Christmas in Texas is a dazzling spectacle that blends Texan values, culture, and a deep sense of pride into an unforgettable holiday experience. As the Lone Star State embraces the holiday season, it transforms into a winter wonderland of lights, music, and celebration.
A Texan Christmas is a celebration of tradition, community, and the grandeur that the Lone Star State is known for. Texan history and cowboy heritage come alive during the holiday season: you’ll see iconic sights like the decorated figure of Davy Crockett, lit up oil derricks, and Cowboy Santa dancing to live music!
We love spending Christmas in Texas and plan a trip around the state every year to see the larger than life holiday lights. As the Christmas season approaches, Texans across the vast expanse of their beloved state showcase their unique Texan spirit, with large-scale celebrations that blend religion, spirituality, patriotism, and holiday lights that honor both the state and the U.S. flag.
We have collected these Texas Christmas trip ideas from our travels around the state in November and December. We have tried to include a diverse selection of small towns and Texas cities in this article as well as tons of photos. Use the Table of Contents below to navigate to your favorite parts of the post.
Why Spend Christmas in Texas?
Ever think, What is there to do in Texas at Christmas time?
Those flying from out of state often wonder if there is anything worth spending Christmas in Texas. Even some locals fail to explore the Lone Star State in its festive glory. The answer is a thousand times yes! In the heart of Texas, where the sprawling plains meet the vibrant cities, there’s a Christmas spirit that’s as big as the Lone Star State itself.
Visiting the Lone Star State during the festive season and want to know the best Christmas town in Texas? Charming small towns that dress up for Christmas, spectacular holiday events that are beloved by families, one of a kind Christmas events that keep you on your toes: there are several incredible options to enjoy Christmas in Texas!
Texas = Warm + Affordable Christmas!
Many visitors plan a trip to see the best Christmas in Texas events during winter because the weather is quite warm, compared to Northern states. It rarely snows, except for some parts of the Texas Panhandle and West Texas.
The Gulf Coast and Rio Grande Valley have lots of sunshine and are home to winter Texans. The weather in the Texas Hill Country is also perfect to sit around a firepit and roast marshmallows. These local Christmas vacations for families are also highly affordable and promise tons of fun in Texas during the holiday season.
Related Post: 13 Best Places to Visit in Texas in Winter
But – Do you know the best part about a trip to Texas in December? Texas -sized Christmas light displays, shopping for gifts in sprawling Christmas markets, classic Christmas movies screening outside, Santa train rides, and lots of cheerful events and festivities! Texas at Christmas is just magical and incredible.
15 Best Cities to Enjoy Christmas in Texas
Texas is famous for its big, sprawling cities. Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso all offer a variety of special events and Christmas cheer for visitors to the Lone Star State. You will find events starting as early as mid November for these holiday destinations. Even their suburbs go big on all kinds of holiday lights.
You will find spectacular drive through light displays, magical winter wonderlands, popular holiday train rides, extravagant markets to complete your holiday shopping, as well as a variety of traditional foods from all cuisines in these charming Texan cities.
These are the perfect Christmas Getaways in Texas for those who love all kinds of festivities.
Even the Texas Coastal Cities like South Padre Island and Galveston ring in the holidays with beach themed Christmas events in Texas.
You can spot holiday themed sandcastle displays, lighted boat parades, historic traditions, and Christmas cruises on the Gulf Water. These beach towns are ideal to combine sun, sand, and holiday cheer for a memorable Christmas vacation in Texas!
Here are some of the best places to spend Christmas in Texas, where everything is truly bigger and brighter.
Million Lights of San Antonio Riverwalk
In San Antonio, Christmas unfolds like a Texan fairy tale along the famous River Walk. As the sun sets, the riverbanks light up with a symphony of colors, brilliantly reflecting off the water’s surface. Over million Christmas lights glitter like raindrops from the trees and holiday decorations adorn historic buildings along the riverwalk.
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But what truly sets this celebration apart are the brilliantly decorated community caroling boats. You will see people from all walks of life singing popular songs and spreading joy. Families wave at the carolers while children eagerly anticipate the arrival of the next boat. The air resonates with laughter and the Christmas spirit is palpable.
Take a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk at Christmas and you will understand why it’s the best place to visit for Christmas across the USA. Admire the bridges decorated with beautiful wreaths and other Christmas decor. Listen to the holiday songs and enjoy a romantic meal on the riverwalk. Stay in a nearby hotel and enjoy the holiday ambiance of this Texan city. The lights stay up till early January, making San Antonio good to visit for New Year’s Eve too.
Remember the Alamo!
Had your fill of the iconic San Antonio Riverwalk? Your next stop should be to see the Alamo Lights, an event where the iconic Alamo Mission is beautifully adorned with thousands of twinkling lights. Thousands of LED lights are meticulously hung to create stunning patterns and scenes.
