Kids aren’t really into Christmas shopping (unless it’s for them!). Give them a bonus for staying on Santa’s Nice List by taking a detour to one of these fun holiday destinations in the Big D and beyond.
Get in the spirit — visit Grapevine
We’ll give you some specific highlights later in the list, but Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas for a reason — it has over 1,400 Christmas events in the 40-day period leading up to the holiday. It’s a small-enough town that you can easily drive around. But, hey, it’s Texas, so you can always just stop and ask a local.
Let it snow at the Gaylord Texan
Who says it doesn’t snow in Texas? The mega hotel Gaylord Texan is known for the spectacles it provides guests all year long, but at Christmas, it’s even more special. Between Nov. 14 and Jan. 4, enjoy ICE! featuring The Nutcracker. With over 2 million pounds of ice sculpted into a winter wonderland by 40 international artisans and kept at 9 degrees, we recommend dressing in layers (upon layers). Slide down real ice slides, gander at the 1.5 million twinkling lights and 15,000 Christmas ornaments, or take a spin on the winter-weather version of Texas’ favorite lazy-day pastime — snow tubing!
Holiday at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Celebrate the season from now until Dec. 31 by visiting the Dallas Arboretum, where you can visit Santa, Frosty, Rudolph and see real-life reindeer. Then check out the 500 angels in the DeGolyer Mansion.
All aboard The Polar Express
Boarding in Palestine, Texas, and ending at the North Pole, The Polar Express is the best way to experience the spirit of Christmas. Meet Santa wearing your favorite comfy jammies, drink gourmet hot cocoa from your souvenir mug and even make it an overnight stay with the holiday package! It’s a bit pricey at $139 or more per adult and about $20 for kids, but it’s a small price to pay for a memory like that. Pop for the $149 per-adult package to take advantage of the indoor pool at the hotel.
Gentlemen, start your sleighs
Every year, Texas Motor Speedway celebrates Christmas the way only it could. The Gift of Lights and Snow is the speedway’s contribution to seasonal fun. With 2 million LED lights in 600 drive-through holiday displays, this is the first year the venue has added snow to the mix (note that it’s still Texas, so if it really snows, the event will be closed — check the website before you go).
You can also check out the Snow Village with tubing hill, snow castles, the snowball gallery and visits with the King of Jolly himself.
Let there be lights
Three minutes, 145,000 lights synchronized to music and eight tiny reindeer — the Watters Creek Celebration of Lights is a free light show especially designed for Watters Creek. The event also features roaming carolers and other live music, free trolley and carriage rides, free hot chocolate and s’mores, holiday craft activities, fireworks and Santa. Check the website for dates and times.
Make magic with Frosty the Snowman
Children’s performances at Casa Mañana are a staple family-friendly event in DFW, and Christmas is no exception. This year, the playhouse is featuring a musical performance of Frosty the Snowman from Nov. 29 through Dec. 22. You know the heart-melting story, now see it live and in person. Tickets are between $15 and $38 each, and the show lasts an hour and a half with a 20-minute intermission.
Six Flags over Christmas
There’s so much to do at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Texas, we can’t list it all here! Some highlights include Blitzen’s Wonderland Mountain, Candy Cane Lane, the Christmas Tree Forest, a cookie decorating room and more.
Loads of fun at Bass Pro Shop
A sports and outdoors store may not be your first thought for Christmas, but Bass Pro Shop has a load of unique activities through Dec. 24, many of which you’ll enjoy as much as the kids. Remote-control trucks, a laser arcade, moving model trains, holiday crafts, pictures with Santa and more.