Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cool Stuff to Do in Dallas at Christmastime

Dallas has so many fun events this time of year. I know it’s not yet Thanksgiving, but if you know about these, you can do a better job of planning ahead. Got company coming? No problem. Most of these are free!

Children's Medical Center Holiday Parade
Kick off the season with the parade formerly known as the Neiman Marcus Adolphus holiday parade. Today it’s the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade. It’s in downtown Dallas and it’s free, but donations to CMC are encouraged. If you want to fork over about $25 per person, you can also reserve seats by buying tickets online. But the parade lasts only an hour—you can stand it. This year it’s on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at 10 AM. This is the closest you’ll ever get to the Macy’s parade without having to be in New York.

Mesquite’s Christmas in the Park
For a free celebration with a small-town feel go to Mesquite’s Westland Park. Their Christmas in the Park will be held December 1–3 starting nightly at 6 p.m. Opening night includes a short fireworks display launched from the middle of the lake. But every night there will be live music, food vendors (specialty: hot Dr Pepper and kettle corn), crafts, games, holiday light displays, a live nativity, costumed holiday characters greeting the crowd, and pictures with Santa. For more information, visit or call 972-216-6260. 

Caroling at the Adolphus
A totally underrated event, in my book, is the daily Christmas caroling that takes place at the Adolphus Hotel starting December 7 at noon. Each day a different choir performs and is broadcast live on WRR101.1. This all takes place in the magnificent lobby’s living room at 1321 Commerce Street. The hotel serves up free hot apple cider and Christmas cookies. Perfect activity to do with a girlfriend, especially if she works near or in the downtown area.

See the Lights in Highland Park
Pack some popcorn, napkins, and hot chocolate, and load jammied kiddos into the car for a nighttime drive. Enter at Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road, and be sure to cruise down Beverly Drive and Turtle Creek Boulevard. The homes are beautifully (and professionally) dressed for the holidays. Spectacular and free. End your cruise at Highland Park Village, which is wrapped in golden white lights.   

Gaylord ICE!
The best most-enormo ice sculpture show ever! This one’s pricey, but if you go early in the season, you can use this discount code to get half off till November 20: ICEFB.  The venue provides coats and hats for people of all sizes, because the temperature is well below freezing. This year’s theme: Madagascar! Take a camera, capture the family in matching coats, and use the shot for your Christmas photo.

The Largest Indoor Christmas Tree in America
Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? Case in point: The Christmas tree at the Galleria. It stands in the center of the indoor ice skating rink. They have a Santa that does back flips, and fireworks shoot out of his skates (ask for a schedule when you get there so you won't miss it). Do a little shopping while you get some free entertainment. Did I mention—free?

Scrooge Puppet Show and Trains at Northpark (and the famous Santa, too)
Northpark Mall makes it worth your trip, too. Every year they do this Scrooge puppet show right in the middle of everything. And while you’re there, check out their uber-cool trains on level two near Barneys. They’ll be there through January 6. What are they? Only the most elaborate toy train exhibit in Texas. Picture 1,600 feet of track on a journey across America. This holiday tradition raises money for the children and families served by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Cost is $6.00 for adults; $3.00 for children (ages 2–12) and seniors (age 65 and older). Oh, and a lot of native Dallasites will tell you that NorthPark's Santa is the real deal.

Tuba Christmas (see video)
On Christmas Eve, bundle up and head for downtown Dallas’s Thanksgiving Square (corner of Bryan, Pacific and Ervay Sts.) at noon. There you can hear Tuba Christmas. (If you play tuba or euphonium and want to participate, registration is at 9 and rehearsal at 10 AM.)  Imagine an all-tuba band blasting and tooting your fave carols. Sing along with this year's lineup, which includes O Come All Ye Faithful; Deck the Halls; The First Noel; O Little Town of Bethlehem; We Three Kings, Angels We Have Heard on High; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Carol of the Bells; Silent Night; Joy to the World, and more. Yes, in the middle of the city sing, "O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!"

What do you love to do in Dallas at Christmastime? 

1 comment:

Wayne Stiles said...

We always enjoy seeing the Frisco Square Christmas lights flash in syncopation with an FM radio station. It's really something cool, if you've never seen it.