Wednesday, November 27, 2013
15 bright and merry places in DFW to see Christmas lights
These family-friendly events will turn you aglow with holiday spirit.
Put on your hat and gloves, fill that Thermos with cocoa and pack some cookies. It’s time to take in all things twinkly. We’ve rounded up some top area light displays to help you plan a perfectly merry and bright outing. For menorah lightings, click here.
Christmas in the Square: More than 175,000 lights blink in a free show set to holiday music in this Frisco celebration. You can hear the tunes on your car’s radio, a big plus if it’s chilly. There’ll also be an outdoor ice rink throughout the run of the light display, as well as carriage rides on select nights. A special event on Dec. 21 will feature a parachuting Santa, a three-lane snow slide, visits with St. Nick and more.
The light show runs nightly Nov. 29-Jan. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Frisco Square, Main Street and Coleman Boulevard, Frisco. The light show is free. For a schedule, visit friscosquare.com/cits.
Ice rink: Open Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays noon to 10 p.m. (Closed Christmas Day and during inclement weather.) $10.
Carriage rides: Thursdays through Sundays during light-display hours. $6.
Galleria Dallas (free!): The mall is home to what’s billed as America’s tallest indoor Christmas tree, sparkling with nearly a quarter of a million lights and more than 10,000 ornaments. The tree’s daily Illumination Celebration light shows are set to music. On select dates, skating Santa Missile Toes will shoot sparks from his skates and do some back-flips in free ice shows that also feature Olympic, world and national champions at Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center in the mall’s Center Court.
13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas. Free. 972-392-3363. galleriadallas.com.
Illumination Celebration: Nov. 29-Dec. 24, daily at noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. (no 8 p.m. shows on Sundays).
Ice shows: Nov. 29 at noon; Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, 14 and 21 at 6 p.m. The performances feature Missile Toes, Olympic skaters, nationally ranked skaters, local kids and the lighting of the tree.
The Gift of Lights & Snow: The attraction, which features 2 million LED lights in 600 holiday displays that you can drive through at Texas Motor Speedway, has added snow this year. Expect a Snow Village with a tubing hill, snow castles, a snowball gallery, a play area and visits with Santa.
Continues through Jan. 5 (hours vary) at 3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth. Lights-only admission is $15-$20 per car; admission to only the evening Snow Village is $12 per person (evening Snow Village admission includes one 30-minute snow-tubing session per person, as well as snow play, the snowball gallery and Santa). Combo packages are available, and the Snow Village is also open during the day on select dates; check the website for pricing and hours. giftoflightstms.com.
Light Show Spectacular (free!): There’s a nightly light show choreographed to music at the Town Square Gazebo in charming downtown Grapevine. The city, which calls itself the Christmas Capital of Texas, has tons of holiday activities scheduled, such as the North Pole Express train ride for kids (reserve a ride on select dates Nov. 29- Dec. 23) and Christmas on Main with seasonal characters and tractor-drawn wagon rides (weekends Nov. 29-Dec. 22).
The light show continues nightly through Jan. 5 from 6 to 11 p.m. at 325 S. Main St., Grapevine. Free. For a schedule and more details on Grapevine events, go to grapevinetexasusa.com/christmas.
Lone Star Christmas: The Gaylord Texan Resort’s 4.5 acres of indoor gardens under glass have been transformed into a winter wonderland featuring 1.5 million lights, 350 lighted trees including a 54-foot Christmas tree, 12,000 ornaments, 5,600 feet of garland, a 7-foot-tall gingerbread house, zippy miniature train sets, 25-foot toy soldiers and more. Holiday entertainers will include St. Nick along with toy-soldier stilt walkers, a musician portraying the Little Drummer Boy and others. The celebration also include the ever-popular “Ice!” exhibit, this year depicting the story of The Nutcracker using some 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice; an eight-lane snow-tubing hill; gingerbread decorating; a new 5-D “mini-movie” experience; and holiday lights.
Through Jan. 4 at the Gaylord Texan Resort, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine. Free admission to Lone Star Christmas to see the trees, lights and decorations and enjoy strolling performers. Lone Star Christmas hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. See below for pricing and hours for special exhibits and activities. For all attractions: 817-778-1000. christmasatgaylordtexan.com.
“Ice!”: Hours are the same as for Lone Star Christmas (see above). $21.95-$29.95 for adults, $19.95-$26.95 for seniors and active or retired military (military rate available only at box office with valid military ID), $11.95-$16.95 for children 4-12, free for children under 4.
Gingerbread decorating: Mondays through Thursdays from 1 to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays noon to 9 p.m. $29.95-$68.95 depending on gingerbread kit chosen.
5-D Interactive Movie Trio: Screenings during Lone Star Christmas hours (see above). $19.95 per person.
Prairie Lights: More than 4 million lights twinkle in this drive-through holiday attraction, presented by Gexa Energy. You can also hop out at the Holiday Village, check out a walk-through area and see a light show.
Continues through Jan. 5
Dec. 31 at Lynn Creek Park, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie. Hours: Most Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays 6 to 9 p.m. (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve 6 to 10 p.m.). $20-$30 per car; light show and walk-through cost extra. 972-237-4569. prairielights.org.
