Outdoor Fun

Best Christmas Towns across Texas

Best Christmas Towns across Texas

Jingle, jingle, jingle, it’s time to don your best Christmas sweater and head to one of the best Christmas towns in Texas. With ice sculptures, Victorian Christmas celebrations,  a town dipping in tinsel and a town with a German Christmas Pyramid. Here’s the best Christmas towns across Texas.

Moody Gardens Holiday scene
Festival of Lights in Moody Gardens credit: Moody Gardens


For a weekend packed with holiday cheer along with seafood and sand, Galveston is the place to go.

Ice Land

After a hiatus, the Moody Garden’s signature event, Ice Land is back for 2022. Inside the 28,000 square foot insulated tent, Chinese ice carvers have been carved 2 million pounds of colored ice into magical scenes from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Visitors walk through the marine life scenes in jackets provided by Moody Gardens (feel free to bring your own) since the facility is kept at 9-degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to Ice Land: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas visitors can take the Festival of Lights, a mile-long holiday themed trail with 2 million individual lights and sound-enhanced animated displays. Families can also ice skate at a covered outdoor ice rink. Or slide down the Arctic Slide, an ice slide and take a ride on its train. 

Land: Ice Sculptures, A Caribbean Christmas is open daily from Saturday, November 19 (the first weekend of Thanksgiving break) to Saturday, January 7. Adult admission starts at $65 and kids are $45 for admission to Ice Land, Festival of Lights, the ice rink, the train and the ice slide.

Located at 1 Hope Blvd. Open daily from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission to the aquarium, the rainforest and the 4D theater is additional.

Moody Gardens at night
Holiday lights at the Moody Gardens in Galveston. credit: Moody Gardens

Polar Express

A family tradition for many, the Polar Express departs from the Galveston Railroad Museum with a  visit from Santa along with cookies and carols on a one-hour ride. In addtion to the annual Polar Express train, guests can see the locomotives and freight cars at the Galveston Railroad Museum, like a pullman (sleeping) car, dining car and a Post Office car. 

Located at 2602 Santa Fe Plaza. Reserve Polar Express tickets in advance and lap children are free. The Polar Express runs from Friday, November 11 to Friday, December 23. November departures are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. December departures are Thursday through Sunday along with the entire week before Christmas. Reservations are required and tickets start at $30 per passenger. Each date offers several departure times.

Dickens on the Strand

Get transported to Victorian England with the food, the drinks and the sounds of the season. From the strolling carolers to the smell of roasting chestnuts, revelers can join in the fun with their own version of a Dickens-era costume at the 49th annual Dickens on the Strand.

The historic Strand District offers lots of room for artisan demonstrations along with holiday craft booths. Don’t miss the parade. And be sure to sample a Scotch Egg.

Located in the Historic Strand District at 2100 The Strand. Dickens on the Strand will be Friday, December 2 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with free admission. Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. Admission is $18 for adults, $13 for kids (7 – 12) and kids 11 and younger are free. Open from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. Admission is $18 for adults, $13 for kids (7 – 12) and kids 11 and younger are free. 

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Polar Express


As the official Christmas Capital of Texas, this Dallas/Ft. Worth suburb is covered end-to-end in all the Holiday finery. Head to the historic downtown area for walkable streetscape with dining, shopping and wine tasting rooms. Don’t miss the Christmas Store for an ornament to mark the occasion. 

Parade of Lights 

With 100 lighted floats and marching bands, this night parade moves down Main Street and attracts big crowds from across North Texas. The 2022 Parade of Lights is Thursday, December 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Ice Rink

Along Main Street, kids of all ages can enjoy a ring around the outdoor ice rink on Grapevine’s Main Street. With a 4,500-square foot ice rink, ice skaters have plenty of room to glide across the ice.

Located 815 S. Main St. in Peace Plaza. Open from Friday, November 18 to Thursday, January 8. Its hours are Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

Grapevine Christmas Village

Learn about heritage crafts at the Cotton Belt Railroad Historic District with costumed artisans demostrating traditional skills.   Kids can learn about blacksmithing  in its workshop or make a cookie cutter out of metal.

