The Best Family Christmas Activities in Houston

 The-Best-Family-Christmas-Activities-in-HoustonWith the holiday season in full swing, Houston is coming alive with stunning light displays downtown and special family-friendly events to celebrate the season. This year, don’t miss these four must-see Christmas events the whole family will enjoy.

1. Lights in the Heights

An annual family event, Lights in the Heights will be held on December 14th this year. Stroll through the pedestrian-friendly lane taking in sights of twinkling lights and colorful scenes. Hear Christmas carols and jazz bands – all playing on the front porches and yards of your neighbors.

Homes along the Lights in the Heights route go all-out to wow passersby and compete for the “Best Block” award.

The holiday street party runs from 6 pm through 9 pm, but the festivities have been known to carry on well into the night.

Be sure to download the Lights in the Heights map and be aware of street closures.
Please enjoy the festivities responsibly. Every 29 minutes, someone in Texas is killed or injured in a DUI accident.
The LITH committee has partnered with Lyft to give 50% off 2 rides for the event using the promo code “LIGHTSRIDE.” 

2. Ice Skating at Discovery Green

Take in the glittering lights of downtown Houston while gliding across the ice skating rink at Discovery Green. Available from November 15, 2019 through February 2, 2020, the rink is open daily for families to enjoy.

  • Monday-Friday: 5-10 pm (11 pm on Fridays)
  • Saturday: 11 am through 11 pm
  • Sunday: 11 am through 8 pm
  • Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: 11 am through 7 pm
  • Christmas Day and New Year’s Day: 1-7 pm

General admission is just $11, and skates are available for rent for $4. Members get a free skate rental.

Enjoy special theme nights throughout the season, like Ugly Sweaters, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Super Heroes and more.

Some of Houston’s top figure skaters will also be on the rink throughout the season to show off their skills.

Check out Discovery Green’s website to learn more about special ice skating events and more.

3. Christmas Village at Bayou Bend

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Christmas Village at Bayou Bend, with Santa and all of his reindeer.

Stroll through the Bayou Bend Collection and Garden to take in thousands of twinkling lights, and enjoy family-friendly activities on the 14-acre estate. Holiday-themed tours guide you through Ima Hogg’s mansion, with live actors, stunning Christmas decorations and special theatrical effects.

Running from December 12-30, Christmas Village has something for the whole family:

  • Take a ride down the faux-snow slide
  • Throw cotton snowballs at your friends
  • Watch the model train circle the 15-foot Christmas tree
  • Play games like antler rings, or participate in scavenger hunts
  • Listen to live music from holiday carolers

Christmas Village is open daily. Non-member adults pay just $15 to get in, while those aged 5-12 pay $10 (non-members). Members pay just $13 for adults and $8 for youths.

4. Christmas Cruise on Buffalo Bayou

The Buffalo Bayou Partnership is celebrating the season with Christmas cruises throughout the month of December.

Take a cruise on a festively-lit boat along the Buffalo Bayou with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Hot chocolate will be provided by Katz Coffee to keep everybody merry and bright.

Tours run every 45 minutes from 5:30 pm through 8:30 pm every Friday and Saturday evening through Christmas. The cost is just $15 for adults and $10 for children aged 4-12. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted to ride on the pontoon boats.

These four events are sure to put smiles on the kids’ faces – and yours, too.
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Sun, Sea and Swimming in Southwest Turkey

The Southwest coastline of turkey, also known as the Turquoise coast, boasts fantastic beaches, idyllic swimming spots and plenty of sunshine.

When you think of Turkey you may have an image in mind of over crowded bazaars, skylines dominated by minarets and chaotic city centre traffic jams. While this is not entirely inaccurate in cities like Istanbul, the southwestern region of Turkey moves at a slightly slower pace and destinations along the Turquoise Coast are idyllic places to plan your seaside vacation. Whether you prefer to stay by the beach or take to the sea for a Blue Cruise Turkey this region is brimming with stunning locations to bask in the sun and bathe in the sea.

On the Beach…

Many of Turkey’s southwestern beaches are mini paradises, with smooth pebbles or white sand, l lined with umbrellas and air loungers and  hidden between  thickly forested slopes or rocky cliff faces, some can be reached by land while others are only accessible by sea.

Butterfly Valley of one of these secluded beaches, with sheer rock walls surrounding a lush green valley which opens to a small bay of crystal clear water. Being an environmentally protected area means that in this valley you’re not going to find any large whitewash holiday homes of chain stores, in fact the only building is a rustic wooden shack selling drinks and refreshments on the edge of the beach. The water in the bay is so clear that even without a mask you can watch sea life swimming about.

A little less isolated but equally stunning is Patara beach, with soft sand that stretches across the coast for 12 km, framed by a Lycian guard station on the western side and and ancient port city and turtle nesting ground at the eastern side. Be sure to watch out for rare Caretta as you bathe under the sun and search for wildlife in the wetlands behind the beach.

Image Source: Patara, Turkey Secret Seaside

For a little Adventure…

In the hottest part of summer it can even be too hot to lay on the beach and the best thing to do is throw yourself into the azure blue sea. Fortunately there is a place known to locals as Tarzan Bay which is perfect for this. Here a lone tree has grown from between the rocks and a thick branch overhangs the water. When, who and how is still a mystery but at some point a rope appeared dangling from this branch. Too tempting to be left alone visitors line up to swing ‘Tarzan Style’ from the rocky shore and plunge into the refreshingly cool bay, making a wild jungle cry as fly through the air.

Off the Ground….

Oludeniz Beach in Turkey
Image Source:

One of the most loved beach towns of southwestern Turkey is Oludeniz, situated at the foot of the famous Baba Mountain which casts long shadows over the wide beach each morning. The town of Oludeniz is a popular departure point for day cruises to the Butterfly Valley, St Nicholas Island, Blue Cave and Cold Water Bay, it’s also one of the top locations for paragliding in the world. If you’re not afraid of heights then hop in a minivan to the peak at over 2,000 metres and fly above the stunning Blue Lagoon, make 180 degree turns in the air and slowly descend to land on the beachside promenade. Even if you don’t like heights, the gorgeous view may make you forget you fear. If not then you can stop by one of the lively beach bars for cocktails, seafood and live music.

When it’s Party Time…

After the sun has set and you’ve finished swimming you might be wondering what theres is to do in southwest Turkey in the evenings. Well, this region is also known for its buzzing nightlife, the resort towns of Marmaris, Kusadasi and Bodrum are all overrun with bars and clubs. Bodrum is perfect for the party animals, said to have more bars than beds and host of the the largest outdoor nightclub in the mediterranean, Halikarnas, which stays open late enough to see the sunrise.

For a something a quieter, head to the Smugglers Inn. Well known by sailors and locals, but international travelers usually only find there way to this secluded beach bar via a Fethiye to Olympos Cruise on a classic wooden gulet boat.

Dive into the Deep Blue…

Swimming and snorkeling in the Aquarium Bay of the naturally beautiful Kekova RegionSwimming and snorkeling in the Aquarium Bay of the naturally beautiful Kekova Region will bring you pretty close to a wide variety of sea life; clownfish, damselfish, red mullets and eels are all floating about. If you want to delve a little further to search for stingrays and sea urchins or explore the impressive underwater corals and vertical seawalls then head to the modern port town of Kas, where diving boats depart each day to the best spots on the Mediterranean Sea.

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