Put on your hat and gloves, fill that thermos with cocoa and pack some cookies. It's time to take in all things twinkly. We've rounded up some top area light displays to help you plan a perfectly merry and bright outing. For the neighborhood displays, note that it's very early in the season and things might get sparklier as Christmas draws near.
This Plano neighborhood display is traditionally one of Collin County's biggest, with merry penguins, glittering gift boxes and plenty of Santas. Times that lights will usually be on are Dec. 1-30 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The neighborhood covers a large area north of Legacy Drive between Preston and Coit roads.
Visitors should obey the signs in the neighborhood. To make a reservation for a carriage ride through the neighborhood in December, go to dfwcarriages.com. Free to view. There's a map of the recommended driving route on the homeowners' association website, deerfieldplano.org.
The mansions themselves are sights to behold. In the vicinity of Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road, sprawling homes stand majestically on endless lawns (there's also a particularly awesome big pecan tree there that's covered in lights). Expect them to be glittering for the holidays with classic light decorations. Check out the area south of Preston and Mockingbird for more light displays. Several companies offer carriage rides.
The Griswold Award is just one of the prizes handed out to residents of this Arlington neighborhood, which has gained legendary status for its lights and decorations. More than 200 homes usually participate. It has official hours and police direct traffic on some dates near Christmas. (There tends to be tons of traffic near the holiday.) The neighborhood's drive-through entrance point is at Westwood Drive and Randol Mill Road.
Lights & more
Dallas Zoo Lights
For 33 nights, nearly a million bulbs will liven up a path through 25 acres at the zoo. Expect a light show set to music, light-wrapped trees, holiday performances, light sculptures, crafts and treats including doughnuts and hot chocolate.
Little ones might get a kick out of riding a gorilla or a giraffe on the carousel, or taking a spin on the mini train (and, of course, both the carousel and mini train will have lights).
The lights are on from 5 to 9 p.m., and you can get evening-only zoo tickets if you're going specifically to see them. However, you could also choose to make a long outing of it, since you can go to the zoo during the day and stay without paying any extra for the nighttime fun. Find more info in our listing.
Lone Star Christmas
The Gaylord Texan's "Ice!" is a walk-through exhibit featuring 2 million pounds of the cold stuff carved into festive holiday scenes, along with five ice slides -- just one part of the hotel's Lone Star Christmas celebration, which runs through Jan. 1. There's a new theme each year, and the 2017 exhibit depicts the holiday classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
At select times, it also features the On the Blocks Ice Bar, an optional $15 add-on for those 21 and older. If you're looking for activities with no additional cost, the resort's 4.5 acres of indoor gardens feature 2 million holiday lights, miniature trains, a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree and other decorations. If you're willing to shell out some extra money, consider the 12-lane snow tubing hill, the 6,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink, Santa's Snow Throw, the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, the Build-A-Bear Workshop Scavenger Hunt and Cookies with Mrs. Claus.
"Ice!" continues through Jan. 1 in Longhorn Exhibit Hall B at the Gaylord Texan, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine. Tickets are timed and ticket prices vary by date (for example, peak times cost more); check the website for schedule. Tickets are $21.99-$32.99 for adults, $12.99-$19.99 for children 4-11, $19.99-$29.99 for seniors 55 and older, free for children 3 and younger. (Viewing the Lone Star Christmas decorations is free.) christmasatgaylordtexan.com.
Holiday in the Park
See millions of twinkling lights wrapped around trees and along rooftops, take a slide down the snow-sledding hill, warm yourself by fire pits, decorate holiday cookies and enter Santa's Workshop, where you can meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves. It's all happening at the annual Six Flags Over Texas festivities. There'll also be seasonal performances, a Lone Star Lights show, racing down the Frosty Snow Hill and, oh yes, lots of rides.
Nov. 17-Jan. 7 at 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington. At the gate, tickets are $78.99, $63.99 for kids under 48 inches. Discounts available on the website. Find more info in our listing.
