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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7 Awesome Things to Do in Upstate New York

Be a World Traveler 7 Must-Know Secrets for Flying Internationally (1)Did you know that over 240 million people from around the world traveled to New York in 2017?

Many of these people more than likely visited New York City, for all of the tourist attractions and culture, but there is much more to see in this state besides the “Big Apple”. 7 Awesome Things to Do in Upstate New York

Instead of being stuck in a large group of people wandering the streets or having to deal with expensive food and experiences, why not travel a bit more to the north.

Continue reading to discover where to go and fun things to do in upstate New York so that you can begin planning your next trip!

Where to Go and Things to Do in Upstate New York

Everyone is quite familiar with New York City, but understanding where upstate New York actually is, is more than likely, a good place to start.

Upstate New York holds the minority of the population in the state but it covers a large area. Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Rochester are some of the main cities in this part of New York. Long Island and New York City are not classified as upstate New York, however.

Local people consider everything north of the Bronx Zoo to be Upstate New York, but the border is constantly being debated.

Below are some of the best things to do in upstate New York that will seem completely opposite to what you may experience in the city.

1. Adventure in the Caves

If you enjoy exploring, the natural stone bridges and caves near Pottersville can provide an exciting experience.

There are many guided tours that go throughout the caves, but you can also do your own hiking around the many trails and waterfalls.

If you are taking a family trip, gemstone mining is available, along with a nice picnic and playground area for when everyone needs a break. Be sure to pack a camera and extra water when you visit the caves!

2. National Baseball Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cooperstown, NY.

This museum is an impressive 3 stories high and filled with an extensive history of baseball, along with more current items too.

The first floor is a learning center where the player plaques hang. The second floor is recommended to begin on because it covers the history of the sport. Furthermore, the top floor is for both old and new ballparks, making it a fun and educational stop!

3. Letchworth State Park

Those looking for beautiful scenery and a large area to explore should check out Letchworth State Park located in Castile, NY.

This park has 66 miles of trails, an abundance of waterfalls, and an amazing view. In fact, if you want to get the best view of the park, you can pay to go up in an air-balloon to see everything.

Along with miles of walking trails and hot air balloon rides, you can also go kayaking on the Genesee River for a relaxing and physical activity. Many people consider this park to be “The Grand Canyon of the East” because of the gorgeous cliffs and canyons.

4. Boldt Castle

Located in the Ten Thousand Island region of upstate New York is Boldt Castle.

From May until October each year, guests are able to visit, and they can only get to the castle by boat. The castle was built for George Boldt’s wife in 1900, and since then it has been restored and visited by many guests.

If you are looking for more information on the Boldt Castle, visit here to start planning your tour!

The Boldt Castle will make you feel as is you are taken back hundreds of years with its beautiful landscaping and decor.

5. Yaddo Gardens

The Yaddo Gardens may be in the same state as NYC but it is actually a very calm and peaceful place, unlike in the middle of Times Square.

These gardens are filled with many rose bushes and sculptures that will take you back hundreds of years. The estate is on 400 acres of land in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Walking around and enjoying nature will never be easier than when you visit the Yaddo Gardens. You will be overcome with peace and tranquility from the moment you walk in.

6. Whittaker Falls

If you enjoy looking at waterfalls but don’t want to deal with large crowds, like the ones in Niagra Falls, Whittaker Falls is an excellent place to travel to.

Located in Martinsburg, Whittaker Falls is a perfect stop that you can camp at to stargaze, roast marshmallows, and get away from the technology-driven world that we live in.

With the convenience of being able to camp, Whittaker Falls gives you the perfect opportunity to fish and get a daily dose of nature.

7. Lockwood Lavender Farm

Those who don’t have terrible allergies should consider traveling to Skaneateles, NY, to visit the Lockwood Lavender Farm.

This farm is an impressive 120 acres filled with fragrant and vivid purple flowers, called lavender. Along with all of the rows of lavender, you can also see goats and sheep roaming the land.

Nowhere to Travel but North

Finding things to do in upstate New York that are enjoyable and relaxing is quite easy with the help of nature.

Upstate New York is filled with many beautiful parks with areas to kayak, hike, and camp. There are waterfalls located all over the state that are sure to take your breath away, and you are still within hours (or minutes) of the city.

Utilizing the list above can help you successfully prepare for your next trip up north in New York and keep you from missing out on impressive views of nature.

Be sure to take a look at our blog to find more articles, like this one, filled with travel tips and ideas!
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