You will see scenes depicted from the Texas Revolution, including a lit up statue of Davy Crockett. The combination of history, culture, and holiday spirit makes the Alamo Lights Christmas Event a unique and cherished tradition.
San Antonio also has many other festive events taking place throughout the month of December including the Ford Holiday River Parade, Lightscape Christmas Event in San Antonio Botanical Garden, and holiday celebrations at the San Antonio theme parks such as SeaWorld San Diego and Six Flags. Additionally, the weather in San Antonio in December is quite warm – making it a great place to escape the snow.
Related Post: 21 Festive Things to do for Christmas in San Antonio
Austin’s Lights Extravaganza
In the state’s capital, Austin, Christmas radiates with the city’s signature live music culture. Zilker Park transforms into a dazzling display of lights known as the Holiday Trail of Lights. Millions of colorful bulbs adorn trees, sculptures, and walkways, creating a magical winter wonderland. Live music performances featuring local artists add to the festive atmosphere, celebrating the Texan love for music and community.
Searching for more holiday music? Book a table to see the Annual Christmas Light Show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters on Lake Austin. This show features beautiful Christmas lights synchronized to music as well as live performances.
We have been going to Mozart’s for the past several years now and the show only seems to get better every time. Sipping a hot chocolate at Mozart’s and eating their sweet treats while admiring the lights is a memorable experience.
Another must see attraction is the iconic Christmas Tree in front of the Texas State Capitol. The capitol gift shop has many Texas themed Christmas gifts. Austin features several other holiday events. The Circuit of the Americas hosts the Peppermint Parkway, while the Wildflower Center has luminaries. Christmas shopping markets are present throughout the city and holiday shows are held in the theaters.
Related Post: 10 Festive Things to do for Christmas in Austin, Texas
Houston’s Space Spectacle
Houston, the home of space exploration, offers a unique blend of Christmas light displays and cosmic wonder during the holiday season. Galaxy Lights at the Johnson Space Center Houston transforms into a sparkling extravaganza of space-themed decorations and dazzling laser show. It’s a tribute to the country’s spirit of innovation, exploration, and the belief that the sky is not the limit. Kids love these wonderful displays and they make for great photo-ops.
Lights all over Houston
There are many other events taking place in the city throughout the holiday season. George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston is home to over 30 beautifully decorated themed Christmas trees during the holiday season. Be sure to see them and marvel at their intricate decorations. Put your skates on and enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink at Discovery Green just opposite the convention center.
You can check out paid attractions such as Holiday Lights at the Houston Zoo or Lightscape at the Houston Botanic Gardens.
Looking for Christmas lights on a budget? Drive through neighborhoods such as Pecan Grove and River Oaks, where the over the top holiday decorations will make your day.
Or brave the crowds to attend the annual Christmas tree lighting at City Hall – you will be rewarded with fireworks!
Other things to do for the holidays in Houston include shopping for gifts at the Galleria, taking the kids on the Christmas Train at Alvin, and enjoying the lazy river at Downtown Marriott at night.
Just outside the city, you will find the Magical Winter Lights lantern festival – one of the best Christmas events in Texas! The options for Christmas events in Houston are endless!
Related Posts: 20 Best Things to do for Christmas in Houston
12 Days of Christmas, Dallas
While we live in Houston, come Christmas time you will find us in Dallas. The Big D is home to a ton of our favorite holiday attractions and some of them are completely free!
Start your trip at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a holiday destination in itself. It features scenes from the popular 12 Days of Christmas holiday songs spread throughout the park.
Don’t be surprised to take a stroll and come upon 12 drummers, 7 swans, or two turtle-doves in a rotating gilded cage! The Christmas Village at the garden is also a favorite with kids.
Dallas also hosts the “Dallas Holiday Parade,” one of the largest Christmas parades in the state. The parade is a massive affair, drawing Texans from miles around. Spectators line the streets, brandishing their state and national flags, as they watch colorful floats, marching bands, and Santa Claus himself parade by.
The Dallas metropolitan area also has a host of other Christmas attractions for families and couples. In my opinion, it is one of the best places to visit in North Texas for Christmas. See the multi-colored Christmas tree and the singing fountains at night in Klyde Warren Park.
Head over to Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington for a blend of cheer + thrills! See the railway displays at NorthPark Center Mall – our kids love these!
The theaters in Dallas put on amazing Christmas productions, ballets and orchestras provide the perfect dose of culture, and pop up holiday bars come up all over the city. You will find skating rinks, chocolate tasting tours, and holiday markets in Dallas during the holiday season.
