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Christmas 2020

The Best Christmas Activities in Dallas During a Very Strange 2020

Strap on your mask or open up your computer for a trip to the North Pole without leaving Dallas-Fort Worth.
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The Trains at NorthPark

The most spectacular miniature train display is back in Dallas through January 3. The exhibit is a holiday favorite in town, and it’s for a good cause: proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Read about the exhibit’s COVID-19 protocols and find tickets here

Santa Claus at NorthPark Center 

For decades, NorthPark Center has been an important seasonal hub for Santa and his elves. This year, though, the shopping center is bringing old St. Nick to the kids in a COVID-friendly capacity. Santa Claus is available for virtual visits through Dec. 23, and grandparents or other family members are welcome to join in from afar. The visit includes a private video call, and a commemorative photo and video. All proceeds benefit Children’s Health. Santa usually hosts storytime at NorthPark during the holiday season, so this year he’s taking that online, too. You can tune into story time every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Make reservations here.


This immersive, walk-through Christmas exhibit and photography experience is at the Galleria Dallas through January 3. The event includes 11 themed rooms with integrated cameras and lighting to catch snapshots of the special moments. Purchase tickets here.

Holidays at Galleria Dallas

In addition to the interactive pop-up, SNOWDAY!, the Galleria Dallas also boasts the world’s tallest indoor Christmas tree at its ice skating rink. The tree is lit in an “Illumination Celebration” with special music at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. each day through Dec. 24. The mall also offers rides on the North Pole Express to see Santa for a contactless photo; virtual experiences are available from home, too. Read more here.

Photo courtesy of the Galleria Dallas.

I Love Christmas Movies

The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine has replaced its usual ICE! exhibit with an indoor exhibit called “I Love Christmas Movies.” The display has 13 photo-ready scenes from iconic films like Elf, A Christmas Story, and The Polar Express. The attraction requires time-specific tickets to attend. 

Holidays with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

The DSO is celebrating the holidays with a series of concerts, from a Big Brassy Christmas Extravaganza on Dec. 15, to Dallas Symphony Pops through Dec. 13, to A Jazzy Christmas on Dec. 22, to A Charlie Brown Christmas on Dec. 23, and more. See the full list of concerts–and remember to check out the schedule for The Concert Truck–on the DSO website

Sweet Tooth Motel 

Dallas’ popular immersive art experience, Sweet Tooth Hotel, introduces a holiday-themed pop-up designed for private groups to allow for social distancing. The exhibit has transformed a 1969 van with a snowy forest and wintry treats. Tickets are $10 per person, with entry limited to four members of the same household.


This exhibit at the Joule brings together fine art and holiday crafts with giant, Christmas-themed installations by local artists including Jessica Bell, Jennifer Wester, OutLoud, and Chloe Curiel x iam450. The show is open through Jan. 3, and tickets are $20 per person.

Holiday at the Arboretum 

The Dallas Arboretum brings plenty of grandeur to its Christmas festivities. The 12 Days of Christmas display is the best known event of the season, an exhibition of a dozen ornate gazebos depicting the namesake carol, but the newly expanded Christmas Village is another sight to behold. Stroll through during the day and stop for tea, or wait until after dark to see the village in all its splendor. Time-specific tickets are now required to enter the venue.

arboretum christmas
The Arboretum’s Christmas Village returns this month.

Panther Island Ice

There aren’t many outdoor ice skating rinks in Texas, so this Fort Worth spot is worth noting. The rink, located at the Coyote Drive-In, is open seven days a week through Jan. 18. Find details here

Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker 

Texas Ballet Theater was forced to cancel its season this year, including its beloved rendition of the Nutcracker. However, a film of artistic director Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker is available for purchase this season, so you can enjoy the story from home. The purchase includes a shortened version of The Nutty Nutcracker, too. 

North Pole Express 

The Grapevine Vintage Railroad creates a memorable holiday experience for the family with a ride in charming, Victorian-inspired 1920s coaches. The journey includes an onboard performance from Santa and his elves, a stroll through the North Pole Forest, and a Christmas cookie. Find tickets here

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