Christmas in Texas 2023 | Ultimate Holiday Guide

Christmas in Texas

What to do for Christmas in Texas? With so many great cities, special holiday events, holiday markets, holiday shows, holiday festivals, holiday light trails, and moderate temperatures for most of the state, Texas makes a wonderful Christmas holiday destination. Whether you currently live in Texas or are just visiting for the holidays there is so much to do. Christmas in Texas events will keep you busy for the holidays. So, what are some of the best places to go for Christmas in Texas?

The 2023 holiday season is quickly approaching. Check our Gift ideas from Texas here. Happy Holidays!

Texini Editor

Cities in Texas with Holiday Events

Make it a Texas Christmas this year. A Texas Christmas vacation cannot be beaten. Christmas in Texas is a delightful experience. There are many Christmas events in Texas. Cities in Texas with notable Christmas Holiday events include Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW Metroplex), Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso. The Lone Star State offers many holiday events ranging from smaller venues to large events.

Austin, Texas

Austin is a first pick for the holiday season with so, so many things to do. The median daytime temperature in December for Austin is 63 degrees. Night-time lows are usually in the mid-40s. The city comes alive during the holiday season and features many events. Christmas Austin Texas is chockful of magical lights and filled with Christmas in Texas events.

The Austin Trail of Lights is a tradition in Austin for the holiday season. This year will mark the 59th year of magical lights at Zilker Park. Hundreds of thousands come to view the lights every year from all around the world. The Austin Trail of Lights is a drive-through winter wonderland.  There is a per-vehicle entry fee and drive time is approximately 20 minutes. However, keep in mind there may be waiting times for staging and you should plan for that as well.

Open from December 8 through December 23, 2023 there are also various live performances during the duration of the event. More details here. With more than 2 million lights and the Zilker Holiday Tree that stands 158 feet tall and 3,309 lights, you will be drawn into a truly magical world.

Christmas in Texas
Texas Capital Building at New Year, Austin, TX

The 2023 Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, November 26. Parking is free on a first come first serve basis. The location is Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road on the south side of the park. Nightly visitations are available from November 27, 2023 through January 1, 20224. Being an outdoor event please review weather conditions and dress appropriately. See the calendar here.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is hosting Luminationst from November 24, 2023, through January 6, 2024. A stunning display based on earth, fire, air, and water, the two-mile exhibition is sure to be a site to see. Located in South Austin, at 4801 La Crosse Ave, the center grounds are open daily for wildflower viewing and make a great day trip any time of the year. See the schedule and more info here.

The Blue Genie Art Bazaar runs from November 17 through December 24, 2023. Admission is on a first come first serve basis. Vendors come from all over to present their wares for this holiday shopping extravaganza. The bazaar has been operating since 2001 and its holiday bazaar is one you should not miss. More info here.

DFW Metroplex

DFW Metroplex is our next pick for the 2023 Holiday Season. The Fort Worth Parade of Lights is located in downtown Fort Worth. The yearly event takes place on November 19, 2023, consisting of a parade and lights. Shopping and dining are available throughout the downtown area. The Fort Worth Christmas Tree can be seen all day as well. Street seats for the parade event are available by reservation. Traffic does get congested at this time of year, so knowing before you go is advised. See more info here. Don’t miss Dallas’ largest Christmas charity event at Christmas in the Park at Fair Park, details here.

Christmas Lights Texas Motor Speedway located in North Fort Worth is a yearly Christmas event appropriately called Gift of Lights, which is a drive-thru magical holiday experience. A fee applies per car or vehicle, find out more here.

Another DFW location is Grapevine, Texas, also known as the Christmas Capital of Texas. The Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine offers holiday magic galore. You will love their ice wonderland, Ice! The ice wonderland carved out of two million pounds of colorful ice is an experience like no other. Celebrate your 2023 holiday season on ice from November 10, 2023, through December 31, 2023. The Gaylord Texas offers Overnight Stay Options & Special Offers. Tickets and reservations are available. Takes approximately 20 to 40 minutes to complete the ice tour but stay if longer you like! Christmas Grapevine Texas and your Gaylord Texan Christmas should not be missed. Find out more here.

