When all the warm family 'closeness' starts making the walls feel a little closer than they actually are, here's some stuff to do to get the gang out and about around Dallas/Fort Worth - and a few neat suggestions if you'll be venturing beyond the metroplex area as well:
Gaylord Texan Lone Star Christmas and 'Ice (featuring Frosty The Snowman)' Exhibit
Gaylord Texan hotel, Grapevine
November 13th - January 3rd
2 million lights, ice carvers, snowmen, even real snow tubing - this is the epitome of Texas holiday celebration. Special event-grade family fun!
Adventure to Santa
Parks mall in Arlington
November 13 – December 23rd
The Parks at Arlington and Dream Works Animation take guests on a never-before-seen, interactive experience with Adventure to Santa. Join Shrek and his friends as they take you on an interactive journey to find Santa at the North Pole. Once your journey is complete, visit with Santa and pose for a keepsake photo. Reservation is required but its free!
Panther Island Ice
Coyote Drive-In, Fort Worth
November 21, 2014 – January 19, 2015
This is the only outdoor ice skating rink you’re going to find in North Texas. Usually festively decorated, you can skate here to the best Christmas music! Random events and Santa visits will be planed during the duration.
The Trains at NorthPark
November 22, 2014 – January 4, 2015
The trains at NorthPark have been a holiday tradition for the last 27 years. The 1600 feet of track is a monumental, beautiful display that always brings joy to the kiddos!
12 Days of Christmas
November 22 – January 4, 2015
12 Days of Christmas is new to the Dallas Arboretum this year.There will be big, 25-foot gazebos containing famous characters from classic carols.These characters are animated and the gazebo itself will be decorated to fit each scene. Special events will be planned throughout the holidays.
A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center
November 25 – December 27, 2014
These classic tales on stage have sold out almost every year! It’s smart to get your tickets early and enjoy some of the best entertainment in Dallas!
Gift of Lights
Texas Motor Speedway
November 26, 2014 – January 1, 2014
A popular event west of I-35, the drive-through display boasts over 2 million L.E.D lights. Also, free!!
North Pole Express
Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Weekends starting November 28 – December 23, 2014
An awesome event that takes place on a train! Go back in time to a Christmas themed adventure, complete with awesome holiday decorations and laughs.
Fort Worth Parade of Lights
November 28, 2014
The Parade of Lights is truly remarkable. Over 100 parade floats enter every year and are decked out with the best Christmas decorations and lights available!
Sparkle! Christmas at the Anatole!
November 28, 2014 – January 4, 2015
At the Hilton Anatole, there will be nightly holiday events held. Above their precious ice skating rink are over 1.2 million Christmas lights. Just try to keep your eye on where you’re skating!
The Texas Christkindl Market
Next to Globe Life Park
November 28 - December 21
This 4th Annual Christkindl Market means excitement and fun experience for all. Enchanting outdoor family market in the tradition of those held throughout Germany during the Christmas season. While strolling the Market, visitors view and enjoy exquisite handmade gifts, unique ornaments, rare European fabrics, German delicacies like brats, goulash, potato pancakes, gingerbread, baked goods, Gluhwein and German beers.
The Winspear Opera House
November 28 – December 7, 2014
Bass Performance Hall
December 12 – December 27, 2013
The Texas Ballet Theater will be preforming this piece in 2 different locations. The show at Bass Performance Hall is the most anticipated show of the year! It’s the perfect, family/traditional Christmas show. Get your tickets now.
Christmas at the DSO
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
December 6-21, 2014
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has several amazing concerts planned in December from Family Concerts with Santa, to Wynton Marsalis. These are always well-rehearsed performances and always a blast.
Dallas Children’s Health Holiday Parade
December 6, 2014
The Dallas Children’s Health Holiday Parade is like a mini Parade of Roses! Filled with Holiday characters, marching bands, celebrities, and big floating balloons. Buy reserved seats in advance or just grab a spot on the curb. You’ll be blown always by the creativity of the floats!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Majestic Theater Dallas
December 16 – 21, 2014
One of the most famous Christmas songs is given a story in one of the best holiday musicals. Go see Rudolph on his adventure including Santa, Frosty and more!
And if you're headed over the meadow and through the woods for the holidays...
For family fun in and around the Texas Hillcountry, here's a few things we've done, or plan to do:
- Marble Falls "Christmas Walkway of Lights", City of Marble Falls, Texas - this is a great Christmas card photo opp for the family! Our whole extended family enjoys walking through the lighted sculptures right on the lake shore, and then hitting any of the fun bar & grill type restaurants that overlook the lake or the city.
Helpful hint - if you have little ones, have some snacks on-hand, there's always a wait at lakeside restaurants!
Open nightly from Nov. 21, 2014, through Jan. 1, 2015, with illumination beginning at 6:00 PM and closing at 10:00 PM, weather permitting.
- The Texas Hillcountry Holiday Wine Trail boasts 42 unique, participating wineries this year.
Vineyards and tasting rooms are cloaked in lights, warmth and holiday fun - if wine is your gig, this seems like a must!
More info and tickets here, http://texaswinetrail.com/store/item/2014-holiday-wine-trail
- Eisbahn in Fredericksburg - many of your shop-a-holic family members may already be too familiar with Fredericksburg - This year, don't miss Eisbahn (Schlitterbahn's wintertime twin?) in downtown Fredericksburg Open from the day after Thanksgiving, thru the first weekend in January!
- If you happen to be Austin-bound during the month of December, perhaps plan to pop into downtown Salado the weekends of December 5th - 7th, and December 12th - 13th (first and second weekends during December) for the Annual Christmas Stroll. Live entertainment in the form of musicians outside of neat little shops, strolling carolers, nativities, in a totally picturesque little village awaits. It doesn't get any more Dickens than here.
- If you think the San Antonio Riverwalk is beautiful anyway, imagine it teeming with floating holiday light displays in the form of The Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony! Definitely on my bucket list.
Friday night at 7:30 p.m., November 28th - rain or shine - is the night to be there! Kids under 2 watch for free.
Tickets to the parade may be purchased here. Or, lots of Riverwalk restaurants and hotels offer special parade-viewing packages. For those, check here.
If celebrating the season naturally is more your style here's a list of state parks around Texas and their holiday goings-ons.
Looking westward, on a similar note, if you like getting away with the fam in the form of camping, Caprock Canyon State Park a few hours west of us in Quitaque, TX, would make a fantastic fall/wintertime destination. We camped there in the heat of the summer for the annual Bison Run 5K (so named because the park is home to the Official Bison Herd of the State of Texas), and as hot as it was in August, we still enjoyed seeing the bison roaming the grounds, the adorable Prairie Dog Village that shares the kids' playground within the campgrounds - kids can observe and interact with the prairie dogs right in front of them with no barriers and our dogs went crazy for the little critters that would squeal and pop back down into their holes at the sight of them! And you'll find many hours worth of hiking trails (that are accompanied heavily by many incidences of the sparkling mineral Gypsum) which weave through the park's gorgeous rusty canyons and sometimes even end up in full fledged caves that you and the kids can tunnel through! I think Caprock would make a spectacular cool weather family weekend.
Headed toward the Texas Gulf Coast? This looks festive at Moody Gardens in Galveston.
Feel free to share with us, on our Facebook page, any of your favorite around-Texas holiday ideas!