There is never a bad time to travel around the Lone Star state. But if you are a fan of Christmas festivities, Texas 100% has you covered. We love Christmas in Texas.
One of the things we love most is the diversity. Texas is a huge mix of city and country, desert and mountains, and everything in between. Beyond geography, Texas’s cultural diversity also shapes the way Christmas is celebrated. Germans, Hispanics, Czechs, Poles and others all lend their Christmas traditions.
As we referenced in a previous blog, we LOVE Christmas. We have traveled to many regions of the state to take in the best of that area’s Christmas activities. We will highlight some of our favorites in our blog below. We will break the activities into different cities or regions.
We live about 30 miles southwest of Dallas, so these are activities we do year after year. We don’t ALWAYS have to travel out of town to have fun! Here are our top Dallas area Christmas activities:
- Dallas Arboretum– The premier Dallas Christmas event. This year it will be running from November 10th through December 30th. You are encouraged to stroll the entire grounds of the Arboretum. Christmas themes can be seen throughout. They have an authentic German Christmas pyramid with animations throughout. Their main Christmas tree is 50 feet tall and covered in tens of thousands of lights. Mr and Mrs Claus will be there nightly after Thanksgiving. It is pure magic.
- Dallas Zoo Lights– Running from November 19th through January 2nd, Dallas Zoo Lights is a drive through Christmas experience. The route is one mile in length. Along the way, you will see over 1 million lights, lit up realistic statues, and more. The route ends at a Christmas themed village. Here you are encouraged to get out and snap selfies with their 30 foot Christmas tree. They will also have hot cocoa and other treats for purchase. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.
- Highland Park Carriage Rides- A personal family favorite! Whenever we host out of town guests during the holidays, we always take them here! There are several different operators and all are great. They offer carriages of different sizes and will take you on an evening tour to view the beautifully decorated homes of Highland Park, TX. Bring blankets, hot cocoa, cookies, and your Christmas spirit!
- Texas Christkindl Market– On the grounds of Globe Life Field in Arlington, this German inspired Christmas market is the largest in Texas. This year it will be open from November 25th through December 23rd. The market is family friendly and free. This is a European style open air market with booths selling authentic German Christmas items, treats, and decorations. Live music most nights. We have gone several times and always come home with more German desserts than we should!
- Search for Dallas hotel deals HERE
- Santa’s Wonderland– They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes their Christmas celebrations! Santa’s Wonderland is massive and there is so much to do there. Some of the highlights are the hayrides, ice skating, trail of lights, West Pole Express train ride, petting barn, and giant jumping pillows, and much, much more. Probably the most popular attraction is the giant snow tubing hill made with REAL snow! Pro-tip: Buy your tickets AND your parking passes in advance. On-site parking often sells out and you will then have to park in the remote lots.
- Search for College Station area hotels here
- Trail of Lights– One of the longest running events on this list. Returning to an in-person experience this year after two years of being drive-thru due to COVID. Trail of Lights features over 2 million lights, 90 lit Christmas trees, and dozens of other holiday displays. There are also food and beverage vendors, live music and more.
- Peppermint Parkway– Held at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack, Peppermint Parkway is more of an over the top Christmas carnival than anything else. The entire event is one giant Instagram opportunity. Carnival rides, food and drink, dancing, displays and more. This was one of our favorite destinations.
- Check out our full Austin area Christmas blog here
- Search for Austin hotel deals here
- The Riverwalk– Are you even a Texan if you haven’t walked the Riverwalk during Christmas? If you haven’t yet, get in your car and do it! The entire loop is adorned with thousands of Christmas lights. While walking the Riverwalk paths is enough, step up your San Antonio Christmas game with a ride on one of the river taxis that offer their services up and down the river. For the ultimate experience, come during the annual Riverwalk Christmas Parade!
- Old West Christmas Light Fest– Located just outside San Antonio at the Enchanted Springs Ranch in Boerne. If you have ever wondered what Christmas MIGHT have been like during the Old West times, you will want to check this place out (pretty sure they didn’t have 2 million Christmas lights back then, but we can pretend!). This experience has acres of fun including playgrounds, photo ops, light tunnels, longhorn viewing areas, laser tag, camp fires, petting zoo and more!
- Search San Antonio hotel deals here
- Yesterland Farm– They market their event as being a Christmas Carnival, and it is easy to see why. They have carnival rides for kids as small as 32”. Other attractions are a corn maze, visits with Santa, wagon train rides, and more. One of our favorites are the apple cannons. For a small fee, you get a bucket of apples that can be dropped into a cannon and launched! Plus they have real Christmas trees for purchase.
- Search Canton area hotel deals here
- Mainstay Farm– Similar to Yesterland Farm, Mainstay has dozens of activities. Tube slides, big wheel race tracks, giant swings, farm animals, mazes, jumping pillows, treehouse fort, and much much more. In addition to plenty of pre-cut trees, Mainstay actually offers “cut your own” trees to cut down and bring home.
- Search area hotel deals here
- The main attraction in Palestine is The Polar Express train ride. The train ride is a 50 mile round trip through the Piney Woods of Texas using classic steam and diesel locomotives. Passengers can choose from several classes of cars ranging from Presidential to Coach class. All classes except for Coach include a keepsake mug, hot cocoa, and cookies. During the train ride, the book The Polar Express is read to all. You have the opportunity to purchase your own copy when booking. Wearing your PJ’s is highly encouraged!!
- Search for Palestine area hotels here
- Grapevine claims to be “The Christmas Capital of Texas” and it is easy to see why. Starting in November, the Historic Downtown area transforms itself to a Christmas wonderland. Lights and decorations adorn the streets and light posts along Main Street. Throughout the month, the city holds many special Christmas themed events. The historic Palace Theater hosts Christmas movies and live performances. And you can’t forget to take a ride on the North Pole Express hosted by the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.
- Search for Grapevine area hotels here
- Dasher’s Lightshow- This is an impressive drive-thru Christmas light experience. Millions of twinkling lights and displays are choreographed to all of your favorite Christmas songs. Tune your radio to the channel on the info board to hear the songs loud and clear in your car. Show organizers state that the show should last about 15-20 minutes.
- Magical Winter Lights– Located in nearby Baytown, this is one we have not been to yet, but have added it to our short list of attractions to see. Located on the grounds of Houston Raceway Park, Magical Winter Lights is 45 acres of fully immersive and interactive displays. The vibrant colors on the videos posted to their website are amazing. This year will feature 100 lantern displays spread throughout 8 different themed areas. In addition to the light displays, Magical Winter Lights also features carnival rides, delicious food options, live performances, and of course meet and greets with Santa himself. We honestly can’t wait to check this one out.
- Check out Houston area hotels here
Summary of Christmas in Texas
Hopefully this guide inspires you and your family to do some road tripping this coming holiday season. There are so many amazing holiday attractions throughout the Lone Star state. One of the great secondary perks of road tripping during the holiday season is getting the opportunity to try new restaurants that you may not have close to home. Because of course you get hungry from checking out all of these amazing Christmas excursions!