Bagby at Clay, $10), The Met Garage (340 W. Dallas, $5), 1100 Smith Street parking facility, and Theater District Underground parking. When parking underground, follow signs to Hobby Center Parking, which is closest to the festival.

Via Colori Chalk Festival

Via Colori Chalk Art Festival

Via Colori Chalk Festival

Via Colori Chalk Festival

Via Colori Chalk Festival

photos: Vicki Powers

7 Free Things to Do in Houston November 17-21

There’s never a dull moment in Houston. Here are 7 options for free fun in Houston November 17-21 before planning your free and cheap weekend!

We Love Houston sign

Monday (11/17) — Gather with other crafters at Yarn People to make cancer hats for an adult or child. Held weekly at Houston Public Library’s Central Library, noon – 1 pm. Located at 500 McKinney.

Tuesday (11/18) — Get your photo and an autograph with Houston Texans’ cornerback A.J. Bouye at the Verizon Store in the Heights, 8 am – 9 am. The Verizon Texans Players Show is broadcast live at the event. Located at 215 Heights Blvd.

Wednesday (11/19) — Get healthy and buy local produce from the City Hall Farmers Market, Wednesday, 11 am – 1:30 pm. You’ll also find locally prepared foods ready to eat for lunch. Plus a chef demo and live music. Located at

Wednesday (11/19) — Not free but cheap! It’s $2 Family Night at Studio Movie Grill with Jumanji at 7:30 pm. Two Houston locations: CityCentre and Copperfield.

Thursday (11/20) — Enjoy the monthly Games on the Green at GreenStreet downtown with giant Jenga, bocce ball, live music and more. Located at 1201 Fannin.

Thursday (11/20) — Head to The Woodlands for the annual Market Street Tree Lighting Thursday, 6 pm – 8 pm, featuring live musical performances, holiday entertainers and more. The big event is lighting of the 70-ft tree with 3 minutes of lights synchronized to music! Located at 9595 Six Pines.

Thursday (11/20) — Rescheduled: Head outdoors for a free screening of The Sandlot, Thursday, 8 pm, at CityCentre. It’s Throwback Thursday Movie Night! Located at 800 Town and Country Blvd.

Friday (11/21) — Enjoy Home School on the Green each Friday, 10 am, at Central Green Park in Katy. The morning features fun activities, arts and crafts, learning and more. Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Free Texans Slush at Sonic After Houston Texans Win + Other Freebies and Deals

Free Texans Slush at SonicThere are lots of freebies and deals after the Houston Texans win this year. Let’s root for another win Sunday! Here’s the schedule:

MONDAY

Firehouse Subs — The day after a Texans’ win, get a free medium sub (with purchase of medium drink and chips) when you wear Texans’ logo.

Papa Johns — The day after a Texans’ win, get 50% off your online pizza order at Papa John’s. Use code TEXANS for each pizza ordered to get this deal at PapaJohns.com.

Crave CupcakeBuy one cupcake, get one free Monday after the Texans win at Crave Cupcake! Simply show you follow Crave on Instagram or Facebook. One per person.

Jack in the Box — Get a free monster taco the day after a Texans’ win when you say “Texans touchdown for tacos” at Houston-area locations.

TUESDAY

Sonic — Get a free Texans slush at Sonic Tuesdays after a Houston Texans win. The Texans slush is a blend of cranberry & cherry to get that Texans’ red! Find a list of participating Sonic locations online.

Free Holiday Events This Weekend in Houston

galleria tree lightingIt’s only the middle of November, but several free holiday events in Houston kick off this weekend — including visits from Santa.

1) Head to Memorial City Lights, a special event at Memorial City Mall Saturday, November 15, 6 pm. Watch Santa make his grand entrance and turn on the 3.2 million Memorial City Lights for the first time this season. Enjoy musical performances throughout the mall, the Memorial City Mall Dancing Reindeer, and characters from The Nutcracker. Help the less fortunate and bring an unwrapped toy for Children’s Memorial Hermann Memorial City.

2) The 26th annual Ice Spectacular and tree-lighting at the Galleria returns Saturday, November 15, at 6 pm. Imagine 450,000 twinkling lights! Don’t miss the skating and musical performances featuring American Idol runner up Kree Harrison. Skating Santa will light the tree himself, which will be followed by fireworks. Beginning at noon, families can enjoy family-friendly activities, live entertainment, and in-store events.

3) Make holiday crafts, get a free photo with Santa, and enjoy all the free games and activities at Bass Pro Shops’ Santa’s Wonderland. Preview Night kicks off Saturday at 5 pm with Santa’s arrival! The fun continues seven days a week through Christmas with games such as slot car racing, laser arcade, remote control trucks and activity tables. Craft making is 5 pm – 7 pm weekends and noon to 5 pm weekends. Check out the full event calendar online here. Two locations at 5000 Katy Mills Circle and 1000 Basspro Drive in Pearland.

photo courtesy The Galleria