Related Post: 18 Best Things to do for Christmas in Dallas
Cowboy Christmas in Fort Worth
Christmas in Fort Worth is a heartwarming blend of tradition, community, and Texan charm. This vibrant city in North Texas, known for its Western heritage and modern sophistication, comes alive with festive cheer during the holiday season.
The heart of Fort Worth, Sundance Square, transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas. The square is adorned with glittering lights and colorful decorations that grace the historic buildings. The giant Community Christmas tree takes center stage – the tree features giant beach ball sized ornaments painted by local artists. Every year, we love seeing the Fort Worth Christmas tree with its colorful unique decorations.
Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District is a place where Texan heritage and Christmas traditions merge seamlessly. During the holiday season, this iconic Western destination pays homage to its cowboy roots with a unique Texan flair. Visitors can enjoy a festive cattle drive featuring cowboys and longhorns decked out in holiday attire and off course, meet cowboy Santa!
The Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is home to the Gift of Lights drive thru holiday event. It opens on Thanksgiving and is one of the largest drive thru light displays in the Lone Star State.
Santa’s Wonderland, College Station
Christmas in College Station is a hit with families in Texas for one reason: Santa’s Wonderland!
This seasonal amusement park truly feels like the North Pole with its holiday atmosphere and cheerful vibe. Looking for the best Christmas events in Texas 2023? Book your tickets to this attraction now!
The activities at Santa’s Wonderland are unrivaled by any other holiday event in Texas. From the moment you step through the entrance (and brave the traffic at the gates), you’re transported to a magical winter wonderland. The attraction features over a million lights and displays. The twinkling Christmas lights cast a warm and enchanting glow over the grounds.
Kids can take hayride tours to see Santa Claus. Other things to do at the holiday light fest include live nativity scenes, a holiday train ride, mailing letters to Santa, and horse carriage rides. The beautiful Gingerbread house has many intricate details and is beautiful to see.
If you want to keep the kids happy, then be sure to celebrate Christmas at Santa’s Winter Wonderland in College Station! Here’s a tip: Avoid visiting on the weekends as the queues just to enter can get horrifying! Also, get your tickets in advance as the ticket prices go up as the season approaches.
Victorian Christmas of Galveston
Looking for a perfect mix of beachy vibes and Christmas festivities in Texas? Visit the resort town of Galveston, located just an hour away from downtown Houston. Galveston island is our favorite place to spend the holidays while still staying close to home.
Entire Galveston Island shines with the holiday spirit and is stunningly magical throughout December. Downtown Galveston looks beautiful in wreaths and holiday decor while Strand Street looks as if it belongs to Victorian England.
Can’t get enough of the period references? Attend Dickens on the Strand in Galveston. This unique holiday festival invites visitors to dress up in period costumes and attend a weekend full of amazing festivities.
Moody Gardens Christmas Celebration is a perfect spot for those who love a resort style holiday. The highlight here is Iceland, a festival full of unique carved ice sculptures. Moody Gardens also has several other holiday events including a Festival of Lights events and Rudolph movie screenings.
Looking for more holiday attractions in Galveston Bay? Take the kids to the Polar Express train ride at the Galveston Railroad Museum. The lit up boat parade on the bay is also spectacular for visitors.
New Braunfels’ Cowboy Kringle
New Braunfels, half an hour north of San Antonio, is famous for many things: Oktoberfest, sausages, cleanest restrooms in America (courtesy Buc-ees), and Cowboy Kringle!
Cowboy Kringle is the ultimate Texas Christmas icon. He lives near the Historic Gruene Dance Hall, rides a horse, wears cowboy boots, dons a Christmas cowboy hat with a Texas star, hands out candy cane, calls children ‘buckaroos’, and a big belt buckle keeping his costume together.
He endures the sunny December days in swathes of thick fur and heavy leather with a smile on his face – just like the cowboys of West Texas. You need reservations to take a photo with him and the spots sell out well in advance. Judging by the kids’ faces, the long wait is well worth it!
Little wonder that photos with Cowboy Kringle are one of the most unique things to do in Texas for Christmas! After your photos, take the time to enjoy the Country Christmas Celebrations in Gruene Historic District. The charming downtown and its historic structures including Gruene Dance Hall twinkle with Christmas lights and holiday cheer. Shop for unique Christmas gifts and enjoy wine tastings while you’re there.
If you think New Braunfels Christmas is all Wild West and rugged Texas – you couldn’t be more wrong!
New Braunfels has German heritage and celebrates Christmas in the traditional German way. You can visit the Weihnachtsmarkt, the German-themed holiday market, and buy Texas made gifts and artisan produce. Other activities include holiday lights, parades, and wine festivals.
