Sparkling lights brighten the holiday season across North Texas

This season, many old favorites are returning, and there’s a handful of new ones.

Gianna Gonzalez, 4, plays in a large display in the shape of a Christmas ornament in the Holiday Village during the 2020 edition of Dallas Zoo Lights.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

The holidays in Dallas-Fort Worth are always bright with sparkling light displays. Although the pandemic has caused plenty of event cancellations this year and last, it has also led to an increased number of drive-through and walkable displays in the area. This season, many old favorites are returning, and there’s a handful of new ones. Here’s where to find a destination that might jingle your bells.

Christmas in the Square

More than 180,000 lights blink to holiday music in downtown Frisco. Visitors can drive through and tune their radios to 107.3 FM for the soundtrack. For those who’d like to walk through the display, music will play on speakers throughout the square. The event also features the Skate the Square outdoor ice rink from Nov. 19 through Jan. 3. The cost is $15 per person, including skate rental.

Nov. 20-Jan. 3, nightly from 6 to 10 at Frisco Square, Main Street and Coleman Boulevard, Frisco. Free admission; some attractions require a fee.

CityLine Lights

The special events plaza at this Richardson shopping center has half a million lights, an 18-foot-tall Christmas tree, strands of lights draped between buildings and moving lights in the living trees.

Through Jan. 4 at CityLine Plaza, 1150 State St., Richardson. Free.

The Colony Christmas Spectacular

Illuminated trees and a light show set to music playing on 99.9 FM are presented nightly outside the Central Fire Station.

Dec. 4-Jan. 2, Sundays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 10:50 p.m. at the Central Fire Station, 4900 Blair Oaks Drive, The Colony. Free.

Dallas Zoo Lights

Dallas Zoo Lights

Dec 2, 2021 until Jan 1, 2022 ·  – 

Starting at $65

The Dallas Zoo’s display of 1 million lights, light sculptures, moving images, light tunnels and silk-covered, animal-shaped lanterns is presented as a drive-through attraction set to a radio soundtrack of holiday tunes and greetings. At the route’s end, there is a walk-through Holiday Village with photo ops with Santa and a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, hot chocolate and snacks.

Nov. 19-Jan. 2 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on select nights at the Dallas Zoo, 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas. $65 per car. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

‘Elf on the Shelf’ Magical Holiday Journey

Families can walk through this immersive exhibit set up along the concourse of Choctaw Stadium (formerly Globe Life Park). More than 50 performers will bring characters and elements from the Elf on the Shelf storybook to life in a show about helping Santa Claus.

Through Jan. 2, select days from 5 to 10 p.m. at Choctaw Stadium, 1090 Ballpark Way, Arlington. $24.95-$49.95 for ages 13 and older, $19.95-$44.95 for children 3-12, free for children 2 and under. Parking is $20.

Enchant Christmas

Enchant Christmas

Dec 2, 2021 until Jan 1, 2022 ·  – 

Starting at $25

This attraction returns with all its twinkling lights and festivities, but with a new location: Fair Park’s Esplanade. There will be millions of lights, including a light maze and an 80-foot-tall tree, plus an ice skating trail, Santa Claus visits, holidays treats for sale and an artisan marketplace. This year, those 21 and older can pay for access to the Polar Bar, which has alcoholic drinks and pub snacks.

Nov. 26-Jan. 2, on select days starting at 4:30 p.m. and closing at 10:30 or 11:30 p.m. depending on the day, at the Esplanade at Fair Park, 3809 Grand Ave., Dallas. $20-$35 for ages 18-64, $20-$32 for 65 and older, $25 for ages 3-17, free for 2 and younger. Parking is $12-$30.

Galleria Dallas

Towering in the middle of a skating rink at Galleria Dallas stands what is described as America’s tallest indoor Christmas tree, sparkling with nearly half a million lights and more than 10,000 ornaments. Starting Nov. 26, the tree’s daily Illumination Celebration light shows will be set to music. There will be two Grand Tree Lighting events this year. On Nov. 26 at noon and Nov. 27 at 6 p.m., see an ice skating show performed around the tree with a finale featuring fireworks and Missile Toes, the ice-skating Santa. Family festivities are scheduled throughout the season, including Slappy’s Holiday Circus, Storytime With Mrs. Claus, performances by more than 50 local groups, and a menorah-lighting ceremony on the first night of Hanukkah (Nov. 28). Snowday Dallas, a holiday-themed, multiroom immersive photo experience, will be open Nov. 19-Jan. 17, and tickets are $27-$34, $12-$15 for children 4-12, free for ages 3 and under.

The tree is up through Jan. 2 at Galleria Dallas, 13350 Dallas Parkway. See the website for a schedule. Free.

