Texas is never short on things to do, and that is definitely true during the holiday season. I mean everything is bigger in Texas, so that has to include Christmas in Texas, right?
If you’ve been to Texas then you know that we spend our summer melting away in the Texas heat, so when the first cool air strikes in the fall, Texans begin thinking about Christmas. Pretty much right after the Thanksgiving turkey has been put away, the state comes alive with lights, decorations, parades, and celebrations.
While some places across the country celebrate a white Christmas, Texans ring in Christmas with tons of lights and some good old southern charm to try and replace the missing snow.
Whether you’re spending a weekend in Austin, a week on the beach, or a short getaway to your local town, there are so many great Christmas towns in Texas to celebrate in! We have you covered in this post that outlines Christmas in Austin, Grand Prairie Christmas Lights, Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, the San Antonio Christmas lights, Christmas in Grapevine, and many others.
So, put on your boots and head out to celebrate Christmas, Texas-style with our list of great towns to celebrate Christmas in Texas!
You will probably notice that many of these towns are also on our romantic getaways in Texas. That’s because these towns just have so much to offer!
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Christmas in Texas: 20 Great Christmas Towns
Christmas in Grapevine, TX
Christmas in Grapevine, TX is no joke. I mean, Grapevine isn’t called ‘The Christmas Capital of Texas’ for nothing. This small town outside of Dallas knows how to ring in a Texas Christmas.
Hosting over 40 days of Christmas events during the holiday season, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone at the Grapevine Christmas Celebration!
Start your trip by booking a room at The Gaylord Texan Hotel. Here you can experience not only their marvelous hotel all decked out for the holidays, but you can also walk through their holiday attraction made completely out of ice!
If that’s too cold for you, then stay at The Great Wolf Lodge as it turns into a magical winter wonderland during the holiday season when it’s transformed into Snowland.
You can’t go wrong staying at either of these hotels any time of year, but they are absolutely magical during the holiday season!
Kids will love riding the Grapevine Vintage Railroad dubbed ‘The North Pole Express’ this time of year. Adults can get their wine and shopping fix taken care of on Grapevine’s Main Street, which is dripping with lights and Christmas charm during the holiday season.
Adults will love the Christmas Wine Trains that Grapevine hosts each year. These wine trains are adults-only excursions that include tickets aboard the train, 2 glasses of Texas wine, a commemorative glass, hors d’oeuvres, and onboard entertainment including Santa Clause!
If you are celebrating Christmas in Grapevine, TX, don’t miss the live performances that Grapevine offers as well. There are Christmas Concerts at the Palace Theatre and the Texas Star Theatre hosts a holiday dinner show this time of year that is delightful.
Of course, you can also get your holiday shopping done as Grapevine is home to numerous boutique shops and a fabulous mall.
To find great accommodations in Grapevine, and save some money, consider using Airbnb. We love using Airbnb because we get to “live like a local” while visiting a new place. Never used Airbnb? Well, you’re in luck. You can click here to get up to $55 off of your first booking!
Christmas in Cleburne, TX
Cleburne, TX is a small town about 40 minutes southwest of Fort Worth. During Christmas, Cleburne is turned into a Christmas wonderland when the local park is transformed with over 3 1/2 million lights.
The opening ceremony not only lights up the park but also hosts Santa and Mrs. Clause while carolers serenade guests.
There are numerous activities planned throughout the holiday season, so be sure and check out the complete schedule here.
Christmas in College Station
College Station is one of the Christmas towns in Texas that will surprise you!
For a true Texas Christmas experience, you have to go to Santa’s Wonderland to celebrate Christmas in College Station. Whether you choose to do Santa’s hayride or take a VIP carriage tour, you will be surrounded by festive music as you ride through millions of holiday lights.
After your light tour, visit with Santa, listen to some live music, and jump inside the Texas-size snowglobe for an awesome selfie.
Enjoy some delicious Texas food and wine as well before hitting the 10,000 square foot shopping area or hopping on the mechanical bull.
Kids will love racing down the toboggan chute, riding the Santa’s Wonderland train, or sliding down the tallest mountain slide in Texas. But don’t leave too soon or you’ll miss the rare snowstorm in Texas!
Wimberley Trail of Lights
Marty and I visited Wimberley’s Holiday Trail of Lights last year and loved it. Wimberley is already listed on our 15 Small Texas Town You Must Visit because it is just so stinking charming!
During the holidays, visitors flock to Wimberley to experience the six-acre winter wonderland park known as the Holiday Trail of Lights. This free event includes tons of light displays, a fire pit to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, carolers, and so much more.
This event is held annually at the EmilyAnn Theatre and has been going for over 14 years! The trail of lights is open Sunday through Thursday from dusk until 9 pm and Friday and Saturday from dusk until 10 pm. The event usually begins the Saturday after Thanksgiving and runs through December 31.
