Twinkling lights. Mugs of hot cocoa. Laughter and cozy pajamas. One of the most popular ways to celebrate Christmas in the Lone Star state is by experiencing drive-thru Christmas lights in Texas!
Texas is known for its larger-than-life perspective, and that extends to the holiday season. These shows feature elaborate displays of twinkling lights, festive music, and holiday cheer. If its chilly out, no big deal! You can enjoy the displays from the comfort of your own car, making it an easy and cozy way to celebrate the season.
Every year, our children ask to pick up a special treat of hot cocoa and cookies from a local bakery and bundle up in their pjs with blankets while we drive to look at lights. One year it seemed like we were sick for the whole month of December! Driving around to look at lights was the perfect way to stay warm and get to celebrate the season anyway. We live in the Austin area so have found many drive-thru light Christmas lights to explore in our area and beyond.
There are several drive-thru light shows throughout Texas, each with its own unique charm. From the Gift of Lights at the Texas Motor Speedway to the Lights of West in West, Texas, each one will surprise you with something new! Some shows even offer the chance to meet Santa Claus or enjoy holiday treats along the way – so keep an eye out for those when planning your Christmas in Texas!
Magical Drive Thru Christmas Lights in Texas
Texas is home to some of the best drive-thru Christmas light displays in the country, as well as plenty of Christmas lights in Texas that you can experience on foot. From millions of sparkling lights to festive displays, here are some of the best drive-thru Christmas lights in Texas:
- 2023 Season Dates: November 23 – January 1
- Location: 5610 Lake Ridge Pkwy, Grand Prairie, TX 75052
- Admission: $50 per vehicle
Prairie Lights in the town of Grand Prairie, brings the holiday spirit to life with a magnificent drive-thru light experience. Prepare to be amazed by a breathtaking 4 million lights (yes, FOUR MILLION!), an enchanting light tunnel, and captivating animated displays.
Halfway through the drive, hop out of your car for a stretch and explore the charming Holiday Village. Here, you might encounter Santa for a photo opp and even a captivating walk-through the magical forest of lights. Carnival rides in this area are included in the cost of admission. There is also a fun Christmas market, and a tasty variety of food and drink vendors.
Spanning over two miles, this drive-through adventure is an absolute must-see for anyone on the hunt for the finest drive thru Christmas light displays in Texas!
Pro Tip: They do sometimes reach capacity at Prairie Lights! Plan to arrive as close to 6pm as possible for a shorter wait and less crowds.
Land of Lights Christmas Park
- 2023 Season Dates: November 10 -January 3
- Location: Loop 7 and Patterson Road Athens, Texas
- Admission: $30/vehicle (cash); $35/vehicle (card)
Land of Lights Christmas Park in Athens is a festive drive-thru Christmas light display that features millions of lights and animated displays. You can enjoy holiday music and festive displays as you drive through the park.
This family business has been adding on to the event each year and now has over 4 million lights, 60 scenes, 2000 wooden cutout decorations, and 50 motion controlled lighted scenes. You’ll get to drive through 6 tunnels and 14 arches too – that’s my favorite part!
Main Street in Grapevine
- 2023 Season Dates: November 20 – January 7
- Location: Main Street, Grapevine, Texas
- Admission: Free
Downtown Grapevine is such a gem! This is “The Christmas Capital of Texas” and it is filled with twinkling lights from head to toe. While you won’t find a specific drive-thru activity here, you’ll want to drive down Main Street (back and forth a few times!) to catch all that this town has to offer.
See if you can spot the Reilly-Chance Store, the light show on City Hall, the dancing lights on the Christmas tree in the park, and the singing snowmen – yes, really! Have you even really experienced Christmas in Grapevine if you don’t catch a singalong with the singing snowmen?
While we recommend hopping out of the car once a few times if you are able, you will still be able to soak up the magic of Christmas just by driving thru these Christmas lights in one of the most magical Christmas towns in Texas.