Houston Metro Area – Christmas Lights Houston

Christmas Houston, Texas, USA.
Christmas Houston, Texas, USA

The Houston Metro Area is our third pick for the holiday season in Texas. It offers performing arts, holiday festivals, Christmas markets, and family-friendly events. Downtown Houston offers lights, shopping, and dining as special holiday events. There is so much to do in the heart of Houston for the 2023 Christmas holidays. Read more here.

The Woodlands, a community north of Houston on Interstate 45 is a great holiday shopping location. With over 11 million square feet of shops and local markets along with the Junior League Holiday Market. They also feature an ice skating rink at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The Lighting of the Doves Festival as well as other events in the area make this a winter wonderland destination. Find more here.

The Moody Gardens Festival of Lights in Galveston runs from November 16, 2021 – January 6, 2023. This mile-long festival of lights features live music, food, and much more. Find out more here.

San Antonio

San Antonio comes alive during the holiday season. November 17, 2023, marks the beginning of the holiday season with the lightscape at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. November 18, 2023, comes the San Antonio Zoo Lights with its lakeside light show followed by the Annual San Antonio Christmas Showcase market. Find more information here and here.

Christmas in Texas 
San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio Riverwalk Holiday Season

The official holiday event on November 24, 2023, features the Ford Holiday River Parade on the Paesanos Riverwalk. Tickets are available and there are several free viewing areas on a first come basis. The parade on the famous riverwalk features 100,000 lights, and 28 illuminated floats kick off the holiday season and lighting with a bang. The lights remain up through New Year’s Day so anytime during the Holiday season, the Riverwalk will be one of your most festive shopping, dining, and walking destinations. Ending the holiday festivities is the New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Sea World.

The San Antonio area features many holiday festivals and festivities. You will find caroling, and homemade tamales, with holiday spirit throughout the city. One of the recommended neighborhoods for viewing holiday decorations is the Monte Vista area just north of Downtown San Antonio. Many restaurants offer holiday menus some with Christmas Dinner to go. San Antonio is a colorful city year-round and the holidays are no exception. It makes a wonderful Christmas destination for families.

El Paso

El Paso’s ‘A Christmas Fair’ is a yearly tradition. This holiday market is scheduled for November 4 through November 3 – 5, 2023. Sponsored by the Junior League of El Paso, it also features other events such as the VIP night and Holly Jolly Hostess Workshop. All marketplace events can be purchased with the appropriate tickets. More info here.

The tree lighting ceremony in San Jacinto Plaza has been a yearly tradition for over 100 years, with 400,000 lights and 100 trees it is one of the city’s most festive events. It is free and open to the public. Downtown El Paso comes alive every year during the holiday season. Offering great shopping, fine dining, holiday lights, and other festivities including an outdoor ice-skating rink.

The El Paso historic district features Luminaries a tradition dating back 300 years. The historic mission trail and Scenic Drive features home, churches, and streets lined with luminaries that are glowing brown sacks. The luminaria tradition began around 1590 in Mexico and is a common sight at the holidays in the Rio Grande Valley and more southern parts of Texas.

The Nutcracker at the Plaza Theatre scheduled for December 26, 2023, available by ticket only, is a great family experience with an international cast, featuring stars of the Ukraine ballet. El Paso is a great cultural destination at any time of the year. The holidays include many events and festivities. Read more here.

