9 dazzling holiday displays and events happening in Texas this year – Houston Chronicle

Houston is home to ample holiday festivities. There’s Lightscape at the Houston Botanic Gardens, the Texas Winter Lights at the Marriott Marquis downtown, City Lights at Avenida Houston and Discovery Green, Deck the Trees at the Alley Theatre, Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo, Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston, and countless self-guided tours through illuminated neighborhoods including River Oaks, the Heights, Tanglewood and more.

But if you’re up for a road trip, pack up the car and take your family to one of these nine holiday events and displays in Texas.


College Station: Santa’s Wonderland (pictured above) 

Santa’s Wonderland spans 130 acres and includes a Christmas village full of light tunnels and mazes; the Trail of Lights that can be experienced via hayride or horse carriage; mechanical bull rides; train rides; a petting zoo; and food, local beer and wine vendors throughout the park. It’s open nightly through Dec. 30. Fun fact: As part of a push to be more green, Santa’s Wonderland uses LED lights, which use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs.


The German-made Christmas Pyramid and a traditional Christmas tree share space in Fredericksburg’s Marktplatz on Main Street.

Terry Scott Bertling / San Antonio Express-News

Fredericksburg: Christmas Nights of Lights

Fredericksburg leans into its German heritage over the holidays. There’s a German Christmas pyramid as well as a 30-foot Christmas tree. And a story about the town’s German past is included in the Christmas Nights of Lights, complemented by holiday carols and a countdown to the lighting of the Marktplatz. The event takes place nightly at 6 p.m. from Nov. 23 to Jan. 6.


Moody Gardens’ Festival of Lights runs from Nov. 20 to Jan. 2.

Submitted photo

Galveston: Moody Gardens’ Festival of Lights, Victorian Christmas Homes and more

There’s nothing quite like Christmas at the beach, and Galveston has no shortage of holiday activities. The Polar Express Train Ride, which runs through Dec. 23, is an immersive experience set to the soundtrack of “The Polar Express” on vintage locomotives from the Galveston Railroad Museum’s collection. Until Jan. 2, visitors can walk through the mile-long Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. Dickens on The Strand transforms Galveston’s historic downtown into Victorian London Dec. 3 though 5. Visitors can enjoy more of the city’s Victorian architecture on the East End Historical District’s Victorian Christmas Homes Tour on Dec. 3. Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar, will be open until Dec. 29 at Daiquiri Time Out. On Dec. 19, the Santa Hustle brings more than 5,000 runners in Santa attire on a communal, jolly jog.


Grapevine lays claim to the title of the “Christmas Capital of Texas.”

www.grapevinetexasusa.com / www.grapevinetexasusa.com

Grapevine: Gaylord Texan Resort’s Lone Star Christmas and more

They take the holidays seriously in Grapevine, the official Christmas Capital of Texas. For 40 days starting in early November, the town hosts more than 1,400 events. The North Pole Express Christmas Village runs through Dec. 23 (including the North Pole Express train). Until Jan. 2, Gaylord Texan Resort’s Lone Star Christmas will have several light shows, a miniature train, an indoor skating rink, a snow-tubing hill, a “Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf” game and many more family-friendly activities. On Dec. 2 from 7 to 9 p.m., more than 100 Christmas floats and marching bands will parade down Main Street for the Parade of Lights. Other events include the Willhoite’s Silent Auction & Toy Drive (Dec. 1) and the Elves on the Run 5K at Oak Grove Park (Dec. 4).


Marble Falls Walkway of Lights mesmerizes thousands of visitors with 2 million twinkling lights arranged on more than 350 individual sculptures.

Austin American-Statesman / Austin American-Statesman

Marble Falls: Walkway of Lights 

Marble Falls is hosting 44 nights of holiday events this year. The signature affair is Walkway of Lights, which features 350 illuminated sculptures and more than 2 million lights. There will also be ice skating in Lakeside Park ($10 in advance, $12 day-of, including skate rentals). Both events run through Jan. 1. Other events include Breakfast with Santa, Christmas Market on Main, Downtown Sip N’ Shops and more.


Moses parts the Red Sea in the Biblical scene at Santa’s Ranch, a drive-through Christmas attraction on Interstate 35 north of New Braunfels

Terry Scott Bertling / San Antonio Express-News / Terry Scott Bertling / San Antonio Express-News

New Braunfels: Santa’s Ranch and Wassailfest

More than 1.5 million custom-made lights illuminate Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels through Jan. 5. Ticket-holders ($35 per vehicle, $70 season pass) also have access to the concession stands, which include kettle corn, roasted pecans and hot cocoa. On Dec. 2, the annual Wassailfest will close streets downtown and make way for a variety of festive activities, treats (including wassail, a mulled cider) and shopping, as well as a free street concert by country music singer Wade Bowen.


The Starbright Village had opening ceremony kickoff Thursday night at McKinney Park. 11/29/2018 Jacy Lewis/191 News

Jacy Lewis/191 News

Odessa: Starbright Village

Starbright Village is on the whole month of December at McKinney Park in Odessa. It’s the largest light display in the Permian Basin, with more than 300,000 lights and holiday-themed displays throughout the park, available to walk through or via drive-thru. The celebration kicks off Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, featuring local school choir performances.


South Padre’s Holiday Light Show synchronizes festive lights and holiday music every 15 minutes.

South Padre Island

South Padre Island: Lights Over South Padre

Through Jan. 16 at the South Padre Island Convention Center, the Holiday Light Show synchronizes festive lights and holiday music every 15 minutes, from 6 to 9 p.m. every day. The tree lighting ceremony will take place Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. at South Padre Island City Hall. On Dec. 3 starting at 6 p.m., floats will travel from Mars to Kingfish streets for the Christmas Street Parade. On Dec. 4, the Lighted Boat Parade will begin at 6 p.m. at Sea Ranch Marina.


The annual Christmas at the Silos brings a winter wonderland to Magnolia Market in Waco.

Magnolia Market

Waco: Magnolia Market’s Christmas at the Silos

Chip and Joanna Gaines, of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame, made Waco a destination when they opened Magnolia Market in 2015. Their annual Christmas at the Silos event brings a winter wonderland to Magnolia. From Nov. 26 to Dec. 23, the grounds will feature a Christmas tree, twinkling lights and (fake) snow. Santa will be available to take photos on the patio and Mrs. Claus will read classic Christmas tales at the Old Church.

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Source: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/lifestyle/article/9-dazzling-holiday-displays-and-events-happening-16641749.php

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