When it comes to celebrating, the Lone Star State tends to go big and Christmas in Texas is one of the best ways to celebrate. Decked out in millions (literally!) of twinkling lights, gorgeous nativity displays, trucked in snow for a white Texas Christmas, tours of historic homes, and western fun on the ranch is just a start to all this state has to offer for the Christmas season.
We live in Central Texas near Austin and I start scoping out fun holiday events for the season as soon as summer ends. We spend many days exploring locally and all that this state has to offer for a festive Christmas in Texas!
We aren’t afraid of driving a few hours for an amazing light display or fun sledding hill with falling “snow.” Texas is filled with amazing Christmas towns and we are out exploring them to share with you! Last year, we toured the Dallas area and fell in love all over again with Fort Worth and Grapevine. We also spent the week between Christmas and New Years in the San Antonio area.
Every year brings somewhere new to research and explore…so stay tuned for our reviews of the best places for festive activities and merry decorations for the 2023 season! Plan a few day trips or a weekend getaway for a magical Christmas in Texas!
Christmas in Texas: Best Festive Small Towns
Texas is filled with dozens of charming small towns that offer tasty places to eat, historic activities, natural beauty, and plenty of Southern hospitality. Some of these also make up our favorite Christmas towns in Texas due to their magical approach to the holiday season!
Wimberley is a personal favorite due to the gorgeous natural beauty that surrounds this area year round. During the Christmas season, visitors will find many hidden, merry gems in this small Hill Country town. Main Street is decked out in its holiday finest with many heated patio restaurants for outdoor dining and charming cowboy boots artistically designed and blending beautifully with the festive décor.
The town’s highlight during the holiday season is the Wimberley Trail of Lights when the sun goes down. This twinkling path winds through acres of gardens and is a magical way to spend the evening. Plan to stay awhile by the yule log when you are through and roast marshmallows by the campfire!
Marble Falls is another Hill Country town that is so charming for a Christmas in Texas getaway. Their list of available Christmas events is a mile long starting with Christmas lights in Marble Falls and ending with ice cream at Ms. Lollipop’s!
Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to Marble Falls for the magical Walkway of Lights, outdoor ice skating rink with falling snow, and delicious restaurants. Then extend your visit a bit longer to enjoy the ice sculpting events, boutique shopping, Christmas market, festive décor, Christmas parade, and some brewery hopping.
Ah…the Christmas Capital of Texas. We spent last Christmas exploring Grapevine and it was magical! Millions of twinkling lights line the street and there is so much to see and do. Everywhere you look is festive and it brings some a spark to the Christmas season.
Ice Skate at the beautiful outdoor rink outside of Harvest Hall. The ambiance with the beautiful Christmas tree is the perfect spot with kids or a date night. And while you there, grab some dinner inside – the options are so varied, it is amazing! Choose from kabobs from Zatar or a pizza from Luigi’s or sliders from Brisket Rules. We found the lines to be really long here on a weekend night, so plan to have an early dinner or you might find your favorite menu items running out before you can order!
Walk down Main Street with your camera in hand for photos in the mistletoe booth and the photo opps inside the Visitor’s Center for only $1 and then push the big red button to watch the train village in action! Walk through the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Texan Christmas event and don’t miss their outdoor light display.
There are many more things to do for Christmas in Grapevine, so if you have never been, this would be our top recommendation to book right away!
Johnson City has the sweetest nickname in all of Texas I think – “The Twinkliest Town in Texas.” They have earned this adorable title by putting on an INCREDIBLE display at Lights Spectacular! NASA has reportedly been able to see the lights from the space.
Millions of lights wrap the trees around the Pedernales Electric Company headquarters, as well as around the town’s historic courthouse. Feel free to drive around the blocks, take a merry walk, or take advantage of the onsite horse and carriage rides.
This town is in the heart of Hill Country and can draw quite the holiday crowd. You’ll want to plan to be at the Marketplatz before 6pm on the evening of your visit to see the nightly light and music show and see the wooden, German pyramid spin like a carousel.
