These are the 15 best things to do in Dallas this weekend

Weekend event planner

Photo courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

It's officially December, so naturally this weekend is dominated by holiday-themed events, including five local theater productions, two concerts, another Nutcracker, and celebrations in Dallas Arts District. There will also be two non-holiday theater productions, a concert by a YouTube sensation, a visit from a famous actress/comedian, and a stand-up comedy event.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, December 1

Vocal Majority presents A Blue Suede Christmas
Vocal Majority's A Blue Suede Christmas will transport audiences to Las Vegas for a fun journey of harmony, smiles, and memories. The first act will feature some treasured Vegas icons, and maybe even a sighting of Elfis Presley. In the second act, the mood changes as Vocal Majority inspires the audience with beloved and sacred Christmas songs. There will be four performances through Sunday at Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson.

WaterTower Theatre presents Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar, the iconic rock opera featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane," and "Superstar." The production runs through December 11 at WaterTower Theatre in Addison.

The Firehouse Theatre presents Disney's Beauty and the Beast
This “Tale as Old as Time” centers around Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. The production runs through December 18 at The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch.

Bishop Arts Theatre Center presents Black Nativity
Black Nativity, returning to the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage for its 18th anniversary, is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping theatrical wonderment, inspired by Langston Hughes's retelling of the Nativity story. The production runs through December 18 at the Oak Cliff theater.

Friday, December 2

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Christmas Pops"
The tradition of Christmas Pops continues with the Dallas Symphony Chorus performing transcendent anthems, classical holiday favorites and sing-along carols. Favorite holiday vocalists join the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Chorus to bring a bit of Christmas magic to Meyerson Symphony Center through December 11. There will also be two "Family Christmas Pops" concerts on December 3 and 10, a special one-hour long family-friendly performance featuring the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

Theatre Arlington presents Hooray for Holidays
Theatre Arlington is bringing back Hooray for Holidays, a hilarious Christmas musical that features special guests at each performance. The production features The Callahan Kids TV Christmas Reunion special. Everyone is excited about the former child stars’ return to television until they realize that as grown-ups, they are no longer cute and their talent is lacking. The only thing that can save the show is a Christmas miracle. The production runs through December 18.

Sandra Bernhard: Bern it Down
Sandra Bernhard is an actress/performer/comedian whose career now stretches more than 40 years, having succeeded in films, on TV, and on stage. Her first big break was at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, and she'll return to her roots with this night of comedy and music at Granada Theater as part of her Bern It Down tour.

Richardson Theatre Centre presents A Hometown Holiday Radio Show
Richardson Theatre Centre's A Hometown Holiday Radio Show is an evening of music and merriment for the entire family, featuring a recreation of old-time radio classics, live songs, and just plain holiday fun. The production runs through December 18.

Theatre Coppell presents A Little House Christmas
The Ingalls family is warm and happy in their little house by Plum Creek, just outside the town of Walnut Grove. It’s time for the Christmas holidays, and everyone is keeping secrets about the presents they have to give. All the characters are there: Laura, Mary, Carrie, Ma, Pa, Mr. and Mrs. Olsen, and Nellie, and there are surprises all around on Christmas Day that remind us that love is the greatest gift of all. The production runs through December 18 at Coppell Arts Center.

The Piano Guys in concert
The Piano Guys are four dads who became an Internet sensation by way of their series of self-made music videos, including One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. It’s the Guys’ highly original blend of classical music with pop that has led to over 500 million YouTube views. They'll perform at McFarlin Auditorium.

Uptown Players presents Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels is a laugh-out-loud love story set to the music of the iconic 1980s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s. An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, the production is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening, and self-discovery. The production runs through December 18 at Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Saturday, December 3

Wait Wait Stand-Up Tour
The Wait Wait Stand-Up Tour is a night of stand-up-comedy featuring some of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’s funniest panelists. They answer questions on Wait, Wait, but there they're subject to FCC limitations. This a chance to enjoy a full evening of their unfiltered stand-up comedy. The host is veteran stand-up and Wait, Wait regular Alonzo Bodden. He'll be joined by Adam Burke, Negin Farsad, and Maz Jobrani. They'll perform at Majestic Theatre.

Ballet Ensemble of Texas presents The Nutcracker
Ballet Ensemble of Texas will present The Nutcracker to kick off their new season. The production will feature Breanne Granlund and Nathan Vendt, both dancers with American Ballet Theatre, and BET alumni. Over 200 young dancers from the Ballet Academy of Texas will join BET in this production. There will be four performances through Sunday at Irving Arts Center.

Klyde Warren Park presents Tree Lighting Celebration
After starting the day at the Dallas Holiday Parade downtown, head to Klyde Warren Park's Tree Lighting Celebration, where Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson will join Santa to light the iconic holiday symbol. The free annual tradition includes a festive day of activities and entertainment, photos with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, face painting, crafts, games, and snow flurries. The day culminates with a live show featuring performances of holiday music, visits from Santa’s friends Frosty and Rudolph, and the Christmas tree lighting. The Salty Donut and Andy's Frozen Custard will also both be making their Klyde Warren Park debut in time for the festivities. Immediately following the tree lighting will be...

