Best Christmas Lights in Texas
In Texas, we seem to do everything in a big way. Christmas decorating is no exception.
I first assembled a list of the best light displays I could find around the state in 2009. I provided links to each one so that viewers could learn more. You can browse the list by geographic area, each of which features a map so that you can see which displays are within driving distance. However, while these lists and maps are meant to be a convenience for finding a Christmas wonderland near you, before hitting the road, please check the event's website to make sure that it is open and the address is still correct.
This article will outline the best sights to see in:
- The Austin and San Antonio Area, including displays in Round Rock, Belton, Round Rock, Georgetown, and the Hill Country).
- Central Texas-San Saba
- The Houston Area, including a display in College Station.
- The Dallas-Fort Worth Area, including displays in Grand Prairie, Denton, Grapevine, Cleburne, and Arlington.
- Upper East Texas displays in Tyler and Marshall.
- West Texas display in Andrews and San Angelo.
- A South Texas display in Hidalgo.
The amount of traffic it has received has led me to update it every year. If you had an awesome Christmas light display in 2018, then contact me, and I'd love to add you to my list.
Central Texas—San Saba
A. San Saba Mill Pond Extravaganza
2017 Events include:
Annual Mill Pond Christmas Extravaganza is a 30-acre Christmas park featuring over a million twinkling lights and dance with a curated list of Christmas carols being broadcast over 88.7 FM. Weather-permitting, visitors can opt to walk through the park. Open nightly from November 23, 2017, through January 5, 2018 Entry is free and open to all. The park opens at dusk and closes at 10 p.m.
San Saba’s annual Sip N’ Stroll is on December 9, 2016. The renowned wine tasting event is from 2-6 p.m. and features six Texas wineries housed in downtown businesses. Tickets are $20 and include a wine glass and 10 taste pours. This event is followed by the San Saba annual Christmas concert from 6-6:30 pm and the Christmas Parade from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Santa’s Workshop, in the Estep-Burleson Plaza, is Santa's home the night of December 9. Kiddos can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus will have cookies and ornaments to decorate. Small gifts and light refreshments like hot cocoa and cookies will be available. Open from 7-9 p.m.; free and open to all.
Austin, San Antonio, and Hill Country Area
Including displays in Round Rock, Belton, Giddings, Georgetown, the Hill Country, and Marble Falls.
Which Displays Are Within Driving Distance?
A. Rock 'N Lights and the Spindler Family Christmas Show
Location: Old Settlers Park / 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd. / Round Rock, Texas 78681
Rock 'N Lights features 2 million lights that are set up along a mile and a half driving path through Old Settlers Park. In addition, there is a holiday village with carnival rides set up in the Dell Diamond parking lot.
This event starts Nov 30, 2015 and runs through Dec 26, 2015.
Family vehicles are $15, limos are $50, 9-30 passenger buses are $45 and 30+ passenger buses are $75. Hours of operation are 6-9 pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 6-10 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, but it is worth checking their website because the carnival is contingent on weather.
Also in the area is the Spindler Family Christmas Show; the video above shows the computer-controlled Christmas display that the family sets up and synchronizes to music every year. Drive down to 2441 Candle Ridge Trail, Georgetown, TX 78626 and tune your radio into 88.5 FM anytime between 6 and 10 pm Nov 27 to Jan 3, 2016.
B. Georgetown Holidays
Location: 7710 Pebble Creek Dr. / Georgetown, TX
For Georgetown Holidays, over 20,000 Christmas lights set to a Christmas remix that can be found on St. Nix 106.1 FM. Lights are on from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm every night from November 27th-January 1, 2016.
C. Austin's 37th Street
Location: Guadalupe St. and W 37th St. / Austin, TX
For more than 20 years, Austin's 37th Street has been transformed into one of the most spectacular displays of Christmas lights in the state. Neighbors string strand after strand from trees to rooftops covering everything in sight. They’ve even been known to decorate their pets and themselves in twinkling lights.
The creativity of this neighborhood has been featured on Good Morning America and in magazines and newspapers.
Due to the popularity of this event, it is advised that you park your vehicle blocks away and walk. Traffic is often blocked off and directed by Austin police due to the number of pedestrians and motorists trying to view the displays.
To get there from I-35, exit at 38th Street and go west. Once you reach Speedway Street, you may want to start looking for a parking space. Cedar Street is the first left after Speedway and you may be able to find parking near there.
D. Texas Hill Country Regional Lighting Trail and Dexter's Hill Country Christmas Drive-Thru Light Display
Location: Town Squares / Boerne, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Goldwaite, Johnson City, Llano, Marble Falls, New Braunfels, Round Mountain, and Wimberley (Texas Hill Country Regional Lighting Trail)
1685 North US Hwy 281 / Johnson City, TX 78636 (Dexter's Hill Country Christmas Drive-Thru Light Display)
Roughly a dozen cities in the Hill Country light up their town squares every year. The regional lighting trail has been featured on the Travel Channel, The New York Times, and other state and national news stations, newspapers, and magazines.
