food & drink · arts & culture · attractions & tours · outdoor activities ·
Published November 1, 2023
The Ultimate Dallas Winter Bucket List
Your go-to guide for all the best things to do in DFW this winter. 🎄❄️
by Dallas Bucket List
The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are (finally) dropping, and the Mavericks are back at the American Airlines Center—winter has arrived in Dallas. And while the winter climate can be unpredictable—you may need both a heavy coat and a pair of shorts on the same day—you can be sure that the Big D will deliver a season jam-packed with festive events and activities.
In fact, it’s a little dizzying trying to pick and choose which of the dozens of happenings around the Metroplex you want to fill your schedule with. From spectacular light shows to colorful parades to the self-proclaimed Christmas Capital of Texas, we curated the ultimate Dallas winter bucket list so you don’t miss any of the fun.
The Best Winter and Holiday Events in Dallas This Year
Attend the Grand Tree Lighting Celebration at Galleria Dallas
Kick off the winter season with the lighting of the nation’s largest indoor Christmas tree at Galleria Dallas. Swing by on November 24 and 25 for a spectacular ice-skating show with a fireworks finale featuring Olympic skaters and a demonstration by Missile Toes—the ice-skating, back-flipping, pyrotechnic Santa. The event is free and open to the public, but if you can’t make it those days, don’t worry—you can catch the Illumination Celebration happening all season long with special music and light shows happening every two hours between 12 and 6 pm.
Where: Center Court at Galleria Dallas: 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX
Grab Drinks at the Holly Jolly Pop-Up Bar
Get into the holiday season with some festive spirits (the alcoholic kind) at the Holly Jolly Bar. The halls of Trademark will be decked from top to bottom, and you’ll feel like you just stepped into a Hallmark movie. Enjoy good vibes, entertainment, and a welcome cocktail from November to January!
Where: Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Dallas: 1445 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX
See the Trains at NorthPark
Is it just us, or is there something inherently festive about trains? It’s definitely the case at this annual holiday train exhibit that features detailed and extravagant train displays on 1,600 feet of track rolling from coast to coast on a whimsical rail journey across America. The Trains at NorthPark is a one-stop shop for all things trains. This year’s event runs from November 11 through January 5, and proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.
Where: Adjacent to Macy's on the first floor at NorthPark Center: 8687 North Central Expressway, Dallas, TX
Visit Holiday at the Arboretum
The Arboretum is a favorite spot to visit any time of year, but Holiday at the Arboretum is especially fun with the return of Christmas Village, the 12 Days of Christmas, and the Dazzling Musical Tree. Wander through the transformed space and don’t miss the nearly 600 nutcrackers at the DeGolyer House.
Pro-Tip: Visit Monday–Wednesday, when you can get evening tickets and see displays all lit up!
Where: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX
Ice Skate at Fort Worth’s Rodeo Rink
For a true Texas experience, head to the Stockyards in Fort Worth, where the grounds have been transformed into a twinkling holiday oasis. Visitors can giddy-up and glide on the Rodeo Rink daily starting November 17, rain or shine. If you’re over 21, don’t miss Yeungling Flight Nights every Friday and Saturday!
Where: FW Stockyards: 131 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, TX
Explore the Texas Christkindl Market
The first Texas Christkindl Market started in 2011 and was inspired by the 70-year relationship with Arlington’s sister city, Bad Königshofen in Bavaria. Now in its 11th year, the market continues to be a highlight of the holiday season. Starting November 24, you can shop dozens of local vendors selling anything and everything you need to satisfy everyone on your gift list. There will also be a variety of food options, from BBQ ribs to gourmet chocolate, plus live entertainment and performances throughout the season!
Where: 1650 E Randol Mill Road, Arlington, TX
Experience Zoo Lights After Dark
Zoo Lights returns on November 17 this year with over a million lights, glowing lanterns, holiday displays, treats, rides, and more. For one night only, though, adults can enjoy it kid-free at an after-dark event on November 30 with fun holiday activities, animal meet and greets, music, food trucks, and drinks!
Where: Dallas Zoo: 650 S. R. L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas, TX
Sip Boozy Hot Chocolate at The Cocoa Lounge
Nothing gives winter more than sipping a comforting cup of steaming hot cocoa. Swing by The French Room at the Adolphus Hotel for their seasonal pop-up, The Cocoa Lounge, and treat yourself to a variety of seasonal adult drinks, including spiked hot chocolate!
