Those looking to add some fa-la-la to their holiday season may want to sideline extreme shopping and partying, — for a day at least — to visit a few of these heartwarming, family-friendly adventures. The best North Texas Christmas events this year include a German holiday market, a light display and a miniature train exhibit.
Texas Christkindl Market
1650 E. Randol Mill Road, Arlington
Texas Christkindl Market, an annual holiday mecca inspired by German traditions, has a cool upgrade. The family-friendly event, which runs Friday, Nov. 29 to Dec. 22, will feature a 5,000-square-foot ice skating rink when it opens in the North Plaza at Texas Live. Visitors can also listen to music, gaze at a Texas-sized Christmas tree and shop for unique gifts among more than 25 vendors as aromas of strudel and roasted nuts waft through the air.
Among the unique items are “traditional, handcrafted gifts and collectibles straight from Germany, including exclusive Käthe Wohlfahrt merchandise and designs from the iconic Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Village,” according to a press release, which brands the festive occasion “one of the largest open air holiday markets in the Southwest.” Although entrance to the market is free, tickets for the ice skating rink (which includes skate rental) cost $16. The rink will stay open through Jan. 12.
Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake, Grand Prairie
A sparkling 2-mile path adorned with 4 million lights awaits visitors at this winter wonderland. About halfway through the drive, guests can disembark from their vehicles at Holiday Village to visit Santa Claus, grab a bite to eat, shop, catch an all-new, indoor show or take a stroll through the Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest. According to the website, the continued drive ends up tunneling through an unforgettable array of animated Christmas lights. For pricing and more information, visit prairielights.org.
Trains at NorthPark Center
8687 North Central Expressway, Dallas
Take a coast-to-coast tour with the Trains at NorthPark, which roll along 1,600 feet of track until Jan. 5 as they journey across America, traveling from New England to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with "stops" in cities like Washington, D.C., New York City and the Big D.
Each year, more than 70,000 people enjoy the scenery, which also includes Southwest locales such as the Grand Canyon and Colorado’s Garden of the Gods.
“We even have some interplanetary visitors from Outer Space,” says the attraction’s website. Proceeds from the exhibit, which has taken place since 1987, helps run the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $4 for children. For more information, visit thetrainsatnorthpark.com.
Christmas in the Square
8843 Coleman Blvd., Frisco
The City of Frisco has teamed up with the Frisco Square Property Owners Association to present North Texas’ grandest choreographed holiday lights and music show, Christmas in the Square. The free show, which is in its 15th year, runs from 6 to 10 p.m. daily, Nov. 29 to Dec. 31.
“Visitors may tune in to 107.3 FM on the radio in their vehicles, or listen to the music piped through speakers as they take a walk through the Square," says the event’s website. “With over 175,000 lights, 11.5 miles of wiring and 8 miles of extension cords, Christmas in the Square is unlike anything you have ever seen.”
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Other activities include a Christmas tree maze, ice skating and carriage rides. For more information, visit friscosquare.com.
1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine
It’s the holiday season at Gaylord Texan with Charlie Brown and friends — where the gang is larger-than-life and carved from ice. Forty artisans have traveled from China to sculpt over 2 million pounds of colorful ice on display, and guests can do a walk-through of the wintry attraction complete with six 2-story ice slides. The self-guided adventure lasts about 15-30 minutes, but visitors should plan to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours while there, according to the resort. Complimentary parkas are also available to help keep everyone toasty. Ticket prices for the event start at $14.99 for children and $23.99 for adults.
Tech the Halls
2201 N. Field St., Dallas
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science will “tech the halls with bots of digitized holly as the museum celebrates the joy of engineering this holiday season.” According to the museum, visitors can get techy with augmented reality robot hockey, snowflake races and chat about Arctic dinosaur fossil discoveries from the Paleo Lab from Dec. 21 to Jan. 5.
Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Over Texas, 2201 E. Road to Six Flags St., Arlington
From thrill rides to festive carolers and warm treats like hot chocolate and fireside s’mores, Six Flags’ Holiday in the Park has it all, on select dates, starting Nov. 23 through Jan. 5. Each year, the park turns on the lights for a dazzling winter display brimming with Christmas trees, decorative wreaths and visits from Santa Claus. Along with other holiday festivities, visitors can sled down a snow hill, join a dance party with Santa’s reindeer and take a tour of a magical shop with Miss Persimmons and her assistant, Mr. Snickers, during a live show to learn the true meaning of Christmas.