- 2023 Season Dates: November 24 – December 30
- Location: 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617
- Admission: TBD
Peppermint Parkway in Austin is the newest drive-thru Christmas light display in Texas that features over 1 million LED lights and festive displays. We love how close to home this one is for our family!
Amusement park rides gives everyone a chance to get their excited energy out (no? just my kids?) and there are tons of fun spots for holiday photos. The live characters are the CUTEST – think dancing peppermint candies and gingerbread men.
This place does sell out on prime weekends! Buy your tickets in advance and head over on a weekday if you can swing it. Bring your sweet tooth along because there are plenty of options for sugary treats!
River Oaks Self-Guided Tour
- 2023 Season Dates: November 24 – December 26
- Location: 1600 River Oaks Blvd, Houston, TX 77019
- Admission: Free
Start at the River Oaks Country Club and wind your way through this historic Houston neighborhood. The residents go ALL OUT each year and the results are breathtaking. This is a free drive thru Christmas lights in Texas option to add to your holiday bucket list.
Gift of Lights
- 2023 Season Dates: November 24 – January 1 – 6pm-9pm (10pm on weekends)
- Location: 3545 Lone Star Cir, Fort Worth, TX, United States, Texas
- Admission: $35 / vehicle
Located at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Gift of Lights is another popular drive-thru Christmas light display. You won’t want to speed around this track thought – slow down and take your time to soak up the gorgeous festive views! With millions of glittering lights, visitors can enjoy tunnels, trees, and festive displays during Christmas in Fort Worth.
Turn on your favorite music and plan to take about 45 minutes to drive through the display. The event is open rain or shine – perfect rainy night activity for this holiday season!
- 2023 Season Dates: November 18 – January 1 – 6-10pm (11pm on weekends)
- Location: 5931 Roft Rd, San Antonio, TX 78253
- Admission: $36.95 per vehicle
San Antonio’s dazzling drive thru Christmas lights in Texas event is Lights Alive! This one-of-a-kind experience as you drive through is 100% computer-controlled and musically synchronized to a fun, upbeat soundtrack. Plan on nearly a mile-long journey that’s not just a drive, but fun experience for the whole family.
Once you exit the light show, plan to play and explore at the Park & Play Winter Wonderland, where delightful treats and treasures await. There are photos with Santa, a challenging Gingerbread Escape Room, axe throwing, craft building, and more. For the little adventurers, an open grassy park area beckons, offering a playground while parents enjoy the panoramic view from hilltop of the drive-thru light show below. Add this Christmas lighting in San Antonio to your to-do list for this season!
Johnson City Lights Spectacular
- 2023 Season Dates: November 24 – January 8
- Location: 201 S Avenue F, Johnson City, TX 78636
- Admission: Free
Hold onto your Santa hats (or cowboy hats?!), because I’m about to let you in on a Texas-sized holiday secret: the Johnson City Lights Spectacular. This isn’t your ordinary drive-thru Christmas lights experience – it’s a gorgeous display lights that is so bright it can be seen from the International Space Station!
The historic courthouse in Johnson City as well as Pedernales headquarters are decked out in twinkling lights by the millions. This event is free and can be experienced on foot, by driving by and circling the block a few times, or by taking advantage of the horse drawn carriage rides on site.
- 2023 Season Dates: November 10 – January 4 – 6-10pm
- Location: 11518 I-20, Tyler, TX 75706
- Admission: $30 per vehicle
Santa Land in Tyler is the first drive-thru Christmas theme park in Texas! This 24-acre park is decorated with almost 2.5 million lights and features handcrafted, animated displays. You can see the displays from your own car or take a ride on Santa’s trailer.
As you enter this magical drive-thru Christmas lights display, you’ll be instantly transported to a world of twinkling lights and festive spirit. It’s like stepping into a holiday fairy tale where every tree, every bush, and every corner is covered in shimmering lights that dance in the night. Make sure to bundle up, because as you slowly drive through this winter wonderland, you’ll want to roll down your windows!
