Top 10 Christmas Towns in Texas to Light Up Your Holiday Season
This year, make your children’s holiday season spectacular with a visit to somewhere full of Christmas cheer—without leaving Texas. We may not always have real snow, but we have enough Santa's villlages and Christmas towns in Texas to celebrate in style.
Venture somewhere new and let your kids’ faces light up with the magical sights, tastes, and sounds of Christmas towns in Texas that go all-out to celebrate the season. Read on to find out more about the best Christmas towns in North, South, East, West, and Central Texas. These towns go all out to celebrate the season:the hardest part will be choosing the right one for your family.
For more holiday and Christmas ideas for kids, check out our Guide to Holiday and Christmas Activities for Houston Families.
Christmas Towns in North Texas
In Northwest Dallas, Grapevine is described as the Christmas capital of Texas, with 1,400 Christmas events in 40 days and millions of Christmas lights throughout the town. In the sparkling Christmas Village, hop on the North Pole Express, with cookies, milk, and a visit from Santa. Parades and other celebrations also take place. If you like to have holiday fun in one place with a hotel room handy for when kids need a break, consider an overnight at Grapevine’s Gaylord Texan Resort, which has holiday activities, shows, snow tubing, and ice skating.
Welcome to the Christmas Capital of Texas - photo courtesy of Grapevine Christmas Village, Facebook
If you like rockin’ around the Christmas tree, then take a trip to Buddy Holly’s birthplace, Lubbock. Adventure Park sparkles with over 50,000 Christmas lights and has golf and rope courses to keep the kids entertained. Visits in the park with Santa include a slice of pizza and a s’mores kit. Another local festive attraction that has been running for over sixty years is Santa Land in Mackenzie Park. This winter village is free and hosts Santa and live entertainment. You can grab a hot chocolate and admire the huge Christmas tree and animated displays.
Christmas Towns in East Texas
If your kids are fans of watching Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, they’ll love a trip to Palestine to visit him as part of the Grinch’s Lair attraction.
Photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad's Polar Express.
Of course, you will want to combine this with a ride on the Texas State Railroad’s Polar Express. This historic steam train takes a magical trip to the North Pole where you can meet Santa and enjoy carol singing. Every child received a special gift and hot cocoa. The city also offers Old Town Carriage Rides through the city’s holiday lighting.
Check out some more great venues near Houston where you can ride a festive train.
This beautiful historic town will put the whole family in the holiday spirit. You can ride through the streets in decorated horse-drawn carriages. Take a trip on an antique gas-powered locomotive on the Historic Jefferson Railway – this special Christmas Express Train chuffs along the Big Cypress Bayou River while telling the story of Christmas.
The Enchanted Forest, photo courtesy of the Lions Club of Jefferson Texas.
The Enchanted Forest has 115 decorated and lighted Christmas trees that you can stroll through for no charge. If your kids are interested in history and like to walk – or if you just want to drag them along on something for Mom and Dad – Jefferson also hosts a famous Candlelight Tour of historic homes on selected dates in December.
Christmas Towns in West Texas
Celebrate Christmas in true Tex-Mex style with a trip out west to El Paso. Downtown El Paso’s WinterFest has all the key festive ingredients of lights, food, holiday shopping, festivities, and an outdoor ice-skating rink. Stop by the tamales and King’s cake vendors and stroll around San Jacinto Plaza with over 400,000 lights. El Paso is also home to the nation's oldest collegiate holiday football tournament on New Year’s Eve, including a fan fiesta with activities for kids like face painting, balloon animals, and a fireworks display. This game day has been taking place for over 80 years and will have everyone cheering on the holiday fun!
Christmas Towns in South Texas
Do you want to include some beach time with your Christmas activities? Look no further than Galveston, which allows you to enjoy the lapping of the ocean with other fantastic holiday events. Unsurprisingly, Moody Gardens is a major focus for holiday joy. The Festival of Lights is a mile-long holiday light display with festive music and views over Galveston Bay. Food and drink are on the route, as well as Star: The Dancing Tree of Light – an impressive digital dancing tree. Your kids will love sliding down the arctic slide, and when your kiddos start to tire, chill out watching a 3D holiday film on the most giant screen in Texas.
Hidalgo hosts one of the largest Festival of Lights in Texas. You can view a jaw-dropping 5 million lights from your own car while your radio plays the accompanying soundtrack. The display includes enchanting scenes on a range of themes such as dinosaurs, animals, Candyland, and Toyland.
Gateway to the Festival of Lights, 2020 - photo courtesy of the Festival of Lights event page, Facebook
Christmas Towns in Central Texas
Southern Living described Fredricksburg as the “Best Small Town for Christmas in the South.” If you’ve ever been to Germany in the holiday season, you’ll know they go all out with their Christmas markets and celebrations. Nowadays, towns in many countries host celebrations based on these traditions. Fredericksburg has drawn on its German heritage to create a unique celebration – one impressive sight is the 26-feet-tall German Christmas Pyramid. A Christmas Parade, pictures with Santa, and outdoor ice skating are other great holiday attractions.
With a 45-foot downtown Christmas tree, Austin knows how to make the holiday season come alive. Austin has three great light attractions. If you like a drive-thru light attraction, there are two impressive options. Firstly, head to the Annual Trail of Lights will be taking place in Zilker Park. Then, check out Peppermint Parkway – a magical one-mile driving attraction with holiday lights and music at the impressive Circuit of the Americas. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617. If you prefer a walk-through attraction, head to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where your kids can hop, skip, and jump through nightly illuminations.
If you like to see a Christmas show, visit Ballet Austin, which hosts The Nutcracker every year. The Austin Symphony Orchestra accompanies the beautiful ballet.
Peppermint Parkway in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Peppermint Parkway's event page on Facebook.
Santa’s Wonderland near College Station is a fun trip with enough Christmas activities to make the whole family feel festive. You will guarantee to wear the kids out with the jumping pillows and light maze, and there is a gorgeous petting zoo. New for 2021 is a hayride through the illuminations. They also have an enormous Texas flag made of lights that makes a great family photo.
College Station itself is also full of festive activities, including great lighting displays and a Christmas market.
Photo courtesy of Santa's Wonderland at College Station - Facebook
Read more about Santa’s Wonderland at College Station and other great Christmas towns and villages in our Christmas Towns around the US