Reliant Lights Your Holidays
Reliant Lights Your Holidays, taking place at Sammons Park within the AT&T Performing Arts Center, will feature the illumination of hundreds of thousands of dazzling LED lights, with live performances by Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda, and Vinyl Countdown: A Tribute To Arena Rock. There will also be a Christmas-themed drone show, a wintery snow playground, kids craft area, photos with Santa, and miniature golf on the Reliant Putting Green. For more spectacular Christmas light displays and events around DFW, go here.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Christmas Pops" at Meyerson Symphony Center, December 2-11.

Photo by Brandon Todd

These are the 11 best things to do in Dallas this Thanksgiving weekend

Weekend Event Planner

As is always the case the weekend of Thanksgiving, holiday events dominate the landscape across Dallas. There will be lots of lights, Nutcrackers in both dance and concert forms, two theater versions of the Scrooge story, flipping reindeer, two Christmas-themed concerts, and a kids theater production. Two other events aren't explicitly about the holidays, but offer something for both kids and adults.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this long holiday weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Wednesday, November 23

Disney On Ice: Into the Magic
At Disney On Ice: Into the Magic, hosts Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will bring audiences on an expedition across raging seas, snow covered mountains, and the marigold bridge. The action-packed extravaganza features Disney’s Moana, Frozen, Coco, and Beauty and the Beast, along with other beloved Disney characters. There will be multiple performances through Sunday at Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen.

Friday, November 25

Holiday lights galore
As always, there will be no shortage of holiday lights to look at in and around Dallas this season. Among the notable displays opening on Friday will be Enchant at Fair Park, featuring millions of lights, an ice skating trail, marketplace, and more; Vitruvian Lights at Vitruvian Park in Addison, where hundreds of trees are wrapped in colorful lights; Lights on the Farm at Heritage Farmstead Museum in Plano, featuring a quarter-mile trail showcasing holiday light creations and animated displays; and Lights on The Lake at Little Elm Park, featuring lights and activities like a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and an ice skating rink. All events will be open through at least December 25.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents The Nutcracker in concert
Maurice Cohn leads the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in selections from Tchaikovsky’s iconic Nutcracker score. The story of The Nutcracker, loosely based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann fantasy, is the story of a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. Audiences will enjoy the miniature overtures, triumphant marches, Russian, Arabian and Chinese dances, and the Waltz of the Flowers. There will three performances through Sunday at Meyerson Symphony Center.

Cirque du Soleil: Twas the Night Before...
Twas the Night Before…, Cirque du Soleil’s spin on the beloved Christmas tale, is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production marks Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show and is a flurry of Christmas cheer, rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of the acrobatic troupe. The production runs through December 11 at Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie.

Pocket Sandwich Theatre presents Ebenezer Scrooge
A year after being forced to move from their longtime Dallas location, Pocket Sandwich Theatre returns at a new venue in Carrollton with their traditional Ebenezer Scrooge production. The production is based on the age-old holiday favorite about the miserly Scrooge, who is visited one Christmas Eve by three ghosts intent on helping him change his ways. It runs through December 23.

Dallas Theater Center presents A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol, a delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future. But will it be enough to save Scrooge’s soul? The production runs through December 24 at Wyly Theatre.

Texas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker
Featuring dazzling choreography and exquisite sets, The Nutcracker celebrates the season with enchantment, snowflakes, and sweets. Texas Ballet Theater presents the most magical Christmas tradition of the season as Clara and her Nutcracker Prince battle an army of mice and travel through a winter wonderland to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Kingdom of Sweets. The production runs through December 4 at Winspear Opera House.

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox: A Very Postmodern Christmas
New York City pianist Scott Bradlee created Postmodern Jukebox to remake the pop hits of today into the classic sounds of the legends of yesterday. The group has grown to become a pop culture mainstay in its own right, introducing audiences to many of the world’s greatest singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. The concert will be at Majestic Theatre.

Saturday, November 26

Cara Mia Theatre presents Crystal City 1969
Inspired by a little-known event in Texas history, Crystal City 1969 is based on the true story of Mexican-American students in south Texas who walked out of their school and into civil rights history. Crystal City became an example of American democracy at its best. The production runs through December 18 at Latino Cultural Center.

Sunday, November 27

Dallas Children's Theater presents Harry Connick, Jr.’s The Happy Elf
From Grammy-winning musician Harry Connick, Jr, The Happy Elf is a jazz musical that will get audiences in the holiday spirit. Eubie is, much to the exhaustion of his coworkers, an elf of unparalleled and endless energy looking to get a spot on Santa’s coveted sleigh team. When his unstoppably sunny spirit comes into contact with the miserable town of Bluesville, where every single child is on the naughty list, he’s in for the shock of a lifetime. Will his relentless positive attitude be enough to turn this gloomy place around, or has the happiest elf in the North Pole finally met his match? The production runs through December 23 at Rosewood Center for Family Arts.

