One of the most southern states in the contiguous United States, Texas isn’t a destination many people associate with Christmas. Its year-round warm weather and blue skies are a stark contrast to the stereotypical grey, snow-filled skies you might expect of the holiday season.
However, as the largest state in the lower 48, there may be more opportunities waiting for you in the Lone Star State around Christmas than anywhere else in the country. So, follow us on a virtual tour of the 20 best towns to celebrate Christmas in Texas to help make your festive season a joyous one to remember.
Christmas In Texas
The 20 Best Christmas Towns In Texas
As the capital city of Texas, it should come as no surprise that there are fun and exciting attractions to keep you entertained here around the holidays.
Take a trip to Zilker Park, where you can stroll through more than two million lights at the Trail Of Lights or see a 155 foot Christmas tree made from draped streams of lights.
Visit the Circuit Of The Americas, where you can experience Peppermint Parkway, a drive-through attraction filled with lights, which also boasts a romantic mistletoe booth and a beautiful viewing tower.
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a wonderful opportunity to take in some festive art and do a little Christmas Shopping. Meanwhile, those seeking a more traditional experience should check out the Austin German Christmas Market, one of the best German Christmas markets in all of Texas.
Looking for something fun to do this Christmas? Try these:
2- New Braunfels
New Braunfels is an often overlooked destination between Austin and San Antonio that features a unique Christmas experience known as Santa’s Ranch.
Claiming to be one of the most incredible Christmas light displays in all of Texas, Santa’s Ranch is a drive-through attraction that features more than a mile of winding country roads, all beautifully decorated with twinkling lights and Christmas displays.
When you’re done, stop off at the ranch itself to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and some festive snacks.
Nearby Houston may overshadow the small town of Hockley, but it still features one of the best Christmas attractions in all of Texas, Dasher’s Light Show & Winterland.
Formerly known as Rudolph’s Light Show, Dasher’s Light Show is a drive-through light display. It features more than one million Christmas lights, all twinkling and glowing in festive colours and synchronised to seasonal music, which you can enjoy from the warmth and comfort of your car.
Then the adjacent Winterland provides fun-filled attractions like bouncy castles, hayrides, live music, outdoor movie screenings, food and drink, and visits from Santa himself, creating a fun, festive experience for the whole family.
Texas’s largest city of Houston is filled with many festive things for you to do around Christmas, much like most major cities.
Houston has everything to offer, from giant Christmas trees to Christmas markets and parades.
However, there is one attraction that you have to visit during the holidays, and that is the Houston Ballets performance of The Nutcracker.
A festive favourite worldwide, The Nutcracker is performed here by one of America’s most popular and esteemed ballet companies.
Come and enjoy the traditional tale, performed by some of the best dancers you will ever encounter, for a truly unforgettable experience.
A small town to the south of Houston, Alvin is home to one of Texas’s most unique and magical Christmas attractions each year.
Hosted by the LS Church, The Christmas Train allows visitors to hop on an old fashioned train for a fun-filled adventure.
Travel past hundreds of thousands of lights, beautifully decorated trees, and other Christmas attractions. Refreshments like cocoa, cookies, cotton candy, popcorn, and pizza are available, so you can sit back and relax, worrying about nothing and enjoying your magical ride.
The small town of Tomball may not be the first place on most people’s minds at Christmas. However, it should be for fans of traditional German Christmas markets.
That’s because the Tomball German Festival & Christmas Market is one of the best such destinations in the country.
Everything you might expect to see in a German Christmas market is here, with more than 200 vendors running beautifully styled stalls selling bratwurst, glühwein, beer, festive food, and all manner of handcrafted goods.
What makes this festival a truly special, though, is the entertainment.
Four stages feature attractions like live music and dancers in traditional German attire, helping to immerse you in this classic German Christmas experience completely.
One of the larger cities in Texas, Dallas is yet another destination filled with a wide variety of festive attractions.
The Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden feature some of the best options in the city. Its 12 Days Of Christmas display presents a live rendition of the traditional story as you walk through gardens designed with lights and decorations to represent each of the 12 days.
The Arboretum also features a magical Christmas village, where you can meet Santa, enjoy live entertainment, purchase festive gifts, foods, and drinks, or marvel at a 50 ft tall musical Christmas tree decorated with more than 42,000 lights.
Other festive attractions throughout the city include the Dallas Holiday Parade, one of the best Christmas parades in Texas.
There’s also the Galleria Tree Lighting, where you can enjoy ice skating and entertainment as you watch the giant Christmas tree light up for the first time.
Snowday Dallas is an immersive experience that sees you walk through 20 festive rooms, each uniquely decorated to represent different Christmas traditions.
8- Grand Prairie
One of the smaller towns in the Dallas – Fort Worth Area, Grand Prairie, allows you to experience a small-town Christmas on the big city’s outskirts.
Its crowning attraction is the Prairie Lights at Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake.
Billed as the premier Christmas light display in all of Texas, visitors will find beautiful light displays and shows intertwined with attractions.
Examples are a walk through the Christmas forest and a Holiday Village filled with carnival rides, shops, festive food and drink, photo spots, and visits with Santa himself.
Amarillo is the largest city in north Texas and offers the opportunity to experience Christmas in the most traditional Texan style possible.
Perhaps you can find the best example of this at Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm.
Each year, the farm hosts an event known as Maxwell’s Magical Christmas.
During this time, the farm is decorated with beautiful light trails and tunnels, Christmas trees, and festive decorations for you to stroll around and explore.