Outdoor Christmas decorations welcome shoppers to the Galleria.
Outdoor Christmas decorations welcome shoppers to the Galleria.(Liesbeth Powers / Special Contributor)

Gift of Lights

Texas Motor Speedway turns into a winter wonderland for this annual drive-through attraction, which stretches 2 miles and features millions of LED lights. Santa’s Village will be open this year with photo ops and food for purchase.

Nov. 25-Jan. 2, Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. at 3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth. $30-$35 per car or truck, $60 for larger vehicles.

Grapevine Attractions

FREE Grapevine is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas because it hosts hundreds of holiday events, many of which take place in the historic downtown area. Head there for two holiday displays running through Jan. 9. Daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., the Town Square Gazebo will have a 40-foot animated singing Christmas tree. And starting at dusk, watch the City Hall Light Show Spectacular, featuring sparkling lights choreographed to holiday music.

Through Jan. 9 at spots around the historic downtown square, 431 S. Main St., Grapevine. Free.

Holiday at the Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum’s highlight of the season is the “12 Days of Christmas” holiday exhibit, which features a dozen elaborate outdoor vignettes depicting scenes from the classic Christmas carol of the same name. Attend during daylight hours or go after dark, when the gardens will be illuminated by 1 million lights. Special programming throughout the season includes Santa visits on select dates, music and other entertainment, holiday teas, “The Artistry of the Nativity” exhibit at the DeGolyer House and the return of the Christmas Village and the 23-foot-tall wooden Christmas pyramid. New this year is a 50-foot-tall tree with more than 42,000 lights playing holiday tunes.

Through Dec. 31 at the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Daytime admission: $17 for adults, $14 for seniors 65 and up, $12 for children 2-12, free for children younger than 2. Entrance to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is $3 extra. $15 for parking or $10 if bought online in advance. Nighttime admission: $15-$35 for adults, $14-$18 for sen iors 65 and up, $13-$15 for children 2-12, free for children younger than 2. Parking is included with nighttime admission. Tickets must be reserved in advance.

Holiday in the Park

The holiday spirit comes to Six Flags Over Texas as the park offers seasonal fun such as Santa Claus lighting the Christmas tree every night, a new Holly Jolly Holiday Parade, shopping at a holiday market, and s’mores and other treats for sale. The park will also offer seasonal performances, photos with Santa and, of course, lots of rides.

Nov. 19-Jan. 2 on select days at Six Flags Over Texas, 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington. $24.99-$34.99, free for kids 2 and younger. Upgrades available on the website. Parking is $30.

The Light Park

The Light Park

Dec 1, 2021 until Jan 2, 2022

$30 – $35

Grand Prairie has a new drive-through holiday light display. Set up in a parking lot at Lone Star Park, the Light Park features a 1-mile display synced to Christmas music that can be heard on a special station. There’s also a long tunnel made from lights.

Through Jan. 2 at Lone Star Park’s parking lot, 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie. Days and times vary. Tickets start at $30 per personal vehicle (no buses, limos or trailers allowed).

Lights on the Farm

This new display at Plano’s Heritage Farmstead Museum will include more than a million lights along a quarter-mile trail with a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree and animated displays. There will also be visits with Santa, photo ops around the property and concessions for sale such as hot cocoa and make-your-own s’mores.

Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 3-5, 10-12, 17-23 and 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Heritage Farmstead Museum, 1900 W. 15th St., Plano. $10-$15 for adults, $7-$10 for children 12 and younger.

Lone Star Christmas

The Gaylord Texan’s annual holiday celebration includes 2 million lights decorating its atriums, a 54-foot Christmas tree with a light show set to holiday music, a large outdoor skating rink, an eight-lane snow tubing hill, a snowman-building activity and a Christmas carousel. The event’s usual centerpiece, the “Ice!” exhibit of carved ice sculptures, is canceled again this year. In its place, the Gaylord will have “Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf,” an interactive walk-through display. Have a snowball fight in Central Park, visit the toy store that Buddy the Elf decorated and complete other activities to collect enoughChristmas spirit to make Santa’s sleigh fly.

Through Jan. 2 at the Gaylord Texan, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine. Viewing the atrium decorations is free; prices for other activities vary. Some tickets are timed, and some prices vary by date. “Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf” tickets are $13.99-$24.99. Children 3 and younger are admitted free. Prepaid parking is $15.

The Magic of Lights

Drive through more than a mile of holiday light displays at Little Elm Park. On Dec. 4, the park will close to drivers so pedestrians can enjoy the display while attending Little Elm’s parade and tree lighting.

Nov. 20-Jan. 2, Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. at Little Elm Park, 600 Main St., Little Elm. $26-$100 per vehicle, depending on size and capacity.

The Modern Lights

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and its tree-dotted grounds will be illuminated throughout the holiday season and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Most days, the museum closes before dark, but it’s open Fridays until 8 p.m. Gallery admission is free all day on Fridays. Cafe Modern will have Dinner with the Modern Lights on Fridays, and there will be First Friday at the Modern events on Dec. 3 and Jan. 7.

