I’ve written about the best Christmas lights and towns to visit this season, but that was all talk. I thought it was time to put those words into action and see for ourselves what makes these places the best. From strolling down the River Walk and admiring the vibrant lights to driving through neighborhoods ablaze with the Christmas spirit, this is the perfect winter vacation for the whole family.
The entire trip is 686 miles, but you’ll want to spend the night in each separate city so you’ll be there when the lights are on. As usual, the Google Map with all the directions can be found
here. Happy Holidays!
1. Downtown Dallas
Downtown Dallas comes alive during the holidays. The high rises are covered in sheets of white and blue lights, and trees are wrapped so tightly you can barely see the wood. It's the closest Texas will ever get to Christmas in New York, and it's truly a spectacular sight.
Neighborhoods throughout the city aren't shy about expressing their Christmas spirit, either. This is 714 Newell St. in East Dallas, and many other homes on the street are decorated similarly. You may need sunglasses, but you definitely don't want to miss it.
2. Grapevine's Main Street
Grapevine is the self-proclaimed "Christmas Capital of Texas," and its town square definitely reflects that. All the shops and restaurants are adorned from roof to ground in vibrant yet elegant lights. While you're here, be sure to check out some of the festivities like the North Pole Express, ICE!, and Snowland. There may not be actual snow, but Grapevine is still a Winter Wonderland.
3. Prairie Lights (Grand Prairie)
Prairie Lights proudly boasts the longest light tunnel in Texas at an entire mile long. Drive through over four million lights in the form of dazzling displays, and stop at the Holiday Village halfway through to get souvenirs, sip some hot chocolate, and take pictures with Santa. Then get back in your car and finish off the night with a bang by driving the remaining mile through the tunnel, millions of lights engulfing you and creating almost a trance-like experience that you'll never forget.
4. Walkway of Lights (Marble Falls)
Now we're headed into the Hill Country to Marble Fall's annual Walkway of Lights. Just in case this panoramic photo doesn't capture how amazing it is, there are over two million lights, 400 sculptures, sparkly garland strung up the whole way to guide you through the night, and Santa himself waiting at the end to hear all about what the little ones want for Christmas. The best part? It's totally free!
5. Haynes Family Light Display (Johnson City)
Families like this one deserve a lot more credit for their light displays. Just because they aren't as popular as well-known attractions like the River Walk or Moody Gardens doesn't mean they aren't amazing! At this house alone, you'll see half a million lights, a 25-foot tall tree, a synchronized light show, and a drive-through light tunnel. Plus, you get to enjoy all the sights from the comfort of your car - what more could you ask for?
Before you leave Johnson City, stopping by the courthouse is a must. With over 100,000 lights on the building and more covering the surrounding trees, it's easily one of the most eye-popping, breathtaking displays in Texas.
6. West 37th Street (Austin)
Austin is known for its weirdness, and it makes no exceptions for the holiday season. 37th street is a mishmash of lights randomly strung up from tree to tree or house to house, and it's oddly fascinating despite not being the most elegant or aesthetically pleasing. It's such a phenomenon that it's even been featured on Good Morning America!
7. The River Walk (San Antonio)
I know I mention the River Walk on every Christmas post, but there's a reason. Nothing compares to the magic you'll feel as you stroll down the street underneath the multicolored lights hanging from the trees. The festivities start tomorrow, so get ready!
8. Prestonwood Forest Neighborhood (Houston)
This neighborhood in Northwest Houston takes Christmas almost as seriously as Clark Griswold. Every house is decked out to the extreme as residents compete with each other for awards such as "Best Walkway," "Best Mailbox," and the elusive "People's Choice Award."
This house in the 1300 block of Briarbrook Drive in Houston is equally (if not more) festive. It's basically one giant light, from the house to the trees to the reindeer on the roof. If you're in the area, I highly recommend driving by and taking a look.
9. River Oaks (Houston)
Also in Houston, River Oaks has one of the most enchanting displays in Texas. Lights dangle elegantly from tree branches like streamers, stars twinkle high up in the leaves, and the gorgeous homes are decorated simply yet beautifully. One house even has Santa sitting outside to hand out hot chocolate to kids!
10. Festival of Lights (Galveston)
And finally, we close with Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights. This one is a tradition in my family because it's just that amazing. You'll walk through 100 displays made up of over a million lights, skate on an outdoor ice rink, and sip hot chocolate by a fire. I can't think of a better way to revel in the holiday cheer, y'all.
Texas sure does know how to celebrate Christmas. Would you take this road trip? Are there any other amazing light displays you would add?