Looking to celebrate the holidays? In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex we’re lucky to have so many to experience but here’s our shortlist of Must-Do Holiday Events in DFW!
Check back often: This list will update throughout the season.
Ready for the holidays? Don’t worry, they’re already here, so get ready.
And in the DFW metroplex, from Fort Worth to Dallas, Arlington to Plano, Grand Prairie to Grapevine (and of course everything in between), there are plenty of great ones to choose from every day of the week. However, there are a few events that you need to have on your must-do, must-go, must-see list for the holidays in 2019! (And make sure to look as some of these have giveaways too!)
1. The Trains at Northpark
Northpark Center / Nov. 16- Jan. 5, 2020
Prices: Tickets for The Trains at NorthPark are $4 for children ages 2-12 and seniors over 65. Adults are $7, while children under 2 are admitted for free. The exhibit closes for Christmas and Thanksgiving, also closing early for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Celebrating its 20th year, The Trains at NorthPark have been a holiday tradition for many families (you can spot them through the mall sporting their PJs as they head to the exhibit!) Benefiting Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD) , and presented by Bank of Texas, The Trains at NorthPark features 750 railcars on a 1,600-foot elaborate configuration of tracks and scenes. The largest miniature train track in Texas, the Trains at NorthPark features cityscapes like Dallas, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Fair Park; New York with Times Square and Grand Central Terminal; Washington, D.C. with The White House; and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Other highlights include New England’s fall foliage, the Grand Canyon, Garden of the Gods, Mount Rushmore and Route 66. The charming exhibit has been seen by around two million since its original run over 30 years ago. (As you can see here from 2013, we’re big fans!) Get the details.
2. Texas Christkindl Market
Arlington / Nov. 29 – Dec. 22
Prices: Free to visit
It’s a German Christmas at the Texas Christkindl Market and this year it is bigger and better than ever! This delightful, FREE, family-friendly market, inspired by the cherished German tradition, features holiday gifts, decorations, entertainment, food and this year ICE SKATING. Holiday shoppers will enjoy exclusive Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations and designs from the renowned Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Village in Germany, as well as more than 25 holiday vendors including authentic German foods and even gluhwein or kinderpunch for the littles. Get the details.
3. SnowDay Dallas
The Plaza at Preston Center / Nov. 22 – Jan. 4 (see site for specific dates and times)
Tickets range $30 for adults, children under 3 are admitted free. $1 of every ticket benefit Children’s Medical Center.
Self-described as a “holiday dipped and peppermint flipped immersive experience,” SnowDay is new to 2019 and new to Big D. Guests will navigate their way through an imaginative wonderland of festive photo ops, enchanted rooms, interactive spaces, and nostalgic moments with photo booths integrated throughout the exhibit. Release says you may even meet up with Santa or his elves. Get the details.
4. Christmas at the Anatole
Hilton Anatole / Begins Nov. 29
Rates and prices range based on activities.
When it comes to having some real face-time with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas at the Anatole is the perfect place. The legendary hotel transforms into a winter wonderland complete with festive décor, Santa fun, Elf School and Peppermint Park with all kinds of kids activities like a train ride, cocoa, tree lighting and more. But waking up with Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus might be the icing on the Christmas cookies! Make a weekend of it with a stay at the hotel which includes a holiday movie night or try to snag one of the select opportunities for Breakfast with Santa only. Either way, you’ll make some great memories! Get the details.
5. Prairie Lights
Joe Pool Lake / Thanksgiving – New Year’s Eve (hours vary)
Prices start at $45 per car. (Splurge on the other activities for a full night of fun with the fam.)
Long one of my favorite of displays in DFW, Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie is well worth the time and money! There is such much even beyond two miles of lit paths and four million lights, it’s a whole night of fun for the kid in all of us. The experience includes not only the drive-through display, but a Holiday Village with free rides, delicious holiday fare, a marketplace and of course, Santa. There’s even a special Holiday Magic theatrical show and a Walk-Through Forest (for an added cost), so you can keep the spirit of Christmas going all night long! Get the details.
6. Holiday at the Arboretum
Dallas Arboretum / Nov. 9 – Dec. 31, 2019
Prices range with activities (some activities included with admission.)
Holiday at the Arboretum features the return of the magnificent The 12 Days of Christmas outdoor exhibit, as well as almost 1 million lights throughout the garden at night, trimming the architecture of the historic homes and lighting the canopies overhead—including a 30-foot-tall tree. But that’s just the beginning! You can snag a kiss under the mistletoe, get a glimpse of Santa and a real reindeer, have tea, and much more. There are activities available both morning and nights, throughout the week and the weekends so make sure to check the schedule to get your favorites. Get the details.