Another popular attraction is Santa’s Ranch Drive Thru Christmas Light Park. This lights display is spread out over a mile long road on a ranch and just gets better every year. There is an area to get out of the car where you can meet Santa, sip on hot chocolate, and enjoy kettle corn.
Natural Bridge Caverns is another great holiday destination in New Braunfels. Their ‘Christmas in the Caverns’ event lets you listen to Christmas carols, meet santa Claus, and see the lights – all deep underground!
South Padre Island’s Beachy Christmas
While South Padre Island is more famous as a Texas spring break destination, this barrier island resort town is also amazing to visit during the Christmas holidays. In fact, it is the best Christmas Town in Texas for beach lovers.
You can have a tropical Christmas holiday on South Padre Island complete with building sandcastles, beachcombing for sea shells, and riding the waves. Eat the fresh seafood and go on a dolphin watching cruise on the Gulf of Mexico. See sand sculptures at South Padre Island this holiday season.
Missing the Christmas spirit and holiday cheer? South Padre Island also has a Holiday Sandcastle Festival where you can see incredibly detailed Christmas themed sand castles including Santa Claus, reindeers, and snowman. Several parades and other holiday events also take place on South Padre Island at Christmas.
South Padre Island is also a great Christmas destination to escape the cold. While the water can be too cool to enjoy a swim, the hotel rates are amazingly low and you can enjoy a perfect budget friendly warm weather holiday on the island.
Related Posts: 10 Best Things to do on South Padre Island at Christmas
Mexican Christmas in El Paso
Planning a trip to West Texas in the winter and looking for the best places to visit during Christmas in the Texas desert? Try El Paso!
There are many traditions that make Christmas in El Paso unique, such as the Las Posadas celebration. This nine-day event commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, and includes processions, music, and food.
Another popular tradition is the seven pointed Piñata, which is filled with candy and toys. Other holiday events in El Paso include a parade, a tree-lighting ceremony, and Santa’s workshop. Visitors can also enjoy traditional Mexican foods and traditions during this time in El Paso.
Of course, no visit to El Paso in December would be complete without seeing the luminarias. These lanterns are made of paper bags filled with sand and candles, and they are used to light up the streets on Christmas Eve.
Katy – Fort Bend Suburb Spectacular
The Katy Fort Bend area near Houston is growing at a great speed and fast becoming one of the popular Christmas destinations in the greater Houston area.
The George Ranch Historical Park in Fort Bend is a great way to spend a historical Christmas in Texas. The park is located near Houston, Texas and is a great day trip from the city. On a visit, you can enjoy Christmas traditions from the 19th century at this living history site. Visitors can participate in several activities including hayrides, Christmas crafts for kids, as well as songs and story sessions around the campfire.
Katy also has several holiday attractions. The Light Park – Katy is a fabulous drive through display of holiday lights that takes place on the grounds of Typhoon Texas. The Home for the Holiday Gift Market is a great place to buy gifts for your loved ones.
Grand Prairie Lights
Grand Prairie, located near Dallas, is a great place to spend Christmas in Texas. A primary attraction here is the Prairie Lights, a dazzling drive through light display. This holiday extravaganza takes place in Lynn Creek Park on the shores of Joe Pool Lake. The event has new themes and displays every year, making it a favorite with families in North Texas.
Grand Prairie is also the perfect place to shop for gifts. You can enjoy shopping for handmade gifts at the Holiday Gift Market on Main Street or hit up Grand Prairie Premium Outlets to scour for deals on branded merchandise.
Arlington, located just 15 mins east of Grand Prairie, is home to Texas Christkindl Market, the largest outdoor Christmas market in the Southwest. This free market promises all European vibes with handmade gifts, treats, and mulled wine.
Boat Parades in Corpus Christi
Christmas in Corpus Christi is a unique blend of coastal charm, tropical vibes, and festive spirit. My favorite holiday event in Corpus Christi is the Illuminated Boat Parade over the bay. You can see several hundred beautifully decorated boats from the marina; our kids especially love seeing them float and reflect lights on the water.
The La Posada Lighted Boat parade on the canals downtown is a nod to the city’s Hispanic Heritage. This colorful procession is a tradition deeply rooted in Mexican culture. Floats adorned with holiday lights and nativity scenes wind their way through the city, accompanied by joyful music and dancing.
In Corpus Christi during Christmas, you can dip your toes in another Texas tradition – tamales! While many Texas families host their own tamale making parties, you can partake in this culinary tradition at Huerta’s Tamales. You will find their food trucks selling steaming hot tamales at various locations in the city.
Musical Christmas in Lubbock
The heart of Lubbock’s Christmas spirit can be found at Mackenzie Park’s Santa Land. Every year, this beloved attraction transforms into a drive thru winter wonderland with millions of twinkling and sparkling lights.
