We've never needed the joy of holiday lights to brighten a dark year like we do in 2020. All around Dallas, people have been decking their halls for weeks now — and even the Scrooges and Grinches are declaring, "Oh, what fun!"
Here's our 2020 guide to the biggest, brightest, most spectacular Christmas light displays in the area. (And if you're looking for more lights toward Fort Worth, that list is here.) Pour the hot chocolate, load up the car, flip on the holiday tunes, and enjoy these merry, magical wonderlands.
The hottest new holiday trend of 2020 is the socially distanced drive-thru. Just pack some patience along with your car snacks, as they can move slowly.
Candy Cane Lane, American Airlines Center, Dallas, now-December 26
This all-new event is a multi-level visual Christmas attraction taking over an entire AAC parking garage. Each level combines Christmas outdoor experiences that include a vast array of holiday lights, classic holiday lantern characters, and wonderland surprises around every corner. Visitors can tune into a special playlist of holiday music to accompany the drive. Candy Cane Lane is fully covered, so it can take place rain or shine. Ticket prices are per vehicle and are on sale in limited quantities on the website. It's $35-$50 for General Admission, or $50-60 for VIP, which includes a socially distanced picture with Santa. Read more about the event in this story.
Dallas Zoo Lights, Dallas Zoo, now-January 3
The zoo has reimagined its annual Dallas Zoo Lights for 2020, so visitors can now drive through a holiday safari of lights in their own vehicles. They promise guests will be able to cruise through a newly constructed pathway while taking in more than 1 million lights in elaborate displays, silk-covered animal lanterns depicting zoo animals, an ice palace fit for a trio of penguins, and more. Then park and stroll through Reliant Holiday Village at the end of the route. Timed entry tickets must be purchased online in advance; $65 per car for non-members, and $50 per car for members. For ticket packages, details, and more, visit the zoo's website.
Radiance! A Holiday Light Spectacular; Frisco, Weatherford, and Decatur, now-January 3
New in three North Texas cities this year, Radiance drive-thru lights experience is more than a mile long and takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Visitors can tune their car radios to a special station that will play coordinating holiday tunes as they meander through the light displays on each side of the car and through 160 feet of animated RGB light tunnels. Festive food and beverages, including hot chocolate and holiday cookies, are available for purchase without leaving the car. General admission tickets are $30 per vehicle, and VIP tickets are $50 per vehicle. Locations of all three events and more details are in this story.
Santa’s Country Christmas, Seagoville, now-January 1
Now in its fourth year of operation, Santa's Country Christmas drive-thru lights experience is located on Hwy. 175 in Seagoville, 20 minutes from downtown Dallas. The two-mile drive-thru park includes lights, animals, and music. They'll offer free Santa Claus photos starting Thanksgiving weekend. Admission is $25 per vehicle, purchased at the door. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
The Magic of Lights at The Lakefront, Little Elm, now-January 2
The Magic of Lights at The Lakefront is a COVID-19-safe drive-thru event in Little Elm Park on the shores of Lewisville Lake. The mile-and-a-quarter route meanders through favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. Tickets run $26-$100, depending on vehicle size. (There's a discount if you purchase tickets online rather than at the gate.) For more information and tickets, visit the event's website.
Prairie Lights, Grand Prairie, now-December 31
A Dallas-Fort Worth tradition 15 years strong, Prairie Lights holiday light park is returning for 2020 — with some modern updates for the COVID-Christmas season and one special gift for guests: cheaper admission. Per usual, the dazzling display of over 5 million lights, all arranged in festive holiday scenes, will wind for two miles along the shores of Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie. But the park’s out-of-car experience, the Holiday Village — the traditional stop midway through with hot chocolate, cookies, and other goodies for sale — will be replaced by a new drive-thru concession option; Santa also will not appear. Admission has been reduced to $30 per car (up to eight people), and a Fast Pass (line jump pass) is available for $99. Read about tips for ticket purchase, mask-wearing, and more in this story.
Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, now-January 3
Texas Motor Speedway will once again open its gates to the public for the annual Gift of Lights drive-thru holiday lighting spectacular around the track. The lights experience will include over two miles of light displays, with almost 3 million lights, while visitors get to stay in their warm cars, listening to Christmas music on KLTY. Due to CDC guidelines, they will not host the Santa’s Village this year. Instead, there'll be onsite food trucks that allow guests to order ahead online and pick up for the drive-thru. Tickets are $30-$60 depending on size of vehicle and may be purchased online or at the gate. Check the website for special discounts, tickets, and more.
Immersive experiences and choreographed shows
Mask up, get out, and stroll among the lights with camera in hand.
Luminova Holidays, Globe Life Field, limited dates now-January 3
At this buzzy new holiday wonderland, guests can walk among 2.7 million lights throughout over 270,000 square feet inside and outside of Globe Life Field. It also includes a 65-foot Christmas tree, interactive activities including light up hopscotch, an ice rink, train rides for the kids, strolling holiday entertainers, and booths with food and special mementos. Note: the event is open November 25-29; then closed for two weeks during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Globe Life Field; and then open again for three weeks, December 13-January 1. Check here for tickets ($14.99-$29.99) and here for special discounts.
Lone Star Christmas, Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, now-January 3
While there's no "Ice" exhibit this year, an all-new outdoor attraction called "Yuletide Bright" lets you walk among 50,000 square feet of colorful, glowing holiday-themed lanterns, characters, and scenes. The new "I Love Christmas Movies" display allows you to step into 15 fully immersive scenes from beloved holiday movies, including The Polar Express, A Christmas Story, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and The Year Without a Santa Claus, complete with replicas of film props, audio clips, and more. And, as always, the indoor atrium displays 2 million twinkling lights, 15,000 shimmering ornaments, and photo opportunities galore. Information on discounts here.
Main Street and Light Show Spectacular, Grapevine, now-January 10
While there's no Parade of Lights this year, millions of lights cover Grapevine's historic Main Street, stretching all the way to the new Hotel Vin. The popular Lightshow Spectacular is a brilliantly choreographed light and sound show that runs continuously each night at City Hall. Sing along with the 40-foot animated Singing Christmas Tree, and explore the world of Whoville next to the Town Square Gazebo along Main Street. Everything is free.
Christmas in the Square, Frisco, now-January 4
Returning for its 16th year, Frisco's Christmas in the Square boasts the largest choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas. The event includes a show with over 180,000 lights and 200 dancing snowflakes set to music; visitors may tune in to 107.3 FM in their cars or listen to the music piped through speakers as they take a walk through the square, under 3,000 feet of RBG color-changing canopy lights. The show runs nightly, 6-10 pm, and is free. (Ice skating, visits with Santa, and carriage rides cost extra.)
Reliant Lights Your Holidays, AT&T Performing Arts Center, December 4-20
The AT&T Performing Arts Center and Reliant have reimagined this popular holiday tradition so visitors can safely explore and enjoy at their own pace. Instead of taking place on one night, the event will go on for 16 consecutive nights, allowing guests to stroll among 50,000 LED lights illuminating the Winspear Opera House, Wyly Theatre, and the many trees in Sammons Park. There will also be festive projections, family photo opps, and Friday and Saturday evening pop-up performances from local artists and organizations. Admission is free.
The Colony Christmas Spectacular, The Colony, December 5-January 4
This spectacular light show is choreographed to music and runs in the evenings beginning at 5:30 pm. Visitors can tune their radios to 99.9 FM to enjoy the music. The show takes place at Central Fire Station, 4900 Blair Oaks Dr., under the auspices of The Colony's Parks and Recreation Department. It is free to attend.
Journey of Lights, St. Andrew United Methodist Church, Plano, December 11-19
Attendees will enjoy multiple immersive outdoor Christmas environments, including a Christmas Village featuring an oak tree filled with lights, 3D snowfall lane, music with projection of Christmas carolers, larger-than-life advent calendar utilizing actual windows, and more. It will also include "Light in the Darkness," an immersive 30-minute light show experience throughout the trees and creek area, timed and synchronized with music of all St. Andrew Choirs and Imperial Brass. Timed tickets are $5; kids 2 and under are free.
These displays make parks and businesses sparkle all season.
