Predictably, the weekend before Christmas is chock-full of events designed to get you in the mood for the holidays. But the next four days do bring a bit of the unexpected, including a visit by a hip-hop superstar and the opening of a historical exhibit.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, December 19
Cavanaugh Flight Museum presents Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit
The Texas Vietnam Heroes exhibit has been making its way around the state since its debut in March 2013, and now the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison gets a chance to host it. More than 3,000 Texans died in the Vietnam War, and every one of them is represented on a pair of dog tags that includes his name, rank, branch of service, date of loss and home of record. The exhibit is on display through January 21.
Dallas Summer Musicals presents Irving Berlin's White Christmas
The film White Christmas and its title song have been holiday staples for almost 60 years, and now you can enjoy a similar experience on stage thanks to this production at the Music Hall at Fair Park, brought to you by Dallas Summer Musicals. Telling the story of two singers who put on a show and find love at a Vermont inn, it'll have you singing along all the way through. The musical plays through December 29.
Friday, December 20
Dallas City Lights 2013 presents How the Grinch Stole Christmas screening
The last official event of Dallas City Lights 2013 is a screening of the 2000 film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Main Street Garden. Even though the ham-handed acting of Jim Carrey is no match for the original writing of Dr. Seuss or the beloved TV cartoon version, it's still a fun way to celebrate the season. Plus, Santa Claus will be on hand to take some last-minute requests.
Turtle Creek Chorale presents Naughty & Nice: A Very Turtle Christmas
The Turtle Creek Chorale presents its Traditional Holiday Concert one more time on Sunday, but they're also putting on this concert at Dallas City Performance Hall that features bawdier versions of the holiday songs we all know and love. The chorale performs once each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Saturday, December 21
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis Holiday Shindig 2013
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis can rightfully be called the first couple of Texas country music, as they've been partners both personally and musically for more than 20 years. Their rapport is a delight to watch, especially when they're performing songs from their Christmas album, Happy Holidays. They put on two shows at The Kessler.
The Polyphonic Spree 11th Annual Holiday Extravaganza
Other Christmas shows have their own particular charms, but Dallas' own Polyphonic Spree really know how to pull out all the stops. They play two sets at Lakewood Theater — one holiday-themed and one with rock songs — and they are joined by the likes of The O's, Dallas Zoo Animal Adventures and The MadriGals.
Jay Z in concert
December has seen one superstar after another — Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and Beyoncé — perform at American Airlines Center, so it's only fitting that one more pay a visit before the month ends. Beyoncé's betrothed Jay Z brings his Magna Carter World Tour to town in support of his latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, although fans can expect him to play many of his biggest hits.
Sunday, December 22
Get ready for Christmas
There are relatively few new options on Sunday, so why not check out some of the best holiday events the area has to offer with Christmas just three days away? Among others, you could check out the Trains at NorthPark, Dallas Theater Center's A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical and Holiday Lights at the Chinese Lantern Festival. And even though it's not holiday-themed, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess wraps up its run on Sunday.