The 9 Best Places in DFW to See Holiday Lights

Christmas can be an expensive celebration. It's the only holiday that calls for buying a big meal and decorations to turn your homestead into a winter wonderland even if you live in a temperate zone. Then you have to buy presents for everyone you know or your friendship for the previous year is null and void like an unpaid health insurance premium.

So in between all the running and shopping you have to do to get ready for Christmas, take a night off with your loved ones and enjoy a holiday tradition that won't give your nervous system a workout. Take a drive or a walk through one of the many holiday light displays across the DFW area.

1. Vitruvian Lights in Addison
The walking trail that surrounds a small, man-made lake in this corner of Addison has lights pretty much everywhere you look in Vitruvian Park. Every tree is filled with bright, luminescent bulbs that turn your walk in the park into a holiday wonderland minus the below freezing temperatures and blinding snowstorm. It's like walking through a brightly lit forest where the flora and fauna are made out of neon lights.

2. Christmas in the Square in Frisco
This neighborhood light display is one of the most visited North Texas attractions at Christmas time. All of the buildings along Frisco's downtown square are covered in holiday lights that are synced to music that's broadcast on a local radio frequency so you can watch the lights dance to your favorite holiday tunes as you drive past them. When you're done marveling at the lights, you can go for a calm horse carriage ride or take a run around an ice rink.

3. Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie
What happens when a whole community of volunteers come together to make sure that everyone who visits their little corner of the world has a happy holiday? It looks something like this drive-thru holiday scene. The Prairie Lights has over 4 million holiday lights covering trees and displays of familiar holiday scenes in one of the most beautiful 45-minute drives you can take in Dallas this time of year. Grand Prairie's holiday celebration also offers an indoor laser show, a lighted walking tour and a chance to get your photo taken with Santa Claus.

4. Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway
Usually, the sounds of roaring engines and screaming fans can be heard from the famous Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. However, around Christmastime, it's a little quieter but it's still just as bright thanks to the annual Gift of Lights display. Visitors can drive through one of the area's largest holiday light displays and then stop in and visit with Santa at Santa's Village.

5. The 12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum's annual holiday event doesn't just happen at night. During the day, visitors can tour the grounds and meet famous Christmas characters or listen to live performances of beloved Christmas carols. Then at night, the lights go up and illuminate visitors' path along a three-quarter-mile walk through several beautiful holiday displays.

6. Tour of Lights in Farmers Branch
Maybe you don't feel like taking a walk when the temperature just dropped 30 degrees in the span of a Saturday afternoon. Then head over to Farmers Branch where you can enjoy the annual Tour of Lights from the warm comfort of your own car. This driving tour features some of the biggest animated light displays in all of DFW that are tuned to festive holiday music that you can play on your car's radio. 

7. Interlochen Lights in Arlington
The city of Arlington doesn't need to hire a contractor or get their parks and rec department to put together a light display. They've got their own community of holiday decorators who put together an impressive light display every year at Christmastime. The Interlochen Lights has been inviting visitors to drive through their neighborhood and marvel at the decorated houses for the last 40 years and they are so impressive that they usually create a long line of bumper to bumper traffic through their streets.

8. The Christmas Tree in Highland Park
If you don't mind stretching your legs, take a tour of this familiar sight in Highland Park during the holidays. Just before the month of December, the city of Highland Park covers its famous Big Pecan Tree with lights and flips the switch. The lights go back on every night until New Year's and you can often see carolers under the tree as they entertain the public with festive holiday tunes.

9. Deerfield Holiday Lights in Plano
This picturesque suburban neighborhood has been decorating their homes with festive light displays ever since its founding. The community of Deerfield continues the tradition with their annual holiday lights display as residents try to outdo each other with massive, animated lights and holiday decorations covering their homes. Guests can take a tour of the lighted homes from the comfort of their car, a horse-drawn carriage or even on a Segway.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.