For King + Country in concert
Christian pop duo For King + Country has been one of the most successful bands in the genre over the past decade, with all of their albums reaching the top five on the Christian charts, and two going to No. 1, including their latest, What Are We Waiting For? This concert may feature some of their biggest hits, but it will also have a holiday theme as it's part of their A Drummer Boy Christmas tour, named for their 2020 Christmas album.

Photo by Brandon Todd

Cirque du Soleil: Twas the Night Before... will start at Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie on November 25.

Photo by Michael Merry

What to expect at 'Lightscape,' North Texas' new walk-thru winter wonderland

Lights fantastic

Dallas-Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

As the name says, the event features “lights” in “landscape,” so the natural surrounds of the garden are the stage on which the light features shine. The third star of the show is music, and the major supporting character is strategic use of … darkness.

Yes, darkness.

What makes "Lightscape" different from other modern Christmas light attractions is that it’s not a constant, over-the-top, bombastic blast of LEDs. There are high-lights and low-lights, moments of razzle dazzle and moments of quiet contemplation. Parts are whimsical, parts are worshipful.

The holiday season is not (for most people) one steady dousing of joyful Christmas spirit. In the same way, “Lightscape” evokes the many different spirits of Christmas: the wonderment, the majesty, the mysticism, the reverie, the joy, and all the merriment.

Yes, of course, snap those selfies and record those reels, but then tuck that phone away and take it all in as a total sensory experience.

Feel the chilly air hit your face as you pose in the bluebonnet field with a Texas country serenade. Sip your hot chocolate and linger on a bench, watching the reflection in the water of trees changing colors to “Silent Night” in the Japanese Garden.

And if you start to think, “This part of the path seems dull,” look up at a sky-high tree lit purple or green and, think, “I wonder why, out of all the trees, they chose that one?”

Below are five highlights of the mile-long walking path through the display, based on a sneak-peek visit. If you don’t want spoilers, skip to the bottom for some valuable “know before you go” information. (You’ll want to know about the spiked hot chocolate.)

Winter Cathedral – This is the feature in all the ads and every influencer reel. An 18-foot-tall, 110-foot-long cathedral guides guests through a long tunnel illuminated by tens of thousands of LED light globes. You might think it’s the grand finale - It’s not; there’s still much more to come. Andrea Bocelli singing “O Holy Night” adds to a true “cathedral” experience; pause and take in the light-filled spectacle when he gets to the rousing line, “Oh Night Divine.”

The Rose Garden – What makes this fun is that it’s actually in The Rose Garden. A sprawling installation of 5,000 handmade color-changing roses with life-like silk leaves fills the garden where many in Fort Worth have celebrated weddings, engagements, and celebrations of life. This whimsical botanical playground also looks a bit like a retro “Light Brite” board.

Fire Garden – Perhaps the most surprising feature of the whole event is a field of structures that fill the landscape with real fire, created from hand-poured candles, flickering in the breeze. Set to an a capella choral rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” it feels like a candlelight worship service at a church. It’s a beautifully contemplative moment.

Bluebonnets – Merry Texmas, y’all. A field of 2,000 bluebonnets twinkle and shine and bathe the landscape in bold blue and white LED pixel lights, while a country crooner sings, “Merry Texas Christmas, You All.” An entirely different way to take iconic bluebonnet photos. (You can’t actually plop down in the field, but there are plenty of spots for shots.)

Japanese Garden – Whatever you do, don’t skip this at the end. The entire garden is transformed into a space both meditative and majestic. Trees are lit in various colors and change colors to the soft sounds of “Silent Night.” Water features that look like falling leaves in the pond “dance” to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It’s an awe-inspiring finale to the entire experience.

Good to know:

  • "Lightscape" runs November 18-January 8 at Fort Worth Botanic Garden; information and tickets are here.
  • No shows on: November 21-22 & 24, November 28-30, December 5-6, December 12-13, December 25, and January 2-3.
  • The entire event is outdoors and uncovered, and about a mile long. It’s an all-walking experience so wear comfy shoes and dress appropriately for the elements.
  • The average tour time from start to finish is 1.5 hours, although there is no time limit.
  • Concessions (charcuterie cones, turkey legs, veggie burgers, hot and cold beverages) are sold at stands throughout the event. Various kinds of spiked hot chocolate and apple cider are available for adults; they’re $12 apiece.
  • There are a few gravel spots and dark pathways, especially walking to and from the parking lot. If you’re not sure-footed, you might keep your phone flashlight handy.
  • Strollers and wheelchairs were able to navigate the entire event.
  • Tickets (timed every 15 minutes) run $28-$30 for adults, $18-$20 for children (ages 3-12), and free for infants (0-2 years old). FWBG members receive $5 off of each ticket.
  • Prices do not include parking, which runs $15-$20, according to the website. A $60 VIP ticket package includes parking.

