21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Selfies on the Green & Stagecoach Rides

Tuesday, November 22

Get out your hashtags, because it's another selfie alert over at Discovery Green. One of our favorite downtown green spaces is bringing in another blockbuster public art installation this winter, but it's really a two-for-one special. Both Firmament and Enchanted Promenade debut on November 22, and they're both show-stoppers. Burning Man artist Christopher Schardt is the genius behind Firmament; the installation marks his Texas debut and features a 52-foot wide canopy of 21,600 LED lights. At Burning Man, viewers congregated under the psychedelic tent with its 21-inch LED "disco" ball. It will be the national debut for French art collective TILT when they install the giant (we're talking more than 19 feet in height) color-changing peony bouquets that form Enchanted Promenade. Dusk until 11 p.m. daily. Firmament runs through January 8 and Enchanted Promenade runs through mid-February. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-400-7336 or visit Free. — Susie Tommaney

We’re coming to that time of year when theaters around the country, including the Alley, mount sparkling productions of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. In the past 12 years, Alley company member Chris Hutchison says he’s been in it 11 times. Multiply that by about 50 performances a year and you’re up to 550 times onstage in professional performances running through the same script. “Once you’re in front of the audience, you see people who are seeing it for the first time so you reinvest yourself in it,” he says. For this year’s A Christmas Carol — A Ghost Story of Christmas, Hutchison is back as Bob Cratchit, the lowly clerk who works for Ebenezer Scrooge and tries to keep his family afloat. The money that the Alley makes from putting on the classic work helps a lot. “It enables us to do so many of the other things we do during the course of the year that are not as traditional,” Hutchison says. But there’s also its intrinsic value, he adds. “It’s great literature. It’s a great story. The holidays beg for traditions, especially with the way the world is changing.” Here’s your chance to keep a good one going. 7:30 p.m. November 22. Continuing 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and November 25, December 21, 23, 26-27 and 29; 7:30 p.m. November 22 and December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 20, 22 and 28. November 19 through December 29. 615 Texas. For information call 713-220-5700 or visit $30-$70. — Margaret Downing

Lawndale Art Center, in a throwback to that early '80s club-scene atmosphere under James Surls, is again welcoming experimental, alternative works and performances. Next up is Lawndale Live, an anything-can-happen, live show filmed in front of a studio audience and hosted by Maurice Duhon, Jr. (we know him as Cornbreadd, the rapping front man of Houston Press Music Award-winner Tha Fucking Transmissions). Each week musical director Jawwaad serves up a different musical guest; for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving hear beats by DJ Good Grief. Guests this season include Emily Peacock, Patrick Renner, GONZO247 and former Mayor Annise Parker. Doors open at 6 p.m. November 22; show runs from 7 to 7:45 p.m. Continuing 7 p.m. Tuesdays and December 22. Through December 22. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit Free. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, November 23

Secretariat. Seabiscuit. Mr. Ed. A horse is a horse, of course, but none are as majestic as the Budweiser Clydesdales. These beauties are traveling to Houston for a visit with fans of the equestrian community — as well as lovers of beer. There’s no hoofing around it, these ponies are the glory of their breed, and “neigh”-sayers can’t argue. Say “hay” during their short-lived stop at Houston’s own Budweiser brewery while they’re in town for the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. “The Clydesdales are part of the heritage and tradition. They’re a part of the quality, of Budweiser,” says Aaron West, tour center manager. Wednesday’s lineup includes stable viewing throughout the day, plus photo ops from 1 to 3 p.m. Come back on November 25 and 26 for hitching and some of H-Town’s best food trucks. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. November 23. Continuing November 21-22 and 25-26. 775 Gellhorn. For information, call 713-678-3060 or visit Free to $25. Sam Byrd

We've all seen treasure hunters on the beach, slowly waving their metal detectors in hopes of finding a lost watch, maybe a few coins or even something more valuable. For one French farmer in the early 19th century, this dream became a reality, though he struck a Roman tile with his plowshare instead of a newfangled gadget. Known as the trésor de Berthouville, the haul had been buried since the late second or early third century. The 93 objects (bowls, cups, jugs and pair of statuettes) were later studied and conserved by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Cabinet des Médailles. For the touring exhibit, "Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville," the objects are displayed along with precious gemstones, glass, jewelry and other Roman luxury items. Houston is the last stop on the tour before the Roman treasures are returned to France next year. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. November 23. Continuing 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through February 5. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit Free to $15. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, November 24

