It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas before Halloween in some parts of Dallas, but fortunately, most folks waited until the Thanksgiving turkey was purchased to actually flip the switch on the yuletide decor.
There's nothing more fun than loading the family into the car, stopping for hot chocolate, and driving through neighborhoods to see holiday lights. Here are some of the best Dallas-area commercial and neighborhood displays.
Holiday Wonder at Fair Park
This new event at Fair Park in Dallas features more than 2 million lights, bringing to life holiday favorites in giant illuminated displays. Those displays include winterscapes, floating swans, perennial holiday favorites (including Santa Claus), and more. The event also includes a two-story slide for kids and adults, a snowball throw with real snowballs, an acrobatics show, and more. The event continues through January 7.
Vitruvian Park has been transformed into a dazzling and magical holiday wonderland during Vitruvian Lights, when over 1.5 million sparkling LED lights are wrapped around more than 550 trees. The lights remain on every evening through January 1 and are free to view. Check the website for special events in the park.
Christmas in the Branch
Farmers Branch has been illuminated with half a million sparkling, flashing, and dancing lights for an animated drive-through tour. You’ll travel through a variety of different scenes, each with its own theme, from fantasy to patriotic. There’s festive holiday music, and the grand finale is an animated show starring Santa himself. The tour begins at Valley View Lane and Interstate 35, continues south on Denton Drive, and through the Farmers Branch Historical Park.
Light Show Spectacular
Go to Grapevine for the blockbuster Lone Star Christmas at the Gaylord Texan Resort, but stay for all the other festive events and displays around town. The popular Light Show Spectacular is a synchronized light and sound display at the Grapevine Christmas Tree. It's located next to the Town Square Gazebo along Main Street in historic downtown Grapevine, at the corner of Main and Dallas streets. This free, fun-for-all-ages lights show is about 20 minutes long and runs continuously from 6-11 pm nightly through January 7.
Enchant: The World's Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market
A world of Christmas wonder awaits as Enchant: The World's Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market makes its U.S. debut at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Guests can get lost in the world's largest light maze, take photos around the largest Christmas tree in North Texas, glide around the ice-skating pond, or waltz through the Enchant Christmas Market with over 85 vendors, including Arlington favorite Texas Christkindl Market Lane, now a part of the Enchant experience. The event will go on through December 31.
People Generation presents Magical Winter Lights
Magical Winter Lights at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie is unlike any other holiday lighting event to take place in the DFW area. The festival bases its designs from Chinese lanterns and transforms them into larger-than-life remakes of well-known landmarks. The lantern festival embraces more than just the Chinese cultural elements by also creating lantern designs that speak to the local audience. The 2017 festival features several themed sections including Magical Wonderland, Christmas Candy Land, The Lone Star State, Dinosaur Land, and Mystery of the East. The DFW Magical Winter Lights will specifically include an entrance castle lantern inspired by the Dallas County Courthouse, a giant cowboy, and Dallas’ iconic Pegasus.
Prairie Lights is a two-mile, drive-through holiday park experience, situated along the shores of Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie, that boasts a stunning display of more than 4 million lights and other holiday attractions. This year’s event, which runs through December 31, features live reindeer; dozens of all-new, holiday-themed light scenes; out-of-car experiences; and the park’s famous grand-finale animated tunnel that guests drive through upon exit. Featured events and attractions include the Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Thru Forest, Snowmazing Snow Maze, and Holiday Village. Hint: Cut down on wait time with a fast-pass, available on the website.
Christmas in the Square
Frisco's Christmas in the Square features the largest choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas. Now in its 12th year, the event features a show with over 175,000 lights set to music. It also includes "snow flurries" every 15 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays, creating a winter wonderland even when the weather is not so frightful. While you're there, you can go ice skating for $10.
Neighborhood displays and events
Interlochen Holiday Lights
Arlington's Interlochen neighborhood consistently ranks high in national polls of most spirited areas with holiday lights. Each year, more than 200 homeowners go all out with extravagant lights, decorations, and displays that are worth the trek. This year is the neighborhood's 42nd to stage the free event, which begins nightly at 7 pm. Find the entrance at Westwood Drive and Randol Mill Road and make your way slowly along the winding roads of the neighborhood. (Note: You'll want to plan for long lines as Christmas approaches, as December 25 is the last day for the display.)
Deerfield neighborhood, Plano
In Plano, the Deerfield neighborhood hosts a holiday decorating contest that yields magical results: another top-rated winter wonderland you can walk or drive through. Deerfield subdivision is located between Preston Road and Coit Road. Enter from Legacy Drive, heading north on Colonnade or Archgate; check the website for maps and schedules. The free drive-through event lasts through December 30.
Perennial holiday favorite Highland Park shines with beautiful light displays, many of which are professionally installed; pick just about any street where you see houses lit top to bottom in twinkling lights, and there are bound to be a dozen more. Be sure to check out Highland Park Village while you're in the area. You can take horse-drawn carriage tours through the neighborhood, for a fee. Don't miss the town's dazzling “Big Pecan Tree” on Armstrong Parkway, just west of Preston Road. It is decorated with over 5,000 red, blue, orange, and green Christmas lights, and the lighting of the tree is believed to be the oldest Christmas tradition in Dallas County.
In historic Kessler Park, you'll find lots of holiday lights on homes and trees against a backdrop of the Dallas skyline. A group of volunteers plan and coordinate the holiday decorations on various traffic islands in the neighborhood. From downtown Dallas, go west on Interstate 30. Take the Sylvan exit, turn south on Sylvan, drive about a half a mile, and turn west on Colorado. This one's so popular that limo tours are a thing.
In Lake Highlands, the 12 Days of Christmas come alive on Timberhollow Circle. The display has been a tradition for more than two decades. Each home is decorated as one of the days, from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming. Several residents have moved over the years, but they’ve passed along the decorations to the new homeowners to keep the tradition alive. The entrance is located one block south of Royal Lane off Abrams Road on Moss Haven Drive. The lights stay on through the end of December.