A constellation of enchanting holiday light displays glitter across the Lone Star State each Christmas. Here are the brightest and best.
Victorian vintage appeal attends the celebration on historic Galveston Island. Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights involves over 100 different light and sound installations. The island also shines a light on Christmases past through its Dickens on the Strand festival, which features 19th-century oil lamps and carolers in Victorian costume.
Check out the Trail of Lights Festival in Wimberley, a smaller-scale alternative to big-city light shows. The festivities kick off in November with an inaugural tree lighting event, which opens an illuminated trail across six acres. Blue Hole Park is also aglow with thousands of appropriately aqua lights, and local choirs fill the chilled air with heartwarming carols on evenings.
Just outside Dallas, Prairie Lights Festival presents a two-mile drive and walking trail that winds through increasingly impressive light displays. The culmination of your journey is a laser show and holiday village, complete with all sorts of festive food and entertainment. Don't forget to enroll in one of the gingerbread house–making workshops.
The Wonderland of Lights Extravaganza has been running for around 30 years. Watch as the town is transformed into a twinkling wonderland of winter delight. Special events include the Jingle Bell Run, the carol-backed community Walk to Bethlehem, and the lighted Christmas parade.
Spectacular ice sculptures, authentic Bavarian Christmas celebrations and interactive holiday workshops are a few of the treats in store for children on vacation in Texas during the festive season.
Called the "Christmas Capital of Texas" for good reason, Grapevine is host to some 1,400 holiday-themed attractions in the festive season. Climb aboard the North Pole Express at the city's Vintage Railroad for unforgettable family fun. Rousing choruses of Christmas songs fill the air before your arrival at Santa Claus's house in a snow-laden forest. Experience an indoor snowstorm and light show at Snowland, and marvel at the ICE display at Gaylord Texan Resort, a spectacle featuring more than 2 million pounds of ice sculptures.
Celebrate Christmas and cultural diversity simultaneously at Fredericksburg. The town's German heritage lends the celebrations character. Come and watch the lighting of the German Christmas Pyramid and Christmas tree, which is located opposite the town's charming German church in Marktplatz. Live music provides the backing for gliding on the outdoor skating rink and the consumption of free cookies.
Children will be enthralled by the sight of thousands of sparkling lights reflecting in the San Marcos River. They can enjoy seasonal games and rides by the river, and visit Santa's workshop, where they'll learn to make their own Christmas gifts. Live music adds to the holiday atmosphere in this friendly city.
Cozy up to your partner in these romantic destinations this Christmas. Glide around Austin's skating rink, watch a festive parade, or take part in a traditional wassail walk.
With its internationally renowned music scene, Austin attracts lovebirds year round. It's especially atmospheric at Christmastime, when an ice skating rink atop a Whole Foods Market lends a romantic ambiance to the city's historic downtown. Pore over the eclectic array of artisanal Christmas gifts for sale at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, an event that encapsulates the spirit of this rightfully famous city.
For an innovative spin on the holiday season, come to San Antonio. Christmas-themed hot tamales bespeak the cultural diversity of this festive city. Celebrations involve a special holiday parade featuring hundreds of floats and a glittering display of riverside Christmas lights. Embrace local tradition and design your own Christmas tamalada. The city's cultural heritage is also reflected in the nativity scenes that spring up in its historic downtown area.
If a cozy Christmas is what you're after, Jefferson is your destination. A candlelit tour of the city joins a cockle-warming wassail walk – Christmas celebrations here are sure to stand out from others you might discover across the state.