Do That / It's Culture

10 Things to Know Before You Go to Lights in the Heights


It’s that weekend we’ve all been waiting for since White Linen Night: Lights in the Heights —mainly because the Heights is just so fun when it’s being taken over by the entire city for one night only. That night this year is Dec. 14 from 6-9 p.m. Here’s the official website!

But the two events are different. White Linen Night is put on by the businesses on 19th Street and now White Oak. Lights in the Heights is on residential streets that are closed off and there are private parties and public entertainment all set up by the residents. This, in the past, has made some things personal. The tradition is more than 20 years old, and most of that time it was a Heights-only party. Basically, it grew and drew more attention to it, and now all of Houston enjoys the party. (Some residents wish this wasn’t so.)

Here are some tips for you before you go, but, in my opinion, No. 10 is the most important. Have fun!

1. Go as a group.

I’m of the firm opinion that I am the party, so I don’t need a party to party, ya feel? However, this is one of those things that is just so much more fun in a group. I concede my party theory for this. Grab all of your friends (and their friends). Sure, you can break away and have sub groups, but having a big group with one big cooler is fun!

2.Have a pregame or a postgame.

All of the Heights will be fun and festive Saturday, so plan dinner/drinks before and drinks after! Or just your typical house party pregame before works too!

3.Bring drinks/snacks/hand warmers.

Backpacks and rolling coolers are your friends. One year, we pregamed and postgamed (see No. 2), so we only brought a few beers. Twas not enough. As I saw the group of teachers with plastic wine cups and a fresh college grads with a wagon full of liquor, I was mega jealous. Or the smarties with hot cocoa: You are the real MVPs.

Also, important your drink-focused (proud of you) mind won’t think of: Snacks. Festive snacks are a pro move. I see you with your cookies and chex mix, and I am green with envy.

PSA: There are port-a-potties, but, um, that’s it.

4. Rideshare and plan your route.

Figure out where you are starting. Here’s a map (it’s old, but probably the same). Highly recommend Uber or Lyft — use Lyft’s code: LIGHTSRIDE for half off two rides! Parking is a nightmare. Obvi there might be surges, but that’s why you just walk to a surrounding spot for a nightcap or a bite.

5. Dress up and appropriately.

Get festive af. Ugly sweaters, santa hats, reindeer headband — go all out! But also wear comfortable shoes and dress warmly — supposed to be in the 40s Saturday!

6. Leave yo kids and yo pups.

The event is definitely kid and dog friendly, however, large crowds and drinking? Not ideal for Fido or Junior. Your call!

7. Don’t try to sneak into parties.

It just never works out the way you want it to. Basically, as you walk through the neighborhood, you’ll see signs outside poppin homes that say “Private Party, GTFO” or something. Keep walkin. There will, however, be free entertainment (bands, etc.) outside some houses. Feel free to linger outside those spots!

8. Talk to strangers.

If you brought a big group, you might not get to do this. But something super neighborly might be chatting up your fellow lights lookers! Share a beer or a cupcake! Who knows, maybe they’re headed to one of those private parties and will get you in.

9. Look out for your friends.

If you’ve lived in Houston for any significant amount of time, you will see 10-15 people you know. Everyone is there. Literally the whole city. So, heads up for all your buddies.

10. Be respectful.

This is an event that was started by Heights residents FOR Heights residents. You’re literally walking down their streets right outside their homes! Don’t stomp in their grass or litter. Be nice! Otherwise this might not be a thing we get to do for very much longer.

This post originally ran Dec. 8, 2016, but has been updated with this year’s information.

4 thoughts on “10 Things to Know Before You Go to Lights in the Heights

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