Even though holiday events have been going on for a couple of weeks already, there's something about the calendar turning over to December that makes it feel more like the season. Accordingly, two-thirds of the events in this week's round-up will be holiday-related. The only non-holiday ones will be a new theater production, a visit from two celebrity best friends, and two concerts from some very big names.
Below are the best ways to spend your free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, November 30
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden presents Outdoor Movie: Elf
Visitors to the Dallas Arboretum on Thursday will get a 2-for-1 deal, as they can take in the garden's popular 12 Days of Christmas exhibit and also be on hand for its first-ever outdoor movie screening, Elf. Bring a blanket and picnic, or order from the two food trucks onsite, and watch as Will Ferrell does his hilarious thing in this modern-day holiday classic.
Friday, December 1
Texas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker
Texas Ballet Theater's version of The Nutcracker is a must-see holiday tradition. The ballet, which features a score by Tchaikovsky and enduring characters such as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker Prince, will play at Winspear Opera House four times through Sunday before it makes its way over to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, December 8-24.
WaterTower Theatre presents The Great Distance Home
The latest production from WaterTower Theatre is the rare non-holiday offering in December. Boy, like all of us, is searching for something, but he’s not sure what. He’s certain it’s not in his home. He’s certain it’s not in his town. But beyond that, he’s not sure where it is. Nevertheless, he goes looking for it, and in the end what he finds is the last thing he expected. The play will run through December 17.
AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen
Bravo's Andy Cohen and CNN's Anderson Cooper will present an unscripted, uncensored, and unforgettable night of conversation. The late-night talk show host and the journalist, who are longtime friends, will interview each other and take questions from the audience at the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving. It's a live, interactive look behind the scenes of pop culture and world events.
Dead & Company in concert
When it comes to a venerated group like the Grateful Dead, nothing is ever truly the end. Dead & Company features original Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir alongside John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti. Continuing in the tradition of the iconic band, the group draws from the Dead’s vast catalog of songs to keep their tradition alive. They will play at American Airlines Center.
Saturday, December 2
Dallas Holiday Parade
The Dallas Holiday Parade has had bad luck in recent years, with a cancellation due to weather a couple of years ago and a lack of funding this year. But the show will go on, and this year the parade, which features marching bands, festive floats, and fun family activities, will have a Grand Opening in front of The Adolphus Hotel and a Grand Finale in front of The Statler Hotel.
Klyde Warren Park presents Nissan’s Winter Wonderlights
Nissan's Winter Wonderlights at Klyde Warren Park will feature free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, kids’ crafts, food trucks, activities and demonstrations from Dallas arts and cultural friends and neighbors, music entertainment, and a holiday show culminating with the lighting of the Klyde Warren Park Christmas tree. At the end of the event, characters from Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas will lead the crowd to the AT&T Performing Arts Center where the Reliant Lights Your Holidays festivities will be under way.
Reliant Lights Your Holidays
Reliant Lights Your Holidays features hundreds of thousands of dazzling LED lights placed on the AT&T Performing Arts Center's iconic venues and trees. There will also be live performances by En Vogue and RaeLynn, who will perform a selection of hits and holiday classics; free photos with Santa; and a fireworks display in Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park. The lights will remain on throughout the holiday season.
The Dallas duo Jackopierce is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2018, but a now-annual Christmas Show is only in its third edition. The show, taking place at McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus, is an all-ages event where Jack O'Neill and Cary Pierce will be playing many of the Jackopierce hits along with several Christmas classics. There will be a full band, special guests, and lots of surprises.
Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith in concert with Jordan Smith
Grammy winners Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith co-bill their popular Christmas tour this holiday season, which will be joined for the second consecutive year by Jordan Smith, Season 9 winner of NBC’s The Voice. The seasonal crowd-pleaser, which will be at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, incorporates a full symphony orchestra under the direction of musical director and conductor David Hamilton.
Sunday, December 3
CultureMap Holiday Pop-up Shop
With only 22 days left in the Christmas shopping season, the CultureMap Holiday Pop-up Shop is a great opportunity to get that perfect gift. It's a curated holiday boutique featuring our favorite local retailers for men, women, kids and pets, selling jewelry, home decor, gourmet food, and more. The event, taking place in Food & Fiber Pavilion at Fair Park, will have cocktails, festive food, crafting, holiday tunes, complimentary gift wrapping, and more while you shop.
Ashanti and Ja Rule in concert
Ashanti and Ja Rule have been collaborators ever since their 2001 No. 1 hit, "Always on Time." They've gone on to collaborate multiple times, including on "Mesmerize" in 2002, "Wonderful" in 2004, and most recently on "Helpless" as part of The Hamilton Mixtape. They'll be sure to sing those songs and a few of their solo hits as part of this concert at the Bomb Factory.