Combine it with attractions like a real-life Santa, hayride tours, rides, games, and a Christmas market, and it is a genuinely magical Texan Christmas experience.
Lubbock in west Texas is a great place to experience a truly family-oriented Christmas, and perhaps nothing demonstrates that better than the Lubbock Christmas parade.
Officially known as the Miracles Christmas Parade, local schools and universities, marching bands, and even Santa himself come together to create a real feeling of community, where everyone can ring in the Christmas season with fabulous entertainment and a friendly atmosphere.
11- San Antonio
San Antonio may be one of the larger cities in Texas, but it doesn’t stick to the Christmas norms, instead deciding to offer some more unique experiences around the holidays.
Why not take a stroll along the famous San Antonio River Walk in the city centre?
Beautifully done up for Christmas, you can enjoy the location’s natural beauty combined with its festive lights and decorations.
Nearby, the Music And Market event in the San Antonio Market Square may seem like something you’d find in many cities, but with a distinct San Antonio twist.
Here you can enjoy seasonal shopping and entertainment, all set to the historical backdrop of the Alamo and surrounding areas.
Further out, you also have attractions like Carolling at Natural Bridge Caverns.
Enjoy festive attractions like a 30 foot (9m) Christmas tree, trail of lights, Christmas maze, live reindeer and a “spelunker” Santa Claus.
Listen to music, go shopping, and dining, before heading underground to sing festive favourites and hear them echo off the walls of the largest cavern system in Texas.
12- El Paso
A major city located on the Mexican border in west Texas, El Paso provides the perfect opportunity to combine traditional Christmas attractions with seasonal events and attractions boasting a distinctly Hispanic feel.
Stroll through the beautiful light displays, attend the parades, and do a spot of ice skating before heading off to see performances of shows like Gracias Christmas Cantata and Merry-Achi Christmas to complete a truly diverse and multicultural Christmas experience.
13- Corpus Christi
Located on the south-eastern coast of Texas, Corpus Christi makes the most of its watery location to offer a range of seasonal seaside activities you won’t find anywhere else in Texas.
Enjoy attractions like the Harbor Lights Festival and the Port Aransas Lighted Boat Parade, where Santa arrives at the city by boat, while kids can head to the aquarium to see scuba Santa feeding the fish.
Don’t worry if you prefer traditional attractions either, as there are plenty of light shows, performances, markets, and events to keep everyone happy.
Located on Texas’ eastern border with Arkansas, Texarkana has a distinctive culture that combines both locales, creating a unique experience you won’t find in many other places in either state.
Among the highlights is a Christmas parade running for nearly 40 years, complete with more than 100 floats and a personal visit from Santa.
Combined with the Texarkana Trail Of Holiday Lights and local festive dishes, Christmas in Texarkana is a wonderful, one of a kind experience.
Bastrop is a small town that many travellers pass through on their way between Austin and Houston, yet most will never stop in.
If you are in the area around the holidays, though, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t pay a visit.
A calendar of events called Lost Pines Christmas runs from Thanksgiving until Christmas and is filled with seasonal sights and sounds to enjoy.
Attractions like the Bastrop River Of Lights, Bastrop Lighted Parade, and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony combine with events like a country Christmas themed Opry night, Christmas musicals, and a live-action Krampus attraction, creating a fun-filled festive season for all.
Surrounded by the Angelina and Davy Crockett National Forests, Lufkin is a picturesque destination and a scenic spot in Texas to spend Christmas.
Its Christmas In The Pines event sees attractions like dancing, visits from Santa, street vendors, food trucks, balloon animals, the Lighting Of Rudolph ceremony, and a Parks & Recreation Showcase.
Meanwhile, the City Of Lufkin Christmas Parade is a spectacle that provides entertainment for kids and grown-ups alike.
Each year, Downtown Waco transforms itself into the Waco Wonderland for three days in early December.
Events and attractions like The Santa House, Storytime With Santa, The Downtown Waco Christmas Parade, and Mistletoe Market provides all the dining and entertainment options you could want.
Merrymakers of all ages step into the Christmas season in the most fun-filled manner imaginable.
The town of Abilene in central Texas may be small, but it certainly puts on a seasonal display that can compete with many of the major cities in the state.
The Winter Lightfest and Abilene Zoo Christmas Lights provide options for you to go and stroll around beautiful displays, while the Christmas Lights Parade allows you to stand still and let the entertainment come to you.
Throw in a plethora of establishments selling sweet treats and seasonal favourites like hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows, and Abilene is a town where everyone can enjoy the holidays together.
Odessa is a town in the heart of West Texas, a region of the state that boasts a distinct character all of its own.
This is particularly true at Christmas when they put their western spin on festive traditions.
The highlight of the festivities is the beautiful Starbright Village, which claims to be the biggest light show anywhere between Dallas and El Paso.
Located in McKinney Park, Starbright Village is filled with beautiful light displays, decorations, and trees, complemented by performances by local choirs, musicians, and dance groups, as well as appearances by Santa himself.
Anyone wanting to spend Christmas on the bayou should head down to Galveston for a unique and exciting experience.
Known as Winter Wonder Island during the holidays, you can enjoy attractions like Holiday In The Gardens, where you can explore the mile-long Festival Of Lights, beautiful ice sculptures in Ice Land, the Cirque Joyeux, and ice skating.
Film fans will also be delighted by performances of their festive favourites in both 3D and 4D, as well as live-action re-enactments and attractions dedicated to movies including A Christmas Carol, Harry Potter, and The Polar Express.
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