Take note that this is a walking trail so wear good shoes. There is no charge to visit the event, but they do take donations.
This is one of the many things to things to do in Wimberley.
We stayed at The Square Inn during our last stay in Wimberley and loved it, and no, we weren’t sponsored. We didn’t even tell the host we were travel bloggers. LOL.
The Square Inn is right off of the main square in town, which is perfect for walking to all of the fun shops and restaurants.
To me, the little inn felt more like a bed and breakfast. We had our own private room and bathroom right off of a cute courtyard.
There was a stocked refrigerator in the common area with drinks and snacks, and then in the morning, we were treated to an amazing homemade breakfast. I highly recommend booking The Square Inn!
Of course, if The Square Inn is full, then check out Airbnb for many other great accommodations in Wimberley. Don’t forget to use our Airbnb discount to save up to $55!
Christmas in Galveston: Moody Gardens Christmas and Dickens on the Strand
Celebrating Christmas in Galveston is definitely a treat. Head down to the Texas coast to be transported to Christmas past.
Galveston’s famous Victorian holiday festival, Dickens on the Strand, will have you thinking you’re in old London.
Costumed vendors peddle their goods including Victorian-style food, drinks, and crafts. You’ll be entertained by carolers, musicians, and jugglers just to name a few. Come dressed in Victorian clothes, and get in for half price!
Not only will you have a great time with Dickens on the Strand, but there are so many other great things to do and places to eat in Galveston that you are sure to be entertained.
Dickens on the Strand isn’t the only Christmas event in Galveston. While in Galveston, be sure and stay at Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa to enjoy all of their amazing Moody Gardens Christmas celebration.
Moody Gardens boasts eight holiday attractions under one venue for their holiday celebration. They have a fabulous Festival of Lights that allows you to stroll along a mile-long trail that features more than two million lights and light scenes.
The Moody Gardens Christmas Celebration also boasts fun holiday 3D films, a giant arctic slide, a 4D Christmas movie, train rides, fireside s’mores, and more!
All of this makes Galveston a great destination to celebrate Christmas in Texas!
Grand Prairie Christmas Lights
Grand Prairie Christmas Lights is a great way to celebrate Christmas in Texas. Each year, Grand Prairie hosts an awesome drive-through holiday light park on the banks of Joe Pool Lake, the Grand Prairie Christmas Lights.
The 2-mile winding path takes you through numerous light displays showcasing over 4 million lights!
Halfway through your drive, get out and stretch your legs at the Holiday Village that includes concessions, a snow maze, photos with Santa, and a walk through the lighted forest. On the way out of the park, you will be rewarded with a drive through the second largest lighted tunnel in Texas.
Be warned, this attraction gets very crowded on the weekends, especially right around Christmas, so be patient and allow yourself enough time to make it through.
San Antonio Christmas Lights
San Antonio is known for its festive atmosphere all year long, but I especially love it during Christmas. The historic streets and the famous Riverwalk seem to shine even brighter as they come alive with holiday light displays and festive holiday music.
That is why we love visiting the San Antonio Riverwalk at Christmas.
There is an illuminated river parade that takes place right after Thanksgiving where floats of all kinds make their way down the Riverwalk. Seeing the San Antonio Christmas Lights is a joyous way to spend the holiday season!
Later in the season, the Riverwalk becomes illuminated with more than 6,000 luminaries that light the way for the holy family.
While visiting San Antonio, you should definitely stay at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country. This beautiful hotel will make you want to stay in San Antonio forever!
Of course, staying on the Riverwalk is the best option to enjoy the parade. The Grand Hyatt, The Mariott Rivercenter, The Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk, and The Hyatt Regency Riverwalk are a few of our favorites. All of these hotels are located right on the Riverwalk, so you’re within walking distance to all the great shops, restaurants, and festivities.
The San Antonio theme parks won’t let you down during the holiday season either. SeaWorld glows under the light of over eight million lights during their Christmas celebration, while Six Flags Holiday in the Park immerses you in holiday shows, food, and of course, thrill rides.
If you looking for a hotel closer to the theme parks, be sure and book with Hotels.com so you can start earning your way to free stays.
Fredericksburg, TX Christmas
Another town from our 15 Small Texas Towns You Must Visit, Fredericksburg is one of our favorite Texas towns and Christmas is an especially great time to visit.
The German roots of Fredericksburg shine brightly during their holiday festivities, making the Fredericksburg, TX Christmas celebration a fun event to attend year after year.
Come and watch the Light the Night Christmas Parade and then go ice skating at their outdoor ice rink. Yes, you read that correctly, the Fredericksburg, TX Christmas celebration is bold enough to host an outdoor ice rink in Texas!
Take a selfie with the 26-foot tall wooden Christmas Pyramid located in the Marktplatz before hitting Main Street to see all of the shops decked out in their holiday best. The shops along Fredericksburg Main Street are the perfect places to check everyone off of your holiday list.
