It’s that time of year again. The gazebos are up at the Dallas Arboretum, holiday music is ringing in the halls of the Meyerson Symphony Center, and it’s snowing in Grapevine. With the end of November, Christmas season has officially begun, and it’s a good one to be in Dallas for. As experts on the subject, we’re giving you the gift of our annual 101(-ish) Things To Do, from holiday photo ops to parades to performances of the Nutcracker.
Christmas Lights & Holiday Displays
Take a Holiday Tour of the elegant Winspear Opera House and you’ll get to see the dazzling Moody Foundation Chandelier Light Show. The one-hour guided tours are free, but a $3 donation to the North Texas Food Bank is encouraged. Tours are December 19-21; see the schedule here.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden continues its holiday tradition of depicting The 12 Days of Christmas in the Main Garden. A dozen Victorian-style gazebos are transformed with animated characters and stunning decor to illustrate every verse of the carol. This year, the Arboretum debuts a charming addition to the festivities, the Pauline and Austin Neuhoff Christmas Village. Both displays will be open through December 31.
Grand Prairie’s Prairie Lights is a massive holiday light park around Joe Pool Lake. Walk two miles of pathway illuminated by 4 million lights; stop by the Holiday Village for shopping and Santa visits; and check out the all-new indoor holiday show. Admission to the park is $45 per car. Find hours and more info here.
The Gaylord Texan Resort goes all out for the holidays with its ICE! and Lone Star Christmas displays. ICE! is an indoor winter wonderland that’s 9 degrees all winter long. There are ice slides, a walk-through display of ice sculptures, an ice nativity, and more. Tickets are required for entry. The hotel also has decor up for Lone Star Christmas, which is free.
The Dallas Zoo has decked its “halls” with a million twinkling lights and stunning silk lanterns depicting animals. The zoo is open late for the holidays with light shows, Santa meet-and-greets, live music, s’mores, and more. Find more info on Zoo Lights, open through January 5, here.
Fort Worth’s only outdoor ice skating rink, Panther Island Ice, is open seven days a week from November 22 through January 20 (holidays included).
Addison’s Vitruvian Park has its famous Vitruvian Lights on display from Friday, Nov. 29 through New Year’s Day. Check the event calendar for live performances and special celebrations.
NorthPark Center is a one-stop shop for Christmas cheer. There are elaborate decorations like a gingerbread town, the Scrooge Puppet Theatre, and the Twelve Days of Christmas Clock. The Trains at Northpark are a must-see for children (or full-grown train enthusiasts). There are also special events throughout the season, like a free performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Even Santa Claus is known to frequent the posh center.
Across the street from NorthPark, The Shops at Park Lane has more Christmas festivities to enjoy. The shopping strip offers charming train rides in a decked-out electric caboose conducted by an elf(!) every Saturday in December from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Six Flags Over Texas has its magical Holiday in the Park setup from Nov. 23 through Jan. 5. There’s a frosty snow hill to sled down, decorations to admire, and festive, seasonal treats.
In Deep Ellum, popular bar and restaurant HIDE has brought out all the stops for its Christmas pop-up. If you want to be immersed in decor while enjoying a beverage (and may I suggest, some of their savory popcorn), check it out. It’s a good option for adults who want to avoid crowds.
Texas Motor Speedway has its drive-thru display, Gift of Lights, on view from Nov. 28 through Jan. 5. The park costs $30 per car.
SNOWDAY, a new, immersive photo experience, brings winter flurries to Dallas all season long. The pop-up is fun for kids, teens, grown-ups, and even Scrooges. Read our write-up here and buy tickets here.
The Museum of Memories, an Instagram-friendly pop-up, has created all-new holiday-themed displays. There are pretty murals, sky-high gift stacks, and even a human-sized mug of hot chocolate for photo backdrops. Buy tickets here.
In Bedford, Christian network Daystar Television has a free, interactive holiday experience which includes a 9-foot wreath and kid-friendly activities. Find hours, directions, and special events on the network’s website.
