I was provided complimentary tickets to the Nutcracker Market along with a hotel stay. The opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated for this post.
It’s here! The kick-off to the holiday shopping season in Texas: the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market! The market runs through November 17, 2019 and takes place at the NRG Center. I had a chance to attend the Preview Party for the 39th annual Nutcracker Market the other night and make a Houston girl’s trip out of it. Since Hilton is the official hotel partner of the Nutcracker Market, I stayed at the über-fabulous new C. Baldwin Hotel (more on that below). Here is why you need to make a girl’s trip to the Nutcracker Market a holiday tradition, and why you should get yourself there this weekend. Get your tickets here.
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market
If you’ve never experienced the Nutcracker Market, you need to add this massive shopping event to your Texas bucket list. It’s perfect to attend with your mama and your girlfriends. In fact, many Texas ladies make it a tradition to attend with their friends and family every year as a way to start their holiday shopping in this fun and festive event.
The four-day event features more than 260 merchants from across the country setup in the spacious NRG Center. You’ll find a huge variety of items for sale for your holiday shopping (and several things you’ll want just for yourself). Vendors sell gourmet food and gift (do yourself a favor and visit Gold booth), high-quality fashion and accessories, toys, home decor, holiday decorations, and a lot more.
You’re also supporting the arts in Houston with your ticket and purchases at the Nutcracker Market. The event is an annual fundraiser for the Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy, and scholarship programs. Eleven percent of all merchandise sales, plus the proceeds from admission and special event tickets, supports the various programs of Houston Ballet and its Academy.
Here are the important details for attending the Nutcracker Market this year in Houston:
- Thursday – Friday, November 14 and 15, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday, November 16, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday, November 17, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tickets are good for one-day admission during November 14-17, 2019. No repeat admission. Next year be sure to check-out the early bird tickets, which allow you early access on some of the days, and repeat admission!
- $20 each at NRG Center
- Reduced-price admission is available daily, three hours prior to closing
- Group Rate: Groups of 20 or more will receive a $2 discount off regular admission price by calling 713-535-3231 in advance
- Children under 5 are free
- Purchase tickets here
TIPS FOR TACKLING THE NUTCRACKER MARKET LIKE A PRO
This was my first time attending, and here are some tips for getting the most out of the market:
- Come early. You don’t want to miss out on the best items and food samples before they’re gone for the day, and you’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to shop since there are so many vendors.
- Come with a plan. Know the people you want to shop for and the vendors you definitely want to see. The event is huge, so having a plan will help keep you from getting overwhelmed, and keep your holiday shopping and spending on track.
- Come with comfortable shoes. The venue is large, and you’ll want footwear that can last as long as your shopping stamina.
- Come with friends and loved ones. This is the unofficial kick-off for the holiday season. You’ll be surrounded by lovely decor, music, samples, fashion shows, Instagrammable photo opps, and all sorts of festivity. Don’t miss that as a chance to bond with your mama, your girlfriends, and your daughters.
Where to stay in Houston for attending the Nutcracker Market
For the Nutcracker Market or any girl’s getaway in Houston, you need to stay at the brand new C. Baldwin hotel by Hilton. Opened in October of 2019, this chic and stylish hotel is a new favorite of mine.
Like its namesake, Charlotte Baldwin (Houston’s founding female), C. Baldwin is a monument to strong female visionaries. Female empowerment quotes and images are all around the hotel and in the guest rooms, including original portraits of fierce Houston women with flashy cars shot by local photojournalist Elizabeth Conley.
The event space at the C. Baldwin is broken into separate distinctive venues, each named after a female leader or innovator, like Barbara Jordan (the first African American woman elected to the Texas senate), Adina De Zavala (the renowned Texas writer and preservationist), and legendary Texas-born rock and soul legend Janis Joplin.
The dining at C. Baldwin is as fabulous as the decor. The hotel’s signature restaurant Rosalie Italian Soul is named after Top Chef Master Chris Cosentino’s great-grandmother Rosalie, a first-generation Italian immigrant that taught the chef how to bring her recipes to life. The mid-century restaurant decor (down to the cups and utensils) draw from Rosalie’s 1970s kitchen.
C. Baldwin’s culinary offerings also include a convenient Good 2 Go coffee and snack bar.
My favorite of the public spaces at C. Baldwin is the expansive lobby bar with its signature staircase and chandelier that is not only a fabulous and comfortable lounge, but also a focal point of the lobby level.
Something else to look forward to at C. Baldwin is the soon-to-open chic and clean beauty retreat, Paloma.