2014 Dallas Holiday Guide for Families :: Events & Activities to Get You Through the Season

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READING TIME: 17 min.

There might not be a flake of snow on the ground, but it’s time to start ringing in the holidays in Dallas! Order your favorite Starbucks to go, grab your family, and head out to enjoy everything our city has to offer! Here’s just a few of the events happening this season. 

Holiday Guide Pinterest

Experience Twinkling Lights

SpringPark :: Jupiter & SpringPark Way, Garland :: Each street is festively decorated in a different theme that you won’t want to miss. While some of the streets have become less active, head down Jonandrea or Windmill to the cul-da-sacs where you see the best displays. 

Deerfield :: Legacy Drive & Colonade, Plano :: A well known neighborhood in the area, and widely appreciated for their spectacular holiday light displays. Click here for directions and more info. There is a preview on their website to help you decide if it’s worth the drive, but stop by 4665 Quincy Drive and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a show! Carriage Rides are also available if you don’t mind the price. 

Kessler Park :: 1415 W. Colorado Blvd, Oak Cliff :: This historic neighborhood sits just south of downtown and overlooks the skyline with treelined streets and charming turn of the century homes that will be decorated with thousands of festive Christmas lights. The neighborhood organization funds all of the decorations! You’ll find all the details here.

Christmas LightsPrairie Lights :: 5610 Lake Ridge Pkwy, Grand Prairie :: November 27-January 4 Drive through the world’s longest light tunnel and see the displays of 4 million lights. Stop and get out at the Holiday Village to purchase refreshments, visit Santa, and catch some live entertainment. Click here for admission prices and more info.

Highland Park :: Armstrong & Preston, Dallas :: Be prepared to witness a friendly holiday “competition” at its finest. This iconic Dallas neighborhood brings thousands of visitors each year to witness the over-the-top, life-like, and sometimes technologically advanced displays from some of Dallas’s largest homes. If you make an appointment quickly, you can grab a coffee in Highland Park Village and jump on board one of the Highland Park Carriage Rides for a unique light tour, but time slots go fast!  

Vitruvian Lights :: 3875 Ponte Ave, Addison :: November 28-January 1 This is a fairly new addition to the metroplex! Overlooking a creek, this new home development has decorated EVERY tree in the neighborhood with beautiful lights reflecting off the water. 

Christmas in the Park :: 2540 Farmers Branch Ln, Farmers Branch :: November 28-December 30 Don’t miss this stunning display all from your car! Hop off at I-35 & Josey and follow the trail to downtown Farmers Branch and its Historical Park. This trail of lights is FREE, so don’t be surprised when you’re not the only vehicle there. You’ll also want to check the hours of operation here; they’re closed Christmas Day. 

Heard Holiday Trail of Lights :: Heard Natural Science Museum, McKinney :: December 12th, 19th & 20th ONLY You’ll hop out of your car for this experience and make sure to bring your walking shoes. This LIMITED opportunity is available to those willing to take a chilly 1/2 mile walk through the Wildlife Sanctuary. There is an admission and tickets typically sell fast!  

 

Family-Friendly Holiday Events

One Time Only (By Date)

Holiday EventsCelebration of Lights :: Watters Creek :: RESCHEDULED: Sunday, November 23 (4:30-6:30pm) Get in the holiday spirit with FREE caroling, complimentary carriage rides, holiday craft activities, music & festive entertainment. Guests will be treated to a special guest appearance by the Allen Philharmonic Symphony Choir and Allen Civic Ballet. And what’s better than lighting over 145,000 twinkling lights and a fireworks display to wrap up the night! 

City Lights :: Downtown Dallas :: RESCHEDULED: Sunday, November 23 (3-8pm) City Lights kicks off the holidays with a “Holiday Festival” Downtown along Main Street that continues throughout the evening. Enjoy family-friendly activities including: an outdoor market, face painting, ornament making, musical performances, concessions, and much more. City Lights marks the lighting of the official Downtown tree and a special arrival from Santa that you won’t want to miss. See Shanna’s review and photos from the archives here

Macy’s Grand Tree Lighting Cerebration :: Galleria Dallas :: Saturday, November 29 (6-8pm) Did you know Dallas has the tallest indoor tree in the Nation? The Official Lighting will take place during a special performance by 2014 Olympic Gold Medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis. There will be 4 levels to watch from, but you’ll probably to arrive early and stake out a spot! Get more details here.