Frisco transforms its quaint downtown area with holiday lights, an ice skating rink, a Christmas tree maze, and more for Christmas in the Square. The decor is up through January 6. Find details here.
The Best Neighborhoods for Christmas Lights
More than 200 homes in Arlington are illuminated for InterLochen Lights, the neighborhood’s festive display. It’s free to drive through; find the travel route here.
Parades & Tree Lightings & Festivals
The annual Dallas Holiday Parade marches through downtown on Saturday, December 7 at 10 a.m. The parade is free to attend, but you can purchase tickets for bleacher seats if you’d like guaranteed seating (otherwise you’ll be standing).
AT&T Performing Arts Center brings back Reliant Lights Your Holidays on Saturday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. The event marks the unveiling of the center’s Christmas decor with a free concert and fireworks show. It’s family-friendly and free to attend.
Dallas City Hall will officially light its Christmas tree at Deck the Plaza on Friday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m.
Fort Worth’s Christmas in the Stockyards takes place on Saturday, December 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day includes a cattle drive, armadillo races, reindeer games, cowboy Christmas poetry, face painting, story time with Mrs. Claus, and much more. It’s one Texan way to celebrate the holidays.
Klyde Warren Park holds its Holiday Show and Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 7 from 2-6 p.m. The event starts with a visit from Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, and live music, concluding with the tree lighting and a fireworks show at 5 p.m.
The Denton Holiday Lighting Festival is on Friday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the charming square. There will be live music, food and drink for purchase, and holiday activities at this free event. Bring a toy for the Elves Shelves toy drive.
Plano’s high schools present the Plano Lions Christmas Parade on December 14 at 9 a.m. starting at the Plano ISD Administration Building. There will be festive floats, all the high school marching bands and drill teams, and more.
Historic Downtown Grapevine holds its 38th Parade of Lights on Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m. The exciting event features more than 100 lighted floats and marching bands.
If you didn’t know, Galleria Dallas houses the largest indoor Christmas tree in the nation. The tree is the centerpiece of the mall’s ice skating rink, and there are tree lighting ceremonies every day through Christmas Eve. The shows are at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. (No 8 p.m. shows on Sunday.)
Arlington hosts its annual Holiday Lights Parade on Saturday, December 14 at 6 p.m. in downtown. The twinkling parade is followed by the lighting of downtown Arlington’s Christmas Tree.
Theater & Dance & The Nutcracker
The Texas Ballet Theater brings its annual Nutcracker to life in Dallas and Fort Worth. With choreography from Ben Stevenson, performances will take place at the Winspear Opera House from November 29 through December 8, and at Bass Hall from December 13-29. For a slightly wackier version of the classic tale, catch the Nutty Nutcracker at Bass Hall on December 20.
The NTPA Repertory Theatre presents its ninth annual take on Charles Dickens’ classic with Scrooge the Musical from December 12-22.
Little Women: The Musical will take place at Dallas Children’s Theater performed by the DCT Academy all-teen cast.
Radio City-style dancers will rock-ette the Majestic Theatre for the annual Rockefeller Christmas on December 8. The show will include jazz-dancing and singing to all of the holiday favorites, as well as the second act of the Nutcracker.
The Dallas Black Dance Academy presents the Espresso Nutcracker on Friday, December 3 at 7 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre.
The Bishop Arts Theatre Center presents Black Nativity: The Musical. The Langston Hughes classic will tell the unforgettable story through gospel music December 5-22.
Join in on the fun as the Dallas Galleria invites pro figure skaters to entertain guests as the mall lights its tree each day. Each performance features over 100 local skaters, as well as featured Olympic, World and National Champion skaters. Each show ends with Missile Toes, the ice skating Santa, stealing the show.
Dallas Children’s Theater will put on the Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Show November 23 through December 29, inspired by the classic book by Eric Carle that is celebrating its 50th birthday.
Pocket Sandwich Theatre brings us Ebenezer Scrooge November 29-December 23.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, based off the 1964 movie, comes to life on the Winspear Opera House stage on December 15, complete with Bumble the Abominable Snowman, The Misfit Toys, Clarice and, of course, Rudolph.