Music is an integral part of Lubbock’s Christmas celebrations, echoing the city’s rich musical heritage. Caroling in the Courtyard event is organized by the Buddy Holly Center and is free to visit. Cactus Theatre in downtown hosts Christmas performances for visitors.
Another of Lubbock’s cherished traditions is the annual Carol of Lights at Texas Tech University. This spectacular event sees the campus illuminated by thousands of lights, symbolizing the holiday spirit and the university’s pride.
Amarillo’s Western Christmas Celebrations
Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle is your best chance for a White Christmas in the Lone Star State. The city promises Christmas with a Western flair with a chance of snowflakes draped over the holiday lights.
Even if it doesn’t snow, the air is distinctly cooler compared to the coast or South Texas – perfect excuse to sip hot chocolate, savor peppermint coffees, and take on the 72 oz challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch!
Holiday events include Enchanted Acres Night of Lights display, Zoo Lights at the Amarillo Zoo, and Christmas lights in downtown. You will also find a variety of holiday shows from musicals to country music concerts taking place in the town.
Be sure to mix up your Amarillo Christmas trip with exploring this region of the Texas Panhandle. Take a photo with Cadillac ranch, drive up Route 66 to Adrian, and go hiking in Palo Duro Canyon State Park – one of the best state parks in Texas.
15 Festive Christmas Towns in Texas
If you think that the most extravagant Christmas displays in Texas are limited to the big cities, you could not be more wrong.
Amazing Christmas towns in Texas go all out for the holiday season. Be sure to add these to your holiday bucket list for 2023. Grapevine takes the cake for its sheer magnitude and scale of Christmas activities. In the Hill Country, you will find Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and Wimberley put on incredibly unique and fantastic holiday events.
Even East Texas is not to be left behind. Jefferson and Marshall have stunning displays of lights while Palestine has a Polar Express train ride just as in the movie! The hidden gem of Kilgore has a Texas star shining brightly on top of its oil derrick Christmas lights.
Alpine and San Angelo in West Texas have a rugged country Christmas – combine the festive cheer with some hiking in Big bend Country! With events like traditional German Christmas and photos with Cowboy Santa Claus, the small towns of Texas offer the perfect Christmas vacation for families.
Here are the best Christmas towns in Texas to visit this holiday season.
Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas
Grapevine, located less than an hour north of Dallas, is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas. It is an essential holiday tradition in the Lone Star State. Grapevine goes all out at Christmas with more than a million lights.
The Historic Downtown District is like walking through a giant shimmering sparkling Christmas themed amusement park. The Christmas lights twinkle, dance, and even wink at you from every surface you see! Watch the trees decked up in hundreds of twinkling lights and enjoy the famed Grapevine City Hall light show. The singing Christmas tree with its moving mouth is just the cherry on the top.
As you stroll the streets, you will find plenty of holiday displays and unique photo ops for families – things like 5 feet tall holiday ornaments, Santa Claus sitting on a bench, a lit up tunnel, and large marquee letters proclaiming ‘JOY’! Taking silly, happy, and funny family photos with all of the Grapevine holiday displays is one of our favorite things to do for Christmas in Texas.
But Christmas in Grapevine is not just about what you can see – there are many Christmas activities in Grapevine where you can go hands-on and participate for fun.
Ride the North Pole Express of the Grapevine Vintage Railroad to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Take advantage of your Grapevine Christmas Passport and visit the Christmas Village. Play in the snow at the Christmas Forest and mail letters to Santa Claus. The sheer variety of celebrations during Christmas time make Grapevine one of the best Christmas towns in Texas.
Gaylord Texan – #1 Best Christmas Resorts in Texas!
Not easily impressed? Head over to the Gaylord Texan Hotel, a spectacular holiday destination in Texas. The resort looks marvelous at Christmastime. It has plenty of festive holiday activities for all ages including a giant Christmas tree, a surprisingly detailed gingerbread house, Santa Claus visits, and gift shops.
The highlight however is ICE – an ice sculpture display made with several pounds of ice. Visitors covered in thick parkas can walk around these elaborate displays featuring their favorite movies. It’s an unbeatable experience! Gaylord Texan also has a snow tubing hill, beloved by kids.
Related Post: 19 Best Things to do in Grapevine for Christmas
German Heritage in Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg, located in the Texas Hill Country, is a darling romantic town that instantly bewitches visitors. This is the place to go if you are aching for an European Christmas with all the feels. It is also amongst our favorite Christmas towns in Texas.
Fredericksburg was settled by German pioneers in 1846 and still retains its unique German traditions and heritage. This Texas small town has beautiful architecture and an intriguing variety of cultural attractions as well as museums. It is also popular for its one of a kind Christmas Texas celebrations.
