Texas is filled with charming small towns and when the holidays roll around, they become the cutest, best Christmas towns in Texas. From incredible light displays, to trucked in snow (the only way to experience a white Christmas – we are in Texas after all!), jolly Saint Nick ready for photo opps, charming parades, and delicious Texas holiday fare – looking at you tamales and kolaches!
Exploring adorable towns for an amazing Christmas in Texas is our favorite winter hobby! We love to ice skate outdoors, find new holiday treats to try, and take a billion photos of twinkling lights. Oh! And light parades – count us in! Sneak Peek: Grapevine and Marble Falls are our current favorites – we visited them both last year and can’t wait to go back!
Check out some of our favorite Texas Christmas towns and follow along with us as we explore all the cutest towns across the state from Hill Country to the coast, with even a few cities thrown in for good measure! You are sure to find the perfect place to spend your holidays.
CHRISTMAS TOWNS IN TEXAS (NORTHERN)
From the lively streets of Fredericksburg, where German heritage meets holiday cheer, to the picturesque town of Grapevine, known as the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” prepare to start planning your next Christmas getaway!
Let the countdown to Christmas begin!
As the Christmas Capital of Texas, Grapevine is one town on this list of Texas Christmas towns that absolutely can’t be missed! The North Pole Express is a train ride like no other and that is just the tip of the holiday festivity iceberg in Grapevine!
Mark your calendars! The Carol of Lights kicks off the 40 days of festivities on November 20, 2023.
The Gaylord Texan Resort at Christmas is a favorite among families with its ice display, indoor sledding, Snoopy-themed scavenger hunt, crafts for kids, ice sculpture displays, and gingerbread house making – and that hardly puts a dent in its offerings!
For a true holiday to remember, take advantage of the Christmas Passport and experience the activities included – you’ll end up with memorable handmade items to take home like a brass luggage tag and wooden train ornament and more.
>>> Read all about our Grapevine Christmas experience here!
A Holiday Scavenger Hunt in Garland is a highlight in this lovely Christmas Town near Dallas. Guests follow festive clues to local businesses to collect pins for their lanyard and then receive a prize if all 10 are found!
A cookie decorating contest at a local restaurant, holiday concerts and comedy shows, breakfast with Santa, and photos with the Grinch all make for a fun Christmas getaway in Garland. A holiday storefront contest among downtown businesses ensures a beautiful stroll with plenty of festive décor and nighttime light displays while shopping or just soaking up the Christmas magic.
Fort Worth offers a long list of things to do any time of year and Christmas is no exception. This one is a personal favorite as the gorgeous decorations and the rustic, cowboy vibe makes the season even more festive for Christmas in Fort Worth.
Watch the longhorns mosey through historic downtown and hit up a rodeo at the arena if you are visiting on a weekend. Our kids love the stockyard maze and live shootout show after the longhorn drive. Our son was called up on stage last time to wear the sheriff’s hat and play a small part – so fun!
If you haven’t yet been to the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Christmas season is the best time to cross that off your bucket list! After all, who wants to miss a chance to take a photo with Cowboy Santa?
In Waco, the Magnolia Silos come to life with stunning, festive décor, plenty of holiday shopping opportunities (with extended hours!), and a festive, traditional Old St. Nick himself. The twinkling lights across the property will light up the evenings in a magical way.
We love visiting Magnolia Market for some Christmas shopping and home design inspiration for the holidays. And we always grab a cupcake from the bakery food truck (SO delicious!) as the line is much shorter than going inside.
The Dr. Pepper Museum hosts special holiday exhibits including the Holiday Make – a – Soda event. Baylor University sprinkles its campus with holiday spirit and a family-friendly event that is sure to be a new favorite with horse drawn carriage rides, music, and a live nativity. There are so many things to do with kids in Waco year round in addition to the holiday fun!
Downtown Waco becomes Waco Wonderland complete with fireworks, a snow tube hill, free Santa photos and live music. Start off your holiday shopping by shopping local at the Mistletoe Market.
The doors open to Santa’s Wonderland in College Station each year bringing excitement to children and their parents. Ice skating, hayrides, hot cocoa, carriage rides, chatting with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoying the twinkling lights, and playing in the snow fields will keep everyone busy for hours!
The rest of town doesn’t disappoint either! Join in the Jingle Bell Fun Run, gift shopping at Howdy Holly-Days, and walking through the lights at Christmas in the Park. Stop by the first weekend of December for holiday extras like live music and snow slides.
The charming downtown in Frisco is showered with Christmas cheer and filled with thousands of lights, a maze, ice skating rink, and music + light show (don’t miss out on the dancing snowflakes!). Opening weekend offers other special activities like visits from Santa and horse drawn carriage rides.