Photo by Michael Merry

The Fire Garden is like a candlelight worship service.

Photo courtesy of Louie Murillo

Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season

The nice list

After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season.

The half-acre property in the Western Oaks neighborhood of Grapevine is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

The charity's seasonal initiative provides new, unwrapped gifts to Tarrant County families facing financial hardship.

“You just see the joy in people’s faces,” Murillo says of the Santa House display. “They’re getting some great photo ops, but hopefully making memories out of all this.”

The 2020 Santa House — which came together as a pandemic-year project for the family — saw thousands of visitors and became a top attraction in DFW that holiday season. Murillo's search for special "blow mold" Santa statues had taken him around the country that year. Blow molds are hollow, plastic figures that were popular in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. They're rarely made now, and considered collectibles, costing anywhere from $30 to $140 apiece.

The decorations were set up around the property in vignettes, illuminated merry and bright with LED lighting. It was nothing less than a Santa spectacle.

Grapevine Santa House The Santas are "blow molds," which were popular in the '50s. Photo courtesy of Louie Murillo

After a break in 2021, the Murillos decided to bring the Santa House display back this year, even bigger in size and mission.

Their goal in 2020 had been to raise $15,000 for Grace, which would help 120 kids. By December 1 that year, just a few days after turning the lights on, they were already at $9,000.

Murillo's “Grownup Christmas Wish” for 2022 is to raise $70,000 or more through Santa House to support Grace services and programs.

He expects at least $35,000 to come from an online Santa House Benefit given by visitors, guests, and well-wishers, he says. The rest, he hopes to raise from seven donors with generous hearts enough to give $5,000 each to be a part of this holiday cheer.

"The hope is, on Christmas Morning (or Christmas Eve, as some family traditions observe) the children open presents selected especially for them by their parents," the organization says. "The children do not need to know their Christmas came from a charity, only that their parents gave them a holiday merry and bright.

Grapevine Santa House Guests can walk around the Santa displays each night. Photo courtesy of Louie Murillo

The Santa House lights will switch on Thanksgiving night and will be illuminated dusk-to-10:30 pm, Sundays through Thursdays, and dusk-to-11 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, through December 29.

The home is on a cul-de-sac in Grapevine's 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.

Those interested in being matching donors should contact Mark Woolverton at Grace, 972-743-8556 or mwoolverton@gracegrapevine.org.

Photo by Vladimir Kevorkov

These are the 13 best things to do in Dallas this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

In this, the weekend before Thanksgiving, the holidays are in full effect in and around Dallas, with multiple seasonal events taking place. Other choices include showcases for violinists of different ilks, a popular food writer, a famous comedian, a local dance production, two national concert tours, and a symphonic celebration of Broadway.

Photo by Vladimir Kevorkov
Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle opens at Lighthouse Dallas on November 19.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, November 17

The Trains at NorthPark
The Trains at NorthPark is the largest miniature train exhibit in Texas, featuring more than 750 railcars. Visitors to the exhibit will experience watching the trains circle 1,600 feet of tracks rolling from coast to coast on a whimsical journey across the United States. The trains travel from the fall foliage of New England to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge with stops along the way in New York, Arizona, Colorado, and more. The exhibit will be on display at NorthPark Center through January 6.

The DIFFA Wreath Collection
At the DIFFA Dallas Wreath Collection, top designers from across the world create one-of-a-kind holiday wreaths in a one-night-only silent auction benefiting the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. The fundraiser takes place at The Empire Room.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Nicola Benedetti
The innate musicianship and spirited presence of Nicola Benedetti makes her one of the most sought-after violinists today. At this concert, she will perform the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan's Violin Concerto No. 2. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, led by Fabio Luisi, will also perform Bruckner's Symphony No. 4. There will be three performances through Saturday at Meyerson Symphony Center.

DMA Arts & Letters Live: An Evening with Nigella Lawson
Food writer, journalist, and TV cook Nigella Lawson is the bestselling author of 12 books, influencing a generation with her expressive and evocative writing and sumptuous recipes. In support of her latest book, Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories, DMA Arts & Letters Live will present an evening with Lawson as she shares the rhythms and rituals of life spent in the kitchen and reflects on how the process of cooking, eating, and repeating embodies the story of her life. The event takes place at Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson.

Lindsey Stirling in concert
It's not often that a violinist becomes a huge star, but Lindsey Stirling has broken through because of the variety of music styles she plays, from classical to pop and rock to electronic dance music, and because of her energetic performances and videos. Each of her six albums, including the new Snow Waltz, has charted at No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts. She'll perform at Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie.

Friday, November 18

Improv Arlington presents Shawn Wayans
Shawn Wayans was born into one of Hollywood's largest and most successful comedic families, so he was naturally gifted with the ability to make people laugh. He carved his own acting career with a starring role in the sitcom The Wayans Bros., along with movies like the Scary Movie franchise. He'll perform four times through Saturday at Improv Arlington.