Children’s Health Holiday Parade :: Downtown Dallas :: Saturday, December 6 (10-11:30am) This annual Holiday Parade marches through the streets of Downtown Dallas to ring in the holiday season. This year’s parade, as always, will feature spirited marching bands, holiday floats and larger-than-life balloons, among other treats. This is a FREE event that’s open to the public, and with over 400,000 people are expected to be in attendance, plan to get there early — like 7am — and line the streets! 

Farmer’s Branch Tree Lighting :: Farmers Branch Historical Park :: Saturday, December 7 (7pm)This is a FREE event and open to the public, so expect a crowd! Located at 2540 Farmers Branch Lane, Dallas. 

The Polar Express! Celebrating Literacy :: Perot Museum of Nature & Science :: Saturday, December 13 (11-11:30am) The holiday season is not complete without a classic retelling of the Caldecott Award winning book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg! Kids can wear their pajamas to this winter celebration complete with a storyteller, a bell craft to make and take, a balloon twister and a glitter tattoo by an artist! Enjoy a holiday cookie and a cocoa beverage as imaginations get ready for a magical journey to the North Pole! Registration isn’t required, but included with General Admission.

Reliant Lights Your Holidays :: Sammons Park, AT&T Performing Arts Center :: Friday, December 6 (5-8pm) This FREE festival includes the Southwest Airlines Holiday Concert and Fireworks Spectacular featuring a live performance by the Relatives. The celebration will also include food trucks, photos with Santa, holiday crafts for kids, animals from the Dallas Zoo, and a winter wonderland with real snow! And of course, over 550,000 dazzling LED lights to celebrate the holiday season.

All Season Long (By City)

Holiday in the Park :: Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington :: November 28-December 30 Each year, Six Flags over Texas is transformed into a Winter Wonderland! Enjoy sparkling lights, glamorous decorations, festive scents and seasonal treats, playful activities, hair-raising rides, and heartwarming shows. Tickets are priced a little higher than regular starting at $49.99, but if you buy them online you can save up to $15!

Trains at NorthPark Benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas :: NorthPark Center, Dallas :: November 22-January 4 Since 1987, The Trains at NorthPark has been a favorite for children of all ages! The exhibit (located on level 1 near Nordstrom) encompasses more than 4,000 square feet of train themed environments, with all the trimmings of the holiday train travel experience—steam engine and coach cars, a ticket booth and a train station as well as interactive features. Tickets are very inexpensive – $7 adults, $3 children, and 2 and under are free, but purchase at a Tom Thumb and get another $1 off! See Arena’s review from the archives here.

Holidays at the Bush Center :: George W. Bush Presidential Library, Dallas :: November 22-January 13 Visitors will be treated to a number of activities and special events including scheduled readings for children and seasonal menus at Café 43 and the Courtyard Café. The Bush Center’s architectural centerpiece, Freedom Hall, will feature a holiday video and the entire complex will be decorated with lights, wreaths, and Christmas trees. There’s no additional charge for these activities, but you will need tickets

Sparkle :: Hilton Anatole, Dallas :: November 28-January 4 Enjoy the millions of holiday lights both indoors and strewn throughout the Anatole’s on-property 7-acre park and bring the whole family for an indoor ice skating rink resembling a scenic pond, photos with Santa, nightly entertainment, kid-friendly crafts, breakfast with Santa, and more! You do not have to be a guest at the hotel to participate in these events, but they do have packages available. Tickets for admission: adults – $19.95, children – $15.95, and children 3 and under are free! 

Santa’s Wonderland :: Bass Pro Shop, Garland  :: November 15-December 24 Who knew you’d find so many festive events at a pro shop! Throughout the season, you’ll find a variety of children’s crafts, games, activity tables, moving trains, and of course, photos with Santa. (They’ll event let you have 1 for free!) Check your store for dates, times, and specific events. 

Gaylord Texan Lone Star Christmas :: 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine :: November 13- January 3 You and your family will marvel at 2 million twinkling lights, 15,000 ornaments and dozens of lavish holiday displays that include larger-than-life decorations. Enjoy Milk & Cookies with Mrs. Claus and ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman.

