If you’re entertaining family or friends in Houston for Thanksgiving this year, check out these Thanksgiving week ideas for lots of free & cheap local fun:
TUESDAY, November 24
1. Frostival — This free winter event returns to Discovery Green, November 24, 6 pm – 10 pm. Frostival features ice carver Reverend Butter, live music, snow zone, ice sculptures, and more! I attended last year and loved all the creative sculptures. Don’t miss seeing Houston Rockets’ Corey Brewer and his family. Located at 1500 McKinney. photo: Vicki Powers
WEDNESDAY, November 25
2. Children’s Museum of Houston — Enjoy the Great Gobbler Thanksgiving Elf Parade where kids are invited to design banners, vests and pennants to wobble along with everyone in the parade. Banner, vest, and pennant design is from 10 am to 12:30 pm. Kids can snag Cirque La Vie elves/noisemaker giveaway (while supplies last) at 12:45 pm. The Thanksgiving Parade begins at 1 pm (limited to 160 visitors; first come-first serve) in Brown Auditorium. And get the first visit with Santa from 1 pm – 4 pm. The museum is located at 1500 Binz. Admission is $10 for all museum activities and events.
3. Houston Ballet Tree Lighting — The 28th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is at 11 am, November 25, at Wortham Theater Center. Costumed characters from HGO’s upcoming opera, The Little Prince, will be on hand in the Grand Foyer. The Nutcracker‘s Sugar Plum Fairy will light the grand tree! Help Houston’s at-risk children by donating your gently-used books to nonprofit, Books Without Kids. Wortham Theater Center is located at 501 Texas. photo: Houston Ballet
4. 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.
THURSDAY, November 26
5. Thanksgiving Day Parade — Don’t miss Houston’s 66th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, Houston on Parade, presented by H-E-B. The fun kicks off in downtown Houston Thanksgiving Day, 9 am. 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 great family memory! Races include 5K, 10K, and kid’s run. Prices are $30-$35 for adults and $15 for kids. Proceeds benefit families served by Neighborhood Centers.
7. Uptown Holiday Lighting — Catch the Uptown Holiday Lighting Thanksgiving Day night for the 31st 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 off the night. Trees are located on Post Oak between San Felipe and Westheimer. This is a wonderful free family event with music, holiday characters, and Santa! photo: flickr/heytiffany
FRIDAY, November 27
8. Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival — Skip Black Friday crazies and head to Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival November 27-29 at Silver Street Studios. Indulge in three days of art, design, cocktails, vintage, photobooth fun, and more. Friday includes a Fashion Show and Live Painting by Nicky Davis, Guerra Girl, and Michael C. Rodriguez. Hours are noon – 8 pm Friday & Saturday and noon – 6 pm Sunday. Silver Street Studios is located at 2000 Edwards.
9. Galveston Tree Lighting — Head to the island for the Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez Friday, 6 pm. Galveston Ballet, Moody Festival Ringers, and area carolers will perform at this free family event. Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage for souvenir photos. Located at 2024 Seawall Blvd.
SATURDAY, November 28
10. Central Green Park — Head to Central Green Park in Katy Saturday for Jingle All the Way beginning at dusk. Located at 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.
11. 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 from November 20 – January 9, 2016 with more than 50 animal-themed light displays and 15 miles of tree lighting, 6 pm – 10 pm each night (till 11 pm weekends). Sip hot chocolate or listen to carolers surrounded by 2 million lights. Tickets are $14.95 – $19.95 each (depending on the night). Discount available for Zoo members. During Houston Zoo Lights, the zoo will close at 5 pm and reopen at 6 pm.
12. Home for the Holidays — Old Town Spring hosts its 35th annual Home for the Holidays November 7 – December 20, 2015. The event features festive lights, family-friendly activities, pics with Santa at his workshop, Be-an-Angel 40-ft train, live entertainment and more. Old Town Spring is located between I-45 and Hardy Road, north of 1960 — about 23 miles north of Houston.
13. 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 24 through February 7, 2016. $14 covers the skating fee for kids and adults. Enjoy Cheap Skate Nights each Monday for $7 skating, with Houston on the Cheap as the media partner! Discovery Green is located downtown at 1500 McKinney. photo: Discovery Green
14. Festival of Lights — Head to Galveston for Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens November 14 – January 10, 2016, with 1 million lights, live entertainment, plus extra options for ice slide, holiday films, train ride, Ice Land ice sculptures, pics with Santa, and more. Get 2-for-1 admission on Thursdays when you donate a non-perishable food item benefiting Galveston County and Houston County Food Bank. Tickets are $10.95, which includes ice skating admission. Skate rental is $7 — or bring your own.
15. Budweiser Clydesdales — Take an excursion to East Houston to see the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales for free! The horses will be visiting the Anheuser-Busch Brewery November 25-29. Friday – Sunday folks can watch the horses get ready to pull the hitch from 11 am – noon. They will be pulling the hitch on site at the brewery from noon – 2 pm. Stable viewing is Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (closed Thanksgiving Day). A food truck will be onsite with drinks available inside the Budweiser Tasting Room. Tours are available for purchase as well. The brewery is located at 775 Gellhorn.
BONUS: 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.