Things To Do

Best Things to Do in Dallas New Year's Weekend

Lights All Night is on the agenda for thousands of Dallasites this weekend.
Lights All Night is on the agenda for thousands of Dallasites this weekend. Roderick Pullum
Fri 12/29
Let's see: It's not in the Cotton Bowl anymore, but at the Cowboys' stadium in Arlington; the Southwest Conference is long dead; the game is not a semifinal in the bowl championship series this year; and it's not even played New Year's Day. "Classic" must be one of those words like "emeritus" — a polite of saying "old" and "not quite what it used to be." But that's OK. We don't grow much cotton in these parts anymore, either. Still, it's big-time college football, and this is Texas. The 82nd annual game pits fifth-ranked Ohio State against eighth-ranked USC at 7:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way in Arlington. There'll be tons of fan events before kickoff. Find out about them at, where there's also a link to a ticket exchange. Tickets start at $60. AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way, Arlington, 7:30 p.m., $60 and up, — Patrick Williams

Just before year’s end, four local bands synonymous with ’90s Deep Ellum will play at the Bomb Factory. Bowling for Soup made an impact during that decade’s sugary pop-punk explosion; the Nixons had a monster hit with “Sister” in the post-grunge years; Slow Roosevelt’s loud, pummeling sound echoed Quicksand and Helmet; and South FM became infamous for stickers that said “Zac Crain’s Favorite Band.” The purpose of the bill is nostalgia, but not in a pathetic way. This concert will be a nice gathering of bands that helped make Deep Ellum a destination 20 years ago. The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 8 p.m., $18-$100, — Eric Grubbs

There are a lot of reasons to complain about parenting: The pay sucks, it’s exhausting and kids do things that just don’t make sense. They also watch crappy TV. But for all the Caillou and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood out there, one show remains that doesn’t make parents’ eyes bleed. Sesame Street is still inanely cheerful, but it’s comforting and sweet, and the show does outreach to war-affected kids in the Middle East. Keep that in mind when you’re asking yourself how you got talked into taking the kids to Sesame Street Live: Let’s Party. Those philanthropic puppets will put a smile on your baby’s face with party-themed shows at 5 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Allen Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Road. Tickets start at $35 at Allen Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Road, 3 p.m., $35 and up, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Dallas’ Lights All Night Festival enters its eighth year as the largest end-of-the-year music event in Texas and throughout the southern United States. It offers the biggest EDM acts and a celebratory atmosphere in the heart of the city. The 2017 edition brings Bassnectar, Marshmello, Porter Robinson, Illenium and more than a dozen other A-list electronic acts to town, along with special guest hip-hop artists Ugly God, Smokepurpp and Maxo Kream. Lights All Night has tweaked its floor setup this year by adding a second stage meant to emulate European clubs. There should be more dancing, shorter vendor lines and a larger-than-ever LED screen at the Supernova Stage. Two-day general admission passes are sold out, and single day passes are going fast. Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway, 6 p.m., $99 and up, — Mikel Galicia

If you’ve managed to emerge intact from holiday parking scuffles at NorthPark and family holiday dinners with Alex Jones fanatics, then probably nothing scares you. If that’s the case, you should be just fine at Dark Hour’s Wreck the Halls 2017, a haunted house event with the cheerful tagline “fear all year.” Test your holiday-fortified nerves at this fright fest, featuring a wicked coven encounter and a creeptastic battle of possessed toys, genies and Krampus. The bottom line: You can let some scream off at this postholiday nightmare from 8-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Dark Hour Haunted House, 701 Taylor Drive in Plano. Tickets are $28 to $75 at Dark Hour Haunted House, 701 Taylor Drive, Plano, 8-11 p.m., $28-$75, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Texas icon Robert Earl Keen Jr., 61, has spent nearly half of his life as a musical ambassador of the Lone Star State, and in 2012, he was inducted to the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s best known for his collaborations with George Strait and Lyle Lovett and the Highwaymen, but he really hit his stride in the mainstream country music scene during his tours with fellow singer-songwriters Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. His sixth annual Christmas tour, REK’s Fam-O-Lee Back to the Country Jamboree, will stop at House of Blues on Friday. It’s a classic country revue that nods to Keen’s cult Christmas anthem, “Merry Christmas from the Family.” House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 7:30 p.m., $45-$70, — Nicholas Bostick

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Stretch while you keep the company of a few goats.
Hannah Ridings
Sat 12/30
The kids are tired of the new toys, so what's the plan? Lone Star Circus' Cirque Joyeaux runs through Jan. 1 at Dallas Children's Theater, 5938 Skillman Ave. Jugglers, acrobats, clowns and four-legged showoffs (no elephants) are just part of the entertainment. Saturday shows are at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets, $15 to $40, are available at And if you want to celebrate your child's birthday or a special accomplishment, plunk down $250 and dedicate a show to him or her. Dallas Children's Theater, 5938 Skillman Ave., 10:30 a.m., 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., $14-$40, — Reba Liner