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman :: Gaylord Texan Resort, Grapevine :: November 13-January 3 Enter the interactive world of colorful ice sculptures and 20 feet tall ice slides retelling the Christmas classic Frosty the Snowman. This traditional story is sure to be hit for adults and little ones. Tickets are pricey, but children 3 and under are FREE. All new this year is a special bonus area — a LIVE ice carving zone. 

Santa’s Wild Workshop Snow Tubing :: Gaylord Texan Resort, Grapevine :: November 13-January 3 Being it’s 5th year, the Gaylord has reinvented this favorite attraction. They’ve added 4 new lanes (12 total!) for an extreme tubing experience. Be careful before booking your tickets. Children must be at least 36″ to ride with an adult and 42″ to ride independently. Make sure to get all the details here before reserving your tickets. 

Christmassy DreamWorks Experience :: Gaylord Texan Resort, Grapevine :: November 13-January 3 Join Madagascar as they celebrate their homecoming with a feast fit for the king of the jungle, meet the whole DreamWorks Animation gang during holiday meet and greets, have sticky fun creating a gingerbread masterpiece with Gingy and participate in an all-star scavenger hunt throughout the indoor gardens! Each activity is individually priced and can be purchased here

North Pole Express :: Grapevine Vintage Railroad :: November 29-December 23 Part of the “Christmas Capital of Texas” events in Grapevine,  families and children of all ages will enjoy this one-of-a-kind Christmas experience on a beautifully decorated Victorian Rail Coach. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped right into The Polar Express! Elves will sing traditional Christmas music, enjoy appearances from Mrs. Claus, and meet The Big Guy himself over a cup of hot chocolate. Tickets go pretty fast, even at $25/person, so make sure to reserve them here. (Infants under the age of 12 months are considered lap children and don’t need a ticket) Read Bethany’s Review from the archives here!

Snowland :: Great Wolf Lodge, Grapevine :: November 29-January 4 Water = Snow, so who says it can’t be a holiday destination? Explore the enchanted winter wonderland– from snow showers and twinkling lights in the Grand Lobby to gingerbread houses and enormous snowflakes. Soak in the holiday spirit with caroling, photos with Santa,  Snowploma assignments all while splashing in the 84-degree water park. You must be guests of the hotel to participate in the activities. Reservations can be made online

Holiday Bricktacular :: Legoland Discovery Center, Grapevine :: December 6-December 21 Throughout these dates, Legoland will have a variety of holiday activities for kids to participate in such as Winter Wonderland Big Build, Santa Invasion and Scavenger Hunt, and Meet LEGO® Santa. Make sure to check their website for actual dates and times as they won’t necessarily be all the same day. We also highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance

Octonauts :: SEA LIFE Aquarium, Grapevine :: November 29-December 21 Join your child’s favorite Octonauts characters for special holiday-themed activities! Octonauts holiday activities include: Meet Captain Barnacles and Kwazii, take a special undersea mission with an Octonauts fact-finding trail, listen to a festive tale as SEA LIFE team members read one of the Octonauts holiday-themed books, watch a special Octonauts holiday-themed episode in the Cinema, and Octonauts-themed ornament coloring activity. Activities take place daily and are not an extra cost; however, tickets are needed! You can purchase them here

Santa’s Village :: 411 W. Arapaho Rd, Richardson :: Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, Dec. 6-7, 12-14 and 19-21 (6 – 9 pm) This small “North Pole like” Village has become hugely popular FREE event for North Dallas residents! There are 15 dwellings that have a special craft, snack, or activity for children to enjoy including Santa’s House and Workshop. Various bands, dance troops, and performers take the Prancer’s Performance stage each weekend to entertain guests. New this year: Hometown Thursdays. Richardson residents can pick up an advance ticket at participating locations for a special Thursday opening of Santa’s Village. See Kelly’s review from the archives here. 

 

Merry Productions

Miracle on 34th Street :: Baker Theater, Dallas Children’s Theater :: November 21-December 21 Don’t want to pay full price to take your kids to a Broadway-like performance? See some of the Christmas classics at the DCT for as little as $15/person. This performance is recommended for ages 6 and up. 

Frosty & Friends :: Studio Theater, Dallas Children’s Theater :: November 21-December 21 Recommended for ages 4 and up this performance brings the magical world of Kathy Burks’ celebrated puppet troupe to life in a spirited musical revue for Frosty.

Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker :: Winspear Opera House :: November 28-December 7 Bring the whole family for this one! See Tchovsky’s masterpiece brought to life at this incredible theater! While you’re there, make and evening of the beautifully decorated Center from Reliant Lights Your Holidays. (A little warning: there’s no live music at these performances.) 