However, one star attraction in the Hill Country is not a town square—it's a private residence a mile north of Johnson City. Dexter's Hill Country Christmas Drive-Thru Light Display is a privately operated display run by Dexter Haynes for over 10 years now. It runs from 6-10 pm Sunday through Thursday and 6 pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday. With more than half a million lights, you'll want to be sure to take your family and experience it this year!
From the 25-foot tall tree of light and the Holidazzle Dancing Light show to the drive-thru tunnel of light, this display is sure to fill you with the Christmas Spirit. Enjoy the lights from the warmth of your car as you listen to their very own radio station that plays non-stop Christmas music on 101.7 FM, The STAR.
Back by popular demand this year, "The One Silent Night" Live nativity will be held on Dec 12th & 13th, 2015. from 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm.
There is no charge for admission, but donations are accepted to keep this display going and to benefit local charities.
E. Marble Falls Walkway of Lights
Location: 916 Second Street / Marble Falls, TX 78654
Marble Falls, just 45 minutes west of Austin and 85 miles north of San Antonio on Highway 281 river bridge, hosts the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights. It's a self-guided walking tour with over two million twinkling lights and 150 sculptures.
Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to keep this project going.
2015 Dates: November 20, 2015-January 1, 2016.
F. Santa's Ranch
Santa's Ranch.......$28 per vehicle
Location: 9561 I-35 North (Exit 199), New Braunfels, TX 78130
November 3rd – December 31st 2017
This is a drive-thru park for vehicles under 8 ft tall and 30 feet long. They are open each night including holidays rain or shine. Tickets cannot be purchased online. They accept cash, check and major credit cards. They do have concessions. There is not a live Santa, but they do have animated displays.
They have restrooms at the entry and and the exit of the park.
G. Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA) Nature in Lights Near Fort Hood
Location: Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area / Belton, Texas 76513
With over five and a half miles of drive-through entertainment, this is a must see. There is also a tram, pony rides, and family-friendly holiday movie screenings. For 2015, it is open from No 13 to Jan 3, 2016. The entrance fee for a car, mini-van, or pick-up truck is $8. For directions and more information, see the recreation area's website.
Including a display in College Station.
A. Prestonwood Forest's Nite of Lites
Location: Prestonwood Forest Drive and Highway 249 / Houston, TX 77070
For access points, see the community's website. Daytime phone: (281) 897-8597
Prestonwood Forest is home to one of the longest-running community Chrismtas light displays in Texas. This community of about 750 participants has been decorating for Christmas in a big way for nearly 40 years.
2015 Dates are from Saturday, Dec 5 through Sunday, Dec 27
B. Santa's Wonderland
Location: 18898 Texas 6 Frontage Rd / College Station, TX 77845
Santa's Wonderland in College Station, Texas, located 6 miles south of College Station, Texas, opened in 1998, and now boasts over two and a half million lights. Santa’s Wonderland is a drive through park but does contain a Texas Christmas Village area where you can walk around and visit their unique retail shops, live musical entertainment, a petting zoo, pony rides, classic Christmas movies on a giant outdoor movie screen and sit near two cozy fireplaces. They do provide a hayride tour if you’d rather not drive your own vehicle through it. They hayride tour includes Christmas music. They do have concessions and restrooms. Please visit their site for prices and more information.
2015 Dates: November 13, 2015-January 3, 2016
Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm-11 pm Fridays 6pm-Midnight Saturdays 3pm-Midnight Sundays 3-11 pm
Dallas-Fort Worth Area
Including displays in Grand Prairie, Denton, Grapevine, Cleburne, and Arlington.
A. Fort Worth Parade of Lights
Location: Downtown 3rd and 4th Streets / Fort Worth, TX 76102
The annual Parade of Lights takes place around Thanksgiving, marking the start of the holiday season. In 2015, it takes place on November 22 at 6 pm (check dates on the organization's website) and is now the largest illuminated holiday procession in the state. While the parade starts in the evening, festivities in Sundance Square Plaza start in the late afternoon.
B. Prairie Lights
Location: Lynn Creek Park / 5700 Lake Ridge Pkwy / Grand Prairie, TX 75052
Prairie Lights consists of over four million lights along two miles of roadway. There are over 600 displays that line and arch over the walkway path, creating Texas' largest light tunnel. There is a holiday laser light show theater, which is a 10-minute light show choreographed to music and complete with snow. A gift shop and concessions are also available, as well as pictures with Santa.
On weekends with high traffic, this can take a couple of hours to get through. It’s recommended that you allow about 2-3 hours to properly see this event.
