The Best Dallas Christmas Events for Families in 2019

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Christmas is coming to the Big D in a big way! There are many Christmas activities in Dallas, and local hotels go all out with great holiday packages. It’s easy to take a quick getaway or a special stay-cay for Christmas in Dallas.

Whether you prefer a fancy breakfast with Santa, or seeing the light displays at the Dallas Zoo, there is something to warm every family’s heart. Sugarplums and candy canes and gingerbread houses, oh my! Usher in the holiday season any way you like, just don’t miss out on the best Dallas Christmas events this year. 

Dallas Christmas Events

Christmas Parades and Tree Lightings

Christmas Events in Dallas include tee lightings
Main Street Garden | Photo by VisitDallas

The 32nd annual Dallas Holiday Parade takes place on Commerce Avenue in downtown Dallas on the morning of December 7th. Ring in the season with a jingle bell and a drum beat as you watch festive floats roll down the street.

The full parade lasts about 2 hours, but don’t worry, there will be food trucks at Belo Garden and Main Street Garden for lunch after the parade. For a spot on the street, there is no charge and you are allowed to bring your own chairs. However, ticketed stadium seats are also available for purchase.

Two tree lighting events downtown provide double the chance that you get to see the big Christmas tree reveal live and in person. Deck the Plaza takes place at City Hall Plaza on December 6th. The Holiday Show & Tree Lighting at Klyde Warren Park happens the next night, December 7th. Expect a full day of family-friendly activities at Klyde Warren Park because the fun starts at 2pm. 

The Dallas Arboretum 

Christmas Events at the Dallas Arboretum
Dallas Arboretum | Photo by Flickr/Scutter

The Dallas Arboretum is truly a one-stop holiday shop full of festive cheer, exquisite decorations, shopping, delicious treats, and kid-friendly fun. The incredibly beautiful Holiday at the Arboretum runs from November 9 – December 31st. The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit features dynamic dioramas inspired by scenes from A Christmas Carol housed inside Victorian gazebos.

Of course, thousands of Christmas lights will be sparkling throughout the property as well. New this year is The Pauline and Austin Neuhauff Family Christmas Village. It is a European-inspired Christmas market that is open daily from November 29 – December 31st. 

Let the kids run around at the Holiday Hunt for Santa’s Helpers in the Children’s Adventure Garden on weekends in December. Want to add a delicious twist to your visit? A Tasteful Place holds a Holiday Brunch and the DeGolyer Restaurant holds a Holiday Tea on the weekends in December as well.

For travel to Dallas any time of year, here is our list of Top Things to Do in Dallas with Kids.

Christmas Events at the Dallas Zoo

Christmas Events in Dallas
The Dallas Zoo | Photo by Flickr/Dylan H.

The Dallas Zoo is a kid-favorite venue year round, but it turns up a notch to the celebrate the holiday season. Zoo Lights is open on select nights November 16th – January 1st. Stroll the zoo and enjoy unique lantern displays shaped like your favorite zoo animals throughout Zoo North.

Walk away with a collection of perfect family photos. There are noteworthy opportunities for photos with the Texas Star, the Heart of Christmas, a Christmas sleigh, and of course, the big guy himself, Santa! Grab some hot chocolate, enjoy the carols, and get into the Christmas spirit at the Dallas Zoo this holiday season.

Looking for more Christmas events nearby? Grapevine, The Christmas Capital of Texas, is less than an hour away. Check out Your Guide to the Christmas Capital of Texas which includes memorable experiences at the Gaylord Texan.

Special Meet & Greets with Santa 

Christmas Events in Dallas
Peppermint Park at the Hilton Anatole | Photo by Marty Perlman/Hilton Anatole

Throughout November and December, the American Girl Store in the Dallas Galleria hosts several different Christmas events. Register early as these events frequently sell out. Take your favorite American Girl Doll fanatic to enjoy holiday cookie decorating, gingerbread cookie house decorating, or a holiday tea with crafting activities. Santa will be in the store on December 1st and 15th for a special family brunch, including time with Santa for wishes and photos. 

Don’t miss Missile Toes, Dallas Galleria’s famous ice skating Santa, at the Galleria’s indoor ice skating rink. He’ll light up the centerpiece of the rink, the country’s tallest indoor Christmas tree, in spectacular fashion. The skate show featuring Missile Toes takes place on Saturday evenings and the rink is open to the public for skating daily.

Santa sits for photos with the kids on the GeO-Deck at Reunion Tower every weekend in December. Admission includes sweet treats and time to share your Christmas list with Santa. Reunion tower offers panoramic views of downtown Dallas from 50 stories high, complete with telescopes from the outdoor GeO-Deck. 

Hotel Offerings

The Hilton Anatole grounds magically turn into Peppermint Park for one night only in December. Treat your little ones to a fun-filled winter wonderland. There will be shows, shops, games, a petting zoo, and so much more. Of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there presiding over all of the festivities with plenty of good cheer. The hotel offers two packages to turn this event into a holiday getaway, Breakfast with Santa and the VIP Holiday Experience

The Fairmont Dallas hosts a Tea with Santa, a Sugar Plum Fairy Tea, and a Christmas Day Brunch. Tea with Santa includes a large brunch spread topped off with decorate-your-own cookies and a keepsake photo with Santa.

Christmas in Dallas: Holiday Shows

Winspear Opera House
Winspear Opera House | Photo by Timothy Hursley

There’s something magical about getting a little bit dressed up and heading out for a night at the theater with the family. Especially if it becomes an annual tradition that the family eagerly anticipates every holiday season. If the traditional route speaks to your family, the Dallas Theater Center presents a lovely production A Christmas Carol, while the Texas Ballet Theater has perfected their production of the The Nutcracker.

If your little ones aren’t quite ready for those big hitters, there are two easier to swallow options. The first is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Show at the Dallas Children’s Theater. It’s a mashup of several of Eric Carle’s greatest stories, brought to life with puppets and animals. Don’t worry – kids are meant to be kids at this holiday show, so bring even your squirmiest bunch.

Alternately, how about coming nose-to-nose with the abominable snowman? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical shows at the Winspear Opera House for one night only on December 15th. It’s a stage production based on the animated TV classic. The Dallas Marriott Downtown offers a package that bundles show tickets with a one night stay filled with holiday magic. They are showing The Polar Express, treating the kids to popcorn and Christmas sweets, AND bringing in Santa all the way from the North Pole to read stories and sit for photos. 

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

About the author

Tarlie Harris is one of Trekaroo's Travel Experts. She is always planning her family's next trip and writing about the last one. She currently lives in Austin, TX where she enjoys hiking the greenbelt, swimming in Barton Springs, and catching shows at The Mohawk. She was raised in the deep south, spending many summers on the Florida Panhandle. While she is very accustomed to wide open green space and swimming pools these days, the memories from her decade in New York City are never far from her heart.