A Christmas Carol :: Wyly Theater, AT&T Performing Arts Center :: November 25-December 27 This is a popular one, so just purchase your tickets before reading the description! The audience is placed into the story with magical ghosts flying above, scary ghosts bursting out of the floor, and snow falling on everyone. Not to mention it’s full of traditional Christmas hymns and songs in fresh, toe-tapping musical arrangements, joyful bursts of choreography, and eye-popping, special effects. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

A DSO Family Christmas :: Meyerson Symphony Center :: December 6-21 Bring the kids to the symphony for this special holiday performance with the DSO, its chorus and The Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas. And if you’re good, Santa himself will make a special visit! 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer :: Majestic Theater :: December 16-21 This TV classic returns to Dallas as a musical and celebrates the 50th anniversary since it aired. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life through puppets. Tickets are reasonably priced starting at $15.  Find out from Cassidy’s review in our archives if it’s appropriate for your children! 

A Christmas Story The Musical :: Music Hall at Fair Park :: December 2-14  Brought to Dallas by the Dallas Summer Musicals, this new Broadway musical is based on the classic 1983 movie, captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike! It’s the Christmas present that you’ll cherish all holiday long! Leave the little ones at home as it’s recommended for ages 5+. 

Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops :: Meyerson Symphony Center :: December 12-21 Enjoy an all-new concert featuring holiday favorites, Christmas classics, majestic choir music and a sing-along to familiar carols. Tickets for all performances are almost sold out, but you’ll still find a few left here

Trans-Siberian Orchestra :: American Airlines Center :: December 21st (3pm & 7pm) This iconic holiday orchestra has released their most popular album The Christmas Attic and will be performing live on tour–coming to Dallas for 1 day only! This family friendly show will be narrated and begins on Christmas Eve, when a young girl’s curiosity leads her to a night of mischief and magic. She decides to sneak up into the attic of her parents’ home while she should be asleep and there discovers a magical doorway to the past in the form of a mysterious trunk filled with ornaments, toys, old records and bundles of handwritten letters. Get your tickets here!

Looking for more of The Nutcracker? See a complete listing of DFW performances here.

 

Festive Shopping

ChristKindl Market :: Road to Six Flags & Ballpark Way, Arlington :: November 28- December 21 This family-friendly German market keeps to the traditions held throughout Germany during the Christmas season. Shop handmade gifts, unique ornaments, rare European fabrics, and enjoy German delicacies like brats, goulash, potato pancakes, gingerbread, baked goods, Gluhwein and German beers. There will be live entertainment, Bavarian-themed children’s petting zoo and much more! Parking and Admission are FREE!

Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm :: 97 Garden Park Dr, Allen :: November 22-December 24 Enjoy shopping outdoors at this beautifully decorated shopping center complete with an animated Christmas tree that synchronizes over 145,000 lights to music every half hour from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Between stores, make sure to stop by Santa’s Cottage for photos with The Big Guy! 

Neiman Marcus ::  1618 Main Street, Dallas :: November 22 – December 25 Do a little shopping at the original and flagship store and let the kids have a little fun by exploring the amazing play tunnels.  Children must be 3’6″ to climb and the cost is absolutely free.  The tunnels weave in and out of the gorgeous Christmas window displays. Play tunnels are open from 11am to 4pm Monday thru Saturday and noon to 4pm on Sunday. Bethany did a great review in this post from the archives.

Christmas in the Square :: 8874 Coleman Blvd, Frisco :: November 28-January 3 Lights! Music! Snow! Holiday lights and music (available on 95.7 FM). With over 175,000 lights, 11.5 miles of wiring and 8 miles of extension cords, Christmas in the Square is unlike anything you have ever seen. The same snow machines used by Disney create a “Winter  Wonderland” on the sidewalks of Frisco Square, Texas. Holiday Activities include: Drop N’Shop, Winter Festival On Ice, Skate with Santa, and the Winter Wonderland photo opportunity! 

Chi Omega Christmas Market :: Fair Park, Dallas :: November 19-22 Offers a unique one-of-a-kind shopping experience with over 175 merchants showcasing gifts for every age including holiday décor, women’s clothing and accessories, home accents, children’s clothing and toys, food gifts, and much more! Tickets are required to shop — $15 at the door, but proceeds benefit the Dallas Community. 