Vitruvian Lights, Addison, now-January 3
Addison's Vitruvian Park transforms into one of North Texas' most spectacular holiday destinations during Vitruvian Lights, an annual celebration in which 1.5 million sparkling LED lights are wrapped around more than 550 trees to create a blazing wonderland. No special events will take place in conjunction with Vitruvian Lights this year. However, visitors are encouraged to walk through the park in a socially distanced manner or drive through on surrounding streets.
Daystar Christmas, Daystar Television Network, Bedford, now-January 3
Daystar Christmas features over 1 million lights, a life-sized Nativity, kid-friendly Christmas town, a drive-thru tunnel, and more. Guests are welcome to drive through the property or get out and explore — as long as groups keep at least 6 feet (or 2 snow men) apart at all times. No Santa activities this year, but Daystar’s Scratch Café will be serving holiday treats from 6-10 pm Fridays and Saturdays from December 4-19 and every day December 21-24.
Holiday at the Arboretum, Dallas Arboretum, now-December 31
The annual Holiday at the Arboretum features the 12 Days of Christmas and The Christmas Village. Visitors can stroll the garden to see the 25-foot-tall elaborately decorated Victorian-style gazebos that represent each of The 12 Days of Christmas, which come to life after dark in a special nighttime experience featuring over a million lights. New this year is a 23-foot German-built authentic Christmas Pyramid, decorated with hand-carved elements and lighted motion on every level, including 16 electric candles on top that light up at night. For information about timed tickets, visit the website.
Six Flags Holiday in the Park, Arlington, now-January 3
Six Flags Over Texas decks its halls, trees, and roller coasters with thousands of star-bright LED lights. The winter wonderland features an extravagantly decorated Christmas tree, as well as a variety of interactive activities like festive shows, holiday treats, unique holiday-themed attractions, seasonal entertainment, a Merry Marketplace, The Frosty Snowhill, and, of course, world class thrill rides. Information about discounted tickets is here.
The Modern Lights, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, now-January 17
For the fourth year, trees around The Modern are illuminated with a spectacular array of festive lights. Not only are passersby treated to a stunning display, but visitors and families can enjoy nightly viewing opportunities with extended museum hours until 8 pm on Fridays. There are no accompanying cafe events this year. Viewing the lights outside is free.
During the Christmas season, HOA means "holiday overdrive action" in these festive neighborhoods.
Electric Lizzyland, Old East Dallas, now-December 25
Liz Simmons has brought the Lakewood-area favorite back for 2020. Her front lawn is aglow with tens of thousands of lights, plus vignettes that include Santa and his reindeer, an Abominable Snowman, a new glittery mural adorning the house, and much more. Walk through the spectacle most nights from 6-10 pm (weather permitting). Find it at 714 Newell, Dallas, 75223. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
Santa House, Grapevine, now-December 27
The Murillo family has filled their front yard in Grapevine with more than 1,000 lighted Santa decorations as a beacon of awareness for local nonprofit Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program. The Grapevine Santa House is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of Santa statues, which visitors can walk among and snap photos with for free, then make an optional donation to Grace online. The lights go on every night from 5-10 pm through December 28. The home is on a cul-de-sac in the Western Oaks neighborhood, and visitors can park along the street. The exact location is 3373 Spruce Lane, Grapevine. Follow the Grapevine Santa House Facebook page for updates.
Deerfield neighborhood, Plano, now-December 31
The Deerfield neighborhood of Plano hosts a holiday decorating contest that yields magical results: a top-rated winter wonderland you can walk or drive through. You can even book carriage rides in advance. Deerfield subdivision is located between Preston Road and Coit Road. Check the website for maps and important information about traffic flow and parking. The free event runs 6-11 pm nightly through New Year's Eve.
Lights on Oak Bluff, Sachse, now-December 31
This fantastic lights display has won multiple awards from the City of Sachse and the neighborhood HOA. Expect over 7,000 individually computer-controlled lights, a 13-foot Megatree, Singing Faces, yard decorations, and two pixel matrixes. The Christmas show is synchronized to music; tune to 92.9 FM to enjoy from your car. It's free to visit, but they welcome donations to the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation to help a 5-year-old neighbor. The show runs nightly from 6-10 pm, at 4310 Oak Bluff Ln., Sachse. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
While you're in Sachse, check out these other decked-out homes:
- 7906 and 7910 Edgeglen Tr., two homes in the Oak Bluff neighborhood with a coordinated lights show that runs 5 pm-midnight through January 1.