Christmas in Fredericksburg, Texas is most amazing if you find the opportunity to celebrate with the traditions of the towns roots – German Style! Visit the Pioneer Museum for fun children’s activities, stop by the Fredericksburg Holiday Market, and lace up your skates at Eisbahn Ice Skating Rink.
The Georgetown Christmas Stroll is this town’s most exciting event on the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas. A charming downtown parade circles the Georgetown Square and live performances take to the stage through the weekend.
Children will love the opportunity to have breakfast with The Grinch, visit Santa is his forest village, try interactive projects in the Bethlehem Village, and munch on holiday treats. Don’t miss Christmas in Georgetown after dark; the twinkling lights and stunning Christmas tree in front of the courthouse are not to be missed!
Boerne is a small town that packs a festive, merry punch when it comes to Christmas! Located just north of San Antonio, the Old West Christmas Light Fest is a jolly experience at Enchanted Springs Ranch complete with twinkling historic, western buildings, a light maze, cookie decorating, scavenger hunts, and s’mores by the campfire. My kids will probably be playing laser tag in the lights all night (unless they are riding the mechanical bull!)!
A Boerne Christmas offers four themed holiday weekends ranging from Dickens on Main to Weihnachts Weekend. You’ll find a lighted parade, Whoville hair styles, shopping on the Hill Country Mile, winter wonderland activities, and more!
Christmas in Texas: Best Light Displays
Exploring beautiful Christmas lights in Texas is the perfect way to unwrap the magic of the Lone Star State. Texas sure knows how to shine during the holiday season, and whether you’re looking to drive through or walk through the glowing displays, here are the best ways to enjoy Christmas in Texas – one twinkle at a time!
Walk Through Christmas Lights
If you’re up for some festive strolling, Texas has you covered. Wind through charming pathways adorned with millions of sparkling lights, a true winter wonderland with festive tunes playing. The light tunnels are the best – am I right?
Head over to the Austin Trail of Lights, a beloved tradition where you can walk hand in hand with loved ones under canopies of shimmering lights. And in San Antonio, don’t miss out on the River Walk’s transformation into a magical paradise – the perfect blend of lights, culture, and river views.
Best Christmas lights in Texas:
- Trail of Lights (Wimberley, TX)
- Walkway of Lights (Marble Falls, TX)
- Lightscape at the Gardens (Fort Worth, TX)
- Space Center (Houston, TX)
- More Christmas Light Show Details here
Drive Thru Christmas Lights
For those of you who want to stay in the comfort of your car for convenience or due to weather, Texas boasts some of the most epic drive-thru Christmas light displays.
Some of the state’s best are the iconic Gift of Lights at the Texas Motor Speedway and Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels where over a million lights come to life. Zilker Park’s Trail of Lights in Austin are a historical tradition and favorite holiday activity.
Best Lights to see by car:
- Prairie Lights (Grand Prairie, TX)
- Land of Lights Christmas Park (Athens, TX)
- Main Street (Grapevine, TX)
- Peppermint Parkway (Austin, TX)
- See Complete List of Drive Thru Lights Here
Celebrating Christmas in Texas near Austin
Austin’s cherished holiday tradition, the Austin Trail of Lights, transforms iconic Zilker Park into a dazzling wonderland adorned with two million lights, 90 festive Christmas trees, and 70 enchanting displays, creating a sight that’s truly breathtaking.
Beyond the gorgeous lights, the Trail of Lights offers a festive experience with live music, tasty food trucks, carousel and train rides, joyful encounters with Santa, and the towering Ferris wheel offering stunning cityscape views.
The crowning glory is the Zilker Tree, a majestic 155-foot-tall Christmas tree covered with over 3,300 lights, serving as the event’s focal point and taking center stage during the tree lighting ceremony on opening night. This Christmas lighting in Austin is not to be missed!
Step into a magical winter tale at The Driskill Hotel, an iconic Austin landmark that transforms into a captivating holiday spot during the Christmas season. Every corner of the hotel comes alive with elegance and cheer, as elaborate Christmas decorations make the atmosphere merry and bright.
