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Have a Holly Jolly Time at These Holiday Photo-Ops in Houston

A Story By

The holiday season is in full swing, and one of our favorite things to do around this time of year is go look at beautiful lights and decorations and snap a photo or two. Houston has so many stunning light displays, some of which are free. Many of these spots are family-friendly and feature other fun holiday activities for kids of all ages to enjoy!

If you are looking for amazing holiday photo-ops in Houston, now’s your chance. From gorgeous parks to downtown light installations, to Christmas festivals, we have so many great outings in store for you. Read on for our favorite holiday photo-ops in and around Houston!


For an incredibly unique holiday experience that just screams Houston, you have to check out the H-Town Christmas Countdown. This is a holiday pop-up event that highlights Houston through 15 photogenic and festive displays. Hand-deliver a letter to Santa himself, pose in the gingerbread garden, meet your favorite holiday movie characters, and capture fun photos with iconic Houston landmarks and sports-themed displays.

This experience opens on December 1st and runs through the rest of the holidays, with special events and guest appearances on certain days. Your ticket price includes photos with Santa, so this is a really great opportunity to snag those Christmas card pics! This is definitely one of our favorite holiday photo-ops in Houston.

Monday | Closed
Tuesday | 4:30pm–10:00pm
Wednesday | 4:30pm–10:00pm
Thursday | 4:30pm–10:00pm
Friday |  10:30am–10:00pm
Saturday | 10:30am–10:00pm
Sunday | 10:30am–10:00pm

📍 H-Town Christmas Countdown

📷 Historic Market Square Houston

If you haven’t been to Market Square Park before, you are in for a treat. This is a beautiful park in the center of downtown Houston’s Historic District, and it features a sprawling green lawn, a dog path, and a gorgeous garden with sculptures, water features, and flowering plants. During the holidays, the park is even more picturesque with the addition of amazing holiday light installations.

If you’re planning a visit soon, why not check out one of the fun holiday events coming up? The park will host a Gremlins movie night on Friday, December 10th, and a Christmas Craft & Sip on Thursday, December 16th. Both events would be a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and you’ll be able to take some gorge holiday photos while you’re at it. Visit the website below to learn more about one of the best holiday photo-ops in Houston!

Monday | 6:00am–11:00pm
Tuesday | 6:00am–11:00pm
Wednesday | 6:00am–11:00pm
Thursday | 6:00am–11:00pm
Friday | 6:00am–11:00pm
Saturday | 6:00am–11:00pm
Sunday | 6:00am–11:00pm

📍Market Square Park

📷 Moody Gardens

There’s no question that Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens is one of the BEST holiday events of the season! For those with families, this would be a wonderful spot to take your children this December. It includes eight holiday attractions such as the Festival of Lights, holiday 3D films, an arctic slide, train rides, the Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show, pictures with Santa, fireside s’mores, and more.

The Festival of Lights is guaranteed to be one of your favorite holiday photo-ops in Houston. It features a mile-long trail decked out in more than two million lights and scenes themed to holiday music. While you stroll through, you will be treated to stunning views of Galveston Bay, a stop along the way to see Star: The Dancing Tree of Light, hot chocolate stands, and soooo many selfie opportunities. Holiday in the Gardens is a MUST-SEE event for families this holiday season.

Monday | 4:00pm–10:00pm
Tuesday | 4:00pm–10:00pm
Wednesday | 4:00pm–10:00pm
Thursday | 4:00pm–10:00pm
Friday | 4:00pm–10:00pm
Saturday | 4:00pm–10:00pm
Sunday | 0:00pm–0:00pm

📍 Moody Gardens


You will be completely blown away by the beautiful holiday lights on Bagby Street in downtown Houston. For those looking for free holiday photo-ops in Houston, this is definitely one we recommend checking out. Coined the “Winter Wanderland,” this is a series of unique light installations along Bagby Street that features over 100,000 twinkling lights, giant angel wings, constellation arches, and an 80-foot light tunnel across from the Hobby Center. This display is already up and ready for you to walk through and enjoy!

For a perfect night out in the city, start with a visit to one of the amazing restaurants downtown such as Secret Garden, Z on 23, or Batanga. Then, go for a stroll through the light displays and snap a few pics for the ‘Gram. Later, hit up one of the bars downtown like Bovine & Barley or 13 Celsius. That sounds like the recipe for a great night to us!

7 days a week, after dark

📍 Bagby St Between Franklin & Lamar

📷 Understory

The Understory is one of Houston’s little hidden gems, so some may not know that it boasts one of the coolest holiday photo-ops in Houston. The Understory is a downtown community space where culture, commerce, and cuisine collide. It is a forty-foot atrium filled with natural light and eight unique restaurant concepts. Some of the mouth-watering options on offer are Boomtown Coffee, Mama Ninfa’s Tacos y Tortas, Common Bond, and Flip ‘N Patties.

Located on the first floor of the Bank of America tower and easily accessible by rail, car, bus, bike, or foot, this is a convenient and fun place to check out if you’re in the downtown area. And during the holidays, The Understory sets up a beautiful and festive photo backdrop where you can capture holiday memories. Last year’s installation is pictured here, and we expect these years to arrive on or around December 1st. So, keep your eyes peeled, and be sure to add this unique Houston destination to your bucket list!

Monday | 7:00am–10:00pm
Tuesday | 7:00am–10:00pm
Wednesday | 7:00am–10:00pm
Thursday | 7:00am–10:00pm
Friday | 7:00am–12:00am
Saturday | 8:00am–12:00am
Sunday | 8:00am–10:00pm

📍 Understory

Could we BE any more excited for the holiday season? We don’t think so! If you’re feeling the holiday spirit as much as we are, you’ll absolutely love visiting these fun and festive holiday photo-ops in Houston. There’s no better opportunity to grab a cute family photo or Insta pic with your girlfriends, so keep these spots in mind as you plan out your festivities this December. Which of these stunning holiday photo-ops are you hoping to check out first?

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