8 Fun Things to Do in Dallas During the Holidays

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Dallas is such an amazing place during the holidays (minus the traffic which is horrendous between Thanksgiving and Christmas!). I have many DFW readers and readers from surrounding areas that come to Dallas to enjoy all the Christmas cheer our city has to offer so I thought I’d share our family’s favorite holiday “to dos” in Dallas plus a few things on our activity wish list.

Dallas has so many wonderful things to do during the holidays (see Dallas Moms Blog for a comprehensive list). These are eight things our family does nearly every year. Good news: many of them are free or cost very little!

1. Northpark Trains

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Northpark Trains is such a Dallas tradition! Benefitting the Ronald McDonald, this amazing toy train exhibit always captures my children’s imaginations with recreated cityscapes like the Texas State Fair and Washington Mall and over 1,600 feet of tracks!

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In years past, we have gone with another family on a weeknight when it’s not as crowded – a fun holiday tradition you may want to start with family friends! The exhibit runs through January 8th this year. P.S. You can order a personalized rail car with your children’s name on it and they will put it out before you arrive! Cost for admission: $3 for children and seniors, $7 for adults.

2. Visit the American Girl Doll Store

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A fun thing for grandmothers to do with granddaughters, too!

The American Girl store is a magical place for girls during the holidays with a LARGE Christmas tree in the center of the two-story floor (great for photos!) and a fun place for girls to get gift ideas for Christmas. (The sales people are very good about making purchases “discreet” if necessary!). Just going into the gorgeous store is a treat, but they also have special holiday events as well – a holiday tea and breakfast with Santa!

3. Galleria Mall!

Image: Starwood Hotels

The American Girl store is adjacent to the Galleria Mall which is also a fun place to visit with their recently renovated ice skating rink and the largest indoor Christmas tree in America – you could make a day of it! Actually, you could really make a weekend of it. One year my mom took us to the Westin Galleria for a night (book the concierge floor if you can!) and we did the American Girl store and enjoyed all the fun activities at the mall, including the Macy’s tree lighting skating show (free!). Other years we go to an early lunch at Mi Cocina on a Sunday and watch the ice skaters and enjoy walking around before it gets too crowded. We actually really like the Santa at the Galleria Mall because the line never seems as long as other places.

4. Christmas Lights in Highland Park

Image:Pinterest

If you have never seen the Christmas lights in Highland Park, you are missing out! We will get after dinner Starbucks hot chocolate in Highland Park Village (with it’s own stunning light display!) then hop in the car and drive around the neighborhood. If you are on Preston, head west on Armstrong and drive through all the side streets. Don’t miss the house on Rheims that was written about in Southern Living many moons ago with the jack in the boxes of all the family members. Watch out for the horse drawn carriages, though! You can book those here or here for a fun family or date night (or Indian Princess night in our case this year!).

5. Northpark Puppet Show

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Northpark Center is just the best mall ever. The flowers, the events, the shopping! I mentioned Northpark Trains already but I also love the little puppet show up on the second floor by Green House market. show – plays at the top of every hour. Just grab a seat on the floor! Cost is free!

6. Neiman Marcus Downtown

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There’s not much to get dressed up for anymore, so it’s fun for us to get dressed up on Christmas Eve and have brunch at the Zodiac room and do a little Christmas shopping (my husband lets my girls pick out something little for me – so sweet!). The girls love riding up the six flights of escalators and playing with the classic toys in the children’s department. Visiting the landmark store is a fun treat anytime during the season and Neiman’s has a great Santa!

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7. Santa and Reindeer at the Plaza at Preston Center

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The year we crashed our friend’s photo…

We’ve done this several years when we didn’t want to do the mall Santa. Santa and his (real!) reindeer are set up in the Plaza at Preston Center. Photos are free with a $5 minimum donation to the North Texas Food Bank.

8. Lights in Farmers Branch

Usually one weeknight during the holidays we will bundle the children up after baths, pick up some Starbucks hot chocolate, and head to Farmers Branch. We will drive through the beautiful Tour of Lights but then head over to Pharr’s Christmas Extravaganza. They didn’t have it last year but I hope they do this year!

Things on our wish list: Gaylord Ice (the crowds kind of stress me out but I hear it’s fun!), tea at the Aldophus Hotel (although it’s closed this year for renovations), and I’ve always wanted to see Andrea Bocelli (y’all I am a nerd, I know!) when he comes every December but tickets are so expensive!

Okay, Dallas friends, share your favorite holiday activities in the comment section below. A lot of DoSayGive readers come to Dallas during the holidays and I am sure would LOVE to read your suggestions, too!


Also, if you are signed up for DoSayGive’s email list, it is s MUST DO especially right before Black Friday. I have an insider’s list to all the great sales plus exclusive DoSayGive discount codes. Sign up here. And don’t miss the Amazon Gift card giveaway I have on DoSayGive’s Facebook page!

And if you haven’t browsed DoSayGive’s Holiday Gift Guide – the best gift guide on the web! – you can start browsing here.

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4 thoughts on “8 Fun Things to Do in Dallas During the Holidays

  1. They used to do the Gingerbread House decorating at the Crescent Hotel. We haven’t done it in a few years because we now coordinate a gingerbread house decorating party for our kids on the block (also a good idea!) – but the Crescent event is fabulous and fun if they still do it!! We love doing the Gingerbread Stroll at Highland Park Village. The houses are in select stores between now and December 1st (before they are auctioned off) – but it’s a good kid event (with perhaps some shopping on the side for mama!) We also always love the Lone Star Circus performance AFTER Christmas at the Dallas Children’s theater. It is like Cirque de Soleil for kiddos.

    1. Thank you, Melanie! I forget about the Gingerbread Stroll every year…thank you for reminding me! Love the block party idea – thanks for sharing!

  2. The 12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum is SO great! My kids are little so we went during the day last year and it was so much fun – they loved it and I did too. I am sure it is even better at night!

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