Smaller Texas Community Christmas Holiday Destinations

Many smaller Texas communities go all out during the Holiday Season. Christmas Trains Texas – Polar Express in Palestine, Texas is available by reservation and is a truly unique experience. Book your tickets early and be aware there are no cancellations or refunds. Some other notable destinations are Cleburne’s Cowboy-themed Holiday, Fredericksburg’s German-themed celebrations, New Braunfels Cowboy Kringle at historic Gruene, Marshall’s light extravaganza the Wonderland of Lights Festival, Jefferson‘s Christmas on the Bayou, and College Station home to Santa’s Wonderland, you are sure to find that unique Holiday experience your family will adore.  

With both traditional and unique Holiday Events, shopping, and activities such as tree lightings, and Xmas marketplaces, there is no shortage of holiday cheer in the Lone Star State. Find out more here: Cowboy Holiday – Cleburne – Christmas Fredericksburg Texas – Fredericksburg Cowboy Kringle – New Braunfels Christmas Lights Texas – Marshall Christmas Jefferson Texas – Jefferson Christmas stores Texas, Santa’s Christmas Wonderland Texas – College Station Christmas trains Texas – Polar Express – Palestine

Christmas in Texas Hill Country

As noted above both Fredricksburg and New Braunfels located in the Texas Hill Country have great Christmas venues. The Texas Hill Country makes a wonderfully festive Christmas destination. With 31,000 square miles, of natural streams, rivers, rolling hills, and the hill country region’s historic, quaint towns your idyllic Christmas Holiday destination awaits!

The Christmas Wine Affair runs from November 27th through December 22rd. With 35 plus wineries in the Texas Hill Country participating you can enjoy as much or as little as you like. The event is by ticket on a first come first serve basis. Wine lovers will love sampling award-winning wines and touring the wineries on the famed Hill Country Wine Trail. This is a self-guided tour so plan your transportation and have a designated driver. More info here.

Christmas in Bandera is sure to be another small-town holiday extravaganza with its Cowboy Capital Christmas and Shoppers Jubillee. Set your calendar for December 9, 2023. Find out more here.

Christmas in Boerne is also a wonderful small-town Texas Hill Country destination for the Holidays. Featuring various concerts, Christmas Markets, and Dickens on the Main (a free event) with shopping and dining on the Hill Country Mile as well as many other Holiday Festivities this charming Hill Country town will win your heart. More info here.

Natural Bridge Caverns is Texas’ largest underground cavern located just 30 miles north of downtown San Antonio and 25 minutes from New Braunfels and it offers a host of holiday activities. This is a wonderful family destination with live entertainment, ice skating, Christmas lights, and campfires as well as a 6-story zip rail and rope course. More info here.

Christmas in Texas Decor

Christmas in Texas is full of interesting traditions both big, and small. Texans love eating tamales on Christmas morning, planting a live Christmas tree, creating luminaries, buying locally sourced poinsettias, and chopping down their own Christmas tree. Find your Texas Christmas ornaments here. Texas even has its own Texas Christmas Tree Farms, find out more here.

Wild poinsettias are native to Texas. Similar to the Christmas poinsettia it goes by many nicknames including Mexican fireplant, desert poinsettia, and fire on the mountain among others. Many Texans celebrate Christmas with an eclectic mix of mainstream traditional Holiday elements as well as Mexican, and cowboy holiday traditional items such as barbed wire wreaths and colorful Christmas pinatas.

Christmas in Texas
Texas Lone Star Christmas

A Christmas mantel is standard in most Texas homes, with anything from lighted tumbleweeds, cowboy boots, East Texas pinecones, lanterns, and Texas Lone Stars to the more traditional nationwide variety. Decorating your pickup truck is also a ‘thing’ at Christmas. Some Texas cities even host pickup truck parades during the holidays. Texans love to celebrate (just about any occasion) and the holidays offer a unique opportunity for Texans to celebrate their beloved state Texas Style!

In Conclusion, Christmas in Texas

Texas is one of the best holiday destinations in the nation. Christmas events in Texas 2023 will be the highlight of your year. Start planning your unforgettable holiday season in Texas now! What could be better than twinkling lights, served up with some good old Southern charm in the Lone Star State?


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Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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