Sparkle: The Hilton Anatole will add some star power to its holiday jubilee lighting ceremony on Dec. 4 with the help of former Dallas Stars player Mike Modano and Kidd Kraddick in the Morning’s Kellie Rasberry. Sparkle is part of the hotel’s annual Christmas at the Anatole celebration, and it opens Nov. 29 and continues through Jan. 4 in the hotel’s sculpture park. Sparkle features an outdoor skating rink, 1 million lights and live nightly musical performances. On select dates, there’ll also be children’s activities, visits from animals of the Dallas Zoo, Date Night-Skate Night with a DJ, and hockey clinics for kids, among other attractions. A portion of the proceeds from Sparkle will benefit the Mike Modano Foundation.
The official Sparkle lighting ceremony is Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the hotel’s sculpture park is $9 for ages 18 and older, $7 for ages 7-17, free for ages 6 and under. Skate rental is $6 per person per hour. christmasattheanatole.com.
Vitruvian Lights (free!): Addison Mayor Todd Meier will launch the official opening of Vitruvian Lights at a lighting ceremony on Nov. 29, starting several weeks of twinkling holiday fun at Vitruvian Park. The display lets visitors stroll through the park and see millions of lights on the trees. On opening night, enjoy live music by crooner Ricki Derek, shopping in the Holiday Shopping Village, balloon animals, photos with Santa and other holiday characters, an appearance by staffers “Kiss FM” KHKS-FM (106.1), and local food trucks. There’ll also be other special events Dec. 7, 14 and 21.
Opening-night activities are Nov. 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Vitruvian Park, 3850 Vitruvian Way, Addison (west of Midway at Spring Valley). Free to attend. The Vitruvian Lights display continues nightly through Jan. 1 from 6 to 10. Visits with Santa and other holiday characters, as well as performances, will also be offered Dec. 7 with Inside Out; Dec. 14 with the Dallas String Quartet; and Dec. 21 with the Chris Rivers Band. Free admission. vitruvianlights.com.
Watters Creek Celebration of Lights (free!): The new three-minute shows feature more than 145,000 lights synchronized to music and include a large sleigh pulled by eight reindeer launching into the air over the creek.
Light shows will continue through Dec. 31, every Monday through Saturday on the half-hour from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., at Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm, 970 Garden Park Drive, Allen. Free. 972-747-8000. watterscreek.com.
Deerfield (free!): This Plano neighborhood display is traditionally one of Collin County’s biggest. Expect plenty of cheerful snowmen, merry Santas, romping reindeer, twinkly trees and more. The neighborhood covers a large area north of Legacy Drive between Preston and Coit roads. Visitors should enter from Legacy on Colonnade or Archgate drives and obey the signs in the neighborhood. Free to view. There’s a map on the homeowners’ association website. deerfieldplano.org.
Highland Park (free!): The mansions themselves are sights to behold. In the vicinity of Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road, sprawling homes stand majestically on endless lawns. Expect them to be glittering for the holidays with classic light decorations. Check out the area south of Preston and Mockingbird for more light displays.
Interlochen (free!): This Arlington neighborhood has gained legendary status with its gazillions of lights and decorations. Police will direct traffic as Christmas draws closer. (Be prepared: There tends to be a lot of traffic close to the holiday.) The neighborhood is in the area around Westwood Drive at Randol Mill Road.
Chesapeake Energy Parade of Lights (free!): Brighten up your holiday fun at this annual procession featuring nearly 100 illuminated floats in downtown Fort Worth. Marching bands, antique cars, horse-drawn carriages and strolling carolers will also be part of the event along the 11/2-mile parade route, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will grace the final float. Other activities throughout the day will include a Holiday Fun Zone with entertainment and arts and crafts during the afternoon, Cowboy Santas collecting toy donations for underprivileged children, and a showing of the holiday film How the Grinch Stole Christmas in General Worth Square later that evening.
Nov. 29 in downtown Fort Worth. The Holiday Fun Zone is open from 2 to 6 p.m. in General Worth Square, on Main Street between Eighth and Ninth streets. The Parade of Lights begins at 6 p.m. at Throckmorton and Belknap streets. The showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is at
8 p.m. in General Worth Square. All activities are free to attend. (Reserved street seats for the parade are available online, beginning at $9.50.) A free shuttle will operate from 2 to 10 p.m. between the parade area and Farrington Field (at University and Lancaster avenues). fortworthparadeoflights.org.
Grapevine Parade of Lights (free!): Catch more than 100 lighted floats, as well as marching bands, in this parade along Main Street in Grapevine. Be sure to watch until the end of the parade if you want to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus on his float.
Dec. 5 at 7 p.m., on Main Street between Hanover and Wall, in downtown Grapevine. Free for spectators. grapevinetexasusa.com /christmas.
Twinkle Light Boat Parade (free!): Pick a spot on the shores of Grapevine Lake to watch the annual illuminated boat parade, which will begin at Twin Coves Marina on the lake’s west end and will be joined by more lighted entries as it makes its way around the lake. The parade is visible from the lake’s shores and Glass Cactus Nightclub at the Gaylord Texan (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine).
Of course, we’re not able to list every light display here. Do you have a favorite? Email email@example.com to let us know.