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Ashley Landis

Brighten your holiday spirit

Profile image for By Ann Pinson
By Ann Pinson

Find where to trek for area’s brightest lights

Put on your hat and gloves, fill that thermos with cocoa and pack some cookies (but prepare to strip some of it off, as temperatures are mild). It’s time to take in all things twinkly. We’ve rounded up some top Dallas-Fort Worth light displays to help you plan a perfectly merry and bright outing. For the neighborhood displays, note that it’s early in the season and things might get sparklier as Christmas draws near.

Neighborhood displays


This Plano neighborhood display is traditionally one of Collin County’s biggest, with merry penguins, glittering gift boxes and plenty of Santas. Times that lights will usually be on are Dec. 1-30 from 7 to 11 p.m. The neighborhood covers a large area north of Legacy Drive between Preston and Coit roads.

Visitors should obey the signs in the neighborhood. To make a reservation for a carriage ride through the neighborhood in December, go to Free to view. There’s a map of the recommended driving route on the homeowners’ association website,


Highland Park

The mansions themselves are sights to behold. In the vicinity of Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road, sprawling homes stand majestically on endless lawns (there’s also a particularly awesome big pecan tree there that’s covered in lights). Expect them to be glittering for the holidays with classic light decorations. Check out the area south of Preston and Mockingbird Lane for more light displays. Several companies offer carriage rides.



The Griswold Award is just one of the prizes handed out to residents of this Arlington neighborhood, which has gained legendary status for its lights and decorations. More than 200 homes usually participate. It has official hours and police will direct traffic Dec. 16-25 from 7 to 11 p.m. (There tends to be tons of traffic near the holiday.) The neighborhood’s drive-through entrance point is at Westwood Drive and Randol Mill Road.


Lights & more

Texas Motor Speedway

Gift of Lights

The attraction features 2 million LED lights in 600 holiday displays that you can drive through at Texas Motor Speedway. There’s a new Santa’s Village for photos, refreshments and more. Get a $5 discount if you donate a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots at the gate.

Through Dec. 30, nightly from 6 to 10, at 3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth. $25 per car.


Lone Star Christmas

The “Ice!” exhibit features 2 million pounds of the cold stuff carved into festive holiday scenes at the Gaylord Texan as part of the hotel’s Lone Star Christmas celebration, which runs through Jan. 1. This time around, the exhibit’s theme is “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.”

It also features ice slides, as well as the On the Blocks Ice Bar, an optional $15 add-on for those 21 and up at select times. If you’re looking for things with no additional cost, the resort’s 4.5 acres of indoor gardens feature 2 million holiday lights, miniature trains, a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree and other decorations. If you’re willing to shell out some extra money, consider the 12-lane snow tubing hill, a new 6,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink, Santa’s Snowball Throwing Workshop, the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, the Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt and Milk & Cookies With Mrs. Claus.

“Ice!” continues through Jan. 1 in Longhorn Exhibit Hall B at the Gaylord Texan, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine. Tickets are timed and ticket prices vary by date (for example, peak times cost more); check the website for a schedule. Tickets are $21.99-$32.99 for adults; $12.99-$19.99 for children 4-12; $19.99-$26.99 for seniors 55 and older; free for children 3 and younger. (Viewing the Lone Star Christmas decorations is free.) When you purchase tickets to any of the events, you get a coupon for discounted $15 self-parking.


Holiday in the Park

See millions of twinkling lights wrapped around trees and along rooftops, take a slide down the snow-sledding hill, warm yourself by fire pits, decorate holiday cookies and enter Santa’s Workshop, where you can meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves. It’s all happening at the annual Six Flags Over Texas festivities. There’ll also be seasonal performances, a Fa-La-La-La Light Show, journeys on the Santaland Express and, oh yes, lots of other rides.

Through Jan. 2 at 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington. At the gate, tickets are $72.99, $57.99 for kids under 48 inches. Discounts available on the website. 817-640-8900.