Irving Arts Center brings us Have Yourself a Broadway Little Christmas December 12-14, featuring hit songs from beloved plays such as “White Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and more.
Dallas Ballet Company brings their 33rd annual Nutcracker to the Granville Arts Center December 6-15.
Artist, filmmaker, and provocateur John Waters brings his one man Christmas show to the Kessler Theater on December 14.
Elf on the Shelf will make musical debut at the Majestic Theatre with The Elf on the Shelf-A Christmas Musical on December 29.
The Potter Rose Performance Hall at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre will host A Christmas Carol, adapted by Kevin Moriarty, to bring to life the family-favorite from November 22-December 29.
For the first time, Avant Chamber Ballet presents Paul Mejia’s production of The Nutcracker. The company will perform from December 20-22 at the Moody Performance Hall.
For a more modern take on the classic tale, be sure to check out The Hip Hop Nutcracker, which takes Tchaikovsky’s story and replaces the orchestra with a DJ, and pirouettes with break dancing. You can watch this show on December 3 at the Theatre at Grand Prairie.
106.1 KISS FM’s annual Jingle Ball will be hosted at Dickie’s Arena on December 3. This year’s lineup includes Sam Smith, Camila Cabello, Lizzo, and more.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform all your favorite holiday hits at American Airlines Center when they come to Dallas on December 22 as part of their Ghosts of Christmas Eve – Best of TSO Tour.
Peter White Christmas will take over the Majestic Theatre on December 1. Peter White uses of jazz, pop and classical guitar to bring Christmas to life. The night will include Euge Groove, Vincent Ingala and Lindsey Webster.
Arlington Music Hall will host Wynonna & The Big Noise Rockin’ Christmas on December 6. You can buy tickets here.
Experience Christmas with the Annie Moses Band at Casa Mañana Theatre on December 19. The band will feature classics, as well as debut original Christmas music.
The Polyphonic Spree Christmas Show is back at the Majestic Theatre and ready to bring in the holiday spirit on December 14. Tickets start at $35, and the band is collecting donations for Toys for Tots.
A cappella group Pentatonix will bring their A Pentatonix Christmas tour to The Theatre at Grand Prairie for two nights, December 22 and 23, for double the holiday fun.
Granada Theater will host the Ricki Derek Christmas Show December 13 at 8 p.m. This show is perfect for lovers of a modern day Frank Sinatra with a Christmas twist.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has its Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops featuring the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas December 6-15. Get tickets here.
Jim Curry and his band bring a John Denver holiday tribute to the Meyerson Symphony Center with Rocky Mountain Christmas. The band will perform on December 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Tony Award-nominated actress and singer Megan Hilty, and Theatre World Award winner Cheyenne Jackson join the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as they host Christmas with Megan Hilty & Cheyenne Jackson December 20-22.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos will preform with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for Fiesta Navidad! This musical fiesta will feature Mexican and Latin inspired Christmas songs.
Richardson Symphony Orchestra will host Holiday Classics with the Plano Civic Chorus on December 7 at 8 p.m. You can purchase tickets here.
Catch The Levee Singers’ final show of the year, A Levee Singers’ Christmas, at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre on December 10. Tickets are $25.
Pianist Joseph Fuller will play a free event at Steinway Hall on December 14. You can RSVP starting December 5.
The Majestic Theatre brings a three-part holiday series this December; Edward Scissorhands on December 5, Elf on December 20, and It’s A Wonderful Life on December 22.
The Texas Theatre will show Gremlins on December 14 and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas on December 21.
Join the Angelika Film Center for its PJ party and screening of The Polar Express on December 7 at 10 a.m. They will also show Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker on December 15 at 11:55 a.m.
Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre continues its Big Movie Series with White Christmas. Catch it on December 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Palace Theatre in Grapevine will be showing movies throughout the month, including favorites from Miracle on 34th Street, to Home Alone, to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Find out when they are playing your favorites here.