This time of year it’s easy to feel nostalgic about childhood, when Christmas magic seemed to be everywhere you turned. However, you can still enjoy the spirit of the season as an adult. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays in Dallas, from the nostalgic to the eclectic. Check out the festivities below, or find inspiration for creating your own traditions.
Downtown – Nov 19-Dec 31, Downtown Dallas.
Eat, drink, and be merry! Enjoy lavish Christmas displays and decorations, holiday specials and happy hours, and live music and entertainment as you wander Downtown. Many restaurants and shops will offer special promotions and extended hours. Look for Park-It Pop-Ups, unique rolling mini-boutiques throughout public spaces. Enter the raffle to win prizes from participating restaurants and retailers.
12 Days at Night – Nov 8-Jan 3, Dallas Arboretum.
Join the Arboretum for a special illuminated nighttime tour, accompanied by holiday music throughout the garden. Seasonal treats and hot beverages (including those of the adult variety) will be available. The display is also be open during the day, but frankly, it’s hard to capture the same magic without the glowing Christmas lights.
The Artistry of the Nativity – Nov 27-Jan 3, DeGolyer House Exhibit at the Dallas Arboreum.
Art lovers and Christmas lovers alike will appreciate this exhibit of crèches (manger scenes) from around the world. Each Wednesday, the Restaurant DeGolyer will host a special three-course gourmet dinner. Get your ticket soon, as space is limited and seats are available by reservation only.
Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence – Oct 31-Jan 4, Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
What better way to celebrate the Season of Light than by exploring the phenomenon of nature’s glowing organisms? The rare ability of bioluminescence allows creatures to attract mates, lure prey, and defend against predators. It’s truly fascinating stuff, but the real draw is the gorgeous creatures on display.
Reliant Lights Your Holidays – Dec. 5, AT&T Performing Arts Center, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Hundreds of dazzling lights will brighten the night as this free concert and fireworks display brings the season to life. Live performances include The Polyphonic Spree, Bubba Hernandez y los Super Vatos, and cast members of the national tour of Jersey Boys.
Peter Pan 360 – Nov 11-Dec 13, Threesixty Theatre Tent.
Delight your inner child as you escape to Neverland with this performance in the Downtown Arts District. This immersive live production, presented in a world-class theatre tent, features “intimate theater-in-the-round, overhead surround CGI projection, and actors in dazzling flying sequences forty feet in the air.” Even theatre buffs have never seen anything like this before.
A Christmas Carol – Nov 25 – Dec 26, Wyly Theatre.
Sure, you may have seen the play before. But like eggnog and Christmas trees, this is a holiday tradition that never gets old. This reimagined version of Dickens’ holiday classic will bring you back to the true meaning of Christmas. The Wyly Theatre’s unique version features magical spirits flying above, terrifying ghosts that rise from the floor, and snow falling over the audience—not exactly your typical Victorian production.
Lantern Light 2015 – Dec 5, 3-8 p.m., Heritage Farmstead Museum.
This unique holiday experience offers something for all ages (so if you have kids be sure bring them, or consider borrowing someone else’s). However, there are plenty of attractions for adults. This year’s theme is Home for the Holidays, bringing to life Christmas traditions from days past. Activities will include tours of the Farrell Wilson House holiday exhibit, wagon rides, historic demonstrations, carols in the historic barn, and traditional holiday refreshments. A new exhibit by the Dallas Costumers Guild will feature three presentations of “Dressing for the Holidays: Historic Fashion Trends.”
Panther Island Ice – Nov 20-Jan 18, Coyote Drive-In, Fort Worth.
What better way to bring back childhood memories than by ice-skating to Christmas music? Panther Island Ice is North Texas’s only outdoor skating rink. After you’ve warn yourself out, visit the Coyote Canteen for seasonal treats and beverages.
Texas Christkindl Market – Nov 27-Dec 23, Globe Life Park.
Inspired by the German Christkindl celebration, this open-air German-style market features a unique way to shop for Christmas gifts and holiday crafts. If you’re not into the shopping, come for the festive atmosphere, authentic German cuisine and holiday beverages, and live entertainment.
Gift of Lights – Nov 26-Dec 31, Texas Motor Speedway.
Remember driving around to look at the Christmas lights when you were a kid? This incredible drive-through display of over 2 million lights will take you right back, conveniently bringing the lights to you.
12 Bars of Charity – Dec 11, 8 p.m., Dallas Uptown.
This holiday nightlife event began in 2013 to benefit local charities and raise awareness for their causes. It has quickly grown into the city’s largest pub crawl, with over 3,000 attendees last year. Where else can you come together with your community in the spirit of giving as you explore 12 of Uptown’s favorite bars?