This year, they are unveiling a special event, 55 Nights of Fredericksburg Lights. This event reoccurs nightly at 6 pm and will highlight a five-minute audio program that includes holiday music as well as the tradition of the 26-foot German Christmas Tree displayed. The event concludes with a countdown to the lighting of the holiday lights.
This is just one of the things that make Fredericksburg great. I mean, there are so many things to do in Fredericksburg you are bound to stay busy.
I especially love grabbing a holiday wine trail pass and then visiting all of the amazing Texas wineries that are all dolled up for the holidays.
If you aren’t familiar with the area, check out our posts to help guide you: 7 Fredericksburg Wineries Not to Miss or The Ultimate Guide to Fredericksburg, TX. For a complete listing of events, click here.
If you prefer a hotel, there are lots of great ones in Fredericksburg.
We try to always book our hotel stays through Hotels.com so that we can earn free nights! Some of our favorites in Fredericksburg include the Fredericksburg Inn and Suites, The Inn on Barons Creek, and Hampton Inn and Suites.
Walkway of Lights-Marble Falls
Head about 50 miles northwest of Austin and you will find the little town of Marble Falls nestled in the beautiful Texas hill country.
While Marble Falls is great to visit year-round, it sparkles during the holiday season.
Right on the banks of Marble Falls lake, you will find the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights. The Walkway of Lights features over 2 million lights and is completely free to enjoy! The light displays range from run water toys to patriotic flags and eagles.
The town kicks off the season with a lighted parade before flipping the switch to turn on the Walkway of Lights.
For the perfect view of the Walkway of Lights, stay at The Hampton Inn on Lake Marble Falls. We enjoyed sitting on the deck with a glass of wine looking over the lake while the Walkway of Lights reflected on the water right beside us.
Johnson City Christmas Lights
Johnson City is a small town that glows during the holiday season. Plan your visit to Johnson City the last weekend of November so that you can participate in the opening festivities of the famous Johnson County Christmas Lights.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, they kick off the season with the lighting of the Blanco County Courthouse which is draped with more than 100,000 twinkling white lights!
Head through the town to see the entire block of oak trees covered in brilliant white lights as well. In addition, almost every home and business participates in this annual lighting festival, so you will definitely see plenty of lights here in Johnson City.
The Johnson City Christmas Lights is what makes Johnson City one of the festive Christmas towns in Texas.
Marshall Texas Christmas Lights
Go to East Texas to experience Marshall Texas’ Christmas light display. Marshall comes alive when millions of white lights illuminate their town every holiday season during their annual Wonderland of Lights Festival.
Marshall has an outdoor skating rink, hayrides, a restored carousel, horse-drawn carriage rides, and Santa’s Village. I mean, that is a lot of Christmas celebrating giving the size of this small Texas town.
While visiting, you can participate in the Wassail Walk or the Jingle Bell Run to work off some of those holiday sweets, or just shop away your calories at the Outdoor Christmas Market.
Jefferson is proud to say that it celebrates Christmas on the Bayou.
Step back in time when you participate in the Candlelight Tour of Homes the first two weekends in December. Several gorgeous Victorian homes open their doors for you to see them decorated in their holiday best.
After your home visits, stick around to enjoy more of the festivities in Jefferson.
They open the season with a Christmas Parade and an Enchanted Forest Tree Lighting Ceremony.
You might also choose to participate in one of the pub or bed and breakfast crawls before shopping for the perfect Christmas gift in one of Jefferson’s many unique stores.
Austin Christmas Lights
Austin is full of activities to keep you busy during the holiday season and one of the most popular things in to enjoy the Austin Christmas Lights at the Austin Trail of Lights.
Start with the Austin Trail of Lights, aka The Austin Christmas Lights, where you can walk through an amazing light display featuring over a mile of Christmas lights as well as food vendors, live music, and photo ops with Santa.
For a true taste of Austin weird, head over to the light display on 37th Street, you’ll see why!
Austin also hosts a Victorian Christmas on 6th Street this time of year. Here you can shop handmade arts and crafts while enjoying live entertainment from carolers and choirs.
Another great thing about Austin is that there are so many other fabulous free things to do in Austin.
There are also so many great places to stay in Austin that you will definitely enjoy spending extra time in this hip city.
Houston Christmas Events
Houston Christmas Events seem to be never-ending, but I guess that makes sense given the vast art and culture scene in the city.
You can absolutely get your fill of Christmas here. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a holiday-themed performance or a fun night out with the family, Houston has you covered.
You can lace up your skates and skate around their ice rink, or enjoy the magical 20-acre lantern festival at the Magical Winter Lights. Grab a hot cocoa and head to the Houston Zoo to see more than 15 miles of lights during their Zoo Lights celebration.
