Must visit holiday attractions in Texas
By Jody Halsted
Family Vacation Destinations
Great Texas attractions to celebrate the festive season (Grapevine)
Christmas is a time for twinkling lights, glittering decorations and family memories. And there is no better place to experience all that and more than in Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas.
While other towns may decorate for the holiday, or dedicate a park area to the Season, the entire city of Grapevine is transformed from historic Dallas suburb to ‘North Pole South’ as enormous ornaments appear along the streets and holiday music drifts onto the sidewalks as shop doors open.
From mid-November until the New Year, over 1,400 events are hosted city-wide, drawing more than one million people to Grapevine each season.
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center (Photo: Dan Ham Photography)
Holiday festivities begin at the Gaylord Texan where over two million pounds of ice are transformed into a glistening wonderland of children’s fantasy. You’ll be offered a warm parka before you step into the 9°F ICE! Exhibit where life-sized ice carvings cavort and ice slides tempt the young and young-at-heart. Warm up with your favorite DreamWorks characters during Meet and Greet sessions, or set an appointment to create gingerbread masterpieces with Gingy, everyone’s favorite gingerbread man! Don’t leave without visiting the Riverwalk Atrium where the Festival of Trees are highlighted by over one million twinkling lights, gingerbread villages, and an evening light show.
Grapevine’s Historic Downtown
Historic District in Grapevine (Flickr: DiAnn L’Roy)
The million lights at the Texan are only outshone by Grapevine’s Historic Downtown where over a million lights will brilliantly illuminate Main Street. The Carol of Lights, held the Monday before Thanksgiving, is the official lighting event and includes musical performances and fireworks. From here, make your way to the corner of Main Street and Dallas Road for the Light Show Spectacular, a nightly light show featuring singing trees and even more stunning light displays.
Looking for more lights?
Parade of Lights in the Historic District (Grapevine)
The Parade of Lights, with over 100 lighted floats and marching bands, takes place the first Thursday in December. Come early to claim your spot along Main Street, grab a cocoa from one of the cafes, and enjoy the largest lighted Christmas parade in north Texas.
Even more activities take place along Main Street during the day with daily hot chocolate tastings at Dr. Sue’s Chocolate at 2 pm, and weekend events that include ornament workshops at Vetro Glassblowing Studio and wagon rides. Of course the boutique shops and wineries in the historic buildings are decorated for the season and ready to welcome you, while the restaurants, cafes, and bakeries provide welcome substance to prevent the ‘drop’ as you shop.
SEA LIFE Aquarium (Grapevine)
Across town at Grapevine Mills you’ll not only find some of the most popular retail shops, but also LEGOLAND® Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Aquarium where kids can participate in the ‘Winter Wonderland Big Build’ or dive into action with the Octonauts.
If you’re yearning for more classic Christmas entertainment, the Palace Theatre features a line up of Christmas movies including White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and A Charlie Brown Christmas through the month of December. Other live entertainments include plays, musicals, and a presentation of The Nutcracker.
(MORE: Find kid-friendly hotels to stay in Grapevine.)
One of Grapevine’s most anticipated family activities is the North Pole Express. Climb aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s Victorian rail coaches and be transported to the North Pole! Elves greet you on board the train, providing entertainment as the train chugs along the tracks. A Christmas Show awaits at the North Pole, where you will get to meet Santa! It’s a magical afternoon filled with lasting memories.
A glance at the Christmas Capital of Texas website shows that these events are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to celebrating the Season in Grapevine, Texas. With a large variety of hotels offering special holiday packages, including the Gaylord Texan and Great Wolf Lodge, it is easy to see how Christmas is bigger in Texas.
Jody Halsted of FamilyRambling.com contributed this to MiniTime.