Though it may not always snow in Texas at Christmas time, that certainly doesn’t stop the Lone Star State from getting into the holiday spirit every time the festive season rolls around. Take a look at 10 of the very best places to visit this season, listed in no particular order.
In the quaint Texas Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, they do Christmas in a style befitting their German heritage. Each year Fredericksburg hosts multiple community Christmas events. One of the first is the ceremony to light the German Christmas Pyramid and Christmas tree at the Vereins Kirche at Marktplatz. Santa shows up for the fun and there is live music and free cookies. Also, the Eisbahn outdoor skating rink is a local favorite that operates from November to January.
Throughout the season, Galveston Island brings Christmas to life with a number of must-see attractions, including the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, Downtown Lanterns & Lights and the Santa Hustle, which is a holiday 5K and half marathon. The town also holds the annual ‘Dickens on The Strand’ festival, which dates all the way back to 1974, and sees the town head all the way back to 19th-century London to use oil lamps, Victorian costumes and welcoming ye olde carolers.
New Braunfels is so much more than just Schlitterbahn. Visitors to New Braunfels during the holiday season can experience Christmas Market Days and Cowboy Kringle in Historic Gruene, as well as awe-inspiring, twinkling light displays at Santa’s Ranch. New Braunfels also hosts a Hometown Holiday Christmas Parade that you won’t want to miss.
Grand Prairie, Texas
Grand Prairie Holiday Tree Lighting, a Christmas Candlelight memorial service and the Traders Village Holiday market with the opportunity to meet Santa himself are just some of the attractions offered in Grand Prairie.
However, the biggest attraction has to be Grand Prairie’s spectacular light display. Visitors are able to drive for two miles surrounded by thousands of Christmas lights, and also features a holiday village with an indoor laser show and a walk-through forest.
Christmas on the Bayou is what the citizens of Jefferson call their holiday affairs. The traditions include the annual Rail of Lights Christmas train ride runs on the weekends, and the downtown wassail walk is also a local favorite. In addition to those events, the hometown Christmas parade and the candlelight tour of homes will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit.
Nothing says Christmas in Marshall like the Wonderland of Lights Extravaganza. Now in its 28th year and running all the way up to New Year’s Eve, the celebration features thousands of white lights that transform downtown Marshall into a real-life winter wonderland. Among many other big events hitting the town, visitors to the annual event are treated to a Jingle Bell Run, Lighted Christmas Parade, a Walk to Bethlehem and even a Community Christmas Carol.
Though it may be known for live music, Austin is also a fantastic place to spend your Christmas. The annual trail of lights snakes through Zilker Park and it’s a magical sight to behold. The Holiday Sing Along and Downtown Stroll meanders down Congress Avenue, making the Capital city feel more like a small town. Getting your Christmas shopping done is a breeze in Austin at the Armadillo Christmas Bazar, which takes place at the Palmer Events Center.
What can’t you do in San Antonio? The city lights up for Christmas with numerous parades, including Light the Way, the Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Festival and the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias. The city also has numerous traditions to observe when the festive season rolls around, and treats visitors to the Tamales! Holiday Festival, La Tamalada and Time Travel Saturday, La Gran Tamalada and the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, amongst many others.
College Station also has plenty of things to do when Christmas comes. December plays host to numerous events like Christmas in the Park, the annual Holiday Concert, and, of course, the Downtown Lighted Christmas Parade, as well as a whole host of others.
College Station is also home to Santa’s Wonderland, where visitors can enjoy a white Christmas, with a little thanks to snow machines, as well as enjoying classic Christmas movies on a huge outdoor movie screen.
There’s no doubt the city of Grapevine really loves Christmas, as it has over 1,400 events taking place over 40 days from mid-November to early January. Some of the most notable events on offer include a visit to a man made Snowland and ICE! at Gaylord Texan, which features huge ice sculptures and ice slides, all created using close to 2,000,000 pounds of ice.
Grapevine also plays host to a very special train ride for children and features an outdoor big screen showing your favorite Christmas films at the Historic Palace Theatre.