Adults and kids alike will be thrilled at the performance of the Nutcracker ballet. And children will love the holiday events at the Children’s Museum of Houston.
Just outside of Houston is the small town of Kemah. Head to the Kemah boardwalk to enjoy holiday festivities including a holiday boat parade and visits from Santa!
For an old fashioned celebration, then head to George Ranch Historical Pak for Christmas in the Park. This event holiday decor from various eras and tours of the holiday buildings.
There are so many Houston Christmas Events, you could celebrate non-stop in this town!
Located about 20 miles southeast of Waco, Marlin once drew visitors from far and wide to experience the healing spring waters that flowed in this area.
Today you can come during the holiday season to take part in a small-town Christmas parade before enjoying historic tours of the church, cemetery, and homes of this small community.
Christmas Lights in Dallas
Of course, we had to include our hometown of Dallas-Fort Worth into this list of great places to celebrate Christmas in Texas. There are so many Christmas lights in Dallas that you could spend the whole month just viewing these fabulous light displays.
Dallas is packed with things to do during the holiday season, so I am just going to hit on some of the highlights.
Train lovers will want to head straight for NorthPark Mall to see the elaborate model train display that sets up every year during the holidays. While at NorthPark, let the little ones enjoy a show at the puppet theatre before decorating gingerbread cookies at Camp Gingerbread.
The Dallas Arboretum is overflowing with holiday cheer when they set up their Christmas displays.
The themed 12 Days of Christmas event lasts longer than 12 days, so don’t worry! Not only are their displays and lights all over the garden, but the Arboretum also sells seasonal treats and beverages to match the festive atmosphere.
Dallas is also host to one of the largest Christmas parades in the country. Join thousands of spectators as they take to the streets of Dallas to welcome Santa and all of his friends.
If parades aren’t your thing, and you prefer a quieter way to ring in the season, consider visiting The Dallas Heritage Village during their holiday Candlelight celebration. The Candlelight celebration is a two-day event held in mid-December featuring carolers, and lots of family-friendly activities throughout the village.
The Vitruvian Lights in Addison are an Instagram heaven every year. They are free and open to the public.
Another great light display and great Christmas date idea in Dallas-Fort Worth can be found at the Daystar Christmas Event held at Daystar Studios. This interactive display is a great place to come for family photos!
Christmas at George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond
The George Ranch Historical Park history goes back to the original families in this area, back when Texas was still a part of Mexico in 1824. This 23,000-acre working ranch is a huge part of Texas history.
Here visitors can enjoy learning about the history of this location by visiting authentic locations, historic homes, and interacting with costumed presenters.
Head out to George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond, TX for their annual Christmas in the Park celebration. Discover customs and decorations from the 1830s to the 1930s in this enchanted atmosphere.
There are also cattle demonstrations, special treats, and storytime with Santa. For a small fee, you can also participate in making holiday ornaments or special holiday baked goods.
The lake community of Granbury loves to have festivals and Christmas is no exception. To kick off the season Granbury hosts a Nights of Lights Parade ushering in Mr. and Mrs. Clause.
You can also enjoy a candlelight tour of some of the privately-owned historic homes all decked out for the holidays while the kids make s’mores with Santa during this festive time of year!
Like Dallas, Fort Worth is packed with activities for the holiday season. Enjoy Christmas in the Stockyards when Santa arrives in his magical stagecoach ready to take pictures with the kids.
Then head over to enjoy storytime with Mrs. Clause before roaming around the stockyards to enjoy carolers, special holiday treats, and cowboy poetry.
The Fort Worth Parade of Lights kicks off the holiday season with a grand parade through the streets of downtown Fort Worth.
The parade includes floats, balloons, and several local performance groups. After the parade, the Sundance Square Christmas tree comes to life lighting up the downtown area.
Nearby, you will find Six Flags Over Texas aglow with lights during their annual Holiday in the Park celebration. Kids can ride down a snow hill, a rare occurrence in Texas, before heading over to SantaLand on the SantaLand Express train. Adults will enjoy all of the thrills of the amazing rides at Six Flags.
Next door to Six Flags, at Globe Life Park, you will find Texas Christkindl Market, a German Christmas market that includes German food and drinks, the world’s largest light maze, a skating pond, and of course, Santa Clause!
If you need accommodations in Fort Worth, we recommend The Omni Hotel, The Sheraton Downtown, The Embassy Suites, or The Hilton Downtown. All of these hotels are in an excellent downtown location and have great customer service and amenities. You won’t be disappointed staying at any of these great properties.
Final Thoughts on Christmas in Texas
As you can see, Christmas in Texas is a serious business. These are just a few of the great Christmas destinations that there are to visit in the Love Star State.
Get out your calendar, and start making plans to check these places off of your Texas Bucket List for sure!
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time.
Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.