The 67th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is strutting through downtown Houston with Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Simone Manuel — both with Houston-area roots — serving as grand marshals. The procession of marching bands, high-flying balloons and new floats kicks off at Smith at Lamar, travels north to Walker, east to Milam, south to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, west to Smith, and north to end at Smith and Dallas. This is the first year that organizers have added a sing-along; former The Voice competitor and Baytown resident Chris Crump kicks off the parade at 8:45 a.m., leading the crowd in singing “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Referencing his role, Crump says, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to give back to a city I love.” The lyrics are available on the parade website, so sing it loud in person or while watching on KHOU. 8:45 a.m. November 24. Downtown Houston. For information, visit — Free. Sam Byrd

In a year when Mr. and Mrs. Me Me Me (née Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) dominated pretty much everything, volunteering (which is always the best) seems especially apropos for the 2016 holidays. The 38th Annual Thanksgiving Big Super Feast, which is put together by the City Wide Club of Clubs, allows the less fortunate a chance to take home a turkey, a ham, beans, mac and cheese, and additional food items as well as receive other basic services, such as a haircut or basic medical care. At press time one of the volunteer slots was already booked up; if the shift board is full by the time you’re reading this, make a note in your 2017 calendar to sign up early for the yearly event. Donations of food, clothes and cash are always welcomed. 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (shift is full) and 12:30 to 4 p.m. November 24. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-752-2582 or visit Free. — Steve Jansen

If you’re dreading the tryptophan-induced coma that comes around after you gorge on Thanksgiving supper, then why not make a pre-emptive strike and start the day with a little exercise? The 2016 TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot fits the bill, with more than 15,000 participants walking and running through the Galleria area that morning. “People get excited and show up in costume. You can see anything from turkeys, Santa Clauses, Mrs. Santa Claus,” says Frida Villalobos, director of communications for presenter Neighborhood Centers. There’s a 7:20 a.m. wheelchair start, followed by the Phillips 66 10K at 7:30, the Humana 5K at 8 and the popular Kids Run at 9. “People come out, do the race and then go home; [they’re] getting their workout out of the way. There’s a family festival right after.” Same-day registration is available, but Villalobos suggests arriving early to find a parking spot because of road closures. The event helps families served by the nonprofit — which connects people with resources and provides immigration services — something that could become even more important during the next presidential term. 7 a.m. to noon November 24. 4925 Westheimer. For information, visit $15 to $42. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, November 25

Houston Ballet is once again presenting The Nutcracker, the magical holiday ballet of a young girl’s dreams and dolls and toys coming to life — but this year with a significant difference. Principal Dancer Melody Mennite takes on the role once again but has been practicing new steps in the much-anticipated Stanton Welch-choreographed version that is premiering at the Wortham Theater Center. Clara retains her bright and bubbly character equipped with a healthy imagination, as always, Mennite says. But more than just steps has been changed. “She has more of an arc in her character, and I think that she grows with the ballet as the story moves forward. She’s very much a part of propelling it forward. She’s definitely not a sideliner in this version,” Mennite says. “I don’t think it’s just a ballet. It’s become a family tradition for a lot of people.” 7:30 p.m. November 25. Continuing 7:30 p.m. December 9, 13-15; 2 and 7:30 p.m. November 26-27 and December 3-4, 10-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-27; 2 p.m. December 24. 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit $39 to $154. — Margaret Downing

Tradition abounds as Turkey Day approaches, but nothing delivers a lesson in history like the Houston Symphony’s A Mozart Thanksgiving, which includes Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major and Symphony No. 38, Prague. The production comes with a twist for modern audiences. “I am both the conductor and [the] piano soloist,” says guest conductor Jeffrey Kahane. “People are amazed to see someone playing and conducting at the same time. This is how music in the 18th century was done. The soloist and conductor were the same person until the early part of the 19th century.” Talk about the ultimate Throwback Thursday. After all the tryptophan, football games and leftovers have concluded, relieve your food hangover and give thanks for Mozart’s most recognized music. 8 p.m. November 25 and 26 and 2:30 p.m. November 27. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit $25 to $136. — Sam Byrd

“It’s a mix of all the stuff that everybody loves every weekend, but with a good sprinkling of holiday magic on top,” says Texas Renaissance Festival’s Travis Bryant about Celtic Christmas, RenFest’s Christmas-themed final weekend. Besides the RenFest staples — like jousting, costume contests and giant turkey legs — the three-day extravaganza includes a pumpkin pie-eating contest and opportunities to take photos with Father and Mother Christmas and their elfish court. Plus, if you want to get a head start on holiday shopping, the RenFest has hundreds of shops to check out. Bryant adds, “After this weekend, the village goes back to sleep for a year. If you haven’t had a chance to experience everything that makes us the No. 1 cultural festival in the nation, you better do it now.” 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. November 25, 26 and 27. 21778 Farm to Market 1774, Todd Mission. For information, call 800-458-3435 or visit $15 to $30. — Carter Sherman

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