Texas Living

Top 16 Holiday Light Displays Across Texas

By Peter Simek 11.18.19

Thanksgiving is about more than turkey, fixings, and family gatherings. It is the official kickoff to the holiday season. In Texas, that means it’s time to get in the seasonal spirit by heading out to see some dazzling holiday light displays.

There are plenty of great places to see lights in Texas — your favorite may even be your own front yard. Here’s a statewide guide to the twinkliest towns in Texas. Now all you need to do is grab a thermos of cocoa and marshmallows and pile the kids in the car for a magical wonderland drive.

North Texas

The 12 Days of Christmas, Dallas
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden goes all out for an outdoor display honoring the holiday classic with 12 glittering handcrafted gazebos. This is a sight not to be missed. 

Town of Highland Park
North Texas is home to many town-sponsored light events, but the main attraction each year takes place in the town of Highland Park, where dozens of residents adorn their homes with holiday decorations that take domestic light shows to the next level. Expect streets crowded with gawkers in cars, horse-drawn carriages, and even limos who make cruising Highland Park’s glittering boulevards an annual seasonal tradition. Don’t miss the tree-lighting ceremony at the “Big Pecan Tree” on the first Thursday of December at 6 p.m.

Christmas Light Show Spectacular, Grapevine
The historic Main Street and Town Square Gazebo play host to a sparkling town Christmas tree. 

Whistle Stop Christmas Lights, Cleburne
More than 3.5 million lights illuminate the 12-acre Hulen Park.

West Texas

Starbright Village, Odessa
With more than 300,000 lights, the Starbright Village is advertised as “the largest light display in the Permian Basin.” Brighter than the refineries that dot the flat landscape, the brilliant spectacle is open to pedestrians and visitors driving in to see some of the best Christmas lights in Texas.

Concho Christmas Celebration, San Angelo
The Tour of Lights displays 3 million of them, twinkling along the Concho River.

Photo by Mitchell Hallmark

Central Texas

The Dancing Lights of Mill Pond Park — Christmas Extravaganza, San Saba
The little town of San Saba turns out a super-sized Texas holiday celebration with more than a million lights spread out over a 30-acre waterfront site. Tune the car radio to 88.7 FM for the musical programming that accompanies the holiday-light choreography as you roll through.

37th Street, Austin
A once “wild art form” performed by neighbors in the ’80s has evolved into a brilliant display that’s nothing short of pure magic.

Lights Spectacular, Johnson City
The little Hill Country town of Johnson City shows big holiday spirit each winter. Its residents transform the Blanco County Courthouse and the surrounding grounds each year with an impressive array of Christmas lights. The city calls itself “a bright beacon of light” that guides visitors to “good old-fashioned Christmas cheer.”

Walkway of Lights, Marble Falls
The light display in Marble Falls’ Lakeside Park includes more than 130 light sculptures and millions of lights creating a brilliant promenade. If you visit Marble Falls, give yourself time to soak it all in. It can take upwards of 30 minutes to wander through the whole exhibit.

East Texas

Polar Express, Palestine
Bring the classic story to life (at least for an hour). This fairy-tale journey has it all: hot chocolate, cookies, and even magic bells.

Twice as Bright Festival of Lights, Texarkana
Carriage rides and live reindeer await guests at this decadent Main Street festival. 

Santa’s Wonderland, College Station
The massive holiday celebration features carriage rides, hayrides, lighted arches, food, themed festivities, and a toboggan slide. But if anything sets the College Station celebration apart, it is the nightly snow falls (thanks to snow machines) that allow Texas kids a chance to slide down snowbanks and make their first snow angels in the cold, white Texas powder.

Photo by John Cabuena

South Texas

River Walk, San Antonio
San Antonio’s River Walk is already one of Texas’ most romantic, evocative spots, but during the holiday season it comes alive with thousands of holiday lights that wrap the trees lining the banks of the river. Strolling the banks is enough, but the display is best taken in by riverboat.

Santa’s Ranch, New Braunfels
This drive-through holiday park features more than 1 million lights.

EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights, Wimberley
It’s free to walk through the eight acres of trails, but bring money if you want to buy a hot dog to roast over the traditional Yule Log.

Have fun exploring these and many more Christmas lights in Texas. Warm up with some holiday cheer.

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