Wrestling with some big questions in the lead-up to 2018? If you’re seeking answers to more than, say, which New Year’s events have the best party favors, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., can help you with reflection and inspiration throughout its galleries. Discover how art is inexplicably linked with memory, inspiration and the divine during a themed tour titled Inspiration, Memory, and the Divine in Art from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday. Participants can meet at the information desk to begin exploring the ways art provokes us and connects us to the spiritual, with particular emphasis on Nobel Prize-winning neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel’s research on the role art plays in memory storage. No reservations are needed, and admission is free. Visit for more information. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., 11 a.m. to noon, free, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Nobody woos us quite like the dreamy, blue-eyed crooner Harry Connick Jr. Picking up where Sinatra left off, Connick mixes easy listening with the spunk of swing and big band to create something delightfully cheesy that warms our hearts and gets the butterflies fluttering. Aside from his successful acting career, he also just launched his own talk show, Harry. WinStar Casino, 777 Casino Ave., Thackerville, Oklahoma, 8 p.m., $75 and up, — Diamond Victoria

When tiny goats jump, they instantly make life better. Hence, Happy Goat Yoga from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The adorable pygmy goats are hitting up the Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St., and the session benefits Here’s Your Reminder Project, which advocates for people with depression and anxiety. This ugly Christmas sweater-themed session offers one last use this year for that impulse buy or white elephant gift and the weird, wonderful opportunity to match a goat in spirited garb. The instructor will lead a one-hour class, and then 5AM Drip Coffee Roasters will offer caffeine and cocoa for another hour of mingling and selfies with the goats. Register for $35 at For more information on the benefit organization, visit Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., $35,  — Merritt Martin

Sun 12/31
Stereo Live will be a happening place New Year’s Eve, when English songwriter, DJ and record producer Duke Dumont will serve as the master of ceremonies. Dumont built his career as a producer for Santigold, Lily Allen and Bonobo, but this year, he’s become a success with hits “I Got U” and “Ocean Drive.” He’s been touring heavily and proven that he’s just as comfortable onstage as in the studio. Expect crowd participation, flashing stage lights, thunderous bass lines, infectious singalongs and a midnight ball drop. Stereo Live Dallas, 2711 Storey Lane, 10 p.m., $35-$55, — Jeff Strowe

Dallas has given the world some pretty great music, from Tripping Daisy to Stevie Ray Vaughn to Leon Bridges. And part of the long list of famed Dallasites is Jonathan Tyler. The blues-playing darling is also a recipient of several Dallas Observer Music Awards, including Best Male Vocalist, Reader's Pick for Best Local CD Release and Best Blues Act. Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 9 p.m., $24-$80, — Diamond Victoria

Electronic dance and funk outfit Ishi knows how to work the crowd. Formed in Dallas in 2006, the quartet brings a visually stunning performance every time it takes the stage. Perfect for (another) New Year's Eve show at Trees, the bill also includes Oklahoma-based Broncho and local favorite Medicine Man Revival. Trees, 2709 Elm St., 7 p.m., $26, — Diamond Victoria

Mon 1/1
Considering the year 2017 has been, there's something a touch ominous about the name Day 1 Dallas. Sounds a bit like an interstitial title in a movie about a zombie plague. In fact, Day 1 Dallas is a family friendly celebration of the new year at the Automobile Building in Fair Park, 1010 First Ave. It includes live music, food vendors, a magic act, tons of kids’ activities and a fireworks show. Best yet, it's free. So fear not — no zombie apocalypse. That's scheduled for March. Gates open at 3 p.m.; fireworks are at 7 p.m. Find a full schedule at Automobile Building in Fair Park, 1010 First Ave., 3 p.m., free, — Patrick Williams

Anyone for hangover brunch? On New Year’s Day, Mudhen Meat and Greens, 900 S. Harwood St., promises to heal heavy heads. One of chef Suki Otsuki's specials is a croissantwich with Duroc ham, whiskey cheddar and over-easy egg. It comes with herb fingerling potatoes and tender pork in a green chili broth with bison tamales. Or sample the full a la carte brunch menu. Of course, there are mimosas and craft cocktail specials. Mudhen opens at 9 a.m. in a corner of the revamped Dallas Farmers Market food hall. For more information, visit Mudhen Meat and Greens, 900 S. Harwood St., 9 a.m., — Reba Liner

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