The grand lobby welcomes you with a magnificent 16-foot Christmas tree perfectly decorated with twinkling lights and glistening ornaments, while wreaths, garlands, and seasonal accents fill the space. Beyond the decorations, you can enjoy in a range of holiday-themed activities, including a tree lighting ceremony featuring live music and cocktails. The hotel’s festive dining options, such as a special Christmas brunch and dinner, further elevate the holiday experience.
Four Seasons Ice Rodeo
You will an enchanting winter wonderland right in downtown Austin at the Four Seasons hotel. The hotel’s Ice Rodeo promises an amazing Austin Christmas experience with a stunning 30-foot Christmas tree, a life-sized gingerbread Airstream trailer (built from 350 pounds of gingerbread dough and 250 pounds of icing!), festive menu items, and a spacious outdoor ice-skating rink.
A twinkling sea of white Christmas lights welcomes visitors, along with a Texan longhorn sculpture and a 10-foot guitar crafted from natural elements. After graceful twirls on the ice, skaters can unwind at rustic wood-barrel tables. Intimate fire pits and roasted house-made s’mores are the icing on the cake. Groups of up to six can reserve private cabins near the ice rink with beautiful lodge-inspired décor and luxury amenities.
For those that wish to stay overnight in their gorgeous rooms with delicious on-site restaurants, check rates and availability here.
Texas State Capitol
The Texas Capitol Building gives free tours year round, but we think there is no better time to explore Texas history here than during the Christmas season when it is decked out in merry and bright decorations.
The tree in front of the Capitol building is 150 feet tall and will be officially lit on December 3rd. It will glow brightly at 6pm every night all season.
A Texas Christmas Near Houston
Houston is filled with amazing Christmas activities, and also prefer to kick off the season with a visit to one of the best Christmas tree farms in Houston.
Space Center Holiday Festivities
The Space Center in Houston is incredible year round, but their Galaxy Lights event is out of this world. This captivating experience is fun for the whole family, combining science and holiday cheer in a truly unique way. With interactive exhibits, stunning light shows, and an atmosphere that ignites the imagination, it’s a holiday journey unlike any other.
Day Trip to Galveston
If a Texas Christmas to you means sand between your toes, you’ll want to at least take a day trip to Galveston from Houston. The Festival of Lights in Moody Gardens is a gorgeous light display and the area also offers some great interactive exhibits.
The Grand Galvez is also a gorgeously decorated building surrounded by the island’s tell tale palm trees covered in twinking lights. If you are a fan of a Victorian style Christmas, then Dickens on the Strand is a must-do! Dress in your Victorian best and enjoy the magical entertainment and delicious food options.
Christmas Near Dallas, Texas
Drive Thru Lights at the Texas Motor Speedway
Within the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, you’ll find the Gift of Lights, a beloved drive-thru Christmas light activity. Cue your favorite tunes and set aside around 45 minutes to journey through this luminous display. Rain or shine, the event stands ready to greet you, making it a perfect choice even on drizzly nights, adding a sprinkle of magic to your holiday season.
Visit Fort Worth Stockyards
Venturing to the Stockyards is our top pick for Fort Worth’s Christmas festivities. Amidst the historic charm, there’s a world of cowboy boots to shop, captivating western shootouts to witness, and the delight of carriage rides through historic streets, not to mention an encounter with Cowboy Santa.
The official “Christmas in the Stockyards” event on December 3rd promises a parade, carolers, and stories, in addition to the everyday festive activities. The Stockyards are decorated so merry and bright on every light pole and a wreath on every hook. The tree outside the Stockyard Exchange is a showstopper for sure.
Take to the ice with holiday cheer. The stockyard maze calls to adventurous ones – who’ll prove to have the best sense of direction? Not me! As my husband and I observed our kids conquer the maze, I marveled at their skills, secretly relieved I didn’t end up wandering around inside!