Family Music Theatre presents White Christmas
In Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil's former army commander. The production, running through December 10 at New Vida Church of God, features standards like “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial title song.

Bruce Wood Dance presents Awake
Bruce Wood Dance presents Awake, showcasing work by Bruce Wood, legendary American choreographer Lar Lubovitch, Garrett Smith, and Adam W. McKinney with The Digibees. The production shares stories of injustice and loss in the works by Wood, McKinney, and Smith. Paired with the sweeping choreography of Lar Lubovitch’s Dvořák Serenade, dancers glide through the notes echoing grace and beauty along the way. The production will have three performances through Saturday at Moody Performance Hall.

The Fab Four in concert
The Fab Four is elevated far above every other Beatles tribute due to their precise attention to detail. With uncanny, note-for-note live renditions of Beatles' classics such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "Yesterday," "A Day In The Life," "Twist And Shout," "Here Comes The Sun," and "Hey Jude," the Fab Four makes audiences think they are watching the real thing. The concert takes place at Majestic Theatre.

Saturday, November 19

Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle
Lighthouse Immersive presents Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle, featuring whimsical animated characters alongside footage of professional ballet dancers. The 30-minute immersive experience is set to the sweeping music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, encompassing visitors in a grand immersive display that relays the tale of The Nutcracker from opening to finale. The exhibition will be on display at Lighthouse Dallas through December 31.

Joe Satriani in concert
Joe Satriani is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, mentoring other guitar greats like Steve Vai, Andy Timmons, and more. He's also been part of the supergroup Chickenfoot, which included ex-Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. He'll play at Majestic Theatre in support of his new album, The Elephant of Mars.

A Magical Cirque Christmas
A Magical Cirque Christmas is a comedic, musical, and magic-filled holiday experience. World-acclaimed performers and cirque artists take audiences back in time, immersing them in the spirit of the season and performing Christmas classics through the decades. The one-night-only performance will be at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

Plano Symphony Orchestra presents "Bravo Broadway!"
For the third show of its season, the Plano Symphony Orchestra will be joined by some of the best voices from the stages of New York performing familiar songs from Tony Award-winning Broadway shows like Les Misérables, West Side Story, The Phantom of The Opera, and more. The concert will be at Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

These are the 13 best things to do in Dallas this weekend

Weekend event planner

This weekend across Dallas will start with a Christmas-themed event, but another holiday - Veterans Day - will be at the center of two other events on the list. Other choices include two new local theater productions, concerts in a variety of genres, comedy, magic, a long-awaited movie, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, November 10

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden presents Holiday at the Arboretum
Holiday at the Arboretum returns with a garden transformed to get people into the holiday spirit with The Christmas Village, The 12 Days of Christmas, and the Dazzling Musical Tree. In the historic DeGolyer House, the Dallas Arboretum debuts The Artistry Faith & Culture, featuring the three world holidays celebrated during the season: Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa. The event, which has both daytime and nighttime hours, will go on through December 31. (Check this list for spectacular Christmas lights around DFW.)

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Verdi Requiem
Music Director Fabio Luisi has been eager to conduct Verdi’s Requiem since he began his tenure with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. With its white-hot moments of bravado alternating with some of the most serene moments of Verdi’s music, his Requiem is a monumental work. Soprano Adriana Gonzalez, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, tenor Piero Pretti, and bass Wenwei Zhang will join the Dallas Symphony Chorus and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. There will be three performances through Sunday at the Meyerson Symphony Center.

Undermain Theatre presents Feeding on Light
Nora is a curious writer who seeks to understand her friend and collaborator Katherine’s obsession with 20th-century French philosopher and activist Simone Weil. As their discussion deepens, Nora and Katherine embody scenes from Simone’s life in an attempt to communicate with her across time and space. Feeding on Light is based on playwright Lenora Champagne’s personal relationship and discussions with Undermain Theatre’s late Founding Artistic Director Katherine Owens, to whom the play is dedicated. The production runs through November 27.

Friday, November 11

Commemorative Air Force presents Wings Over Dallas World War II Airshow
Time to coincide with Veterans Day, the Wings Over Dallas World War II Airshow is an interactive event that features flying demonstrations, battle reenactments, veteran appearances, living history encampments, hands-on family and educational activities, aircraft rides, cockpit tours, and more. The event goes on through Sunday at Dallas Executive Airport.

The Colony presents American Heroes: A Tribute to Veterans & First Responders
The Colony will celebrate Veterans Day with their annual patriotic festival, American Heroes: A Salute to Veterans & First Responders. Musical performers will include Spin Doctors, Blue Water Highway, Rodney Atkins, Rick Trevino, and Mo Pitney. The festival, taking place on Friday and Saturday at The Colony Five Star Complex, also includes a carnival, car show, silent auction, kids activities, vendor expo, fireworks, and more. (For a list of Veterans Day deals and discounts, go here.)