Four million lights twinkle along a 2-mile path throughout this drive-through holiday attraction. Visitors can hop out at Holiday Village, featuring the all-new indoor Snow Maze and a walk-through holiday light display. For those who can't wait to get into the Christmas spirit, the Sneak-a-Peek 3-mile events are coming up soon: Nov. 18 for timed runners, joggers and fast walkers, and Nov. 19 for walkers as well as families wanting to enter the team-costume or decorated-stroller contests; check the website for registration info and prices.
Sneak-a-Peek events Nov. 18 and 19, regular light display Nov. 23-Dec. 31 at Lynn Creek Park, 5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie. $35-$45 per car. Find more info in our listing.
Magical Winter Lights
The Dallas County Courthouse, Dallas' Pegasus and a cowboy are among the inspirations for displays at the new Grand Prairie version of this huge attraction, which has been one of Houston's largest holiday celebrations since 2015. Magical Winter Lights is expanding to D-FW with a new home at Lone Star Park. (The Houston venue wasn't damaged in the recent flooding, so it'll be there, too.) Sprawling, eclectic themed light displays are the name of the game, with areas dubbed Magical Wonderland, the Lone Star State, Dinosaur Land, Mystery of the East and Christmas Candy Land. Chinese lanterns are a strong influence in the Magical Winter Lights design, and Chinese acrobats will take the stage daily.
Nov. 17-Jan. 7 at Lone Star Park, 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie. $21 for adults, $13 for ages 4-12, $13 for those 65 and older, free for children 3 and younger. Find more info in our listing.
With a new location in front of City Hall, this year's Carol of Lights also boasts a new theme -- Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate flips the switch at the annual event on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. to illuminate more than 1 million lights during a celebration that also features music, Christmas crafts and favorite holiday characters (go early for photos with live reindeer starting at 5 p.m.). Starting Nov. 22, head to the Christmas tree in the Town Square for the nightly Light Show Spectacular, featuring sparkling lights choreographed to holiday music. The city, which calls itself the Christmas Capital of Texas, has a schedule full of holiday performances and activities, such as Christmas on Main, with seasonal photo ops and tractor-drawn wagon rides (weekends Nov. 24-Dec. 23). See illuminated floats and marching bands in the Parade of Lights on Dec. 7, as well as lighted boats in the Twinkle Light Boat Parade on Grapevine Lake on Dec. 2.
The Light Show Spectacular runs Nov. 22-Jan. 7, nightly from 6 to 11, at the Main Street Gazebo, on Main Street between East Texas and Worth streets, Grapevine. Free. For a schedule and more details on Grapevine events, go to grapevinetexasusa.com/christmas.
The mall is home to what is billed as America's tallest indoor Christmas tree, sparkling with nearly half a million lights and more than 10,000 ornaments. Santa arrives on Nov. 17 and welcomes young visitors to share their Christmas wishes and take a photo. Starting Nov. 24, the tree's daily Illumination Celebration light shows will be set to music. On Grand Tree Lighting dates, free ice shows feature skating Santa Missile Toes shooting sparks from his skates and doing back flips alongside Olympic and national champion skaters. Shows are at Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center in the mall's Center Court. Other attractions include Operation Kindness pet adoptions, the Salvation Army Angel Tree, holiday musical performances and menorah lightings.
The mall is at 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas. Illumination Celebrations are Nov. 24-Dec. 24, daily at noon and 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. (no 8 p.m. shows on Sundays). Grand Tree Lightings are Nov. 24 at noon and Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. (with Meryl Davis and Charlie White), Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. (with Yuka Sato), Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. (with Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov) and Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. (with Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani and Ryan Bradley). Free. For a detailed schedule of Galleria events, go to galleriadallas.com.
