Culture / Entertainment

Dallas’ Holiday Guide — the Best Things to Do, From Christmas Villages to Snow Wonderlands

These Happenings Will Get You in the Spirit

BY // 11.25.19

It’s officially holiday season and Dallas is ready. The Christmas trees are popping up, the lights have been lit, and the gift-giving season is upon us. From brand new Christmas villages and immersive experiences to classic carriage rides and a totally Christmas themed bar, there are lot of ways to celebrate in North Texas.

Here are the best ways the celebrate the holidays in Dallas:

Holiday at the Arboretum

A brand new exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum, The Pauline and Austin Neuhoff Christmas Village is an exciting addition to the Arboretum’s holiday festivities. Along with the 12 Days of Christmas gazebo walk, the gardens are offering a new European-inspired Christmas Village made up of twelve 20-foot-tall charming shops and facades.

The houses and shops — including a bakery, candy shop and Santa’s House — are free to explore. There’s also a Post Office, bookstore, flower shop, clock tower, and more accompanied by volunteers dressed as shopkeepers on the weekends and evenings. At nighttime, the village shops will be illuminated with more than a million lights in the Arboretum.

The Christmas Village will be open through December 31.

Early Admission costs $12 during the day time until November 27.


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Christmas Village


Dallas’ own winter wonderland, SNOWDAY, is now open at Preston Center. The brand-new, immersive pop-up experience features 10 interactive rooms with about six photo booths built in against different holiday themed backdrops. Hang with the Elf on the Shelf, a cool polar bear, island Santa and more. Photo booths, including a nine camera array 3D booth called MOTUSRED, will have the ability to capture photos and instantly share them online or print at the gift shop.

The pop-up will be open at The Plaza at Preston Center until January 5. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $22 for kids ages 4 to 12.

Snowday Dallas
Courtesy of Snowday

Christmas at the White House 2007

Open now through January 5, the Holiday in the Parks: Christmas at the White House 2007 special exhibit is a fun way explore how the White House was decorated for the holidays during the Bush Administration. Set up at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the exhibit will be adorned with the traditional and elegant decorations that graced the White House in 2007.

A mix of greenery, gold ribbons, poinsettias and white flowers, as well as models of the Alamo, Frederic Douglass House, Mount Rushmore, Spanish missions, and more are incorporated into the exhibit. There are also behind the scenes photos from Mrs. Bush’s 31 visits to and 45 events for the National Parks. A replica of the White House Blue Christmas tree will have ornaments painted by National Park artisans to reflect park treasures.

Admission to the museum is $16.

George W. Bush Library
George W. Bush Presidential Library

Puppets & Trains at NorthPark

A classic event at NorthPark Center each holiday season, the Puppet Theatre is a fun stop to make in the mall during your holiday shopping. Two shows occur once every hour: Scrooge and Santa’s Toy Shoppe. The Scrooge puppet show has been around for four decades and creates a funny show with Charles Dickens’ famous character of Ebenezer Scrooge. The improv performance takes place at the bottom of every hour every day until Christmas Eve.

Santa’s Toy Shoppe tells the story of a toymaker and fellow characters working to get Santa’s toys made before Christmas Eve delivery. This show also occurs once per an hour until Christmas Eve.

Both puppet shows begin on Level One in EastCourt this Friday, November 29.

The Trains at NorthPark are all up and running as well. For the past 32 years, the Trains have benefitted Ronald McDonald House of Dallas by raising more than $13 million. The exhibit includes 1,600 feet of track rolling from coast to coast on a journey of America. From autumn foliage of New England to the Golden Gate Bridge, the trains are always a sight to see.

Take the whole fam to see the Trains, $7 for adults and $4 for kids ages 2 to 12, until January 5.

The Trains at NorthPark
The Trains at NorthPark are always fun to see on 1,600 feet of track.

Miracle Pop-Up Bar at HIDE

Miracle Pop-Up Bar is back for its second year in Dallas, taking place again at HIDE bar in Deep Ellum. A must-hit destination during the holiday season, this pop-up transforms the bar, inside and outside, into a winter wonderland of lights, Christmas trees and exceptional themed cocktails. Doubling capacity this year, the festivities will expand into HIDE’s new event space.

As for the drinks, the menu consists of 10 creative cocktails for the Christmas season. These include the Christmapolitan with Vodka, Elderflower, Spiced Cranberry Sauce, Lime, Rosemary, and Absinthe Mist, and Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!!! with Barbados Rum, Cachaca, Trinidad Overproof Rum, Purple Yam & Coconut Orgeat, and Pineapple. If you’re feeling shots, there’s a naughty and nice option with whiskey or rum.

The pop-up begins this Monday, November 25 and goes through December 31. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 pm to 2 am, Friday from 3 pm to 2 am, and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 am.

Miracle Bar

Holiday Carriage Rides

One of the best ways to feel the Christmas cheer is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Dallas. There are several companies available to take you through a Christmas light tour of the Highland Park neighborhoods, Highland Park Village, Travis Walk, and more. To enjoy the magical display of 1.5 million lights in Highland Park Village in the most charming way possible, book a night-time carriage ride with Threejays Carriages.

To explore the Travis Walk area, book a ride with NorthStar Carriage, the oldest and largest horse-drawn carriage company in Dallas. Several kinds of carriages are available including a Princess Carriage, Party Wagon, and Wagonette. They also do rides in the beautifully lit Deerfield neighborhood in Plano.

And to tour the lights and homes of the Highland Park neighborhood, check out Brazos Carriage, which picks up at The Transwestern Building and offers carriages for 4 to 6, 6 to 8, and 8 to 10 passengers.

Take a carriage ride through the beautifully lit Highland Park Village. Courtesy of Threejays Carriage

ICE! Featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas

This year, the Gaylord Texan Resort’s annual ICE! exhibit is featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas. Throw on a complimentary parka and trek through larger than life ice sculptures of Charlie Brown and his friends carved out from more than two million pounds of ice. Fun the whole family, the experience also includes ice slides, photo opportunities and more.

Until January 5, tickets are available for $14.99 for kids and $23.99 for adults. Also, make sure to check out the other part of the Gaylord’s Lone Star Christmas by exploring more than 2 million holidays lights and acres of decorations on display at the resort.

Tickets for ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas are available until January 5.

Dallas Zoo Lights

Head to the Dallas Zoo to see the transformation of an animal kingdom into a winter wonderland with more than one million holiday lights. From 5 pm to 9 pm each night, take a stroll through ZooNorth to see the lights and silk-covered lanterns resembling your favorite animals.

Each night, activities include a holiday light show, Santa meet and greet, natural ornament-making, musical performances, rainbow arch, whimsical African watering hotel at Lantern Ridge, a Santa’s sleigh photo op, Elves’ Workshop at the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo with animal encounters every half hour, and treats like s’mores, donuts, funnel cakes and hot chocolate.

Dallas Zoo Lights is open until January 5. Tickets are $17 for adults and $14 for kids.

Dallas Zoo Lights
See the Dallas Zoo transformed for the holidays at Dallas Zoo Lights. Courtesy of Dallas ZooHoo!

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