While Texas may not have snow to help welcome the holiday season like most other parts of the United States, that doesn’t mean it is short on holiday activities. It’s the opposite! Like most other things, the holiday celebrations live up to the slogan “Everything is bigger in Texas!”
From the end of November until the New Year, Texas is brimming with fun and exciting holiday events across the state. Visitors are invited alongside locals to experience magnificent light displays, fun small-town parades, and other magical holiday events taking place across the Lone Star state.
Seeing that I am a native Texan (and still call it home today), I have had the opportunity to experience so many fun holiday events in Texas. Let’s dive into a few holiday favorites!
1. Christmas At The Gaylord Texan Hotel
The Gaylord Texan Hotel transforms itself into a magical wonderland during the holiday season. The hotel, which is located in the city of Grapevine, also known as “The Christmas Capital of Texas,” welcomes guests with millions of twinkling lights, dozens of Christmas trees, and an incredible amount of holiday decorations.
Holiday events at the Gaylord Texan Hotel are sure to delight the entire family as well. The resort offers us loads of festivities including live shows, character experiences, delicious culinary treats, and fun, interactive activities. For the 2022 holiday season, the Gaylord Texan is showcasing a Cirque performance titled Winter Wonderland for guests to enjoy.
The star attraction at the Gaylord Texan Hotel is their signature event, ICE!, which showcases incredible ice sculptures. This year, the theme of ICE! is The Polar Express. This 17,000-square-foot holiday event allows visitors to surround themselves with incredible sculptures made from over 2 million pounds of ice.
The attractions at the Gaylord Texan are wheelchair accessible. There are some stairs involved to access the snow hill or ice slides.
You can check out a complete schedule of events and ticket prices here.
Pro Tip: ICE! at The Gaylord Texan Hotel is known to sell out. Secure your tickets early if you want to see this annual event.
2. Festival Of Lights At Moody Gardens
Every year, Moody Gardens, located on Galveston Island, flips the switch and turns on over two million holiday lights as they welcome visitors to their holiday Festival of Lights. Families from near and far come to experience the mile-long trail with all of its twinkling lights. In addition to the fun and unique light displays, there is also a four-story digital Christmas tree that is synced to music! In addition to the lights, the Festival of Lights also offers opportunities for photos with Santa, marshmallow roasts, ice slides, and an ice skating rink.
The Festival of Lights isn’t the only holiday attraction at Moody Gardens. The resort is home to several different holiday attractions. During your time at Moody Gardens, you can also check out Ice Land, see a holiday movie in 3D or 4D, take a train ride, or enjoy a festive holiday meal.
The lights are set up along a paved path making it accessible to all participants.
You can read all about this year’s attractions and get more information on Moody Gardens’ website.
Pro Tip: A visit to Moody Gardens makes for a great family holiday experience. Book a resort package and take the extended family on an unforgettable holiday trip!
3. Prairie Lights
As you approach the entrance to Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie, Texas, you know that you are in for a special holiday treat. The annual Prairie Lights display is one of the most popular attractions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is located along the banks of Joe Pool Lake.
Visitors are treated to a 2-mile drive-through light display that contains over 4 million lights! At the halfway point of the drive, visitors will have the opportunity to get out of their cars to explore the on-site Holiday Village. While exploring Holiday Village, you can grab a bite to eat, take pictures with Santa Clause, purchase special gifts, and even take a walk through the lighted forest.
The highlight of the light display is the incredible light tunnel that participants get to drive through before exiting the Prairie Lights.
Please note that some of the areas of the Holiday Village are on natural terrain inside of the park.
Pro Tip: The lines for Prairie Lights can be extremely long. I recommend buying a pre-paid fast pass so that you can skip the line through a special entrance! You can find complete details including hours and entry fees here.