Radiance! Light Spectacular is a magical drive thru Christmas light show in Texas made up of 3 million lights (yes! you read that number right!) that you can stroll through at your own pace, ooh-ing and aah-ing and photo taking. Frozen in Frisco is an ice-filled festival of tubing, ice skating and snowball target throwing.
The Light Park in Grand Prairie is a fun Christmas lights in Texas event located just outside Dallas and well worth the detour. The two mile path through the forest is so whimsical and the holiday village and carnival rides are icing on the cake for the kiddos.
When it comes to celebrating Christmas in a big way, Dallas doesn’t disappoint. The giant Christmas tree, ice skating rink and Santa’s village in Fair Park is a great place to start. The Main Garden at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is transformed into a Christmas wonderland of Victorian gazebos.
Drive through the Highland Park neighborhood for a light display like no other. This gorgeous neighborhood allows you to drive through or book a carriage ride tour. Head to Armstrong Parkway and start your journey at the large pecan tree.
If you’d like to lay eyes on the biggest indoor Christmas tree in the nation, Galleria Dallas is the place to be. Tree lighting ceremonies are offered daily and the mall has an ice skating rink as well.
CENTRAL TEXAS CHRISTMAS TOWNS
For a quiet and intimate Christmas getaway, look no further than the sweet town of Wimberley. The last weekend of November, this beautiful Hill Country town kicks off its glittering, holiday season.
Wimberley is one of my favorite Hill Country towns as its small town ambiance is so welcoming and serene. Walk the streets searching for painted cowboy boot art and stop by a boutique or two to cross a few gifts off of your shopping list.
A tree lighting marks the opening of the Trail of Lights, which is a path that winds through six acres of forested wonderland all month long. If you stop by the Yule Log afterward, you can make a wonderful evening even more perfect by sipping hot cocoa and roasting marshmallows around the campfire.
This Texas Christmas town has the most beautiful town square in Texas all year round. Though it seems impossible, they manage to take the beauty up a notch with the festive holiday décor that decks every door, window and sign post around downtown.
Georgetown kicks off its holiday season with a tree lighting in front of the historic courthouse and then a holiday parade the first weekend of December. The Georgetown Christmas Stroll festival that surrounds the parade features live music, lots of tasty eats and local goods, Santa’s village, and an interactive Bethlehem experience.
If you wish to continuing exploring Georgetown, you’ll find plenty of things to do such as the visiting the beautiful Blue Hole for a picnic, taking a stroll around Garey Park, grabbing a pastry from Sweet Lemon Kitchen, or touring the historic jail.
>>> Read all about our Georgetown, TX Christmas experience here!
The Christmas season in Fredericksburg, better known as weihnachtszeit, is a true sight to behold. This small German town decorates its square, not only with a 30 foot Christmas tree, but also a 26′ authentic German wooden pyramid. Every evening, a 10 minute light and audio show delights guests of all ages.
A holiday home tour takes place each November kicking off the season in style. Ice skating is available in the Marketplatz by purchasing a daily pass which allows in and out privileges. Holiday shopping abounds along the cute chops on Main Street while plenty of restaurants decked out in their holiday best offer a place to rest and have a meal.
If you are headed to Fredericksburg from Austin, you’ll love our road trip guide with ideas for several more cute stops.
Fisherman’s Park provides the perfect backdrop for the town’s annual tree lighting with its River of Lights. The annual lighted holiday parade only takes place on night a year, but if you can manage to schedule your visit then, you certainly won’t regret it.
Soak up the smell of the pine trees at Bastrop State Park. Winter is the perfect time for a walk through the forest.
Consider a stay at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines for a Christmas in Texas to remember. They will wow you with their festive décor, beautiful property, and plenty of fun, holiday activities for the kiddos.
Running for about six weeks each holiday season is the Johnson City Lights Spectacular. Spectacular almost seems too small of a word for this event features over two million lights! NASA has apparently even spotted it from space!
The “Twinkliest Town in Texas” (cutest nickname ever!) welcomes you to its historic Main Street for refreshments and holiday shopping while you wait for the sun to go down. Horse Drawn Carriage rides are available to tour the lights in style.
If you happen to schedule your visit for the first Saturday of the light show, you will be treated to an incredible light parade as well!
Head to nearby Boerne for a Victorian era holiday market, Christmas lights on ranch, and a lighted parade!
Follow the sparkling trail at Vista Brewing in nearby Driftwood for a gorgeous view of lights, cozy firepits, and plenty of spots for photos. Christmas on Mercer is a delightful experience as local shops open their doors to holiday gift-seekers while children’s activities, live entertainment, tree lighting, and Santa Claus provide plenty of holiday cheer.
Several holiday markets fill the streets throughout the month of December, like Vintage Market Days and the Redbud Artisan Market. For an old-fashioned Christmas experience, visiting Dr. Pound’s Historical Farmstead is a must-do.
