There will be turkey; and mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. There will be food comas and football; oh, and of course, Black Friday shopping, too. And, that’s all delicious and good. It is Thanksgiving Day, after all.

But, that’s not all! The long Thanksgiving weekend also brings with it a number of other (or alternative) things to do — especially if fighting the Friday sales crowds isn’t your shot of whiskey.

So, make a list and check it twice with these 16 activities for the long holiday weekend.

Zoo Lights

When: Daily

Where: Houston Zoo

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The Houston Zoo goes from wild to wonderland once the annual holiday LED light show begins on November 17. In addition to the colorful, twinkling lights at every turn, there’s a giant holiday tree, train village, enchanted forest, and so much more. You can probably even find some s’mores and hot chocolate. The wintry wonderland is a daily occurrence through January 13, but Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to see all the sparkling lights. You can score a special ticket deal via Groupon HERE.

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The ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy

When: Daily

Where: Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney

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Discovery Green gets plenty of holiday magic with this ice rink that will have you gliding beneath the glittering lights of downtown anytime this season, beginning on November 16. But, on Thanksgiving Day, the rink is open for extended hours from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. On Saturday, November 24, there’s a special “Skate with Santa” event at 5 p.m.; and, on Sunday, November 25, “Skating with the Stars” at 6 p.m. features Houston’s top figure skaters performing demonstrations.

Thanksgiving Pub Crawl for Charity Benefiting Houston Food Bank

When: November 21

Where: Downtown

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Wednesday is the new Friday — at least on Thanksgiving eve. So, get the Turkey Day party started early with this pub crawl that runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. (talk about an extended happy hour!) and includes a number of diverse downtown bars. And, of course, on this occasion your drinking is doing plenty of good, with proceeds benefiting the Houston Food Bank.

Magical Winter Lights

When: Daily

Where: 1000 FM 2004, La Marque

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It’s about to get lit at this 20-acre, larger-than-life lantern festival that presents a fresh multicultural take on the traditional holiday light show with a fantasy-like wonderland of sights, vividly hued dreamscapes, kitschy carnival rides, and character entertainment, and even Chinese acrobat performances.  The magic begins on November 16 and runs daily through January 6, with extended nighttime hours on Thanksgiving Day.

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Houston Turkey Trot

When: November 22

Where: Galleria, 4925 Westheimer Rd.

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Race to the finish line (and the feasting!) with this annual tradition held by BakerRipley that challenges and encourages Houstonians to get up, get out, give back, and give thanks with a 10K, 5K, and 1K kid’s fun run. This year’s theme is #HOUareStronger in honor of the community’s endurance following Hurricane Harvey. So, no matter what race you run, everyone’s a winner.

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H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade

When: November 22

Where: Downtown

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Instead of watching that Macy’s parade business on TV, experience one — IRL. The 69th annual parade will have you channeling the holiday spirit stat, what with the festive showcase of sparkling floats, high-flying balloons, marching bands, artistic entries, and live entertainment in the streets of downtown Houston.

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Thanksgiving Buffet at Downtown Aquarium

When: November 22

Where: 410 Bagby St.

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The feast of the seven fishes comes early (and takes on entirely new meaning!) with this Thanksgiving spread at the Downtown Aquarium. The decadent, kid-friendly buffet keeps you out of the kitchen and includes all the traditional turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, and cornbread dressing favorites — plus more deliciousness in the form of Belgian waffles, cheese blintzes, omelettes, salads and apps, entrees like blackened tilapia and chimichurri grilled skirt steak, an ice cream bar, and the ultimate dessert table.

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So You Think You Can Dance Live!

When: November 23

Where: Revention Music Center, 520 Texas Ave.

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If SYTCD is your fave TV show, then don’t miss the Top 10 finalists from Season 15 of the Emmy-winning series hit the stage.

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Festival of Trees

When: November 23-25

Where: Cane Island Amenity Village, 2100 Cane Island Pkwy., Katy

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Katy’s newest holiday extravaganza is just as festive as it sounds — and made for families. Right after Thanksgiving, keep the celebration going with this weekend event that features a collection of custom-designed Christmas trees and wreaths along with a massive holiday gift market, live entertainment, photos with Santa, and more. The festival benefits The Ballard House and its mission of providing temporary housing for patients and their families coming to the Katy area for extended medical treatment. See a full list of market vendors here; it includes all sorts of unique crafts, jewelry, foods, and gifts.

Flea by Night

When: November 24

Where: Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney

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This once-a-month market ramps up for the holidays with a weekly Saturday flea in the park — after dark. Nestled in the southeast end of the beautiful downtown park, the destination event will take you on a treasure hunt with an array of artful kitsch, vintage items, mid-century modern furniture, recycled and repurposed items and collectibles, and crafts by local artisans and designers. Live music, food trucks, lawn games, and more take the experience to the next level of jolly fun.

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YMCA Turkey Dash

When: November 22

Where: Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, 22807 Westheimer Pkwy., Katy

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Whether you’re a veteran pavement pounder or a newbie, the YMCA of Greater Houston’s Turkey Dash is an accessible option to with a 10K, 5K, 1 Mile Kids Race, and 1 Mile Walk/Run. But, let's face it, we’re all in it for the post-race party packed with food, giveaways, a photo booth, and a kids fun zone — all before that Thanksgiving feast later, naturally. Bonus points if you go in costume, as there’s a contest for the “Best Thanksgiving Theme” and “Most Unique Costume.” All proceeds go towards the YMCA’s annual campaign to help provide scholarships for programs such as child care, summer camps, swim lessons, and sports leagues as well as assistance to various area outreach programs.

Holiday Latin Jazz Fest

When: November 24

Where: Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St.

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Heat up your Thanksgiving weekend with this sassy multicultural musical spectacle featuring multi-Grammy Award-winning musician Poncho Sanchez with special guests Francisco Torres, Jose Valentino, Raquel Cepeda, and Houston's own Jose Antonio Diaz and Caliente. There will also be dance entertainment, Latin food, beers, and cocktails.

Gobble Til You Wobble

When: November 24

Where: Anywhere

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This 5K and 10K is a bit different than the normal race — it’s all virtual. You get to run (or walk) your own race literally wherever you choose. And, a medal is shipped directly to you. While you may miss the camaraderie of the huge races, at least parking won’t be a problem with this one. Plus, a portion of proceeds from each race registration benefits Feeding America.

The Nutcracker

When: November 24-25

Where: Wortham Theater, 501 Texas St.

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Have real visions of sugar plum fairies with this charming Houston Ballet holiday production that’s set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. No matter how many times you see the whimsical adventures and magical toys, it never gets old.

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Bourbon Masquerade Ball

When: November 24

Where: India House, 8888 W. Bellfort Blvd.

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Dress to dazzle — mask, included! — at this costume-friendly extravaganza that features bourbon from all over the world in addition to music, dancing, food, and more. Plus, a portion of proceeds support scholarships for local students. It’s a win-win. You can score a special ticket deal via Groupon HERE.

Small Business Saturday Holiday Market

When: November 24

Where: ModChic Couture, 6125 Kirby Dr.

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Bold jewels from Stephanie Bijoux; statement bags by KisaKisa; colorful headwraps by ChiChi L’amour; and more… it’s all part of this small-but-sweet market that celebrates local talent, and you can mingle with the designers themselves while enjoying live music, drinks, and light bites. A portion of proceeds from each purchase will be donated to a local charity.

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