- 4115 Martha Ave., featuring a live Santa every Friday and Saturday, 5-7 pm.
- 4807 Prosperous Ln., with walk-thru lighted arches, Santa waving from the window, projections of carolers, and more, dusk to dawn until December 31.
- 5317 Heritage Cir. Lights, characters, and a large manger scene fill this yard, 5-11 pm nightly through December 31.
- 3915 Heritage Park Dr. Don't miss the Polar Express train with blowing out real steam and other surprises, 5:30 pm-midnight nightly through December 29. (It "snows" on Friday and Saturday evenings.)
- 5207 Rosewood Ln., This display features animated snow flakes and ornaments, animatronics, bubblers, and a Letters to Santa mailbox. (Leave a letter with a return address, and you'll get a letter back through Christmas.)
Burkman Holiday Home of Frisco, now-December 31
Decorating a home for the holiday season has been a tradition for this Frisco family for over 20 years. This year, the interactive display includes a 400-piece train village in the garage, a post office to mail Santa letters, and many selfie stations. They encourage people to get out of their car, walk around, and take photos. They're also collecting toys, clothes, and donations for Hackberry elementary school families in need. The lights are on 6-11 pm nightly (weather permitting). Parking can be tight, so be prepared to park and walk a block or two. The home is at 3809 Hazelhurst Dr., Frisco, on the Frisco/Little Elm border. Follow their Facebook page for updates, charity info, and more.
Viridian Lights, Arlington, now-January 3
Fun and festive displays light up this Arlington neighborhood each night from 6-11 pm. It's free to drive through, but they ask that guests consider a donation honoring one of these eight local nonprofit organizations. The entrance is off N. Collins Street. View directions and map here. And cue the holiday car tunes here.
The Browne Family Holiday Light Show, Parker, now-January 5
This family turns their home into a destination. The Browne Family Holiday Light Show is a full light show synchronized with music taking place throughout the Christmas season. While the show is free, it is an official drop-off point for Toys For Tots; visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate. The show runs from dark to 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and dark to 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, at 2701 Dublin Park Dr., Parker.
'Movie House,' Allen, now-mid-January
This family home north of Dallas has a fun theme: favorite holiday movies. Some 8,000 lights and 11 characters and props are set to a seven-minute choreographed show, complete with music and movie quotes from classic characters like Clark, Buddy, Ralphie and more. You'll find it at 1600 Wagon Wheel Dr., Allen. The show runs nightly through mid-January, from 5:30-11pm.
Miracle on West Fork at Alesio Urban Center, Las Colinas, now-December 29
Each Christmas, the Gonzales family in the Penthouse at this upscale residential community on Lake Carolyn goes big. This holiday season, they are hosting Miracle on West Fork, a holiday drive-thru light show that will showcase festively decorated windows and balconies. The spectacular lights display is left on at the Penthouse daily from 6-10 pm. They play an outdoor light show with Christmas music, and Friday and Saturdays from 7-8 pm, there's hot cocoa for visitors and it even "snows." On December 19, Santa will be taking photos for Paws and Claus, and Christmas Carolers will join in on the fun. Find the community at 387 West Fork, Irving.
Interlochen Lights, Arlington, December 11-12, 18-25
The Interlochen neighborhood will present Interlochen Lights for just one week and weekend during the holiday season. Known as the best neighborhood light show in Texas, the event allows guests to drive through the neighborhood and pick out favorite displays while they tune into holiday music on radio stations 102.1 FM or 98.7 FM. This is one of the busiest spots in Dallas-Fort Worth during the holiday season, and it's free. The route will be the same as previous years; find a map here. Watch for updates on their website as the event gets closer.
The Park Cities
The gorgeous homes in the Park Cities neighborhoods of Dallas shine 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. On December 9, the luxury shopping center will kick off its spectacular display with a Christmas Lights Celebration and Shopping Stroll, featuring exclusive store promotions, festive treats, and community charity partners. Stores will have extended hours until 7 pm.