The price for one car is $15 Monday through Thursday and $25 Friday through Sunday and on holidays. Check their website for pricing for other types of vehicles. It's also worth checking their website before you go to make sure that weather conditions are not impacting the display.
C. Denton's Holiday Fun Fest
Location: Downtown Denton, Texas on December 4, 2015
At this free event, you can visit Santa, enjoy Christmas carols, go on hayrides, listen to stories, participate in a wassail (non-alcoholic apple cider) contest, and watch the annual tree-lighting of the 25-foot-tall spruce.
It also has carriage rides and photos with Santa for a fee.
D. Grapevine: Christmas Capitol of Texas
Location: S Main St and E Dallas Rd / Grapevine, TX 76051
The Christmas Capital of Texas works to earn its name. Around the holidays, Grapevine hosts a multitude of events and entertainment for the whole family, including:
Christmas on Main Street:
- Runs through Dec 20, 2015 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
- Events include: tractor-drawn wagon rides and children's activities
North Pole Express
- Runs through Dec 23, 2015
- Board the steam train to the North Pole, sing carols, and walk through a snowy Christmas Tree trail to meet Santa, who will be giving away Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk served in memory mugs.
Parade of Lights
- December 3, 2015 at 7:00 PM
- This free event includes more than 100 lighted floats and marching bands playing holiday music.
Twinkle Light Boat Parade
- December 5, 2015 from 6-9 pm
- The lighted boat parade on Lake Grapevine is visible from the shoreline but starts at Twin Coves Marina.
E. Gaylord Texan ICE!
Location: Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel and Convention Center / Grapevine, TX 76051
Go snow tubing and watch amazing ice sculptures be carved before your very eyes. Visit here to get more details. It run November 12, 2015 through January 3, 2016.
F. Interlochen Lights Display
Location: W Randol Mill Rd and Westwood Dr / Arlington, TX 76012
Interlochen Lights Display consists of more than 200 homes in an Arlington neighborhood. The participating homes start at Randol Mill at Westwood, west of Cooper Street. The area homeowners transform their neighborhood into a spectacular display that is known throughout the DFW Metroplex. Due to its popularity, you’re advised to allow several hours to take the tour. You are also advised to have the car gassed up and bring plenty of snacks and drinks along to entertain small kids. Runs from December 17-25th, 2015
G. Whistlestop Christmas
Location: Hulen Park / Cleburne, TX 76033
Whistlestop Christmas has over 3.5 million lights. Events there include a parade, a tour of homes built in the 1800s, and theatrical productions. Their 2015 dates are November 23-December 31, 2015. Check its website for more information.
Upper East Texas
A. Santa Land Texas
Location: 11455 I-20 / Tyler, TX 75708
Santa Land Texas is the state's original drive-through Christmas park located midway between Dallas and Shreveport on I-20. It has over 2.5 million lights over 24 acres. There is a 250-foot-long tunnel of dancing lights, numerous displays, a gift shop, and a concession stand.
2015 Dates-November 2015-January 4, 2016.
Admission is $25/car.
B. Wonderland of Lights
Location: 117 E Bowie St / Marshall, TX 75670
Wonderland of Lights is located in Marshall, Texas and began in 1987. This event is centered around their historic courthouse and contains approximately 10 million lights. Activities include outdoor skating (not a common thing in Texas), Santa's workshop, carriage rides, candlelight tours of historic homes, and a lighted Christmas parade. Tour buses run hourly to take guests to see the twinkling lights that adorn the trees, local businesses, and residences.
2015 Dates-November 25-December 31, 2015
A. Roberts Family Display
Location: 301 NW Ave D / Andrews, TX 79714
The Roberts Family started their display in 2006, and it has developed into something very beautiful. They are known for their 75 foot mega tree made of lights and multiple 11-foot mini trees and over 6,800 channels. The mega tree is not available for 2015 at this new location, but they have more parking and more pixelated animations. Each show begins at dark and consists of a loop of four to five songs broadcast on 100.5 FM. They are open weeknights until 10 pm and weekends until 11 pm, weather permitting.
B. Concho Christmas Celebration
Location: Concho River / San Angelo, TX
Concho Christmas Celebration was founded in 1994 and has one of the largest Christmas light displays in Texas with over 3 million lights strewn along a 2.5-mile drive along the Concho River.
It includes a live nativity scene, tree lighting ceremony, Lights of Christmas parade, bicycle fun ride, and much more.
2015 Dates: December 4 through December 31, 2015
Hidalgo Festival of Lights
Location: Downtown / 700 E. Texano Drive / Hidalgo, TX 78557
Hidalgo's 23rd annual Festival of Lights runs from December 1 through the 31st. They kick off with a parade on December 1st. Be sure to check them out.
See over three million lights and 900 displays on a trail of nine sites via train, trolley, or horse-drawn carriage from the City Hall Plaza.
2015 Dates: December 1-31, 2015