Fredericksburg is a great place to spend a festive holiday weekend with your loved ones. The highlight of Christmas in Fredericksburg is the beautiful rotating wooden German Christmas pyramid in Marktplatz. The 26 foot high structure enthralls everyone with its moving figurines that depict stories from the bible serially on different tiers.
Take a stroll along the Main Street of this charming Hill country town and shop for locally made gifts. Admire the holiday decor on historic buildings and vintage storefronts. Marvel at the Christmas lights.
Attend the famous Light the Night Christmas parade, a festive celebration accompanied by holiday music and glimmering lights. Ice skate on the rink downtown. Sip mulled wine – after all, Fredericksburg wineries are famous throughout Texas!
Related Post: 10 Best Things to do in Fredericksburg at Christmas.
Old Fashioned Christmas in Nacogdoches
Nacogdoches has the honor of being the oldest and most historic city in East Texas. It celebrates Christmas in a quaint and old-fashioned way – perfect for those who would like to step back into the past.
Millard’s Crossing Historic Village in Nacogdoches is home to Old Fashioned Christmas Celebrations.
Looking for unique Christmas things to do in Texas? Attend the Nine Flags Festival! This festival honors the little known fact that 9 different flags have flown over the town of Nacogdoches. Curious about which nine flags? Read that bit of history here.
Every year at Christmas, the historic downtown area is transformed into a winter wonderland with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and holiday displays. The brick buildings and cobblestone streets look old-world and festive throughout the season of Christmas in Nacogdoches.
Santa Claus makes an appearance at the annual tree lighting ceremony. The city hosts several free concerts and other events leading up to Christmas Day. Locals as well as visitors can take a stroll through downtown boutiques and purchase gifts made by local Texan artists.
Christmas in Nacogdoches is a festive, historic, family-friendly event that should not be missed by anyone who loves Texas.
Pretty Town Square of Granbury
Did you know that Granbury in North Texas is known for having the prettiest town square in America? No surprise, it’s decorated phenomenally for the holidays and looks straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
Every holiday season, the Historic Granbury Square comes alive with the sounds and smells of Christmas. The vintage buildings are dressed up in festive wreaths, garlands, and bows. The storefronts and windows boats of Santa, elves, and reindeers.
The festivities start with the Night of Lights Christmas Parade, a highlight of Granbury holiday events. Floats enchant adults while Santa Claus greets the young ones. Musical notes of carolers fill the square on days leading up to Christmas. The streets are lined with booths selling handmade gifts, baked goods, and holiday decor.
Other popular Granbury Christmas events include Santa’s House in Town Square, Christmas lIghts in Shanley Park, and the Granbury Candlelight Tour, when you can tour historic mansions decorated in Victorian styles. All of these amazing reasons ensure Granbury remains amongst top Christmas places in Texas.
Christmas in Historic Georgetown, Texas, is a magical journey back in time that blends the charm of the past with the warmth of the holiday season. The centerpiece of Georgetown’s Christmas celebration is its historic town square, which exudes Victorian-era charm throughout the holiday season. The iconic Williamson County Courthouse takes center stage, casting a warm and inviting glow over the square.
The annual Lighting of the Square marks the official start of the holiday season. Thousands of locals and visitors gather in anticipation as the sun dips below the horizon. When the downtown lights burst into radiance, the round of applause is loud and clear.
This magical moment is accompanied by carolers singing classic Christmas songs, creating a sense of togetherness and nostalgia. Families huddle together, sipping a cup of hot cocoa and delighting in the glow of the town’s Christmas tree. The Historic Palace Theatre hosts holiday shows and performances.
Another cherished aspect of Christmas in Georgetown is the opportunity to tour some of the town’s historic homes, which are beautifully decorated for the season. Georgetown’s churches also host candlelight services emphasizing faith and the true meaning of Christmas.
Polar Express Train Ride in Palestine
Palestine, Texas is home to our favorite Texan holiday tradition, the Polar Express! This holiday train ride is hosted by the Texas State Railroad and imitates the story from the popular movie ‘The Polar Express’ starring Tom Hanks.
On the ride, kids get a golden ticket and climb aboard the beautifully decorated train. The staff reads out loud the famous story on the train as it makes its way to the North Pole to see Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and the elves. When Santa Claus meets the kids, he gives them a silver bell, just like in the story.
The entire experience is accompanied by music and dance and feels magical. The depot and the train cars are beautifully decorated, lending themselves to the festive atmosphere. This is one of our favorite things to do for Christmas in Texas with kids.
Besides the holiday train, Palestine has many other exciting holiday events. Downtown is very pretty with wreaths and displays everywhere. Another popular event is the Grinch at Texas Jail House in Palestine. This event is set up like a walk-through Christmas themed house.