Detour to Grapevine – The Christmas Capital of Texas
Grapevine, Texas, proudly holds its title as the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” and stepping into a Grapevine Christmas is to enjoy the best of Lone Star holiday festivities.
The city undergoes a magical process each November, transforming into a winter wonderland of dazzling lights, festive spirit, and a whirlwind of events totaling over 1,400 in just 40 days! The historic downtown radiates with millions of lights and décor, and vibrant bistros and wineries add plenty of places to enjoy. The famed Parade of Lights lights up the city, while the North Pole Express beckons with an imaginative train journey.
Our own Grapevine Christmas adventure last December was fantastic – twinkling lights, the scent of pine, family-friendly activities, and irresistible photo opportunities sprinkled throughout the town created the perfect Christmas in Grapevine experience. Our children were captivated by the Visitor’s Center train and the nightly town clock spectacle too!
A San Antonio Christmas in Texas
Explore River Walk
When the holiday season comes to San Antonio, don’t miss the enchanting San Antonio River Walk! This iconic river transforms into a mesmerizing wonderland, strung with over 100,000 lights draping the trees and bridges. You can take a leisurely walk along the riverbanks or opt for a serene Go Rio Cruise, gliding on the shimmering waters.
From late November to early January, these dazzling lights create the ideal family tradition, offering a captivating experience. And mark your calendar – the lights sparkle to life on November 25th, coinciding with the eagerly awaited Ford Holiday River Parade, a festive kickoff to the season.
Visit the Alamo Lights
If you’re heading to San Antonio at Christmas, make sure to stop by the historic Alamo and the nearby missions. You can enter the church for free with timed tickets, or opt for a guided tour. Step into the past at the Alamo, where holiday decorations add charm to this symbol of Texas’ history and courage. Learn about bravery and sacrifice that shaped the nation, and enjoy hands-on exhibits behind the church that kids will love.
Don’t miss the Alamo Lights at night! We did and I am still so disappointed! Entrance is allowed after dark for a small fee and the property is lit up beautifully! It is a great addition to San Antonio Christmas lights events.
Plus, don’t miss the other missions like San Jose, Concepcion, San Juan, and Espada. These sites give you a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage, offering beautiful views and interesting architecture that tell stories of the past.
Grab Tamales and Pastries in the Historic Market Square
Roam through the bustling marketplace and discover a treasure trove of unique vendors, offering an array of delightful gifts, artisan crafts, and mouthwatering treats. The whimsical Christmas tree reminded us of something from Whoville – so brightly colored and fun!
Don’t miss the chance to savor the legendary Mi Tierra Café experience! Immerse yourself in the world of authentic Mexican cuisine, and as you indulge in the mouthwatering dishes. From conchas to tamales, they have it all.
Don’t let the line deter you – a separate line for dining leaves a quick moving line through the bakery. While prices might not be listed, they’re surprisingly budget-friendly, leaving us with the delightful regret of not having filled our bags even more!
Where to Find a Christmas Tree in Texas
When gearing up for Christmas in Texas, there’s nothing quite like a visit to Texas Christmas tree farms to kickstart the festive vibes! A variety of tree types grow locally such as the classic Virginia Pine and the charming Leyland Cypress.
I’ve been part of our family’s annual Christmas tree quest since I was born, and it’s become an absolute favorite tradition. We head out to these farms, find that perfect tree, and then turn it into a whole day of fun by exploring some of Texas’ finest Christmas towns.
Whether you’re coming from North, Central, East, West, or South Texas, you’ll find plenty of options on the list below..
- Evergreen Farms (Elgin, TX))
- Mainstay Farm Park (Cleburne, TX)
- Flower Mound Christmas Trees (Flower Mound, TX)
- More Christmas Tree Farms in Texas
Christmas in Texas FAQs
Where is a good place to go for Christmas in Texas?
Known as the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” Grapevine transforms into a holiday wonderland that is the perfect place to go for Christmas. With a delightful Christmas parade, magnificent decorations, and a magical North Pole Express train ride, Grapevine is like stepping into a Hallmark movie with a Texan backdrop.
What is the perfect Christmas town in Texas?
