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Magical Winter Lights, Houston: Ultimate Guide 2022

Each year, the city of Houston comes alive with a dazzling display of traditional holiday light shows and festivities for the holiday season.

Known as Magical Winter Lights, this event is one of the largest lantern festivals in the country.

The annual event features hundreds of spectacular lanterns, festive snacks, and holiday fun for the whole family.

Magical Winter Lights entrance near Houston Texas
Magical Winter Lights entrance castle near Houston Texas

And the best part is, it’s just a short drive from anywhere in the Greater Houston area.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Magical Winter Lights in Houston, Texas.

Also Read: 20 Best Things to do for Christmas in Houston, Texas

Display of ancient Chinese villages from past years
Display of ancient Chinese villages from past years

What are the Magical Winter Lights, Houston?

Magical Winter Lights is an annual event that takes place near Houston, Texas.

The event features millions of elaborate themed displays of traditional handmade Chinese lanterns.

Magical Winter Lights first made its debut in 2015, and it has quickly become one of Houston’s most anticipated annual traditions.

Marvel at the intricately designed Chinese lanterns at the Magical Winter Lights festival
Marvel at the intricately designed Chinese lanterns at the Magical Winter Lights festival

The brainchild of founder Yusi An, this event was inspired by her own childhood memories of attending lantern festivals in China. 

Also Read: Visit Iceland (Ice Sculpture Festival) at Moody Gardens, Galveston

Where does the Magical Winter Lights festival take place?

Previously the festival used to be held in La Marque, TX but has since moved to Baytown.

The Magical Winter Lights 2022 festival will take place at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown.

The exact address is 2525 FM 565, Baytown, TX 77523 Baytown, TX.

Penguins and icicles in the winter wonderland at Magical Winter Lights
Penguins and icicles in the winter wonderland at Magical Winter Lights

What are the ticket prices for the Magical Winter Lights festival?

Historically, ticket prices have started at $22 for adults and $12 for children ages 3-12 (children under 3 are free).

This year’s ticket prices information will be released soon.

Buy tickets here.

Overhead displays of beautiful lanterns at the Houston Chinese lantern festival
Overhead displays of beautiful lanterns at the Houston Chinese lantern festival

When will the Magical Winter Lights, Houston holiday event take place?

This year’s event will take place from November 18th through January 7th.

Lights will be on display Sunday through Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm.

What to expect at Magical Winter Lights, Houston

At the Magical Winter Lights festival, visitors can enjoy traditional Chinese lanterns crafted by artisans from China.

European villages from around the world section
European villages from around the world section

They can see Texas-sized larger-than-life installations inspired by popular cultural and architectural icons.

There’s also a stunning Christmas tree as well as a prehistoric section, which is a sight to behold!

In addition to the lantern displays, visitors can enjoy festive carnival rides and games, delicious food, and much more. 

In addition, there are Santa visits, circus shows, cultural performances, and much more! 

Mad Hatter display from past year the display changes slightly every year
Mad Hatter display from past year the display changes slightly every year

What are some of the things to do at the Magical Winter Lights festival?

The festival is much more than just the lanterns.

Here are some of our favorite things to do at the Magical Winter Lights Festival.

Walk into a magical winter wonderland at the Houston Winter Lights festival
Walk into a magical winter wonderland at the Houston Winter Lights festival

See the amazing themed areas

Visitors can stroll through the eight unique themed sections of the lantern festival.

Each section has beautiful and intricate displays and you can’t help but marvel at the Chinese lantern making techniques at work.

From iconic world landmarks to the Houston skyline, you will be spellbound by the sheer creativity and charm of the lights.

Magical Winter Lights is one of the best Christmas attractions near Houston for kids
Magical Winter Lights is one of the best Christmas attractions near Houston for kids

See T-Rex and more at the Dinosaur Exhibits

The prehistoric section aka the dinosaur exhibit is everyone’s favorite.

Kids can get up close with giant dinosaurs from Jurassic as well as Cretaceous periods.

Meet prehistoric beats in the Dino exhibit
Meet prehistoric beats in the Dino exhibit

This area has much more than the animatronic moving dinosaurs and intricate lanterns.

Venture inside the Dinosaur Kingdom tent to find a plethora of hands on activities for all ages.

Here you will find a variety of fun dino rides, dig pits, and plenty of photo ops including hatching dinosaur eggs.

The Dinosaur themed section has dino rides activities and more
The Dinosaur themed section has dino rides activities and more

Meet the ice sisters!

The Ice Sisters meet and greet event is a reference to everyone’s favorite classic tale Frozen!

Kids can meet Anna and Elsa characters in the Winter Wonderland section.

Families love taking photos with the characters.

Meet the Ice Sisters near the Ice Castle
Meet the Ice Sisters near the Ice Castle

The section also has a large ice castle with slides for the young ones to enjoy.

You will also see Elsa’s horse, penguins, icicles, as well as snow covered trees in this section.

This is honestly one of the most enchanting displays in the whole festival.

The Ice themed area is a stunning winter wonderland
The Ice themed area is a stunning winter wonderland

Take a photo with Santa Claus

No holiday event is complete without a visit from Santa Claus.

You can take photos with Santa at the Magical Winter Lights festival and make cherished memories.

Elves will also be on hand to help with activities and crafts. 

Meet Santa Claus at the Magical Winter Lights Festival in Houston Texas
Meet Santa Claus at the Magical Winter Lights Festival in Houston Texas

Be a proud Texan

The Deep in the heart of Lone Star Section is a must for all Texans.

Here you will find displays of the Houston skyline and its most iconic attractions.

Take a photo with the Houston Skyline at the Chinese lantern festival during Christmas
Take a photo with the Houston Skyline at the Chinese lantern festival during Christmas

You will also find references to Texan traditions such as cowboy culture, dioramas from Texas history made from Chinese lanterns and an entire area devoted to space exploration and NASA.

A highlight of the festival is the giant Houston sign – be prepared to wait in line for photo ops.

Also Read: 24 Best Texas Christmas destinations

Texas Cowboys and culture at Magical Winter Lights Houston
Texas Cowboys and culture at Magical Winter Lights Houston

Enjoy the Carnival Rides

You can’t have a festival without some carnival rides!

The Magical Winter Lights Houston has everything from coasters to carousels.

There are also plenty of fun games for the whole family.

Christmas light displays near Houston Texas
Magical Winter Lights is one of the best Christmas light displays near Houston, Texas

Tips for enjoying Magical Winter Lights, Houston

If you’re planning on attending Magical Winter Lights this year (or any year), there are a few things you can do to make sure you have the best possible experience.

First, be sure to dress warmly!

Even though the event takes place in Houston, it can still get chilly at night.

Stunning light displays in the Kingdom section
Stunning light displays in the Kingdom section

Secondly, buy your tickets in advance.

Not only will this save you money, but it will also help you avoid long lines at the gate.

Space section inspired by NASA
Space section inspired by NASA

Third, avoid the weekends and winter break days.

These are some of the most crowded nights of the festival and you will definitely have a sub par experience.

On chaotic days, the venue can feel unorganized and the traffic can be backed up for hours.

Festive snacks and fair foods at the Magical Winter Lights Festival Texas
Festive snacks and fair foods at the Magical Winter Lights Festival Texas

Lastly, if you have young children with you, be sure to bring a stroller or wagon so they can rest when they get tired from all the walking.

Are you looking for something fun and festive to do in Houston this winter?

Then be sure to visit the Magical Winter Lights, one of Houston’s beloved displays!

Which is your favorite Houston area light festival? Let us know in comments!