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10 Christmas-Free Things to Do in Houston on Christmas Day

Here are some cool places that are open—mostly free of Christmas lights.

By Geneva Diaz and Anna Rajagopal

For Some, CHRISTMAS is all about opening gifts from Santa, eating plenty of food, and spending quality time with the family, which is why on Christmas Day, it might seem like Houston goes into quiet mode. But traditional Christmas celebrations aren’t for everybody—not everyone decorates a tree or partakes in festive activities on the 25th. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 10 things for you to do on Christmas Day that don’t require you to be in the holiday mindset. 

1. Finally Marvel at the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit


Yes, the Immersive Van Gogh experience is still open, and yes, it’s open Christmas day. Purchase tickets anytime from 2 to 6 p.m. and surround yourself in ethereal, historic paintings that come to life. The exhibit is extended for viewing until January 2.

2. Go Bowling at Bowl & Barrel


Head to Bowl & Barrel on Christmas Day for “Drink the Tree!” From 3 to 9 p.m., the boutique bowling alley will host its annual celebration of bowling and drinking cold beer. Guests can “Drink the Tree” by choosing from an assortment of beers on Bowl & Barrel’s original beer bottle Christmas tree. 

3. Go to the Movies


Buy a ticket to the latest movies and relax your way to the bottom of a popcorn bucket. This year, you'll find movies like the new I Wanna Dance with Somebody, The Whale, Avatar: The Way of Water, and Babylon at theaters around town. Check your local theater listings for more details. 

4. Make a Great Escape at Escape the Room Houston


While all the cousins are in town, schedule an experience at Escape the Room Houston. From noon to 8:30 p.m., a myriad of exciting escapades await you. Individual tickets start at $40 but keep in mind, you have to book in pairs. (Already been there? Houston has tons of escape rooms to try out.)

5. Ride a Rollercoaster at Kemah Boardwalk


Take the scenic drive out to Kemah and hop on a scream-worthy carnival ride that’ll leave you with an adrenaline rush. Kemah Boardwalk is open on Christmas Day so you can experience the famous Boardwalk Bullet and chow down on some funnel cake. Day passes start at $20, with options to upgrade to a Weekend Adventure Pass for $50. 

6. Go Ziplining at Geronimo Adventure Park


Geronimo Adventure Park boasts crazy fun with ziplining, rock climbing, obstacle courses, and races that are sure to spice up your holiday (if you’re the daring type). With one zipline ticket starting at $50 and all access passes starting at $125, you can speed through the sky for a thrill or two this Christmas.

7. Follow the Houston Mural Map


One of Houston’s hidden gems is the wide array of murals painted on the sides of buildings and walls throughout the city. Spend Christmas Day on a hunt for your favorite mural and take a few photos to remember the moment. One of the best parts about this activity is that it’s free (murals are public art). Pull out that camera and get dolled up for some Instagram-worthy pictures

8. Play Pool at Slick Willie's Family Pool Hall


Get out your cue sticks and ready your aim! Slick Willie's Family Pool Hall is open on Christmas Day, so grab a slice of pizza or a cold beer at the full bar while you shoot some pool this December. It’s $15 per hour-per table, so grab your buddies and get to the pool hall. 

9. Stroll Around Memorial Park


If you’re in the mood for something a little more outdoorsy, put on your sneakers and head over to Memorial Park, open 365 days a year. With hiking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and more, Memorial Park is the perfect place for you to get your miles in. Enjoy the amenities the park provides, like croquet, golf, and swimming for variable fees—or use the volleyball courts and sports fields.

10. Swim With (or Just Look at) the Fishes at the Downtown Aquarium 


Spend Christmas Day immersed in an underwater wonderland at the Downtown Aquarium. Take a spin on the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel or pet live stingrays at Stingray Reef. From December 23 to 26, the Aquarium is offering a four day Weekend Adventure Pass for $50. 

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