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Make Houston Home For the Holidays

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Houston: Where the Southern Hospitality Meets the Down-Home Vibe

With roughly over 2.3 million people living in and around this city, Houston isn’t just considered one of the largest places in the country. It’s also one of the most popular and dopest places to visit. Especially, during this time of year–the beginning of the holiday season!

From world-class arts to award-winning cuisine and family-friendly attractions, it’s true what Houstonians say, there’s honestly never a dull moment in the Bayou City! With so many incredible events lighting up Downtown this month, we couldn’t think of a better way for you to enjoy the holidays than in the heart of this city.

We all know what to expect when Thanksgiving weekend rolls around: family gatherings, a buffet-style dinner, football, and Black Friday shopping sprees! 

This year we encourage you to switch things up and add more memorable moments to your holiday weekend. We’re talking Thanksgiving day parades, tree lightings, too-good-to-beat hotel deals, concerts, and so much more. After this experience, Houston for the holidays will always be the answer!

Spectacular Holiday Events

Instead of watching the Macy’s parade on TV, get out and experience one in real life! The 70th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day parade will cover the streets of downtown and march us into a holiday weekend filled with celebration and tradition.

This family-friendly event will showcase Houston’s arts and cultural communities while entertaining thousands of parade-goers with 12 colorful high- flying balloons, 13 artistic floats, marching bands, dancers, costumed characters, and more! As always, it’s FREE to attend but if you would like to purchase general seating, you may do so.

Event Details
🗓 NOV 28 | 9AM–11AM
📍 Downtown Houston

This one’s for the 21+ in the group! Grab your crew and jingle all the way to Main Street Friday Night for a more adult holiday celebration. Thing A Ma Jingle on Main Street will feature cocktails, Christmas karaoke, live music, and a Black Friday Art Market!

Event Details
🗓 NOV 29 | 7PM–12AM
📍 Between Commerce and Rusk St. 

Continue the holiday celebration with Mayor Sylvester Turner and Reliant at the 100th Annual Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular! This exciting and festive occasion signals the start of the holiday season with live music and the lighting of the beautiful Holiday Tree in the heart of Downtown.

And of course, it’s not a party if Santas isn’t around. He will be available for pictures with the kids (and yes, you too)  at The Gingerbread Village.

Grammy-nominated duo, Chloe x Hallie, will headline this year’s event, along with Houston-native and former American Idol contestant, Uché.

Help brighten the holiday season for another child by donating new, unwrapped toys to the Reliant booth. The toy drive will benefit the Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command.

Event Details
🗓 NOV 30 | 5PM–8PM
📍 Hermann Square

thanksgiving dinner

Where to eat?

We truly appreciate the diversity Houston has to offer. So you know, when it comes to food, our city arguably has it all! From the most authentic Tex-Mex dishes to the most creative Vietnamese cuisines, the choices you will find exploring around downtown are endless. 

Here’s a small list of places that best define Houston’s food scene, whether you’re looking to grub on Thanksgiving day or just your weekend getaway.

Open on Thanksgiving: 
Quattro
Brasserie du Parc
Main Kitchen
Bloom and Bee
Morton’s
M&S Seafood
Del Frisco’s
Kiran’s
Brennan’s of Houston
The Classic

Restaurants for the weekend:
The Grove
Weights & Measure
Bravery Chef Hall
Breakfast Klub
Decatur Bar 
Truth BBQ
Georgia James
The Dunlavy
The Rustic
Any ‘Pappas’ restaurant (Pappadeaux, Pappasitos, Pappas Burger)

Check back after November 10th for more delicious details!

Staycation

Is it your turn to host Thanksgiving weekend for your friends and family? Or are you just craving a change of scenery to be near all the exciting holiday festivities? Well, you’re in luck. They don’t call this the season of giving for no reason!

Downtown Houston is packed with beautiful hotels waiting to cater to all your holiday needs. Don’t believe us? Check them out below, or click here for all participating hotel deals. They’re way too good to resist!

  • Hampton Inn Downtown
    Stay in the middle of all the action at Hampton Inn Houston Downtown hotel with rates starting at $89/night.
  • Aloft Houston Downtown
    Aloft Houston Downtown is offering rates starting at $100/night, and what’s better than that? They’re steps away from the parade route.
  • Hyatt Regency Houston
    To help make this a holiday celebration you won’t forget, Hyatt Regency Houston has deals starting at $123/night.
  • Hotel Alessandra, Embassy Suites Downtown, Hyatt Regency Galleria, and so many more!!

Getting Around Houston

greenlink

Lots of people are intimidated by Downtown, but with a little guidance, we promise to make your experience a lot smoother. 

With applications like ParkMobile and Uber, plus alternative methods of transportation like Greenlink and BCycle, it’s super easy to get around. Don’t forget, unlike other areas inside and out of the loop, Downtown is very walkable/

Greenlink Buses: Free downtown transportation
Multiple buses operate in Downtown Houston Monday through Friday, 6:30AM–6:30PM, about 7–10 minutes apart.

The Green route spans 2.5 miles with 18 stops. Another route, the Orange route, Monday through Friday from 6:30 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 9AM–midnight and Sunday from 9PM–6PM, with buses every 10 minutes. That route covers more of the historic district, the ballparks, and the Theater District.

Greenlink buses stop at or near popular downtown destinations including the George R. Brown Convention Center, Avenida Houston, Discovery Green, Minute Maid Park, GreenStreet, the Theater District, City Hall, and the Central Library, as well as connecting to Metro Park & Ride services and the Main Street MetroRail line. 

Rail System
METRORail offers convenient and accessible service within the heart of the city between downtown Houston and NRG Park, including the Museum District and Texas Medical Center. Two additional lines connect the Theater District with BBVA Compass Stadium and destinations east of downtown. Check out more information here.

B-Cycle Program
The BCycle program allows people to check out a bike for $3 per 30-minutes from any kiosk around downtown. BCycle is ideally suited for those looking for an inexpensive way to tour around the city’s core, along Buffalo Bayou or around the Museum District. Click here for a map of stations in the area.

What’s next you ask? Book a room right near the action! Your family will thank you later!

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Kelci Wallace

Kelci Wallace

Kelci is the City Manager for UNATION and author of the  Stuff to Do in Houston blog. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Houston area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinHouston on Instagram and Facebook.

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