Prairie Lights

More than 4 million lights twinkle in this drive-through holiday attraction. Visitors can hop out at the Holiday Village, check out a walk-through area and see a laser show.

Through Jan. 1 at Lynn Creek Park, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie. $25-$35 per car; light show and walk-through cost extra. 972-237-4569.


Grapevine attractions

More than 1 million lights are featured in the nightly Magic of Christmas Light Show choreographed to music in charming downtown Grapevine. The city, which calls itself the Christmas Capital of Texas, has tons of holiday performances and activities scheduled, such as the North Pole Express train ride for kids (reserve a ride on select dates through Dec. 23; reservations recommended); and Christmas on Main, with seasonal photo ops and tractor-drawn wagon rides (weekends through Dec. 18). See illuminated floats and marching bands in the Parade of Lights on Dec. 1, as well as lighted boats in the Dec. 3 Twinkle Light Boat Parade. Also, you can experience Christmas like Grapevine pioneers at the “Hometown Holiday” exhibit at Settlement to City Museums (208 W. Hudgins St.) with Victorian-era crafts, activities and more through Dec. 31.

The light show runs through Jan. 8, nightly from 6 to 11, at Main Street and Dallas Road, Grapevine. Free. For a schedule and more details on Grapevine events, go to


Galleria Dallas

The mall is home to what’s billed as America’s tallest indoor Christmas tree, sparkling with nearly half a million lights and more than 10,000 ornaments. Santa is available for photos and wish lists, and an “I Am Thankful For” exhibit of works by children and young adults is also open. The tree’s daily Illumination Celebration light shows are set to music. On Macy’s Grand Tree Lighting dates, skating Santa Missile Toes will shoot sparks from his skates and do some back flips in free ice shows that also feature Olympic and national champions at Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center in the mall’s Center Court. Other attractions include Operation Kindness pet adoptions, holiday performances and menorah lightings.

The mall is at 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas. Illumination Celebrations are through Dec. 24, daily at noon and 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Macy’s Grand Tree Lightings are Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. (with Johnny Weir), Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. (with Richard Dornbush) and Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. (with Ryan Bradley). Free. For a detailed schedule of Galleria events, go to


Christmas Tour of Lights

Follow the candy-cane signs as you take this evening drive through Farmers Branch, illuminated with more than 500,000 twinkling lights and holiday decorations.

The route begins at Interstate 35E at Valley View Lane and continues to the Farmers Branch Historical Park, where you’ll find Santa Claus and a light show nightly (the park portion of the show will be closed Dec. 3 and 25).

The lights are on through Dec. 30, nightly from 6:30 to 9:30. The tour begins at Valley View Lane and Interstate 35E and ends at the park, 2540 Farmers Branch Lane, Farmers Branch. Free; donations are accepted.


Vitruvian Lights

Wander through Vitruvian Park’s 12 acres in Addison, and view hundreds of illuminated trees in this modern-looking display (the large number of single-color trees adds to the effect).

There will be 6 p.m. performances Dec. 3 by the Dallas String Quartet, Dec. 10 by the Chris Rivers Band and Dec. 17 by the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra.

Nov. 25-Jan. 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at 3850 Vitruvian Way, Addison. Free.


Christmas in the Square

More than 175,000 lights blink along to holiday music at this Frisco attraction. Tune in on the radio; the station will be posted on signs. You can drive through or brave the elements to walk around daily through Jan. 1; there will also be a Skate the Square outdoor ice rink for $10 per person, including skates (closed Dec. 25). On select dates, there will be carriage rides, flurries of faux snow, a Christmas tree lot, a petting zoo, pony rides and a trackless train. The city of Frisco’s Merry Main Street free tree lighting and festival will be Dec. 3, and Christmas in the Square’s special-event night — with a parachuting Santa, a four-lane snow slide, a snow play area and holiday treats — will be Dec. 17.

Light show nightly Nov. 25-Jan. 1 from 6 to 10 at Frisco Square, Main Street and Coleman Boulevard, Frisco. Free admission; some attractions require a fee.