Best Things to Do in December in Dallas

10 best things to do around Dallas during the 2020 holiday season

The 2020 holidays will certainly look a bit different this year, but pandemic or not, the Dallas area is still brimming with plenty of things to do, albeit with COVID-safety protocols in place. These include reserved time slots, social distancing, and of course– wearing a mask. Certainly, the safest way to enjoy the festivities is from the comfort of your car, and the area’s amazing drive-thru light displays never disappoint. Another awesome holiday tradition is Dallas By Chocolate's Christmas light and chocolate tasting tours, which this year includes a socially distanced excursion where guests can follow the tour in their own cars.

Prefer to pound the pavement instead? No worries, Holiday at the Dallas Arboretum is still on this year, but all visitors are required to reserve tickets in advance. And finally, the largest seasonal event in the metroplex is still taking place in Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas. So, for those who want to make the most out of the most wonderful time of the year, consider the following list your passport to holiday cheer.


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 a legit snow hill to sled down to choreographed light shows, Christmas crafts and more. The park is open on select days between November 21, 2020 through January 3, 2021. Note that all guests planning to visit Six Flags must purchase tickets and make a reservation prior to the visit. Admission to the park starts at $29.99 for everyone over two years of age.

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

Ilene's expert tip: All guests and team members are required to undergo a non-invasive temperature screening before entering the park. Guests over the age of two are required to wear a face mask.

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Radiance! A Holiday Light Spectacular
Photo courtesy of Radiance! A Holiday Light Spectacular

The Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco is positively sparkling this year thanks to Radiance!, a new drive-through Christmas light experience featuring spectacular illuminations that stretch over a mile long. Expect to gaze at over two million lights, including 160 feet of animated RGB light tunnels, all complemented by a special radio station dedicated to classic holiday tunes to keep everyone in the spirit. Naturally, there will also be festive treats available to purchase: think hot chocolate, cookies and glow stick cotton candy. Radiance! runs November 11, 2020 through January 3, 2021. General admission tickets are $30 per vehicle.

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: Guests can donate a new unwrapped toy to WFAA's Santa's Helpers at Radiance! Frisco to receive a discount on their ticket.

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Photo courtesy of Luminova

Arlington's new Globe Life Field (home of the Texas Rangers) is being transformed into a wintery wonderland this season with Luminova Holidays, a spectacular immersive experience that's guaranteed to provide a much-needed dose of festive cheer. We're talking 2.7 million lights, a 65-foot Christmas tree and a 10,000 square foot outdoor ice-skating rink stretched out over 270,000-square-feet of space both inside and outside Globe Life Field. Also expect to find a host of interactive activities including light up hopscotch, train rides for the kids, holiday entertainers, festive food, and of course, a visit from Saint Nick and his elves. Luminova Holidays takes place from November 20, 2020 through January 3, 2021. Prices start at $24.99 for adults and $14.99 for children ages 4-12.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Luminova is one of the only places in the area to ice skate on an outdoor rink.

Ilene's expert tip: Save on admission by purchasing a family pack which includes 2 Adults, up to 3 Children starting at $59.99. Rest assured that COVID-19 safety measures will be in place, including face coverings required for all individuals over the age of 10 as well as limiting capacity each night to allow for ample social distancing.

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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 drive-thru, after dark holiday experience at the Dallas Zoo. While the zoo's furry friends snooze, visitors can view everything from elaborate light sculptures to silk-covered animal lanterns and an ice palace from the comfort of their own car. There will be concessions available at a stop mid-way through the route as well as a walk at the end of the route at the park and stroll Reliant Holiday Village. The event takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on select nights, from November 20, 2020 through January 3, 2021. Admission is $65 per car. Note that all tickets must be pre-purchased online.

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

Ilene's expert tip: Face coverings are mandatory for anyone who may interact with Zoo staff, and if you plan to exit the vehicle for a restroom break or to walk around the Reliant Holiday Village.

Read more about Dallas Zoo Lights →

Photo courtesy of SNOWDAY

Popular pop-up, SNOWDAY, is taking place at the Galleria Dallas this season and with it comes a multi-sensory, interactive experience that visitors of all ages will enjoy. Spread out over 5,000-square-feet, guests can explore 11+ holiday-themed rooms filled with magical installations, holiday characters, and of course, plenty of instagrammable moments. Also on hand will be 6 extra-special photo moments with integrated cameras and lighting which are professionally processed and sent directly to your phone. SNOWDAY runs November 20, 2020 through January 3, 2021. Tickets are $22 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: To allow for a safe experience, tickets are limited to a quantity of 12 per 15 min timeslot. You can also purchase tickets in person if they are not sold out. COVID safety protocols include high-frequency cleanings, face mask requirements, social distancing measures and entirely touchless photobooths.

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Area 3
Photo courtesy of Area 3

While perhaps not holiday-themed, this drive-through art exhibit is definitely worth a browse before it disappears. Hosted by the Dallas-based public arts organization AURORA, the Area 3 exhibition takes over 100,000 square feet of a parking garage in downtown Dallas and showcases 11 large-scale light, video, and sound installations as well as performances by sixteen regional artists. Proceeds from the event go to support local artists and vendors whose income has been affected in the wake of COVID-19. Tickets are $30 per car and are sold online in hour blocks to maintain traffic flow and safety. The show runs from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. through January 1, 2021.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: For those wanting to shake up the festive traditions, Area 3 is a terrific alternative.

Ilene's expert tip: The exhibition takes place in areas 3-5 of the DalPark Parking Garage across from Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas. Also, it is of note that this entry isn't super holiday-themed.

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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 four million lights and hundreds of custom displays set along 2 miles of path. Also find a drive-through concession stand as well as 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 2020. Admission is $30 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: Due to COVID-19 Prairie Lights will be a complete in-car event only for 2020. 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 ($99 per car) and proceed through a special entrance. Check the site for additional pricing.

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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 seeing holiday lights while indulging in hot cocoa and premium chocolates. Between December 4 and December 30, 2020, Dallas by Chocolate offers its regular bus tours (with safety provisions observed), as well as a socially distanced Christmas Lights, Chocolate and Sips tour where guests remain in their cars except to meet tour hosts who will hand out treats in five different seriously decked out Dallas neighborhoods. Tours are held every evening except Christmas Eve and Christmas. Prices start at $33 for adults and $28 for children 10 and under.

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 $5 discount on tickets by entering the code 5EAT. There are also a variety of other tours listed on the website.

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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 ever popular 12 Days of Christmas, an outdoor exhibit featuring twelve 25-foot-tall Victorian gazebos filled with elaborate scenes and whimsical characters. Also expect to find Santa sightings, musical performances and a European style Christmas Village featuring a variety of themed houses to explore. Holiday events run from November 7 through December 31, 2020. General admission varies from $10 for children (ages 3-12) to $25 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: Save $6 on parking by purchasing tickets online. Check the website for a complete schedule of events. Guests 5 years of age and older are required to wear a face covering.

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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 23, 2020 through January 10, 2021.

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

Ilene's expert tip: All guests ages 10 and up will be required to wear a mask or face covering for the duration of the event. It is also recommended that guests younger than 10 years of age wear a face covering if they are able to.

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


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