The city also has excellent shopping and dining. It is also one of our most budget friendly East Texas Christmas getaways. Overall, Palestine makes for a great holiday vacation in December.
Christmas in Historic Jefferson
Do us all a favor and plan a holiday time trip to Jefferson, Texas. This historic town is amongst the best places in Texas for Christmas for history lovers and is pretty amazing in its own way.
The city of Jefferson has plenty of fun holiday attractions for all ages. Love architecture and intriguing stories of the past? Make a beeline for the beautiful and one of its kind Candlelight Tour of Homes in this Texas town.
On the Candlelight Tour, you will see majestically decorated grand historic homes and mansions in Jefferson. Popular homes on the tour include the Black Swan, The Grove House, Angell Manor, and Scarlett O’Hardy’s.
Families with kids love the Christmas Express holiday train ride. This ride takes you through the pine forests of East Texas and along the Big Cypress Bayou. Along with wildlife like alligators and deer, you will also spot nativity scenes and other Christmas displays from around the world on this train ride.
Looking for more holiday attractions? Take a walk through downtown Jefferson at Christmastime. Or explore the historic buildings on a horse drawn carriage ride. Shop for gifts in the local boutiques. Take advantage of innumerable photo ops throughout downtown. End your stroll with hot chocolate at the Jefferson General Store.
Marshall’s Wonderland of Lights
Marshall is our favorite Texas Christmas town when it comes to East Texas. It is located in the Piney Woods region and is home to one of the oldest Christmas festivals in Texas – the Wonderland of Lights Festival. This holiday event has an intriguing story, which you can read here.
The festival centers around the Old Harrison County Courthouse building located in Whetstone Square. The courthouse is beautifully decorated with glowing, glittering strings of lights and looks out of this world when lit up at night.
Along with the courthouse, the entire downtown Marshall is transformed into an enchanting holiday village full of lights, decorations, and the holiday spirit. Walk around the courthouse to enjoy the postcard perfect views from around the town square.
Stop for gifts at The Weisman. Enjoy a horse carriage ride around the town. Other Christmas activities in Marshall, Texas include ice skating, holiday train rides, Santa’s Village, a vintage carousel, and Christmas market. All of these attractions make Marshall one of the best places to visit in Texas during Christmas.
Christmas in Longview
Longview, Texas is one of the most underrated places to spend Christmas. This East Texas town enjoys mild temperatures in December. The city is decorated with lights and festive decorations – but that’s not your primary destination!
Located just outside of Longview, you will find one of the best, hidden Christmas attractions in Texas – Carmela’s Magical Santa Land Drive-Thru Holiday Lights. This is a gigantic, Texas-sized event that began as the efforts of a single woman for the whole community.
Even today the lights display remains private and free for all visitors. The lights grow bigger and fancier every year. Kids love seeing the enormous synchronized light show that spreads out over several acres.
Along with the drive thru area, the event also has a zone where you can park and explore on foot. This section has plenty of fun activities including photos with Santa, hot chocolate booths, kettlecorn, and a holiday market – the perfect East Texas Christmas Vacation.
Wimberley’s Twinkling Trail of Lights
Charming Wimberley is one of the best Texas Christmas towns to visit for its annual Trail of Lights holiday event. The event takes place at EmilyAnn Theater and Gardens. During the holiday season, the garden is transformed to a winter wonderland and the sparkling lights are everywhere. The best part is that this is a free event and fun to attend.
One of the highlights is the Ye Olde Yule Log which burns brightly in the center of the garden. This is great to gather around and enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows. The 6 acres of trails also have many other attractions including Santa Claus and live entertainment.
Wimberley’s commitment to supporting local businesses is evident during the Christmas season. Visitors can find one-of-a-kind gifts crafted by local artists, from handmade ornaments to beautifully crafted pottery at Wimberley market days. Wimberley makes an excellent winter day trip from Houston or Austin area and should be on your list during the holiday season.
Starry Oil Boom of Kilgore
Christmas Under the Stars is an annual event in Kilgore, Texas that celebrates the city’s oil heritage. The event features the city’s oil derricks decorated with lit up stars and Christmas lights, as well as a festive market and lights display.
Though the oil derricks are no longer the main source of Kilgore’s income, they remain an important part of the city’s identity. Christmas Under the Stars is a reminder of Kilgore’s rich history and heritage, and one of the unique Texas Christmas events.
Kilgore is one of the best places to go in Texas for Christmas for all proud Texans and those who like to go off the beaten path. Be sure to see the museums and explore downtown while you’re visiting Kilgore.
Johnson City’s Historic Christmas
Johnson City, in the Texas Hill Country, celebrates Christmas in a rather presidential manner. After all, it was the hometown of Lyndon B Johnson – America’s 36th President! The city’s rich history can be observed not just in its historic buildings and sites but also in its historic Christmas celebrations.