Located at 705 S. Main St.

Make a Christmas keepsake with a glass blown ornament under the supervision of the glass artists at Vetro Glassblowing Studio.

Located at 701 S. Main St. #103. Prices start at $65 per ornament and reservations are required.

North Pole Express

The North Pole Express departs from the historic depot several times a day with a Santa and Mrs. Claus on each car along with fresh baked cookies for all the passengers, naughty or nice. The annual event is popular excursion for North Texas families. There’s plenty of photo opportunities and even an area that snows.

Located at 701 S. Main St.  Reserve Polar Express tickets in advance.

Best Christmas Towns in Texas
Nash Farm in Grapevine, Texas, dressed in holiday finery. credit: Catherine Parker

Nash Farms

Learn about how Christmas was celebrated over 100 years ago at Nash Farm. The original homestead tells the story of life in North Texas before cars and electricity. See the chickens and the sheep and if you are lucky, one of the ladies will have a cookie to share that was baked on the wood-burning oven.

The Prairie Christmas is Saturday, December 2, and guests help decorate the house for Christmas. Then everyone enjoy cookies and cider afterwards.

Located at 626 Ball St. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission varies. 

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The Christmas Pyramid in Fredericksburg Marketplatz. credit: Catherine Parker


With its German heritage, visitors will find a traditional take on Christmas at this favorite Hill Country destination. Head to Fredericksburg’s Main Street for a small town shopping destination, it’s packed with unique boutiques and lots of decorations.For Texas food and snacks, stop by Rustlin’ Rob’s, located at 121 E. Main St. For home decor and holiday decorations to look like a magazine cover, step inside Farmhaus Antiques, located at 211 W. Main St. 

Christmas Nights of Lights

As the sun sets, head to the Marketplatz for its nightly lighting, where the trees come alive with thousands of lights from Tuesday, November 22 to Friday, January 6. Even the locals come out to see the lights and enjoy the outdoors.

Located at 126 W. Main St.  Free to enter.

German Christmas Pyramid

Hand-crafted in Germany, the traditional Christmas pyramid features candles and spinning figurines. It’s 30-feet-tall and a must see while in Fredericksburg.

Located at 126 W. Main St. Enter the park for free.

Eisbahn The Ice Rink

Strap on some ice skates to ring around the outdoor ice rink, Eisbahn in Marketplatz. With outdoor tables for snacks and cocoa nearby, it’s fun for even the non-skaters.

Located at 126 W. Main St. Ice skate for $15 for a come-and-go experience, including rental skates.

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The San Antonio Riverwalk. credit: Catherine Parker

San Antonio

The holidays might be the best time to visit the San Antonio Riverwalk when it’s dressed in lights. The 41st Annual Ford Holiday River Parade features 28 lighted parade barges. At the same time, the lights of the River Walk are turned on.  Dangling from the 100-year-old Cypress trees, multi-colored lights twinkle as river boats float underneath and stay lit from sunset to sunrise daily.

The Ford Holiday River Parade features reserved seating along with first-come, first-serve seats. Tickets start at $15.

Popular San Antonio attractions offer holiday celebrations too.

  • SeaWorld San Antonio Christmas Celebration
  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Holiday in the Park
  • Zoo Lights! at the San Antonio

For a taste of the Holidays in San Antonio, sample a tamale. It’s a corn husk with masa and stuffed with meat, like pork, chicken or beef, then steamed. The traditional treat is served during the holidays.  For the more Tex-Mex favorites, head to Mi Terra Cafe and Bakery. Located along Produce Row in the San Antonio’s Market Square, it’s been a staple since 1941.

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Disclosure: This article was created after media press trips.

Sip on some cocoa and find some Holiday Cheer at the Best Christmas Towns across Texas decked in tinsels and laden in garland. Take a vintage train ride with Santa, make an ornament to remember and sip cocoa (or wassail) as you watch the parades float by. Each of the Best Christmas Towns in Texas offers a unique feel and activities. Best Christmas Towns in Texas | Best Holiday Decorations in Texas | Where to go in Texas during the Holidays #Christmas #Texas
credit: Catherine Parker

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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