Holidays in Houston

I'm new to town and had no idea how we were going to spend the holidays, other than my son coming down from the Dallas area to eat. Luckily, there are a few things coming up. I just need to remember to take my camera.

66th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1949, when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Foley’s. Since then, the Thanksgiving Day parade has gone through a few changes but today, it remains a 66 year-old holiday tradition showcasing the Houston community and entertaining more than 200,000 parade-goers lining the streets on Thanksgiving morning. Join us again this year as we embrace the holiday spirit on Thursday, November 26, 2015 with the 66th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Thanksgiving Day parade is a stunning showcase of sensational floats, high-flying balloons, marching bands, artistic entries and live entertainment. The parade will begin at 9:00 am on Smith at Lamar, north to Walker, east to Milam, south to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, west to Smith, and north to end at Smith and Dallas.

96th Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting
Al Jarreau
Ring in the season with the 96th Annual Mayor's Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Presented by Reliant, an NRG Company on Friday, December 4, 2015 in the heart of downtown Houston. The spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, fireworks and family fun. A towering Holiday Tree, glowing with energy efficient LED lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper will light up the streets of downtown Houston this holiday season. The event takes place in Hermann Square at City Hall from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The public is invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Salvation Army booth at the Mayor’s Holiday Celebration to help make the holidays brighter for a child this season. Everyone who brings a toy will receive a light-up Santa hat from Reliant. The annual toy drive benefits the Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command.
4th Annual New Years Eve

"World's Greatest Party Band" to Ring In 2016

October 28, 2015 -- Tease up your beehive and throw on your post-punk thrift store duds to ring in 2016 with the B52’s, as Houston FirstSM Presents New Year’s Eve. The “world’s greatest party band” will bring their timeless hits and infectious party music to the city’s fun-filled, FREE and family-friendly night of celebration throughout Houston’s Theater District.

“Thanks to Houston First, we are thrilled to bring back this fantastic, energized, free event for Houston families and music fans,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Houston has lots to celebrate and what an extraordinary way to begin a new chapter for this tradition.”

The event will take place on December 31 from 7:00 p.m. – 12:15 a.m. in the heart of Downtown Houston’s Theater District. Come and enjoy numerous attractions and activities including performances on the outdoor mainstage (on Smith at Capitol) and both stages at the Wortham Center and the Alley Theatre. The programming at the Wortham Center will feature Broadway Singalongs along with some smooth jazz and a magic show perfect for kids and adults alike. The newly renovated Alley Theatre will showcase the chronicles of David Sedaris’ experience as a worker in Macy’s SantaLand display in cult classic, The Santaland Diaries (for mature audiences only) while world-class percussionist and bandleader Pedrito Martinez is sure to have guests dancing in their seats.

“There’s no better place to celebrate the New Year than in our great city,” said Mike Waterman, President of GHCVB and Executive Vice President of Houston First. “Houston First is proud to support events, such as this, that weave the unique fabric that IS Houston’s culture and community. We look forward to ushering in the New Year from one of the great cities of the world.”

Bring the kids for an early New Year’s celebration in the Family Zone on Jones Plaza filled with dancing, games, activities and costumed characters to end the year with extreme fun. Grown-ups are invite to sip bubbly and toast the end of the year in the Bubbly Garden with plenty of room for dancing and a lounge area to rest your bouffant while enjoying great views of the mainstage featuring the Tontons after the Kids Countdown followed by the “world’s greatest party band,” the B52s! A second countdown will usher in the New Year at the stroke of midnight with a spectacular fireworks finale atop Jones Hall.

Food and beverage booths will be accessible throughout the site serving traditional good luck food as well as winter specialties such as hot cocoa, coffees, and cider, as well as beer, wine and champagne. Cheers!
This event is sponsored by Mayor Annise D. Parker and the City of Houston; Houston First Corporation; the Houston Downtown Management District; the Houston Theater District; the Houston Chronicle. The event is produced by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. For more details, visit