4. Holiday Parade On The River Walk
This year marks the 41st Annual Ford Holiday River Parade on the San Antonio River Walk. If you have not had the opportunity to see the annual holiday parade, then this has to be on your list of holiday events to experience in Texas! The parade, which is always held the day after Thanksgiving, features over 20 illuminated floats. The Grand Marshall of the parade for 2022 is none other than the Grinch himself!
In addition to the parade, this evening also marks the start of the holiday season on the River Walk. That means that you can also witness the lighting of the River Walk when over 100,000 lights are illuminated over the San Antonio River Walk. After this event, the holiday lights on the River Walk will turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day. This Texas holiday event truly is a treat for everyone!
If you reserve tickets to the holiday parade and are mobility impaired, be sure to select the appropriate seats as some areas can only be accessed by stairs during this event.
Pro Tip: While there are several free viewing areas for the parade, these areas get crowded quickly. I recommend either buying reserved tickets for seats along the River Walk or checking out the many dinner packages that the River Walk restaurants offer. You can find complete details here.
5. Wimberley Trail Of Lights
The Wimberley Trail of Lights, hosted at the EmilyAnn Theater & Gardens is a great small-town light festival that is well worth a visit. Now in its 14th year, the Wimberley Trail of Lights is truly a community event. All of the displays on the Trail of Lights are available thanks to the hard work and generosity of the businesses and individuals that volunteer their time to make the event a success.
Wander through the six acres of fun and festive holiday light displays before making s’mores by Ye Olde Yule Log (weather permitting). The best part about the Wimberly Trail of Lights is that it is completely free!
Please note that this light display is on natural terrain and does require quite a bit of walking, sometimes on uneven surfaces. The trail itself is not wheelchair accessible, but they do offer golf carts to assist those who need them. You can find more information here.
Pro Tip: The town of Wimberley is a delightful, artistic community. I recommend spending a few days here so that you can enjoy all that this charming town has to offer.
The holiday season means that the downtown El Paso area comes alive with a fabulous, family-friendly event called WinterFest. The festivities kick off every year with the Celebration of Lights Parade which winds its way through Downtown El Paso and circles the city center. Spectators can enjoy colorful and illuminated floats as well as holiday-themed performances.
The city also boasts a large ice skating rink that is open seven days a week (there is a fee for the skating rink). There is also a WinterFest Arts and Farmers Market where visitors can shop for goods from local vendors. Of course, the area is covered with lights and holiday decorations during the holiday season as well.
7. Christmas In Marble Falls
The fun, lakeside community of Marble Falls, Texas, is an excellent place to have on your holiday list as they host 44 different events during the holiday season! Like most small towns in Texas, Marble Falls kicks off the holiday celebrations with the lighting of the Downtown Christmas Tree. From there, the festivities begin! Visitors can enjoy Downtown Sip N’ Shops, Breakfast With Santa, Christmas Markets on Main, and Music on Main, just to name a few.
Of course, the highlight for many visitors is the annual Walkway of Lights, which is celebrating its 32nd year in Marble Falls. The Walkway of Lights boasts over two million lights on more than 130 sculptures that are set up in Lakeside Park. The best part is, the Walkway of Lights is completely free to visit!
For more information about Christmas in Marble Falls, please visit their website.
Pro Tip: Marble Falls is a delightful time that offers great food, craft breweries, and Texas wineries. The town is small and can get crowded on the weekends. If you want to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the week!
8. Festive Stroll In Georgetown
Spending time in Georgetown during the holiday season means that you are spending time in the “most beautiful town square in Texas.” Downtown Georgetown glistens during the holiday season thanks to the thousands of lights that adorn the town square. When you combine that with the beautiful holiday decorations and fun holiday events, you know you are in for a festive good time!
One of the fun events this small town has to offer is the Christmas Stroll. The annual Christmas Stroll in Georgetown takes place on the evening of Friday, December 2, and all day on Saturday, December 3, 2022. In addition to the downtown stores staying open late, you can also enjoy two stages of live entertainment, a parade, food and product vendors, and special holiday-themed events such as Dessert with the Grinch! Please click here for more information.