Historic Kessler Park goes all out, with lots of holiday lights on homes and trees against a backdrop of the Dallas skyline. The holiday decorations are coordinated on various traffic islands in the neighborhood each year. 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. You can't miss some of the most majestic oak trees in Dallas, shining bright for the holidays.
Elderoaks Lights, Oak Cliff, now-late December
A Dallas tradition over 30 years strong, Elderoaks sees 96 percent of the homes in the neighborhood participate in a dazzling display. Located along three streets just south of the old Oak Cliff Country Club (Elderoaks Lane, Elderleaf Drive, and Elderoaks Place), the neighborhood scenes celebrate Christmas with homemade decorations that span medieval times to present day. Don't miss the streaming show of Christmas carols. There's no fee to watch, and lights go on at dusk each night.
Timberhollow Circle, Lake Highlands, now-late December
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, 75231. The lights stay on through the end of December. And while you're meandering through Lake Highlands, be sure to hit Lake Highlands Estates — specifically the streets from Vistadale, south to Church Road — to see some amazing trees decked for the holidays.
Lake Ray Hubbard, Rockwall, December 12
Holiday lights with a fun twist: a boat parade! A Christmas Boat Parade will take place on Lake Ray Hubbard, 6:30-8 pm Saturday, December 12. The boats will leave Sapphire Bay Marina (at Dalrock and I-30) at about 6:30 pm, head down the I-30 bridge to the Rockwall Harbor, arriving at approximately 7 pm. From there they will head to Chandler’s Landing, turn around, and make another pass in front of the Rockwall Harbor. Then they'll head back down I-30 to Sapphire Bay Marina. All boat owners are welcome to decorate their boats and join the parade. (Tune VHF radios to channel 71). Viewing will be available from Rockwall Harbor Docks at 7 pm and Chandler's Landing about 7:15 pm.
Rushing Meadow Court and Harder Drive, Dalworthington Gardens, now-January 1
Homeowner Dave Kulesz started a neighborhood tradition when he lit up his property with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. Surrounding homes got into the fun and now attract visitors from miles around. Kulesz uses the exposure to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease, to which he lost his mother. A sign in his front yard encourages people to make gifts to the Alzheimer's Association. See the lights every night from 5:45-11 pm. Find it on Rushing Meadow Court in Dalworthington Gardens.
Diamond Loch, North Richland Hills, now-January 1
This North Richland Hills neighborhood has dressed up for the holidays for decades. Drive through the cul de sac slowly to check out three adjacent houses that join forces to present a massive computerized show. The rest of the street decorates nicely to make an enchanted "Whoville" Christmas experience. They grow the show every year, and there are several new features for 2020. To find it, navigate to the address 6217 Windsor Ct., NRH.
Curry Christmas Chaos, North Richland Hills, now-January 6
Three houses collaborate to present a lights show synchronized to music that's anything but the "chaos" that the name implies. From start to finish, it's just over an hour long, and features a mix of pixels and standard LED lights "dancing" to music. Visitors can tune in to 89.9 FM to listen as lots and lots of Christmas trees light up on the lawn. The show runs every night (unless mother nature decides differently), 6-11 pm, through the first week in January. Find it at 3506 Reeves St., NRH. Follow the Facebook page for more information and updates.
Wisdom Way Lights, Haltom City, now-January 3
The Gonzalez family's choreographed show of 8,300 LED lights features a six-minute tribute to pop icon Selena. Clips of Selena concerts are projected on an LED screen while music and snippets of interviews are played over speakers and lighted Christmas trees on the lawn "dance" along. The 15-minute show also includes characters from Nintendo game Super Smash Bros. and cartoon favorite Peppa Pig. Visitors can view the free show from their cars and listen on radio channel 90.7 FM. Wisdom Way Lights runs nightly from 6-11 pm, and until midnight on Friday and Saturdays, though January 3. Find it at 4521 Wisdom Way, Haltom City, and follow Wisdom Way Lights on Facebook and YouTube for updates.
Know of another spectacular lights display in DFW? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.