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Best Things to Do in December in Dallas

10 best events in the Dallas area for the 2021 holiday season


The countdown to Christmas is just around the corner, and this year’s holiday season is set to be jollier than ever around the Dallas area. We’re talking spectacular drive-thru light displays at Prairie Lights and the Dallas Zoo, Christmas light food tours with Dallas by Chocolate, an Instagram-worthy pop-up, and a German-themed holiday market. There’s also a slew of family-fun festivals to attend, including the annual Holiday at the Arboretum as well as Enchant Christmas at Fair Park, and an all-new Radiance! featuring Frozen in Frisco.

And no place knows how to mark the most wonderful time of the year better than Grapevine, where one of the largest holiday events in the country is held for forty days in the city’s historic downtown. After all, Grapevine isn't called the "Christmas Capital of Texas" for nothing. 

So those looking for some fun festive things to do during the 2021 Christmas season, consider the following list your passport to holiday cheer.


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Holiday in the Park-Six Flags Over Texas
Photo courtesy of Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau

Millions of twinkling lights, thrilling rides, live performances, plus visits with Santa are what you'll find at Six Flags amusement park's massive tribute to festive fun. Along with the tallest steel hybrid roller coaster in the world and an assortment of rides to keep thrill seekers of all ages happy, expect to find everything from choreographed light shows to seasonal snacks, s'more fire pits, Christmas crafts and more. The park is open on select days between November 19, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Admission starts at $24.99 for everyone over two years of age. Save money by purchasing tickets online in advance.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Six Flags offers a sleigh full of festive fun during the holidays.

Ilene's expert tip: Parking must be purchased online before your visit. Six Flags Over Texas only accepts card and mobile payments.

Read more about Holiday in the Park-Six Flags Over Texas →


Radiance! featuring Frozen in Frisco
Photo courtesy of Radiance! featuring Frozen in Frisco

Radiance!, the dazzling holiday light extravaganza is returning to Frisco's Riders Field (formerly known as Dr Pepper Ballpark) with an all-new theme featuring two major attractions. This year, guests will board a special trolley that transports them through 1.5 miles of spectacular illuminations featuring over 3 million lights synchronized to the tunes of holiday classics. From there, the trolley culminates at Frozen, an outdoor winter carnival boasting a two-story tubing hill, an ice-skating rink, and a variety of amusement park rides. Best part? Both experiences are included in the price of one ticket. The event runs November 18, 2021 through January 1, 2022. General admission tickets start at $29.99 for adults and $19.99 for children ages 3-11.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Radiance! promises a hefty dose of twinkling holiday magic in one fell swoop.

Ilene's expert tip: Book online with code ICELIGHT5 and save $5 on each admission ticket.

Read more about Radiance! featuring Frozen in Frisco →


Enchant Christmas
Photo courtesy of Enchant Christmas

'Tis the season at Fair Park when Enchant returns to transform the esplanade into a glistening winter wonderland, complete with an illuminated forest, a holiday light maze and an outdoor ice-skating trail. The seasonal spectacular also features a Nordic-inspired Christmas market, Santa meet-and-greets, a kid's area with crafts, and live entertainment. Don't forget to check out the 19-degree polar bar where you can indulge in a vodka tasting experience. The festivities run November 26, 2021 through January 2, 2022. General admission tickets start at $20 but note that some activities will cost extra.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Enchant is a great option for date night or for families wanting to get into a festive spirit.

Ilene's expert tip: Note that this event only accepts cashless forms of payments (credit/debit cards & mobile wallets). Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Read more about Enchant Christmas →


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Dallas Zoo Lights
Photo courtesy of Dallas Zoo

Make the season even more magical for your little ones by heading over to this illuminated drive-thru after dark holiday experience at the Dallas Zoo. While the zoo's furry friends snooze, visitors can view whimsical 3 D lighted sculptures, massive animal lanterns and more from the comfort of their own car. There will be concessions available at a stop mid-way through as well as an opportunity to stroll through a holiday village at the end. The event takes place on select nights from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m., November 19, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Admission is $65 per car. Timed entry tickets must be purchased online in advance of your visit.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: The Dallas Zoo holiday festival offers entertainment for the entire family.

Ilene's expert tip: Note that face coverings are mandatory when exiting the vehicle to use the restrooms or walk through the holiday village.

Read more about Dallas Zoo Lights →


SNOWDAY
Photo courtesy of SNOWDAY

Popular immersive holiday experience SNOWDAY is back at the Galleria Dallas this season and with it comes Santaland, where kids can take a journey to the North Pole and visit with jolly old Saint Nick himself. Visitors can also traverse through an assortment of holiday-themed rooms filled with magical installations providing plenty of instagrammable opportunities. Another perk is that there will be several integrated cameras to capture those extra special moments and send them directly to your phone. SNOWDAY runs November 19, 2021 through January 17, 2022. Tickets start at $27 for adults and $8 for children ages 4-12. Children 3 and under get in free.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: SNOWDAY is the perfect place for an insta-worthy festive experience.

