Ten Things to Do in Dallas this December

Dallas-area families looking to get into the holiday spirit are in luck this year. From parades to puppetry and ice skating to elves, the city offers a ho-ho-whole lot of opportunities for holiday cheer. Here are my recommendations for a few kid-friendly festivities to add to your calendar this season:

  1. Children’s Holiday Parade (Saturday, Dec. 1) – Giant inflatable balloons, such as Mr. Potato Head and Rudolf, and special guests, such as Curious George and Barbie, make their way through downtown Dallas during Children’s Medical Center’s 25th annual parade.
  2. Santa’s Village in Richardson (Weekends, Dec. 1 – 16) – Sip on some hot chocolate and watch live entertainment as your little ones explore kid-sized houses, including Santa’s Workshop, a gingerbread house, a hospital, an ornament factory, a petting zoo and more.
  3. Jingle Bell Run (Wednesday, Dec. 19) – Ring in the holidays with thousands ofwalkers and runners in the 1-mile or 5K race benefitting the Trinity Strand Trail and the Mavericks Foundation.
  4. Galleria Dallas (Every Saturday through Dec. 22) – The Galleria’s Santa Claus —famous for his back-flips and pyrotechnics — puts on quite a performance as he ice skates around the country’s tallest indoor tree. While there, be sure to Visit Santa in his Village.
  5. Dallas Children’s Theater (Through Dec. 23)- The theater presents holiday-themed plays this month, including Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells and The Nutcracker.
  6. NorthPark Mall (Daily) – There are always plenty of holiday sights and sounds to enjoy at NorthPark Mall. Listen to Santa share a sweet Christmas story, watch the Scrooge Puppet Theatre and take in The Trains at NorthPark. NorthPark also provides plenty of opportunities to help less fortunate families through the Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots toy drive and holiday wish fountains.
  7. Downtown City Lights (Daily) – Take a stroll through downtown and check out the holiday decorations and displays at the Main Street Garden and Pegasus Plaza. Kids will especially love climbing through the Neiman Marcus Crawl Tube Experience.
  8. Holidays in the Arts District (Various dates) – From The Nutcracker to CirqueDreams: Holidaze to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Celebration, the Arts district presents a huge array of shows, concerts and musicals.
  9. Klyde Warren Park (Daily) – Visit downtown’s newest park, featuring a children’s amphitheater and playground, fitness activities and musical performances for the whole family.
  10. Christmas Lights – Take a drive through Highland Park (start at Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road) for some spectacular light displays and beautiful holiday decorations.

What are your favorite things to do in the Dallas area during the holidays? Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.


9 thoughts on “Ten Things to Do in Dallas this December

  1. Stacey, funny you mention the lights in Highland Park. My parents used to do tour when I was little and it’s an annual thing I still do. Now taking my grandkids and in the past have taken coworkers and friends. Not only the houses are beautiful, but the huge pecan trees all lit up are a site to see.

    • It’s a tradition in our family, too. We love to take our out-of-town visitors and watch their reaction as we’re driving around…definitely a site to see. Thanks for sharing, Debbie!

  2. We just went to Klyde Warren park last weekend. It was awesome! The children’s play area there is great! I couldn’t get the kids to leave. I love the spongy floor of the play area … it prevents injury to the kiddos, and is very comforting to the parents who are standing around watching their kids :)

    • Lisa – I agree – KWPark is awesome! We were just there last night … beautiful view of the full moon and city all lit up at night. I haven’t heard of any holiday-specific events taking place there, but I’ll update my post if I come across any. Thanks for reading! – Stacey

  3. You have just listed most of our holiday traditions! Growing up in the Dallas area, many of these activities have been staples of our holiday season. Strolling through NorthPark then driving through Highland Park to see the lights has always been fun. For those a little further north, the neighborhood of Deerfiled in Plano is a great place to spend an evening; just about all of the houses are decorated, there’s usually a band playing Christmas carols, and you can even take a hay ride, provided by the local community church adjacent to the neighborhood. Go early if you do though, they get lots of traffic some nights, but that only adds to the spirit!

    • Tanya – thanks for commenting and leaving a suggestion. I just looked up the Deerfield Holiday website and you were not kidding! Looks like we will add Deerfield to our to-do list in December.
      PS – Check out this map on their site—it provides different routes to take to avoid some of the congestion. Thanks again – Stacey

  4. Hope you’ll add the 4th Annual Toys for Tots Toy Drive Party at NorthPark Center to your list of things to do this holiday! It’s this Sunday, 12/9 2-5pm with tons of free attractions for families from bounce houses, face painters, sketch artists, stilt walkers, entertainers and performances, arts and crafts, food and drinks and more! Free to the public when you bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots! First 100 to RSVP and attend get a free goody bag- http://www.metroplexbaby.com/toys

    • Stefani – Thanks for sharing this, it sounds like a great event. The metroplexbaby link above was not working for me, but I found another RSVP link on the NorthPark website: t4tparty2012.eventbrite.com. I just signed up! Thanks again, Stacey

  5. Thanks for sharing all of the great activities going on in the Dallas area, Stacey! When I was a kid living in Houston, we used to enjoy driving around in the River Oaks section. There were so many beautiful homes there that looked magical when the Christmas decorations and lights were up. When my daughter was little and in girl scouts, the families went to an outdoor Christmas lighting drive through park. The kids had a blast, and so did the parentsI! For those who live out in the country and looking for something fun and close to home, such as in Henderson County, these parks typically open at dark on the weekends, starting after Thanksgiving. You just pay per vehicle for entry. Here is the link for the park in Athens. http://www.athenstx.org/things-to-do/christmas-park-land-of-lights-2011.

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