Over the Bridge Arts presents Burning Woman
Over the Bridge Arts will present the fifth annual Burning Woman, two full evenings of empowering performances by 40 Dallas performing artists in dance, music, spoken word, performance art, drumming, and film. Each evening will feature a pre-performance reception with film and art installation, followed by live performances. The event takes place on Friday and Saturday at Oak Cliff Cultural Center.

Toadies in concert
It's always a good day when Fort Worth originals Toadies take the stage again. While the band has only had a minimal impact on the national music stage, they've been beloved locally ever since their 1994 debut album, Rubberneck. They've gone on to release six more albums in their career, most recently 2017's The Lower Side of Uptown. They'll play at House of Blues Dallas.

TITAS/Dance Unbound presents BodyTraffic
BodyTraffic returns to Dallas with an evening of compelling works that embody the company’s energy, sophistication, and sheer joy for dance. This program features a new work by the collaborative team of Baye & Asa, fusing intricate patterns of rhythm and form along with Alejandro Cerrudo’s PacoPepePluto, featuring three dancers who move to the classic voice of Dean Martin with utter abandon. The production will be at Winspear Opera House.

The Classics Theatre Project presents Dutchman
Dutchman is an explosive, allegorical, one-act drama that uses the device of an encounter between Clay, a young, middle-class, Black man, and Lula, a white woman, who approaches him on a subway car, to demonstrate the tensions present between Black and white Americans during the tumultuous 1960s, and to illustrate the political, societal, and psychological conflicts facing Black men in America. The production runs through November 26 at Margo Jones Theatre at Magnolia Lounge.

Demetri Martin: I Feel Funny Tour
Writer, director, and stand-up comedian Demetri Martin has released three stand-up comedy albums and four hour-long standup comedy specials, including his latest for Netflix, The Overthinker. He also created and starred in his own television series for Comedy Central, Important Things with Demetri Martin. He'll perform at Majestic Theatre.

Saturday, November 12

Deadmau5 in concert
There have been an increasing number of successful electronic music producers/DJs in the 21st century, but Deadmau5 remains near the top of the list. Thanks in part to his signature enormous mouse mask, Deadmau5 has not only dominated dance music charts, but also placed a couple in the top 10 of the larger Billboard 200. He hasn't had an official release since 2019, but like any good electronic musician, he always has something new cooking. He'll perform at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving.

Champions of Magic
The Champions Of Magic cast present interactive magic, a daring escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, a mind-blowing prediction that has to be seen to be believed, levitation high above the stage, and a finale beyond explanation. The show happens all around the theatre and features spectacular illusions that can’t be seen anywhere else. The performance will be at Majestic Theatre.

Sunday, November 13

Clerks III: The Convenience Tour
The movie landscape has changed a lot over the last few years, and filmmakers have started to be creative in how they showcase their movies. Writer/director Kevin Smith is taking the city-by-city approach, going on tour with Clerks III, the long-awaited third installment of a film franchise that started way back in 1994. Smith will be in attendance for a Q&A after the film, which will have two screenings at Texas Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Holiday at the Arboretum will be on display at the Dallas Arboretum through December 31.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Emmy-winning actress inspires Dallas luncheon to raise $560,000 for critical cause

Maximum impact

What: New Friends New Life Luncheon

Where: Hyatt Regency Dallas

The 411: Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne, Kristi Sherrill Hoyl, and Melissa Sherrill Martin — along with honorary co-chairs Matrice Ellis-Kirk and former Dallas mayor, Ambassador Ron Kirk — welcomed 800 supporters to the beloved fall luncheon November 4.

The official mission of New Friends New Life is to restore and empower trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women, and their children, and drive awareness of the issue and its prevalence. Emcee Shelly Slater, CEO Bianca Davis, and several inspiring presentations and speakers underscored the importance of that aim.

Martin highlighted the work of NFNL’s Youth Resource Center, which has provided hope for nearly 550 girls, and recognized top sponsors Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Tracey Nash-Huntley and David Huntley, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Southwest Airlines, and the Jensen Project as well as Nancy and Randy Best and Carolyn and David Miller.

The 2022 ProtectHER awards honored recipients Lynn McBee, Santander Consumer USA Foundation, Dr. Nissi Hamilton for the impact they make as advocates and volunteers.

The highlight of the afternoon were remarks by Emmy-wining actress and activist Julia Ormond. Ormond is the founder of the nonprofit ASSET Campaign, which works to require major businesses to publicly disclose their policies to prevent human trafficking and forced labor in product supply chains.

She has traveled the world to campaign against human trafficking and child enslavement. She shared from her perspective that “enslavement and forced labor are like the cancer in humanity. With cancer you do chemo to get right to the tumor. With trafficking we also need to take a laser-like approach that gets right to the tumor. We need to understand that when we buy a product from a supply chain, we are supporting value chains, the people who are in forced labor.”

Thanks to impactful words and the inspiration of all the presentations, the luncheon surpassed its goal with $560,000 in net proceeds raised.