More than 2 million lights will twinkle at a new outdoor, walk-through holiday spectacular at Fair Park's Leonhardt Lagoon. Expect a snowflake corridor, a 48-foot-tall Christmas tree, a display featuring penguins and polar bears, and plenty of Chinese lantern-inspired decorations. Santa Claus will be on hand on some evenings, and even if he's not there, little ones can write him a letter and drop it in the mailbox. They also might enjoy Santa's Arctic Slide and get a kick out of making a snowball and trying to hit a target. Acrobatics and holiday performances round out the mix. If all that merriment makes you hungry, you can dig into foods from Germany, Mexico, China and the United States.
Nov. 21-Jan. 7 in the area around the lagoon at Fair Park, 1318 S. Second Ave., Dallas. $20 for adults, $12 for children 3-12, free for children 2 and younger with an accompanying adult. Find more info in our listing.
Christmas Tour of Lights
Follow the candy-cane signs as you take an evening drive through Farmers Branch. This animated tour is illuminated with more than 500,000 twinkling lights and holiday decorations, boasting a variety of different scenes. The route begins at Valley View Lane and Interstate 35E, continues south on Denton Drive and ends in Farmers Branch Historical Park, where you'll find Santa Claus starring in a nightly animated light show (the park portion of the show will be closed Dec. 2 and 25).
Nov. 24-Dec. 30, nightly from 6:30 to 9:30. The tour begins at Valley View Lane and Interstate 35E and ends at the park, 2540 Farmers Branch Lane, Farmers Branch. Free; $5 suggested donations are accepted. Find more info in our listing.
Texas Motor Speedway Gift of Lights
Texas Motor Speedway turns into a winter wonderland for this annual drive-through attraction, which stretches 2 miles and features nearly 3 million LED lights. Head to Santa's Village to get your photo taken with old St. Nick. The annual Gift of Lights event benefits several local charities, including the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth, DFW Toys for Tots and Scottish Rite Hospital.
Nov. 23-Dec. 30, nightly from 6 to 10, at 3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth. $25 per car. Find more info in our listing.
Wander through Vitruvian Park's 12 acres and view more than 550 illuminated trees wrapped in 1.5 million sparkling LED lights. The large number of single-color trees gives this display a modern flair. Join Addison Mayor Joe Chow as he flips on the switch during a lighting ceremony on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. After the ceremony, guests can enjoy a concert by the Jordan Kahn Orchestra, free Santa photos, holiday gift shopping, food trucks and more. The celebration includes additional 6 p.m. performances by Phat Strad on Dec. 2 and the Chris Rivers Band on Dec. 9.
Nov. 24-Jan. 1, nightly from 6 to 10, at 3966 Vitruvian Way, Addison. Free. Find more info in our listing.
Two 25-foot-tall reindeer will light the way for visitors as they enter this jolly new holiday stop. The U.S. debut of this attraction, which originated in Vancouver, British Columbia, includes what's billed as the world's largest light maze. You can also expect a holiday market with 85 vendors, visits with Santa, more than 20 food trucks, ice skating and live entertainment.
Nov. 24-Dec. 31 in Lot F at Globe Life Park, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington. $29.95 for adults, $21.95 for children 5-14, $21.95 for those 65 and older, free for kids 4 and younger. Find more info in our listing.
Christmas in the Square
More than 175,000 lights blink along to holiday music at this Frisco attraction. You can drive through and tune in on the radio -- the station will be posted on signs. If you choose to brave the elements and walk through the display, you'll be able to hear the music on speakers throughout the square. For those not averse to the cold, the Skate the Square outdoor ice rink is priced at $12 per person, including skates (closed Dec. 25). On select dates, there will be carriage rides, flurries of faux snow, a Christmas tree lot and a trackless train. Frisco's Merry Main Street free festival and tree lighting will be Dec. 2, followed by Christmas in the Square's special-event night on Dec. 16, featuring a parachuting Santa, a four-lane snow slide, a snow play area and holiday treats.
Nov. 24-Dec. 31, nightly from 6-10, at Frisco Square, Main Street and Coleman Boulevard, Frisco. Free admission; some attractions require a fee. Find more info in our listing.