Ilene's expert tip: Score a 15% discount when you purchase admission to both attractions.

Read more about SNOWDAY →


Texas Christkindl Market
Photo courtesy of Texas Christkindl Market

One of area's largest German-themed holiday markets is back this year, which means there will be brats, potato pancakes, German beer and gluhwein plus polka dancing, and live music too. Not to mention, the market features a slew of stalls peddling everything from handcrafted gifts to decorations and one-of-a-kind finds. Speaking of handcrafted gifts, keep an eye out for exclusive K├Ąthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations and designs from the renowned Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Village in Germany. Best of all, there's no admission charge to get in. Christkindl takes place daily, from November 18, 2021 to January 2, 2022.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Christkindl Market is a great place to scoop up unique gifts.

Ilene's expert tip: Admission to the market is free, although parking fees may apply. Note that the market will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Read more about Texas Christkindl Market →


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Grand Prairie
Prairie Lights
Photo courtesy of Visit Grand Prairie

If you want to see as many lights as possible, this twinkling drive-through wonderland in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie never disappoints. Every year, folks pile in by the carload to cruise through 5 million lights and hundreds of custom displays which are set along 2 miles of path. Also find a concession stand as well as holiday village featuring Santa photo ops, carnival rides and a walk-thru forest. The icing on the cake? A massive animated light tunnel at the end of the adventure. The park is open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. from Thanksgiving night until New Year's Eve 2021. Admission is $40 per car.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Prairie Lights boasts one of the most spectacular holiday lights displays in the Dallas area.

Ilene's expert tip: Note that there are drive-through concessions and restroom facilities available at the mid-way point. Avoid the crowds by going early, during the week or alternatively, guests can purchase a fast pass ($129 per car) and proceed through a special entrance. Check the site for additional pricing.

Read more about Prairie Lights →


Dallas By Chocolate Tours
Photo courtesy of Dallas By Chocolate Tours

We can't think of a more surefire way to get in a festive mood than by indulging in premium treats and beverages while cruising through some of the city's most decked out 'hoods. This year, Dallas by Chocolate is offering a variety of holiday light excursions, ranging from chocolate tours to tacos and margarita tours. The excursions are conducted via heated buses (there are also self-drive tours available) and take place every evening (except Christmas) between November 26 and December 30, 2021. Prices start at $45 for adults and $35 for children ages 4-10.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Dallas by Chocolate is an ultimate foodie excursion at any time of the year.

Ilene's expert tip: Tickets can be purchased online. Score a $3 discount on tickets by entering the code 5EAT. There are also a variety of other tours listed on the website.

Read more about Dallas By Chocolate Tours →


Holiday at the Arboretum
Photo courtesy of Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Though anytime of the year is magical at the Dallas Arboretum, this stunning 66-acre acre oasis becomes even more enchanting during the holidays. In addition to over one million lights illuminating the gardens, the Arboretum is bringing back its popular outdoor exhibit; the 12 Days of Christmas, featuring twelve 25-foot-tall Victorian-style gazebos filled with whimsical characters and elaborate scenes. Also expect to find Santa sightings, children's activities, live entertainment, a European style Christmas village, and a 50-foot-tall musical tree. Holiday events run from November 10 through December 31, 2021. General admission varies from $12 for children (ages 3-12) to $17 for adults depending on dates and times. Reservations are required.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: The Arboretum is a magical place for all ages to visit during the holidays.

Ilene's expert tip: Buy one, get one admission every Wednesday.

Read more about Holiday at the Arboretum →


Christmas in Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas
Photo courtesy of Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau

When it comes to getting folks into the ho-ho-holiday spirit, few places do it better than the Dallas suburb of Grapevine (AKA, the Christmas Capital of Texas). Beginning Thanksgiving weekend, the downtown area will transform into a magical dreamland filled with huge decorations, animated characters and millions of twinkling lights. Expect to find over 1,400 daily events and activities, ranging from live street performances and tractor-drawn wagon rides to choreographed light shows, strolling carolers and parades. Did we mention that the historic downtown area is home to over 80 locally owned shops, cafes and wine tasting rooms? The festivities run from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., November 22, 2021 through the first week of January 2022.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Grapevine offers the best holiday activities in the metroplex.

Ilene's expert tip: It is advisable to check the schedule and parking areas on the website before coming. Note that there is a Grapevine shuttle to historic downtown from Grapevine Mills mall, where parking is usually plentiful.

Read more about Christmas in Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas →


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Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene

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