Who: Hundreds of supporters and champions of the cause, including Katherine Wynne, Maggie Kipp, Elizabeth Saab, Michael Horne, Marissa Horne, Elizabeth Gambrell, Cheryl Joyner, Beth Thoele, Suzanne Massey, Jeff Waugh, Gail Turner,, Jessica Turner Waugh, Caren Prothro, Robin Bagwell, Wendy Messmann, Diondra Wilcher, and Kaileigh Johnson.

Photo by Tamytha Cameron and Celeste Cass

Julia Ormond, Jenna Quinn

Warm up to winter menus and holiday specials in this Dallas restaurant news

News You Can Eat

December is (almost) here and in the Dallas restaurant world, that means wonderful winter menus and specials for the holidays: Peppermint shakes, pumpkin pasta, boozy hot chocolate, Christmas tamales, spiced horchata, and so much more. There are also a couple of new restaurants opening in the next week, hustling to start serving in time for holiday festivities.

Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news, with items culled from press releases, emails, and DM's on social media:

Loro Addison is officially opening on December 14, when they'll be "slinging slushies and frying corn fritters all day long," according to an email. From December 14-18, the first 100 customers every day get a free custom Yeti. This is the second Loro in DFW and is located at 14999 Montfort Dr.

Shake Shack is opening a location in Plano at 5009 W. Park Blvd., at the intersection of Preston Road, on December 5. This is the second Shake Shack in Plano but the first in Texas to feature a drive up window. They'll open with a few limited-time items including the new Hot Ones Burger and Hot Ones Chicken Sandwich, plus seasonal holiday shakes: Christmas Cookie Shake, Chocolate Milk & Cookies Shake, and Chocolate Peppermint Shake. The menu will feature the Lockhart Link Burger, a cheeseburger topped with Kreuz Market jalapeno cheese sausage link, pickles, and ShackSauce.

Freebirds World Burrito celebrates the opening of its new location in Murphy on December 6. The first 25 guests in line receive free burritos for a year. There'll also be food samples, swag giveaways, and yard games. It's at 103 W. FM 544 and is the fifth Freebirds to open in 2022.

Layne's Chicken Fingers has opened a location in Denton at 1200 W. Hickory St. It's from franchisees Scott and Heather Davis, who plan to open five more Layne’s in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, possibly Burleson, Arlington, and Mansfield.

Tipsy Elf, a holiday pop-up bar from Exxir Hospitality, is now open in the little white house at the corner of Bishop & Melba in Bishop Arts, spanning into sibling Mermaid Bar as well as a tented patio. Entertainer Gloria Devine will give nightly readings of letters to Santa, and there are new cocktails including the North Pole Dancer, Secure The Sack, and a salted toffee old fashioned with port spices titled Left Me for The Muffin Man.

Grand Lux Cafe at the Galleria Dallas has a set of new menu items including Fried Provolone Cheese with marinara sauce, Garlicky Shrimp, Pasta Alla Arrabiatta - spaghettini tossed in spicy tomato sauce and topped with ricotta cheese, steak frites with parmesan fries, BLT Benedict with Calabrian Hollandaise on a grilled English muffin, and two drinks: Bluegrass Margarita with Basil Hayden Bourbon, and a Cold Brew Espresso Martini.

Eataly Dallas is carry a selection of pasticcini (bite-sized pastries) from Pasticceria da Guido, a pastry shop by Michelin-starred chef Ugo Alciati. Exclusive to Eataly Dallas, these Michelin-starred Italian sweets are known for quality, simplicity, and tradition. Eataly’s pastry team has worked with Pasticceria da Guido to ensure they're properly prepared. Find Pasticceria da Guido at Eataly’s pastry counter, located on the west side of NorthPark Center, every day this holiday season.

Elm & Good at the Kimpton Pittman Hotel is featuring a special dish from executive chef Ben Smallman, with a portion of the sales going to No Kid Hungry: Market Pumpkin and Maple Stracciatella features Kuri squash, stracciatella, sage, maple syrup, and pumpkin seeds, for $17, and can be ordered through December 31, Tuesday-Saturday from 5-10 pm.

Blue Mesa Grill has a new Holiday Fajita Party Pack To-Go, with queso, guacamole, chicken taquitos, steak & chicken fajitas, adobe pie, black beans, coconut lime rice, toppings, tortillas, and brownies with a cajeta swirl. $195 serves 8 people. It's available through December 31; order at bluemesagrill.com.

Blue Goose Cantina is offering its annual homemade Box O’ Tamales in pork, chicken, jalapeño, and cheese options, with three sauces - Salsa Verde, chili con carne, and queso. The boxes are $30, and require a 24-hour minimum advance order on BlueGooseCantina.com. Click ‘Order Now,’ and select the nearest restaurant and date needed.