7. ICE! at the Gaylord Texan
Gaylord Texan Hotel and Convention Center / Nov. 9 – Jan. 1, 2019
Rates and prices range based on activities.
If you’re looking for a winter wonderland, you won’t find more ice and snow than at the Gaylord Texan for their annual Lonestar Christmas! From its ICE! at the Gaylord Texan exhibit with 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice inside the 9 degree, 14,000 sq.-feet exhibit, outdoor ice skating, Snow Tubing, you’ll get your fix. Looking for something a little warmer? Decorate your own gingerbread house or breakfast at Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas, you can Christmas to your heart’s content. Once your all Christmased out, stay the night for a full holiday hotel experience. Get the details.
8. Robert Earl Keen’s Countdown to Christmas
Bass Performance Hall / Dec. 30
Tickets starting at $55.
Oh, if there’s a Christmas song to sum up our Christmas, I’ll admit it’s Robert Earl Keen’s “Merry Christmas from the Family.” One of my all-time favorite Texas legends (he was one of my first concerts and many more have followed), REK and his band kick up Christmas favorites with his own sound of storytelling, bluegrass and always lots of fun. And where else would you want to enjoy him than in Cowtown for a little Christmas fun. Get the details.
9. Holiday and Tree Lighting at Galleria Dallas
Galleria Dallas / Nov. 23 – Dec. 23 (dates and times of events vary)
Galleria Dallas celebrates the holiday season with tree lightings, ice skating performances, kids events (like Slappy’s Holiday Circus), Chanukah Menorah Lighting and of course, SHOPPING. But it’s the tree lighting (referred to as the Illumination Celebration featuring world-class ice skaters and Missile Toes, the ice-skating, back-flipping, pyrotechnic Santa, along with local children performing, a countdown to a fireworks finale and the lighting of the country’s tallest indoor Christmas tree that make the magic of Christmas come alive.(Believe me, I’ve spent many years doing this and you won’t be disappointed, but come early to get a good spot on one of the the levels.) AND new this year, Santa has made it even easier to be able to see him without all the lines with a new reservation system. When guests arrive, they are met with their own elf to take them through Santa’s Village before they meet up with Santa for the big picture moment! Get the details.
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That tree. 🌲 I spent more than a decade sharing how amazing it was as the “tallest indoor Christmas tree in the U.S.,” but no matter how many amazing Olympic skaters we hosted around it, or the times I saw Missile Toes flip as fireworks fired from his skates, it’s still that beautiful tree that captures my heart and says “Happy Holidays from DFW.”🎅🏼 My heart is full I can share it with my kids tonight.❤️ . . . #galleriadallas #galleriaholiday #galleria #mamachallenge #Dallas #BigD #dfwhappenings #dallasblogger #happyholidays
10. Vitruvian Lights
Vitruvian Park in Addison / Nov. 23 – Jan. 1, 2020
Free / Parking $10
The most dazzling and spectacular time of the year is here! Vitruvian Park transforms into a magical holiday wonderland during Vitruvian Lights. Walk through the park to view the lights, gourmet food trucks, sweet treats, FREE photos with Santa, classic holiday characters, elf balloon artist, and Metrocrest Services Donation Drive plus live music! Get the details.
11. Gift of Lights
Texas Motor Speedway / Nov. 23 – Jan. 5, 2020
Tickets start at $30.
Head to Texas Motor Speedway for the Gift of Lights. There you will see a fantastic light show, travel to Santa’s Village where you will meet Santa and experience what Christmas is like at the North Pole. First responders and military also get a special gift with a free 5 x 7 photo in Santa’s Village. Get the details.
12. Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington / Nov. 23-Jan. 6, 2020
If you’re looking for holiday thrills you’ll find them at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags over Texas. Discover a winter wonderland filled with more than 1 million lights holiday attractions including a snow hill, visits with Santa, sing-a-longs, holiday shows and don’t forget the treats (s’mores!) At the Merry Marketplace grab a few holiday gifts filled with holiday treats, shopping, and photo opportunities.
- More lights than ever before – over 1 million
- Never-before-offered photo experience
- Biggest menu of holiday treats we’ve ever offered
- Extra rides open around the park
- More glowing campfires and S’mores locations
- Expanded Merry Marketplace area
- New Holiday Bear toy drive
13. Daystar Christmas
Daystar / Nov. 28 – Jan. 5, 2020
I can’t believe for so many years I didn’t know about this event, but I’m so glad we do now! A beautiful, intimate way to spend the holidays together looking at lights and the life-size nativity scene, Daystar Christmas is even adding a massive drive-thru tunnel stretching 950 ft. with more than 11,000 Lights. There’s amazing backdrops for photos, there are visits with Santa and there’s even a coffee shop that you can visit with sweets, cocoa and more. Get the details.
14. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth’s annual Holiday Bricktacular
Grapevine Mills / Dec. 7 – Dec. 24
Prices: Admission is included in the normal ticket price.
‘Tis the season for LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth’s annual Holiday Bricktacular! Holiday Bricktacular activities include:
- Giant LEGO Holiday Creation: View the Master Model Builder’s newest creation. Last year was a 5-foot-tall Nutcracker!
- Meet & Greet LEGO Santa: Meet jolly old LEGO® Santa and tell him about all the LEGO® sets you want this year.
- Holiday Quilt Build: Test your building skills by helping the Master Model Builder create an oversized, one-of-a-kind holiday LEGO® quilt.
15. SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium
Grapevine Mills / Various dates and times through Dec. 21
Scheduled dives: 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays, December 7, 10, 14, 17 and 21
Price is included with regular admission
Celebrate the holiday season and see Scuba Diving Santa, along with his elf, make a jolly appearance in a water wonderland at SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium amongst sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, fish and other marine life, with special holiday dive shows and other festive activities. The feature of this adventure is the Scuba Diving Santa Experience: a dive show like no other with a jolly red-suited diver, beard and all, along with his elf as they take the plunge in a magical dive show amongst the fish, sharks and stingrays in SEA LIFE Grapevine’s 160,000-gallon ocean tank. Pose for pictures and find out if Scuba Diving Santa thinks you’ve been naughty or nice. Get the details.
16. Holiday Sip and Shop
Fort Worth Botanic Gardens / Dec. 14
Prices: Free to shop. Photos with Santa are $10. Holiday Tea is $45 for adults and $35 for children
First Sip and Shop of the season is just one of the Christmas events taking place on December 14 at BRIT and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Get your last-minute shopping done at our local artisan market featuring handmade goods for purchase including beautiful ceramics, botanical jewelry, various artwork, home décor, bath and body products, sweets and treats, and much more! Santa will be in the garden for photos ($10). If you want to elevate the day even further you should participate in the Holiday Tea. Reservations required. Get the details.
17. GM Financial Parade of Lights
Sundance Square / Dec. 24
Prices: Free but reserved seating is available (highly recommended)
The 37th edition of this Downtown Fort Worth signature event, is themed, “The Sounds of the Season,” and will feature music throughout the parade. Kick off the holiday season watching the 100+ floats as they make their way around downtown. Head Downtown early in the day for activities, food and holiday shopping before The Parade of Lights. This year, you can enjoy the 65 foot Christmas tree in Sundance Square before the parade. Get the details.
18. Dallas Holiday Parade
Dallas / Dec. 7
Prices: Free or you can have premier seating
After 31 years the Dallas Holiday Parade is stronger than ever for its 32nd annual event! Featuring booming marching bands, iconic characters, spirited floats and larger-than-life balloons. Be a part of the magic and give your children a holiday to remember. Pro Tip: Take the Dart. Get the details.
19. Dallas Zoo Lights
Dallas Zoo / Nov. 15 – Jan 5
Prices: $17 for adults and $14 for youth and seniors
After the animals head in for the evening, the Dallas Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with over one million twinkling lights illuminating the Zoo throughout the holiday season. Discover realistic silk-covered lanterns in the shape of your favorite animals, plus even more light displays and festivities for the entire family!
Dallas Zoo Lights Activities:
- Holiday Light Show
- Santa meet-and-greet
- Nature ornament-making activity
- Nightly musical performances throughout ZooNorth
- Rainbow Arch
- Whimsical African watering hole at Lantern Ridge
- Santa’s Sleigh photo op
- Elves’ Workshop at the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo with Animal Encounters every 30 minutes
- S’mores, specialty donuts, funnel cakes, and hot chocolate
20. Highland Park Village’s Christmas Lights Celebration and Shopping Stroll
Highland Park / Dec. 5
Experience the magic of the holidays at Highland Park Village’s Christmas Lights Celebration and Shopping Stroll featuring spectacular live performances, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, exclusive store promotions, and special activations with community charity partners. For one evening only, sip and shop under the lights at historic Highland Park Village, Dallas’ landmark shopping and dining destination, during extended hours. Get the details.
Check back often: This list will update throughout the season.