The enchanting town of Georgetown, Texas is like a page out of a holiday storybook! With its historic charm, twinkling lights adorning the Square, and a charming downtown parade, Georgetown transforms into the perfect Christmas town.
What is Texan Christmas tradition?
One cherished tradition is the “Trail of Lights.” Cities across Texas light up their parks and neighborhoods with spectacular displays of twinkling lights, creating enchanting walking or driving trails for families and friends to enjoy.
Where is there a Christmas town in Texas?
Head to the charming town of Fredericksburg, Texas – a true Christmas getaway! With its German heritage and picturesque Main Street, Fredericksburg transforms into a festive wonderland during the holiday season. The whole town is adorned with twinkling lights, charming decorations, with a holiday market, festive cultural events, and cheerful spirit. Fredericksburg is the perfect destination for experiencing the magic of a Christmas town in Texas.
What town in Texas has the best Christmas lights?
The city of Grapevine, Texas is a true gem when it comes to Christmas lights! Known as the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” Grapevine goes all out with its dazzling light displays. From the merry Gaylord Texan’s Lone Star Christmas to the festive Main Street decorations and the magical North Pole Express train ride, Grapevine truly lives up to its title.
What do people eat on Christmas in Texas?
When it comes to a Christmas dinner menu in Texas, you’ll find a blend of classic Southern comfort and Tex-Mex flavors. Roasted turkey or ham takes center stage, often accompanied by cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. For dessert, pecan pie is a must, celebrating the rich flavors of the region’s beloved nut.
But what’s a Texan feast without a touch of spice? Tamales, a cherished Tex-Mex tradition, often make their appearance. Texans also love their BBQ so you may just find the classic main dish swapped out for some brisket.
What is Texas Christmas capital of the world?
The honor of being known as the “Christmas Capital of Texas” belongs to none other than the charming city of Grapevine! This Texan gem goes all out during the holiday season. With its enchanting decorations, festive events, and a heartwarming atmosphere, Grapevine truly lives up to its title. From parades to light displays, holiday markets to train rides, Grapevine offers a magical experience. So, if you’re seeking the ultimate Texan holiday destination, Grapevine is the place to be.
Does Texas have a white Christmas?
Texas is known for its warm climate so a white Christmas is quite rare in most parts of the state. The southern regions, like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, typically experience mild to warm temperatures during the holiday season. Some areas in the Texas Panhandle and the western part of the state, like Amarillo and El Paso, have a higher chance of seeing snow around Christmas , but even in these areas, a white Christmas is unlikely.
Does it snow in Texas for Christmas?
Snow on Christmas Day in Texas is quite rare, especially in the southern and coastal regions of the state. However, some areas in the northern and western parts of the state, particularly in the Texas Panhandle and higher elevation regions, have a slightly higher chance of experiencing snow during the winter months.
Do Christmas trees grow in Texas?
In Texas, you’ll find both native and non-native tree varieties used as Christmas trees. Some popular options include Virginia pine, Leyland cypress, Arizona cypress, and various types of fir and spruce trees that are well-suited to the state’s climate.
If you’re looking for a fresh Christmas tree in Texas, you can visit Christmas tree farms across the state, especially in the eastern and northern parts. Many of these farms allow families to choose and cut down their own trees – which is one of our personal favorite traditions!
Where Will You Go for Christmas in Texas?
As the holiday season arrives in the Lone Star State, there are many amazing places to experience the magic of Christmas in Texas! There are the glittering lights of Dallas’s neighborhoods to the enchanting festivities near Houston, and the charming small towns that light up like stars in Hill Country. Texas embraces the miraculous spirit of the season like no other.
Venture to the outskirts of Austin for a visit to a Christmas tree farm, where choosing your own tree becomes a cherished memory. Experience the joy of driving through the sparkling light displays that line San Antonio’s River Walk or Grapevine’s Main Street!
This season, let the Lone Star State light up your holidays with its warmth and holiday magic! Happy exploring, and may your Christmas in Texas be merry and bright!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!