Here you will find a variety of traditional holiday events including a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, nativity scenes, horse-drawn carriage rides in downtown, hayrides that are a hit with families, Christmas parades, gorgeous holiday lights, and even Grinchmas!
The downtown festivities are a part of Lights Spectacular – a gorgeous Lone Star sized event that drapes the Blanco County Courthouse in a curtain of twinkling lights. The lights also shine all over Main Street, storefronts, and parks downtown.
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative Headquarters also has a fascinating light display in Johnson City called the PEC Lights. During the free event, you will see hundred of year old live oak trees shining under the light or a million strings. Don’t forget to take a camera and take family photos when visiting the Johnson City Christmas lights.
Visitors can also tour the Historic LBJ Ranch at night to see it decorated in magnificent lights. This was the childhood home of President Lyndon B Johnson and has varied attractions including a living history farm and hiking trails. Hands down, Johnson City is the best place to spend Christmas in Texas Hill Country because of its rich history.
North Pole in Brownsville
Do you want to visit the North Pole without leaving Texas? Stay warm and cozy while meeting Santa Claus? Visit the Holiday Village in the city of Brownsville, located south on the Texas Mexico border.
This Brownsville holiday event takes place in Dean Porter Park in the center of downtown. The traditional holiday village features several Christmas inspired cottages. You will find Santa’s Workshop, a bakery that bakes delicious gingerbread cookies, a general store, and even the North Pole Bank!
This walk-through attraction looks right out of the pages of a Christmas story book. But the best part? Holiday Village is completely free to visit! Kids love seeing the small colorful buildings and exploring the village.
The event also includes entertainment including Christmas caroling, live music concerts, and more fun. Brownsville’s location near the Gulf Coast, less than an hour away from South Padre Island, makes it possible to combine a beach vacation with holiday activities.
Tomball German Fest
In Tomball, Texas, Christmas is a time of festive celebration that bridges cultures and traditions. At the heart of this Texan town’s holiday celebration is the Tomball German Fest, a unique and beloved event that pays homage to the rich German history that has shaped the community. held in early December, is a beloved event that draws visitors from all over Texas.
The historic streets of Tomball are adorned with festive decorations, and the air is filled with the sounds of German carols and lively folk music. Visitors can enjoy authentic German food, including bratwurst and sauerkraut along with other fair foods like turkey legs.
One of the highlights of the Tomball German Fest is the artisan market. Local and regional craftsmen display their wares, offering unique gifts and holiday treasures. Visitors can browse handcrafted ornaments, wooden toys, intricate holiday decorations, and other one-of-a-kind items.
The Tomball German Fest offers entertainment for the whole family. Children can enjoy a variety of carnival rides, games, and face painting, while adults can try beer tastings and traditional polka dancing.
Pretty Marble Falls
Looking for more destinations to spend Christmas in Texas Hill Country? Plan a trip to the charming small town of Marble Falls, otherwise known for its bluebonnets.
The town is an exemplary example of the region’s scenic beauty. It is located on the banks of Lake Marble Falls and surrounded by the rolling hills, clear streams, and limestone topography of Central Texas.
Come Christmas season, Marble Falls comes alive with shimmering lights and charming decorations. The air is filled with the smell of fresh pine and country notes. The highlight of the holiday season is the Walkway of Lights in Lakeside Park on the shores of Lake Marble Falls.
This event is completely free and has plenty of activities including meeting Santa Claus at Santa’s Workshop. Wear your bright holiday sweaters, grab some hot cocoa, and marvel at this beautiful lights display in Central Texas while you enjoy a light stroll with your family.
The city does a fantastic job arranging the event every year. It also hosts several other events including a Christmas Market on Main Street, an ice skating rink, as well as a light up parade.
Texas Christmas Trips = Lots of Fun
This time of year, Texas cities and towns put on a Texas-sized holiday show that easily rivals that of America’s biggest cities including New York and Chicago. You can visit Santa Claus, sing a Christmas carol or two, walk through an enchanted forest and other themed light shows, listen to live music, and enjoy the holiday magic with your entire family in these Texas destinations.
In addition to the Christmas destinations mentioned above, you will find several other spots that vie for the honor of most festive places to visit in Texas for Christmas. As the state grows, new holiday attractions keep popping up every year while the older established ones continue impressing visitors.
Texas Christmas trips are our favorite ways to make memories with our kids and enjoy the festive season while focusing on family and values. These fantastic holiday destinations in the Lone Star State help get us in the Christmas spirit and leave behind the stresses of the past year as we get ready to enter a new one.
What are your favorite best places to go for Christmas in Texas? Which of these top Christmas towns do you like the most? Let us know in the comments.