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Christmas markets, lights & events: Your 2021 holiday guide for North Texas 🎄

Many displays, events and shows are returning to North Texas this holiday season.

DALLAS — It's the most wonderful time of the year. 

WFAA put together an extensive guide that will help you know where to go, what to see and how to experience this 2021 holiday season in North Texas.

Many of the events that require tickets are already selling out, so check for availability.

COOL DISPLAYS

Zoo Lights at the Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo Lights is back with the same socially-distant twist as last holiday season. This year's event will be drive-thru, allowing guests to enjoy the Dallas Zoo's lights without leaving their vehicles.

The exhibit will be open from Nov. 19 to Jan. 2 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day. Get ready to check out the more than one-mile long driving path with more than one million lights, animal lanterns and elaborate lighted displays.

This year's event requires a separate timed entry ticket that must be purchased online in advance. Guests can choose a window of time for their entry.

Dallas Zoo members receive a discount, so admission is $50 per car for members. General Dallas Zoo Lights event tickets are $65 per car.

WHERE: Dallas Zoo Main Entrance, 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas, 75203

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ZOO LIGHTS AT THE DALLAS ZOO

Holiday at the Arboretum

Known as one of Dallas' favorite holiday tradition, this holiday outdoor exhibit features a new 50-foot tall musical tree along with 25-foot tall Victorian-style gazebos depicting scenes from 12 Days of Christmas.

Each gazebo features movement to depict different characters from the traditional carol, such as French Hens, Twelve Drummers Drumming and Seven Swans a Swimming. There are more than one million lights included in the displays.

Reservations are required.

The event runs from Nov. 10 to Dec. 31. The holiday-themed garden will be open during the normal daytime hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also go at night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. or from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., depending on what day you go.

Prices vary. You will get the best deal from Nov. 10 to Nov. 13, when admission is only $10. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more expensive the tickets will be.

WHERE: Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOLIDAY AT ARBORETUM

Enchant Christmas at Fair Park

This place is transforming Fair Park in Dallas and it has a little bit of everything! So, whether you want to see Christmas lights, ice skate or shop at a market, Enchant Christmas is a must-see this holiday season. 

There's also an ice skating trail and an artisan Christmas market -- and of course Santa himself! Visit the Christmas light maze, too.

The event runs from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2 at Fair Park. Click here for more details and how to purchase tickets. 

Trains at NorthPark

The Trains at NorthPark display has been around since 1987, showcasing 1,600 feet of track and a creative holiday them!

The display benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD), raising more than $13 million and serving more than 40,000 families.

Facemasks are recommended. Tickets are available both online and in person.

The Trains at Northpark recommends coming earlier in the holiday season or during the afternoon for lower capacity.

The trains will be set up from Nov. 13 to Jan. 2. The exhibit will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

WHERE: NorthPark, 8687 N Central Expy, Dallas, TX 75225

LINK: MORE INFO ABOUT THE TRAINS AT NORTHPARK

BEHIND THE SCENES: Toy artist uses train painting to stay sober

Hometown Holidays

The City of Mansfield’s Hometown Holidays returns in December. 

Visitors will be able to play games, jump on carnival rides and experience live entertainment in downtown Mansfield.

The event will be held on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 at 110 S. Main. St.

On the first day (Dec. 3), the town's tree lighting will take place around 6:30 p.m. followed by a fireworks show. There will also bephotos with Santa Claus, a holiday market and a petting zoo.

On the second day (Dec. 4), there will be live entertainment that includes Graceland Ninjaz as well as a craft corner.

To get unlimited rides on the Ferris wheel and carousel for both days, you can purchase a $30 unlimited pass. Those wanting unlimited rides for one day should purchase a $20 pass.

Those who purchase online must bring their receipts to the ticket area to receive wristbands. You can buy tickets online here.

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOMETOWN HOLIDAY

INTERACTIVE EVENTS

Snowday

You've heard of a haunted house -- but what about a holiday house?

This kaleidoscopic, interactive experience gives people a chance to get in the Christmas spirit by walking through a unique building. Guests will navigate their way through imaginative rooms of photo ops, holiday-themed rooms and even a sideways cabin!

The experience is designed to last about one hour with more than 20 rooms. This is about twice as many rooms available from the previous holiday season. Five of these rooms include extra-special photo moments with integrated cameras and lighting.

SNOWDAY recommends purchasing tickets online ahead of time. Tickets are limited. All photo booths offer a touchless experience to take and receive your photos. 

All SNOWDAY team members have been encouraged to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

The event is happening from Nov. 19 to Jan. 17. Tickets are $27 per adult, $8 for kids 4-12 and free for kids 3 and under. SNOWDAY also offers discounted tickets for groups, seniors, and active military. 

