13 Great Things to Do in Texas This Weekend

Clear your calendar for Janet Jackson, the Big 12 Championship and holiday pop-up bars

December 1, 2023 6:44 am
Pedestrians walking the street at the Victorian-style street fair Dickens on the Strand
Here are all of the weekend events you should attend to kick off the beginning of December
Dickens on the Strand

Welcome to December. With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas quickly approaching, Texas’s collective calendar is filled with activities this coming weekend. You can see live shows and sports, eat and drink your fill via a diverse assortment of pop-ups and food festivals, and support the performing arts, from pianists to drag queens. 

Here are 13 great things to do in Texas this weekend, covering Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and several places between.

Friday, December 1

Janet Jackson at NRG Arena


This year’s World AIDS Day concert is coming to Houston, and like in previous years, the headliner is one you don’t want to miss. Janet Jackson will take the stage for a full-length show that’s meant to benefit HIV/AIDS awareness. Tickets start at $75.

MJ the Musical at Music Hall at Fair Park


From one Jackson to another, MJ the Musical is the Tony Award-winning Broadway show about the making of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour. It features more than two dozen of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits and all the intricate choreography he was famous for. Performances run through December 3, and tickets start at $70.

Tipsy Elf at Bishop Arts


This popular pop-up is back, this time taking over multiple Exxir Hospitality venues in the Bishop Arts District, including Casablanca and Tejas. Expect an over-the-top holiday extravaganza, complete with festive decorations, karaoke lounge caroling and seasonal cocktails available at four different bars. The Tipsy Elf experience is live through December 23, so if you miss it this weekend, make sure you swing through before it’s gone.

Miracle Pop-Up Bars

Multiple locations

This global holiday pop-up has taken over a handful of Texas bars in Austin (The Eleanor), Dallas (2626 Howell St), Houston (Johnny’s Gold Brick and Winnie’s), San Antonio (Esquire Tavern), Fort Worth (Nickel City), Galveston (Daiquiri Time Out) and Arlington (Miller Tavern at Texas Live). So, surely you can make it to at least one of them. Once inside, you’ll find a consistent drinks menu across each concept, with fun cocktails served in collectible glassware, plus holiday lights, garlands, wrapped presents and other evidence that Christmas exploded all over these bars. Pop-ups are live now and run through varying dates in December.

Tree Lighting at the Driskill


The Driskill hotel is kicking off its holiday festivities by lighting up the massive tree that anchors its lobby each season. The free-to-attend event is made better with holiday music and a few items available for purchase, including cookies, hand-poured candles and ornaments.

Dickens on the Strand


Galveston is known for its beaches, but the city doesn’t skimp on holiday festivities. Dickens on the Strand is an annual Victorian-style street festival with decorations and live entertainment, including strolling carolers, musicians, bagpipers and jugglers. Don’t worry, there’s also booze and snacks. Friday through Sunday, free to attend.

Saturday, December 2

Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium


The Texas Longhorns take on Oklahoma State for Big 12 supremacy. It’s all going down on neutral ground at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and a screen so large you may forget to keep your eyes on the field. Tickets start at $171.

A Charlie Brown Christmas at the State Theater


The Austin Chamber Music Center is honoring the timeless Peanuts characters with a family-friendly concert featuring popular tunes from the holiday classic. Expect top-notch piano, string instruments and drums, plus a special appearance by everyone’s favorite beagle. Tickets start at $27.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Smart Financial Center

Sugar Land

Cirque’s holiday-themed show features aerial acrobatics, gravity-defying balancing acts and impressive feats of strength that will leave you in awe, plus seasonal music to get you in the holiday spirit. Go for the incomprehensible athleticism, or at least for the whimsy. Tickets start at $51.

San Antonio Tamale Festival

San Antonio

The fourth annual San Antonio Tamales Festival is once again spotlighting this wrapped gift of Mexican cuisine. Get your fill of tamales, plus sample other foods and drinks from local vendors. There will also be live music, folklórico dancers and Santa Claus, so you can pose for a few photos between bites. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, parking is $5-10.

Dallas Stars vs Tampa Bay Lightning at American Airlines Center


There are plenty of ice rinks popping up around DFW for the holidays, but if you’d rather watch the professionals skate, check out the Stars on Saturday. They’re coming off a conference finals appearance last year and are off to a hot start this season. Tickets start at $40.

Sunday, December 3

A Drag Queen Christmas at Aztec Theater

San Antonio

The stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race are taking the stage of the historic Aztec Theater “to save your Christmas.” They’ll sing, dance and perform seasonal classics with just the right amount of naughty and nice. Tickets start at $43.

Black Pumas at ACL Live


Seeing an ACL Live show is a quintessential Austin experience that puts fans in an intimate setting with their favorite performers. Black Pumas is kicking off a four-day set on Sunday, so you’ve got multiple chances to see the Grammy-nominated Austin band before they hit the road.

Tickets start at $60.

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