- 2023 Season Dates: December 1 – January 1 – 6pm– 11 pm
- Location: 625 W Pool Rd, Odessa, TX 79763
- Admission: Free
The Starbright Village in Odessa has the “Largest display of lights in the Permian Basin” with over hundreds of thousands of lights. This drive thru display runs every night of the season, but the first night is reserved for walk-throughs!
Trail of Lights in Zilker Park
- 2023 Season Dates: December 8 – 23
- Location: Austin, TX 78746
- Admission: TBD
Get ready to be dazzled by the Austin Trail of Lights, a star-studded light event right in Zilker Park! This gem stands as one of Austin’s most beloved Christmas drive-thru light displays, and honestly, it’s a highlight for the entire state of Texas.
With a whopping 2 million lights illuminating the scene, along with an enchanting light tunnel and dynamic animated displays, this decades long tradition is a true treasure in the city. And the fun doesn’t stop there – groove to live music, savor tasty treats from food trucks, and cozy up with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. This is a true holiday wonderland and one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Austin.
Pro Tip: This place gets BUUSSSYYY. Enjoy the Trail of Lights on a weekday if you can swing it, but if not, head there as close to opening as possible or toward the end of the night. The hours between 7-9pm tend to be the busiest.
- 2023 Season Dates: November 11 – January 1
- Location: 9561 I-35, New Braunfels, TX 78130
- Admission: $35/vehicle
Head out on a merry journey just north of San Antonio through the scenic beauty of New Braunfels, where Santa’s Ranch awaits to display its holiday magic. Over two million twinkling lights light up the night sky, transforming a simple drive-through into a country holiday experience that is unmatched.
As you make your way along the one-mile route, the country landscape becomes the perfect setting for the extraordinary lighted displays. Grab some cocoa and kettle corn from the concession stand for some treats to much on!
Pro Tip: The Ranch is open rain or shine! A rainy night is the perfect time to visit! Also, you may not walk through the exhibit – cars only!
Dasher’s Light Show
- 2023 Season Dates: November 24 – December 31
- Location: 8233 Will Clayton Pkwy, Humble, TX 77338
- Admission: $29.95/vehicle
Book a thirty minute time slot to help with the crowds, and drive slowly through this gorgeous light display. The light show will be synced to music on a local radio station for an extra merry time.
Rumor has it that their funnel cakes are amazing but I haven’t gotten to try them yet! Delicious food, tasty drinks, Santa and princesses, and fun inflatables for jumping round out a fun, merry evening in Houston!
- 2023 Season Dates: TBD
- Location: Frisco Square, Frisco, TX 75034
- Admission: Free
The next holiday wonder on our drive thru Texas Christmas lights is Frisco’s Christmas on the Square! North Texas’s most epic lights and music display starts each night at 6 p.m. right in the heart of Frisco Square.
Drive on through in your car and let the tunes sync up with your radio. Or, take a leisurely stroll through the square and let the music reach you through the speakers. Gliding across the ice at Skate the Square should be next on your list of things to do in Frisco. You also won’t want to miss the Horse Carriage rides – a touch of elegance that’ll transport you to a holiday fairy tale.
Ready to Experience Drive Thru Christmas Lights in Texas?
So there you have it, a sparkling sleigh-ride through some of the Lone Star State’s most spectacular drive-thru Christmas lights experiences! From the enchanting Prairie Lights with its 4 million lights and captivating Holiday Village, to the iconic Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park that transforms into a winter wonderland, Texas sure knows how to light up the holiday season.
Whether you’re cruising through dazzling tunnels, giggling at the animated displays, or simply soaking up the joyful activities with loved ones, these drive-thru light shows are more than just displays – they’re perfect additions to your Christmas in Texas bucket list!