Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

10 Best Holiday Events in Texas

Embrace the holiday spirit this season by attending one of these great holiday events found in Christmas towns in the Lone Star State. Visit with Santa, play with snow or view millions of lights at the events listed below. Since the holiday season has several celebrations, including Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, you’ll find an event related to all of these great holidays. Be merry this December at these family-friendly holiday events in Texas.

McAllen Holiday Parade, McAllen McAllen Holiday Parade
Credit: McAllen Holiday Parade by McAllen Holiday Parade

McAllen Holiday Parade, McAllen

This holiday parade in McAllen occurs at night because it’s one of the largest illuminated parades in the Lone Star State. Bright lights are found on every one of the parade floats at this holiday event. The McAllen Holiday Parade typically features about 50 illuminated floats as well as giant character balloons. However, parade attendees will also enjoy live music from the many bands. Make sure to arrive early to snag a great spot along the one-and-a-half-mile parade route.

Date: December 2nd, 2023
Official Website

Whistle Stop Christmas, Cleburne Whistle Stop Christmas
Credit: Whistle Stop Christmas by Whistle Stop Christmas

Whistle Stop Christmas, Cleburne

Every December, the town of Cleburne is filled with over three million lights. Whistle Stop Christmas began in 1996 and has grown as a popular attraction due to its 12 acres of lighted area. Hulen Park in Cleburne is the center attraction at Whistle Stop Christmas. Hundreds of thousands of cars pass the lights on Westhill Drive to catch a glimpse of this magical holiday light display.

Dates: November 20th, 2023 – January 1st, 2024
Official Website

Fort Worth Parade of Lights, Fort Worth Fort Worth Parade of Lights
Credit: Fort Worth Parade of Lights by GM Financial Fort Worth Parade of Lights

Fort Worth Parade of Lights, Fort Worth

Kick off the holiday season by attending Fort Worth’s Parade of Lights, also known as the GM Financial Parade of Lights. Located in downtown Fort Worth, this annual parade occurs the weekend before Thanksgiving. Over 200,000 people head to downtown Fort Worth to watch this bright and merry parade. This parade started in 1983 with a crowd of 25,000 and only 25 parade entries. Now, the attendance has grown exponentially, and parade entries have increased to over 100. Be dazzled this holiday season by viewing over 500,000 lights in this Fort Worth parade event.

Date: November 19th, 2023
Official Website

Santa's Wonderland, College Station Santa's Wonderland

Santa's Wonderland, College Station

This light-covered village in College Station is the perfect place to bring the whole family. Get in the holiday spirit simply by driving through the 40 acres of light displays at Santa’s Wonderland. Or stop by Santa’s Town to visit with the man himself, find some holiday gifts or go on a hayride. Santa’s Wonderland also hosts live music. Visit Santa’s Wonderland at night to catch the nightly snow that falls here, and you’ll see why Santa’s Wonderland is one of Texas’ biggest Christmas attractions.

Dates: November 10th – December 30th, 2023
Official Website

Santa's Ranch, New Braunfels Santa's Ranch
Credit: Santa's Ranch by Santa's Ranch

Santa's Ranch, New Braunfels

You don’t even have to get out of your car to embrace the Christmas spirit at Santa’s Ranch. This one-mile drive leads visitors through a magnificent light display that has over 100 animations and over one million lights. Located in New Braunfels, Santa’s Ranch is only 30 minutes south of Austin and can be seen from early November up until January.

Dates: November 3rd – December 31st, 2023
Official Website

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, Galveston Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens
Credit: Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens by Moody Gardens

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, Galveston

Walk into a holiday wonderland at Moody Gardens in Galveston. Slide down the giant ice slides or walk the mile-long trail that dazzles with more than two million lights. Moody Gardens doesn’t only feature ice slides and light displays but also holiday films in 3D, train rides, and other festive attractions. It has become one of the largest holiday destinations in the Southwest, so don’t miss out on this incredible place.

Dates: November 18th, 2023 – January 8th, 2024
Official Website

Prairie Lights, Grand Prairie Prairie Lights
Credit: Prairie Lights by Prairie Lights

Prairie Lights, Grand Prairie

Prairie Lights is a dazzling light display found in Grand Prairie. Located in Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake, visitors can drive through the park to view the five million holiday lights and the longest light tunnel. However, don’t miss out on the other out-of-car attractions found in Holiday Village at Prairie Lights. Holiday Village is where Santa can be found or shop for holiday gifts here too. Be amazed by the indoor laser light show or take a stroll through the lighted walk-through forest. With plenty to see and explore at Prairie Lights, it’s no wonder why this holiday event has become a popular, family-friendly attraction in the area.

Dates: November 23rd – December 31st, 2023
Official Website

Chanukah on the River, San Antonio Chanukah on the River
Credit: Chanukah on the River by Chaya Block-Weingarten

Chanukah on the River, San Antonio

Chanukah on the River is the event to attend to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah in San Antonio. Located on the San Antonio Riverwalk, Chanukah on the River is known as one of the largest Jewish events in the Lone Star State. One thousand people attend the event, which features live music, a Menorah lighting and a boat parade.

Date: TBA

Sights & Sounds of Christmas, San Marcos Sights & Sounds of Christmas
Credit: Sights & Sounds of Christmas by Sights & Sounds of Christmas

Sights & Sounds of Christmas, San Marcos

Sights & Sounds of Christmas has been happening for over 30 years to spread the joy of Christmas over two weekends in December. Sights & Sounds of Christmas features a carnival, a running event, Santa appearances, live music and art, and craft vendors. It’s a popular event with visitors of all ages with its delicious festival food, petting zoo and sparkling Christmas lights.

Dates: December 1st – 2nd & 7th – 9th, 2023
Official Website

Austin Trail of Lights, Austin Austin Trail of Lights
Credit: Austin Trail of Lights by Austin Trail of Lights

Austin Trail of Lights, Austin

Zilker Park in Austin may be known for the iconic music festival Austin City Limits. However, it’s also home to the Austin Trail of Lights every holiday season. The Austin Trail of Lights is a light display in the park that has over two million lights within 40 festive displays. This month-long event also features live music and performances every night.

Dates: December 8th-23rd, 2023
Official Website

Travel Deals

7-Day Western Canada Tour w/ Daily Breakfast


United Business Class Roundtrip Flights


Complimentary 3rd Night | Centrally-Located DC Hotel


Just Landed: The Ridge Travel Collection


Viking | Exclusive Fares, Up to $800 Ship Credit, Air


8-Day Eastern Canada Tour w/ Excursion Choices


5-Day Luxury Caribbean Cruise | Pick Your Perk


Air & 8-Day Taste of Portugal Tour | Buy One Get One Free


Air & 10-Day Majestic India Tour | Buy One Get One Free


7-Day Luxury Costa Rica Cruise | Pick Your Perk


$99 Deposit & Have it All on Holland America Cruises


Air & 12-Day Europe River Cruise | 50% Off


7-Day Luxury Tahiti Cruise | Pick Your Perk


Over 65% Savings | Coconut Bay All-Incl. St. Lucia Resort


8-Day Luxury Greece Cruise | Pick Your Perk