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 22
1. Frostival — This free winter event returns to Discovery Green, November 22, 6 pm – 10 pm. Frostival features ice carver Reverend Butter, live music by Mary Sarah of The Voice, snow zone, interactive ice sculptures, art cars and more! The evening also debuts the winter art installations, Firmament and Enchanted Promenade. Located at 1500 McKinney. photo: Vicki Powers
WEDNESDAY, November 23
2. Children’s Museum of Houston — Enjoy the 11th annual Thanksgiving with Santa where kids are invited to enjoy Thanksgiving related activities (make Thanksgiving vests, pennant flags and paper placemats), watch the Elves on the Shelf Dance Show, and visit with Santa from 2 pm – 5 pm. The museum is located at 1500 Binz. Admission is $12 for all museum activities and events.
3. Wortham Tree Lighting — The 30th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is 11 am – 1 pm, November 23, at Wortham Theater Center. Kids can watch the Sugar Plum Fairy light the tree, take photos with costumed characters from Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, listen to a performance by Houston Girls Chorus and visit with Santa. Donate your gently-used books to local nonprofit, Books Between Kids. This is a joint event with Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Public Media and Houston First. 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 24
5. Thanksgiving Day Parade — Don’t miss Houston’s 67th annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. The fun kicks off in downtown Houston Thanksgiving Day, 9 am. Viewing is free along the parade route. The City invited our special local Olympic heroes, Simone Biles and Simone Manuel, to serve as Parade Marshals. 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 Houston Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving morning. It can be a great family memory! Races include 5K, 10K, and kid’s run. Prices are $37-$42 for adults and $15 for kids and seniors. 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 25
8. Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival — Skip Black Friday crazies and head to Pop Shop Houston Holiday Fest November 25-27 at Silver Street Studios. Indulge in three days of modern handmade craft shopping, art exhibitions, vintage, live art, and art activities. Friday includes a Fashion Show with three local designers. Hours are noon – 8 pm Friday & Saturday and noon – 6 pm Sunday. Silver Street Studios is located at 2000 Edwards. Admission is $8, good for all three days.
9. Galveston Tree Lighting — Head to the island for the Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez Friday, 6 pm. Galveston Ballet, handbell choir, 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 26
10. Central Green Park — Head to Central Green Park in Katy Saturday for a free screening of The Peanuts Movie 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 18 – January 15, 2017 with 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. New this year: don’t miss the 33-ft. Christmas tree, which is a perfect backdrop for your pics! 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 36th annual Home for the Holidays November 12 – December 24. 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 22 through February 5, 2017. $14 covers the skating fee for kids and adults. Enjoy Cheap Skate Nights on select Mondays for $8 skating. Discovery Green is located downtown at 1500 McKinney.
14. Festival of Lights — Head to Galveston for Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens November 12 – January 8, 2017, with 1 million lights, 100 animated light displays, 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 Budweiser Clydesdales for free! The horses will be visiting the Anheuser-Busch Brewery November 21-26. Stable viewing is open November 21-23, 25, 26 from 10 am – 6 pm. Clydesdale Camera Days are November 22-23 from 1 pm – 3 pm. Full Hitch appearances are November 25-26 from 1 pm – 3 pm. 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.