Where: 1321 Commerce St, Dallas, TX
Watch the Dallas Holiday Parade
Back again on the first Saturday in December is the Dallas Holiday Parade complete with floats, balloons, marching bands, performances, and more. The parade is the city’s largest one-day outdoor event, and anyone is welcome to come downtown and watch the procession. It takes place on December 2 this year and runs from 9 am to 11 am.
Where: The parade route begins at Commerce and Houston streets and proceeds east.
Visit the Capital of Christmas in Texas
You know how the saying goes: Everything is bigger in Texas. While it may be a cliché, the adage is true in the case of Grapevine’s Christmas Capital of Texas. This massive winter wonderland is full of events for all ages. From an old-time Christmas village to drone shows and Broadway-style performances to ice slides, there’s truly no shortage of winter fun.
We recommend planning ahead, checking the schedule, and sticking to a handful of activities like going for a spin on the Peace Plaza Ice Rink or, if you’re going with a 21+ group, taking a ride on the Wine Train!
Where: 636 S. Main Street, Grapevine, TX
Stroll Through Vitruvian Park in Addison
Head north to Addison’s Vitruvian Park and stroll through the dozens of beautifully lit trees along the path and throughout the park. Walk along the lake’s edge, where you’ll see the sights reflected on the water’s surface, and snap a few photos, or even bring a blanket so you can sit and enjoy it for a while. It makes for the perfect chill date night or evening out with the family. The best part, though? It’s free!
Where: 3875 Ponte Ave, Addison, TX
Check Out Neighborhood Light Displays
DFW is home to some of the best neighborhood light displays around. Go for a drive and be inspired by the festive, over-the-top decor. A few noteworthy areas to check out include Interlocken Holiday Lights (a 40-year, neighborhood-wide holiday tradition), the Lights on Oak Bluff in Sachse, the Browne Family Holiday Light Show in Dublin Oaks, and the infamous Burkman Family Home in Frisco.
Where: Various locations
See ICE! featuring Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
The Gaylord Texan always shows out with incredible holiday events and attractions. This year’s showcase is ICE! Featuring Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" Wind your way through the larger-than-life sculptures, zoom down thrilling frozen slides, and make your way through awe-inspiring tunnels. Other Gaylord Texan Christmas events include Breakfast with the Grinch, a Gingerbread Decorating Corner, Snow Tubing, and more!
Where: 1502 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, TX
Dine Inside the Winter Wonderland Bubbles at Hotel Vin
Perfect for a cozy winter date night or celebrating a special occasion with friends is the Winter Wonderland Bubbles at Hotel Vin. Cozy up for fondue and wine and enjoy ski-lodge décor complete with fur blankets, heaters, and surrounding evergreens. Additional bites and cocktails are also available for purchase!
Where: 215 E Dallas Road, Grapevine, TX
Watch Four Weeks of Christmas Movies
The Angelika Film Center is hosting Four Weeks of Christmas! Every Wednesday, from November 29 through December 20, you can catch classic holiday films like It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and more. Paired with The Angelika’s upscale digs, tasty menus, and a glass of beer or wine, it makes for a pretty sweet weeknight outing this winter.
Where: 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX
Donate Your Time or Resources to a Worthy Cause
Make someone’s life a little brighter this holiday season, and give back to your community by volunteering or donating to the North Texas Community Food Bank. Gather family and friends and spend an afternoon sorting or distributing food. You can also donate food or money—every $1 donated provides three meals for those in need.
Where: Various location options
Ring in 2024 at Reunion Tower
Ring in the New Year the Dallas way, with a breathtaking display of fireworks and pyrotechnic special affects launched from Reunion Tower, a stunning LED light display, and nearly 300 drones. There’s no better way to wave goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024.
Where: Reunion Tower: 300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX
Celebrate the Lunar New Year
The year of the dragon is almost here! Asia Times Square will host another epic Lunar new Year Celebration with its famed Fire Cracker Celebration, incredible food, traditional lion dances, and much more. Exact dates are TBA for this year’s festivities, but the 2024 Lunar New Year falls on February 10, so plan to keep early-mid February open.
Where: Asia Times Square: 2625 W Pioneer Pkwy Grand Prairie, TX
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