 

Christmas Tree Farms near DallasCut Your Own Christmas Tree Farms

Yesterland Farm :: Canton :: November 28-December 14 We love Yesterland Farms for all times of year, especially when it transforms into a Winter Wonderland and Christmas tree farm. Enjoy a FREE hayride, visit the farm zoo, sit in the giant tipi and play in the western ghost town. Bring a picnic or enjoy our fun farm fare concessions. Then pop over next door to the Yesterland Amusement Park for nostalgic mechanical rides, including Santa’s Runaway Sleigh roller coaster. Find Christmas tree prices and more information here

Flower Mound Christmas Trees :: Flower Mound :: November 28-December 25 You will find many activities at Flower Mound Christmas Trees that are designed specifically for children, such as pyramid  built from hay bales, and jump houses.  All activities are FREE of charge and they’re only 6 miles east of Lewisville! Hot chocolate and cider are free on the weekends for our patrons.

Kadee Farm Christmas Tree Plantation :: Greenville :: November 29-December 23 You’ll find this farm about an hour East out of Dallas. This farm offers, Virginia Pines and Fir Trees, natural wreaths & garlands, plus FREE hot cider, hay rides, maze, hay jump, swiging tree, a petting corral for the kids, and a food court! Find pricing information on their website. 

Elves Farm :: Denison :: November 28-December 25 This farm is located just north of Sherman on 75. They provide FREE apple cider or coffee, a maze for the kids, and a farm zoo. Each tree is individually priced, and you can get more information on their website here

 

Fa-La-La Fitness

North Texas Turkey Trot :: Frisco Square :: 11.27.14 :: Benefiting the Miracle League of Frisco Can’t make it to downtown, this is the next best thing! A fun 5K, 10K, or Miracle Mile the whole family can participate in. Register here!

Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot :: City Hall Plaza Dallas, 11.27.14 :: Benefiting the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas This annual Dallas tradition is a great way to start your Thanksgiving day with the whole family as either a 5K or 8 Mile run (or even Tot Trot). Pets are welcome. Register here! 

Jingle Bell Run at The Square :: Downtown Garland :: 12.6.14 :: Benefiting the City of Garland Animal Shelter A fun 5K hosted by Naaman Forest High School Class of 2016 in Historic Downtown Garland Square. Register here!

Rudolph Run :: Downtown Allen :: 12.6.14 A 1 mile fun run for the whole family and a competitive 5K. Register Here!

MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, Half Marathon & Behringer Relay :: Downtown Dallas :: 12.14.14 Benefiting Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children We’d love to tell you more, but this event is sold out!! 

Jingle Bell Run :: 12.21.14 :: Benefiting Trinity Strand Trail & Mavs Foundation A 5K, 1 Mile or Children’s fun run at the Hilton Anatole. Race begins at 6pm. Register here!

 

Holiday Romance

Carriage Ride through Highland Park :: Highland Park is a gorgeous neighborhood to ooh and ah at all the beautiful homes (professionally) decorated for Christmas. Make it a special occasion by enjoying the lights in a horse drawn carriage. Several companies are available for rentals.

Ice Skating at the Galleria :: What a fun way to rekindle the love, holding hands and skating around the tallest indoor Christmas tree in the US. Cheesy? Maybe. Fun? Absolutely.

Dinner at Lark on the Park overlooking Klyde Warren :: We can’t imagine a better date night than enjoying a delicious meal (and adult beverage!) while overlooking the lights at Klyde Warren Park. Then take a crisp stroll and enjoy the evening people watching in the park. 

 

Looking for “The Big Guy“?

We have the Dallas Santa Sightings listed in our 2014 Dallas Santa Guide here!

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Have an event we missed or a location we didn’t hit?

Make sure to add it to the comments below for others to see!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Oh! My family LOVES Vitruvian Park. We have gone the past 2 years- it’s magical! Try to go on a week night when it’s not very crowded, but any time is ok since it isn’t as well known as some of the other options.

  2. The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden has a new 12 Days of Christmas display with 25-foot-tall Victorian-inspired gazebos. It’s amazing during the daytime and nighttime as the gazebos move, swirl, twirl with lights and music. Plus, be sure to catch weekends with Santa and a live reindeer and check out the historic DeGolyer House decorated with Byers’ Carolers.

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