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Arts & Entertainment

Where To Safely See Christmas Lights in Dallas This Year

A list of drive-by holiday displays making Dallas-Fort Worth a little brighter this season while keeping your family as safe as possible during the pandemic.
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christmas drive through

The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine brings back its over-the-top holiday festivities with two new attractions: a walk-through lights display called Yuletide Bright and an immersive exhibit called I Love Christmas Movies. Yuletide Bright includes 50,000-square-feet of outdoor holiday lights, including scenes with beloved characters for visitors to stroll through. The I Love Christmas Movies display has 13 photo-ready scenes from iconic films like Elf, A Christmas Story, and The Polar Express. The new concept is replacing the hotel’s usual ICE! exhibit this year. Both attractions require time-specific tickets to attend. 

North Texas’ largest free holiday display, Vitruvian Lights, is back in Addison for a socially distanced season. More than 1.5 million festive lights illuminate hundreds of trees in Vitruvian Park, making it a real Texan winter wonderland. All special events and concerts were canceled this year, but visitors are welcome to walk or drive through the display at their own leisure. The lights will be on daily (5 p.m.-11 p.m.) through January 3. There’s free parking in lots on Bella Lane, Park Road, and Ponte Avenue.

The Vitruvian Lights in Addison is one of North Texas’ biggest holiday displays.

Grand Prairie’s Prairie Lights returns for its 15th year with two miles of dazzling lights and holiday cheer. The destination is located at Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake, about a half hour from downtown Dallas. Luckily, the drive-thru format of the event required few changes to make it COVID-safe. Prairie Lights is a two-mile driving holiday experience with 5 million lights, holiday scenes, and a new, animated grand finale tunnel. There is also a drive-by concessions stand this year, though the event’s Holiday Village is canceled due to the pandemic. Tickets for the experience are $30 per car, and the lights are up through New Year’s Eve.

Give your family or friends the Gift of Lights with a trip to Texas Motor Speedway’s annual drive-in Christmas display. The attraction includes tunnels of sparkling holiday lights, festive decor, and (drive-thru) food trucks every Friday. Due to the pandemic, guests must remain within their vehicle for the duration of the visit–but it’s just as cozy and magical from inside a car. The Gift of Lights is open through January 3 and tickets start at $30. 

With the absence of major events, the Silver parking garage at American Airlines Center has been transformed into a whimsical holiday drive-thru exhibit. Candy Cane Lane has multiple levels of holiday lights, lantern characters, and Santa and his elves. Tickets are $40 per vehicle, with an optional upgrade that includes a photo with Santa. The exhibit is open through December 26.

A family poses at Zoo Lights in 2018. Courtesy of Dallas Zoo.

Dallas Zoo Lights is now a drive-thru event for 2020, illuminating a newly constructed pathway through the zoo with giant animal lanterns, an ice palace, and millions of lights. Unlike previous years when the zoo extended its hours so that visitors could see lights and animals, the zoo itself is closing at 4 p.m. daily and the light display will open at 6 p.m. The cruise takes about 45 minutes and visitors must remain in their vehicle, unless at a designated restroom or the Reliant Holiday Village. Food and drinks are available for pre-order online, or for purchase at the holiday village. Tickets are $65 per car, or $50 per car for members. 

Free, Neighborhood Lights

When it comes to neighborhood Christmas lights, Highland Park is a strong frontrunner. The swanky neighborhood goes all out for the holidays, and its mansions are even prettier with decor. Enter the area at Armstrong Parkway and Preston and slowly drive through to take in the sights. There are also three carriage companies that offer lights tours of Highland Park during the season.

While you’re close, head over to Southwestern Blvd. to see the lights of University Park. You may even spot the head of Big Tex.

Courtesy of Highland Park Village

Up north in Plano, the Deerfield neighborhood is another extraordinary destination to see Christmas lights. The neighborhood is extremely popular for that reason, so plan ahead and try to make the trip on a weeknight when it’s less busy. The area is open to visitors through December 30, but it’s closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Find detailed directions and more info here

Arlington’s Interlochen Lights are another favorite among North Texans. The neighborhood has been drawing in visitors for 40 years with its delightful holiday displays, which is free to visitors. Find a map and more info here

Electric Lizzyland, an incredible spectacle of Christmas decor in Old East Dallas, has returned for the season. Homeowner and holiday enthusiast Liz Simmons decks out her home with over-the-top lights and Christmas scenes each year. You have to see it to believe it–take a drive over to 714 Newell Ave. to have a gander. 

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