Through Feb. 6, nightly from 5 to midnight at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth. Free to view the lights.

North Pole Texas

The Hilton Anatole’s new interactive family Christmas experience features activities and shows, including Santa’s Magical Marionette Theater, North Pole Mission Control Station, Elf Academy, Reindeer Dance Party and photo ops on Santa’s Sleigh and in a Giant Snow Globe. Outside in Peppermint Park, children can take a train ride through a light display or enjoy a snowman bounce house (weather permitting).

Nov. 26-Dec. 24 on select days at the Hilton Anatole, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas. $30 for adults, $25 for children 2-16, free for children younger than 2.

Prairie Lights

Four million lights twinkle along a 2-mile path at this drive-through holiday attraction, which will offer new displays in shapes of all kinds. The Holiday Village and its activities return this year. Halfway through the drive, stop to enjoy photos with Santa, the Walk-Thru Forest, carnival rides, concessions and more. The grand finale is a redesigned tunnel of lights.

Nov. 25-Dec. 31, nightly from 6 to 10 at Lynn Creek Park, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie. Admission starts at $40 per car. Fast passes start at $129.

A Christmas light nativity scene was part of the many holiday displays at this Prairie Lights in 2020.
A Christmas light nativity scene was part of the many holiday displays at this Prairie Lights in 2020.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Radiance: Frozen in Frisco

Instead of driving through this year’s light display, ticket holders will ride a Holly Jolly Trolley (a theme park-style tram) through a 1.5-mile route with more than 3 million lights synced to Christmas music. The ride ends at an outdoor carnival with an ice tubing hill, ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, visits with Santa, concessions and more.

Through Jan. 1, nightly at various times at Riders Field, 7300 Roughriders Trail, Frisco. $29.99-$39.99 for ages 12 and older, $19.99-$29.99 for children 3-11, free for ages 2 and younger. Parking is $5.

Radiance: A Holiday Spectacular

These Christmas lights drive-throughs are both about a mile long with 2 million lights set to holiday songs accessible via the radio.

$29.99-$49.99 per vehicle. radiancechristmas.comDecatur: Through Dec. 26, nightly starting at 6 at Joe Wheeler Park, 2901 FM 51. Weatherford: Through Dec. 31, nightly starting at 6 at theParker County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo Grounds, 2251 Mineral Wells Highway.

Radiance at the Races

Radiance’s new drive-through light display is on Texas Motorplex’s dragster track and includes racing-themed scenes, animated tunnels and dancing lights.

Through Jan. 1, nightly starting at 6 at Texas Motorplex, 7500 W. U.S. Highway 287, Ennis. $29.99-$49.99 per vehicle.

Santa Land

Visit Little Elm Park to tour elf houses and other decorations around the clock in December.

Dec. 1-31 at Little Elm Park, 701 W. Eldorado Parkway, Little Elm. Free.

Santa’s Village

Wander around this tiny town of 16 colorful holiday dwellings. There will be a children’s activity at each stop, a visit with Santa Claus and performances by choirs, dance and theater groups. Santa’s Village is open to everyone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Richardson residents only can attend Hometown Thursdays on Dec. 9 and 16 with free tickets (available starting Nov. 29 at Richardson City Hall and at Heights and Huffhines recreation centers).

Dec. 4-5, 10-12, 17-19 from 6 to 9 p.m. next to Richardson City Hall, 411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson. Free.

Texas Wild Wonderland

The Fort Worth Zoo will host a holiday hootenanny in its Texas Wild section. There will be photos with Santa on a vintage stagecoach, snow flurries in Texas Town, holiday-themed animal and puppet shows, strolling characters and more. Texas Town and the Country Carousel will be decorated for Christmas, and the Yellow Rose Express train will be decked out like the North Pole Express with seasonal inflatables and decorations along the tracks.

Nov. 27-Dec. 19, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth. Free with zoo admission: $16, $12 for ages 3-12 and seniors 65 and older, free for children 2 and younger. Parking is $5 per vehicle.

Vitruvian Lights

Stroll through Vitruvian Park’s 12 acres to see more than 550 illuminated trees wrapped in 1.5 million sparkling LED lights. The large number of single-color trees give this display a modern flair. The park’s trail borders water that reflects the brightly glowing trees, creating additional pizzazz. The lights will be turned on Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. and will be on nightly through Jan. 2. Special events on Nov. 26, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 will feature live music, free photos with Santa, food trucks and other vendors, a balloon artist, costumed characters and more from 6 to 10 p.m.

Nov. 26-Jan. 2, nightly from 5 to 11 at 3966 Vitruvian Way, Addison. Free admission. Parking is $15 cash at Bella Lane and Ponte Avenue parking lots and Alfred J. Loos Sports Complex.

Shannon Sutlief. Shannon is the LocalGraf Database Manager on the product team and the former events editor for Guide and /shannonsutlief @shannonsutlief

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