One of the best Christmas towns in Texas is hill country gem, Marble Falls, filled with warm community spirit and small-town charm, The downtown tree lighting in Harmony Park kicks off the season and the endless list of activities keeps it going! The Walkway of Lights brings visitors from near and far with two million twinkling lights and free admission!
The live sculpture carving in Old Oak Square is filled with talented sculptors, breathtaking art, and the chance to attend a workshop. The Christmas Market on Main is filled with 50+ shops with tasty treats and local artisans. The Winter Ice Skating Rink can’t be missed – make sure you purchase tickets in advance! If you plan carefully, you can take to the ice on a magical night when the snow is falling!
Burnet’s Christmas on the Square event is held one day each December and it is one of our family favorite Burnet things to do! Hosting a snow area and slide, an evening parade, a peek into Christmas past at Old Fort Croghan, and Main Street Bethlehem.
Main Street Bethlehem is open in the evenings and allows visitors to walk through the village, observing the townspeople as they ponder the news of the baby born in the manger and the Roman soldiers and tax collectors as they make their rounds through the city.
The whole town is lit up in a beautiful display of lights and color. You can walk the Trail of Lights or just drive to Wallace Riddell Park for the special walk-through display featured there.
A Christmas getaway to Austin will leave you with oodles of things to do no matter how long your stay. This city goes all out with its events for all ages. To see the Capitol Building in its holiday splendor, free tours are available daily. The large Christmas tree in front of the building isn’t anything to miss either!
Zilker Park hosts the Trail of Lights, which is perhaps unlike any trail of lights you have ever seen. As the longest holiday tradition in the city, Austin has had 58 years to perfect the event, and this drive-light of sparkling-twinkling-wonder is sure to impress.
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Located along Lake Austin, their annual Christmas lightshow is infamous in the city and can be viewed on land or by boat (talk about magical!). Oh yeah! And don’t leave without some hot chocolate and treats at this Christmas in Austin favorite activity!
Even if you have experienced San Antonio Riverwalk before, have you ever really experienced it if you haven’t been there for Christmas?! There are so many things to do in San Antonio for Christmas that you can easily plan to visit for a few days with plenty of options to choose from.
The San Antonio Christmas lights reflecting on the river as it gently flows through town past many delicious restaurants and relaxing benches, are absolutely magical. The holiday river parade takes place on the Friday following Thanksgiving each year. If you are too stuffed full of turkey and pie to make it, you can instead take a boat tour on the river another night and experience the lights that way instead!
If you haven’t eaten tamales in San Antonio during Christmas, you are missing out! Take the opportunity to find your favorite spot. Winter is also the perfect season for outdoor activity in this Texas Hill Country city, and if you have touring the Alamo and other the missions on your bucket list, riding your bike from site to site will take your Christmas in Texas bucket list to the next level!
CHRISTMAS TOWNS IN SOUTHERN TEXAS
Downtown Corpus Christi decorates its streets and shops with miles of ribbon and garlands. Chaparral Street is especially festive and you literally can’t miss the giant Christmas tree at Water’s Edge Park.
If you’d like to try some local eats, don’t miss the Food Truck Christmas Village. And if you are in South Texas during the holiday season, it is kind of an unspoken rule that you will try tamales at least once! The Hot Tamale Fest is the perfect time to do do!
Celebrating the holiday season by the ocean means that this Christmas Town in Texas has unique festive activities to offer that you won’t find anywhere else! Watch Scuba Santa feed fish at the aquarium, view the Illuminated Boat Parade, and skate around the ice rink at the annual Coastal Christmas event.
Dickens on the Strand returns to this beach town annually for a Victorian holiday like no other. With live entertainment, market booths, holiday food and beverages, and area for children, visitors are encouraged to dress the part! If butterbeer and quidditch are more your style, don’t miss out on Hogwarts Christmas Village at Kemper Park.
All Aboard the Polar Express Train in your Christmas jammies for an immersive experience as you head to the North Pole. The lights at Moody Gardens are simply magical. Be sure to take your time walking through the millions of twinkling lights as you stroll through this beautiful Texas Christmas town,
Holiday lights, gingerbread, and Christmas trains, oh my! Christmas in Houston means a decked out city with plenty of fun to fill your calendar for as many days as you can visit. Try on your ice skates at the Discovery Green Ice Rink downtown before you make your way to Gingerbread Village at City Place for their floating tree, visit from the Clauses, and life-size gingerbread cottage.
Just outside Houston is Dasher’s Lightshow with millions of glittering lights and a fun drive-thru experience. Head to the Space Center for lights of a different kind, and submerse yourself in the Galaxy Light Display – sure to be a hit for space lovers!