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

Things to Do in Dallas

20 Things You Must Do In Dallas This December

Grab your mask for some holiday cheer—Christmas is almost here.

Queen Nefertari’s Egypt

Dec. 6–Mar. 14

Kimbell Art Museum

One of the most celebrated royals of ancient Egypt, “the one for whom the sun shines,” Queen Nefertari remained largely a mystery up until the early 1900s, when her tomb in the Valley of the Queens along the Nile was excavated by Italian archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli. The director of the Museo Egizio in Turin, Schiaparelli found that the tomb had been looted shortly after it was sealed, but he also discovered a rich testimony to history in its remaining contents, as well as discoveries from the nearby village of Deir el-Medina. Those objects, including jewelry, decorated vases, and fragments of Nefertari’s pink granite sarcophagus from 1250 B.C., will be displayed in this exhibition, organized by the Museo Egizio. The queen was the first and favorite wife of the pharaoh Ramesses II (who reigned from 1279–1213 B.C.), and her ornately painted tomb has been called “the Sistine Chapel of Egypt.” While not much is known about her, archaeological records have shown that she could read and write hieroglyphs, a skill she employed to aid the pharaoh in diplomatic work. That regal spirit is brought to life in the Kimbell’s exhibition, an exploration of the feminine power and extraordinary artisanship that shaped ancient Egyptian civilization.

North Pole Express

Through Dec. 23

Cotton Belt Railroad Historic District

The Grapevine Vintage Railroad creates a memorable holiday experience for the family with a magical 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 tasty Christmas cookie.

Poets n’ Jazz

Dec. 4 & 5, 7 & 9 pm

Clarence Muse Cafe Theatre

The Black Academy of Arts and Letters offers two opportunities for an intimate evening of dinner, poetry, and mellow jazz this month, featuring spoken word artist CoCo Brown. You can purchase a $35 ticket for dinner and a show, beginning at 7 pm, or opt for a $15 performance-only ticket for the 9 pm show.

Carlos Guedes

Dec. 11, 7–10 pm

Cafe Madrid

Each month, Dallas-based, Caracas-born musician and composer Carlos Guedes brings his custom-made Venezuelan harp to Cafe Madrid for an evening of energetic, contemporary Latin jazz. There’s no cover, but you’d be wise to reserve a table to enjoy sangria and tapas while taking in the sounds.

SNOWDAY

Through Jan. 3

Galleria Dallas

Immersive holiday pop-up SNOWDAY blows in for its second year bigger and better. The Instagram-ready installation is taking over 5,000 square feet of the Galleria with snowy surprises and winter wonders. You’ll want to bring your own camera, but there are professional cameras and lighting integrated throughout.

Prairie Lights

Through Dec. 31

Lynn Creek Park

Grand Prairie’s grandiose Christmas lights display has a pandemic-friendly twist this year—the installation is designed to be enjoyed completely in-car to ensure a safe holiday experience. More than 4 million lights illuminate a 2-mile path, complete with a drive-thru concession stand and a huge light tunnel finale.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party With Shane Smith & the Saints

Dec. 17, 7 pm

The Rustic

Grab your most heinous holiday knitwear and head to The Rustic for some cozy good tunes by Shane Smith & the Saints. Led by Terrell native Smith, the Austin-based country outfit released its third studio album, the slow-burning Hail Mary, last year.

Lone Star Christmas

Through Jan. 3

Gaylord Texan Resort

Like its previous iterations, the 17th annual Lone Star Christmas is an over-the-top holiday event for the whole family. This year there will be a massive, multisensory exhibition celebrating classic Christmas movies, an installation of holiday lanterns, a Build Your Own Snowman station with real snow, snow tubing, gingerbread decorating, and more.

Healing Pieces

Through Dec. 10

Sweet Pass Sculpture Park and Vicinity of Dallas County Criminal Court

This exhibition led by SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ Ignite/Arts Dallas program explores how urban planning and community development can transform a city. The program includes three installations: Black Power Naps Park/Parque Siestas Negras by Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa at Sweet Pass Sculpture Park; Project Witness, an augmented reality experience (a collaboration with Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth) that uses Google and YouTube; and the 2021 Healing Pieces Action Calendar by RISO Bar, curated by Sofia Bastidas Vivar.

Big Brassy Christmas and Organ Extravaganza

Dec. 15, 7:30 pm

Meyerson Symphony Center

What more swinging way to celebrate the season than with horns aplenty? Lawrence Loh conducts the Dallas Symphony Orchestra brass and percussion sections while DSO resident organist Bradley Hunter Welch brings some drama on the Lay Family Concert Organ at this one-night-only engagement.

Stoney LaRue

Dec. 5, 10 pm

Billy Bob’s Texas

After a few quiet years, Texas country star Stoney LaRue made a comeback with 2019’s Onward, a contemplative and introspective album, his first since 2015’s Us Time. The Red Dirt musician worked with Gary Nicholson to compose something a little darker and more complex for Onward, which features collaborations with Tanya Tucker and the McCrary Sisters.

Tab Benoit

Dec. 13, 7 pm

The Kessler

Louisiana-born-and-raised singer, songwriter, and guitarist Tab Benoit brings his gritty take on Delta swamp blues to Texas for the night, with special guests Whiskey Bayou Revue (named after the record label Benoit co-owns with Rueben Williams). The Grammy-nominated artist is renowned for his guitar skills and smoky voice.

Dallas Symphony Pops

Dec. 4–13

Meyerson Symphony Center

While the pandemic and necessary social distancing protocols have drastically altered the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s season, the symphony’s beloved Christmas pops tradition lives on. Lawrence Loh conducts the DSO as it plays classical holiday favorites and singalong carols.

Sweet Tooth Hotel Holidays

Ongoing

Sweet Tooth Hotel

Immersive art gallery Sweet Tooth Hotel is bringing some Christmas fun to its venue this month with a winter wonderland installation in its bar, complete with seasonal cocktails. In addition to the gallery’s current fiber art exhibition, Intangible, there will be a special Christmas tree and holiday lights display on view for the holidays. It has also launched a new pop-up, Sweet Tooth “Motel,” a shipping container art installation that will pop up across North Texas through the month.

Vitruvian Lights

Through Jan. 3

Vitruvian Park

One of North Texas’ biggest holiday displays returns with more than 1.5 million sparkling lights wrapped around some 550 trees in Addison’s Vitruvian Park. The park will not host special events this year, but the lights turn on each day at 5 pm, offering a socially distanced way to embrace the holiday spirit with your family. 

This calendar ran in the December issue of D Magazine and included an event, Cocktails by Candlelight at Dallas Heritage Village, which has since been canceled due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.  

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