Greenville Avenue Pizza Company has partnered with Monkey King Noodle Company on the new Dan Dan Pizza, featuring Monkey King’s Dan Dan sausage, GAPCo’s mozzarella blend, chili oil, bok choy, shredded carrots, wonton sauce, and sesame seeds. It's $25 for a 16-inch large, $20 for a 12-inch small, and $8 for a slice, at all three locations: Greenville Avenue, Peavy Road, and Richardson, throughout December.

Snooze an A.M. Eatery has a limited-edition Cranberry Orange Pancake, a buttermilk pancake topped with orange crème anglaise, cranberry coulis, cranberry mascarpone, and almond streusel, available through December 31. Proceeds from the purchase will be donated to World Central Kitchen.

BoomerJack’s Bar and Grill has a new winter menu with $8 items including Brown Bag Burger, Bottomless Soup & Salad, BLT, and a Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The Fat Jack Sampler is a sampler for the table with Boneless Wings, Mozzarella Bites, Brisket Quesadillas, Fried Pickles, and Jack’s Skillet Queso with tortilla chips, for $35. Holiday items include Boozy Hot Chocolate and Tableside S'mores.

The Dolly Llama has a limited-time Christmas Waffle featuring mint-chip ice cream with chocolate sauce, holiday sprinkles and a marshmallow snowman, all in a warm waffle. It's available from December 5-31 and can be purchased as a Bubble Waffle, OG Liege Waffle, or within a cup.

Aw Shucks and Big Shucks Oyster Bar now have whole Key lime pies for preorder only, through the month of December. The pies are made in-house daily and 24-hour minimum notice is required. A 9-inch pie is $30.

Bulla Gastrobar is bringing back Holiday Spiced Horchata, a holiday cocktail with spice-infused coconut cream, rum, and creamy flan foam, for the entire month of December.

Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge has newly released a new winter cocktail menu with selections that include peppermint espresso martini; "Sweater Weather," with Ketel One, hot apple cider, spiced apple syrup, bitters and graham cracker rim; and Holiday Cheer with Tito’s, cranberry syrup, ginger beer, lemon, cranberries, and rosemary.

Another Round, the indoor mini golf and bar venue in West Dallas, has two new holiday-themed shots: Gingerbread Man with Baileys, Butterscotch Liqueur, Hot Damn Cinnamon Liqueur; and Holiday Spice, with Rumchata and Fireball. Two shots are $12. There’s also a festive cocktail, the Mistletoe Pomegranate Margarita - Exotico Blanco, with Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, lime juice, agave, and red sugar, served in a cup rimmed with green sugar and garnished with pomegranate seeds for $12.

Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe has introduced a new holiday cocktail called the Berry Blitzen, served in a Hurricane glass with Jack Daniels, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, Finest Call Raspberry, honey syrup, and lemonade, topped with a Red Bull. They're also bringing back Angry Balls, a pint of Angry Orchard Hard Cider paired with a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.

Sean Rakidzich, real estate entrepreneur and influencer, is hosting a benefit for Harvest Project Food Rescue, a Dallas nonprofit that provides fresh produce to 2000-plus people a week. Food will be provided by Chef Diana Zamora (Nena’s Postreria), and businesses such as José and CocoAndre will provide gift certificates for a raffle benefiting Harvest Project. It's December 1, from 6-10 pm at The Victor building at 3039 Nowitzki Way #4012.

Celebrate the holly jolly holidays at Highland Park Village

Ho-Ho Let's Go

Shop, dine, and experience the magic of the holiday season at Highland Park Village’s annual Christmas Lights Celebration and Shopping Stroll on Wednesday, December 7, from 4-7 pm.

Discover Dallas’ most spectacular display of more than 1.5 million lights while tackling holiday gifting lists and celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.

Highland Park Village will offer exclusive store promotions, festive treats, Christmas carolers, face painting, a performance by Dallas Symphony Orchestra Young Strings, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Take part in exclusive shopping promotions and discounts, gift raffles, complimentary bites and sips, and more from participating retailers such as Brunello Cucinelli, Christian Louboutin, FRAME, Jimmy Choo, Lela Rose, MARKET, Rag & Bone, Rolex, and so much more.

In addition to the activations, shoppers can give back with two of Highland Park Village’s community partners, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and Community Partners of Dallas.

For the duration of the event, The Salvation Army will have bell ringers collecting monetary donations, while Community Partners of Dallas will be hosting a toy drive. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy.

Can’t make it to the holiday event? Check out Highland Park Village’s highly anticipated Holiday Gift Guide. No matter who you are shopping for this year, Highland Park Village has the perfect gift for even the most discerning of recipients. From luxe accessories to stunning home décor or chic ready-to-wear looks, there truly is something for everyone.

Each week, Highland Park Village will unveil the year’s top wish list picks, organized in festive gifting categories such as “Gifts for Her,” “Gifts for the Home,” “Last-Minute Holiday Gifts,” and more.

Highland Park Village is home to over 60 stores and restaurants and is the city’s premier open-air luxury lifestyle destination. It also offers several complimentary services for guests to enjoy, including personal shopping in a private salon space, a chauffeured car service, valet parking, and WiFi.