Holidays 2017: Things to do around Discovery Green, with kids!

There is a lot to do in Houston for the holidays… and there is a lot to do just around Discovery Green in downtown!

If you are going to head out after dusk, find parking and celebrate the holidays, you might as well check all your must-dos off the bucket list.  Look before for the things to do right around Discovery Green… and scroll to the bottom for a map.  Do a couple or do them all!

Also, check the roads before you go!  The highways near downtown have a lot of construction closures.  Once you are there, find metered parking along the street (free after 6:00pm), paid parking in the lots and a paid parking garage under the park (with the entrance on the George R. Brown side).



1.  Hello, Trees! at Discovery Green (Free)

If you just see it with no one around, it looks pretty boring. It’s just white arches over the promenade. BUT if you go up and speak into the tube, the lights and sounds serenade you! AND if others do the same on the other side, it’s even better!

Go any night through February!


2.  Giant Gingerbread House at Hilton Americas (Free)

What is 7.6 Million Calories and includes 950 Eggs, 625 Pounds of Butter, 726 Pounds of Sugar, 750 Pound Gingerbread, 1,200 Pounds of Dark Chocolate and 725 Pounds of White Chocolate? And took 1,850 Man Hours to build?

It’s the giant gingerbread house at Hilton Americas next to Discovery Green… and it’s up now!  The display is free and in the lobby!


3.  Starbucks at Hilton Americas

The hot chocolate at the ICE is $4… so if your kids are going to insist on it, I’d bring your own or stop by Starbucks in the Hilton Americas.  The small size won’t be much cheaper, but you can get a steamed milk or hot chocolate and enjoy it by the Hilton Christmas tree or Giant Gingerbread House.


4.  ICE at Discovery Green ($14/person, $8/person on Cheap Skate Nights)

Each November, Kinder Lake is drained and replaced by the ice.  There is a large rink for all to enjoy, as well as a toddler rink for the littlest ones to practice.  Parents can hold the little hands from the edge… so you only have to wear skates if you want to!

Skates come as small as size 8. (It used to be smaller!) If your kids want to skate and you don’t want to… you only have to pay for the kids.

Ice skating at Discovery Green will be open through January 21, 2018.  Look for weekly events, including Cheap Skate Nights and Skate with Santa, on the BigKidSmallCity Events List, HERE!

ICE Rink Admission is $14 and includes skate rental and tax.  Cheap Skate is $8.  (Find discounts HERE.)


5.  Horse and Carriage at Discovery Green (Around $25)

During the holidays, there is frequently a horse and carriage taking riders around downtown.  It’s about $25 for everyone to ride (and if it’s not busy, I bet you can negotiate.)  You can find them near the ICE rink and splashpad.


6.  Art at Avenida Houston at the George R Brown (Free)

This street was a construction zone for a long time… but since the Super Bowl, it is the coolest strip of art and restaurants.  Go see the musical fountain, the icicles over the road and all the lights that change with the music.


7.  Houston Grand Opera, at Resilience Theater, at George R Brown ($25+/person)

This opera is family friendly… and the words are projected above the screen.  This is a good spot for kids that like performances and even better if they can read the words to follow along.

The Wortham Theater was damaged by Harvey… but the show will go on at the Resilience Theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center, November 30-December 17, 2017!

8.  Where to Eat by Discovery Green

If you’re hungry, HERE are kid friendly restaurants by Discovery Green!


9.  Holiday Events at Discovery Green

Discovery Green has tons of free events… almost every day of the week.  Find them HERE!


10.  Lights on Main Street (Free)

The streets along Main Street are all lit up with holiday lights… so as you drive out of downtown, take a look!


11.  City Hall Christmas Tree (Free)

This would be a long nighttime walk from downtown… but as you leave downtown, drive by to see the tree by City Hall!


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