WHERE: The Galleria Dallas, Level 1 next to Sephora. 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75240

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SNOWDAY

MARKETS

Texas Christkindl Market

Arlington's family-friendly market is back with its German holiday tradition.

While it was an online-only event last holiday season, this event is coming back to Arlington in person!

This market features holiday gifts, decorations, and music. What makes this unique is the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations and designs from the renowned Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Village in Germany.

Admission to the market is free, although there may be parking fees.

You can check this out online from Nov. 18 to Jan. 2 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

To see a list of this year's vendors, click here.

WHERE: Choctaw Stadium, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, TX 76011 

LINK: MORE INFO ABOUT CHRISTKINDL MARKET

*While admission is free, there is an entry fee for the ice skating rink.

CHANUKAH EVENTS

Chanukah Menorah Lighting

Head to the Dallas Galleria on Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. to watch a custom-designed Menorah light up for the first night of Chanukah!

Lighting will occur on level 1, near the Tiffany and Co. store.

Members from the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will be giving remarks.

WHERE: Galleria Dallas, 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, Texas 75240

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHANUKAH MENORAH LIGHTING

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Texas Motor Speedway's Gift of Lights

The largest drive-thru light park in Texas is back! 

Texas Motor Speedway's Gift of Lights will return with more than three million LED lights.

Santa's Village will be back this holiday season, allowing kids to take a picture with Santa.

You can check out these lights from Nov. 25 to Jan. 2 featuring more than 150 new displays. Admission is $30-$60.

Texas Motor Speedway suggests arriving early to the show to avoid longer wait times. Weekdays also experience less traffic. The average time it takes to get through the show is about 45-60 minutes.

Pets are allowed.

WHERE: Texas Motor Speedway, 3545 Lone Star Cir, Fort Worth, TX 76177

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GIFT OF LIGHTS

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The Galleria Grand Tree

The tallest indoor Christmas tree is a sight to behold.

The Galleria grand tree is a FREE holiday display inside the Galleria mall. It is a 95-foot tall structure, made up of more than 10,000 ornaments and 1,500 branches.

There will be a lighting celebration on Nov. 26 at noon and Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. that willl include an ice-skating show with a fireworks finale.

WHERE: Galleria Dallas, 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, Texas 75240

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE GRAND TREE

Prairie Lights

This annual twinkling drive-thru light display in Grand Prairie is always fun.

Open nightly from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, Prairie Lights features four million lights and hundreds of custom displays along a two-mile path. There will be hundreds of new displays this year.

The display is open from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The Holiday Village will be returning this year, which people can find at the halfway point. You will be able to get out of your vehicle and enjoy carnival rides, concessions, photos with Santa and a magical walk-thru forest.

The second half of the drive ends with a new and improved light tunnel.

It typically takes about 45 minutes to drive straight through with light traffic.

Due to the high volume of cars on weekends, Prairie Lights asks customers to allow for an extra hour or longer to enter the park.

Admission is $40 per car and $80 for a limo. If you purchase a fast pass, it is $129 per car and $189 per limo.

WHERE: Lynn Creek Park 5610 Lake Ridge Pkwy, Grand Prairie, TX 75052

LINK: CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION

HOLIDAY RIDES

Horse Carriage Highland Park Holiday Ride

It's one of the most iconic areas for Christmas lights in all of North Texas -- Highland Park.

Many homeowners go as far as to hire professionals to decorate their houses. Many of these streets are filled with extravagant lights and intricate structures in front yards and on top of roofs.

While it is free to drive through, you can also take a horse-carriage ride to make the experience that much more special. The cost for each ride depends on the company used.

The lights generally stay up from around Thanksgiving on Nov. 28 through Christmas Day on Dec. 25.

WHERE: Highland Park, Texas 

LINK: CLICK ON EACH COMPANY'S NAME FOR MORE INFORMATION:

BRAZOS CARRIAGES, FOUR WINDS CARRIAGES, WHITEHAVEN CARRIAGE, HITCH OF MEMORIES, NORTH STAR CARRIAGES, THREEJAYS CARRIAGES, VINTAGE CARRIAGE

*The best place to enter is at Armstrong Way and Preston Road.

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Holiday Lights Trolley Ride

With some of the brightest lights in North Texas, these trolley rides will let you experience all the holiday spirit in Highland Park.

Experience the Holiday Lights Trolley Ride through Highland Park. Along the 1 hour ride, these festive trolleys let you enjoy magic of the holiday season and see some of the best holiday lights in the area. 

Each red trolley holds 34 passengers and is heated as well. It departs from Twin Sixties Drive and Mockingbird Station.

This trolley experience lasts one hour -- with free surface and garage parking at Mockingbird Station. The rides last from Nov. 27 to Dec 24. Admission is $20.

This year, there will be a new "adults only" holiday lights trolley where people can bring their own alcohol. You must be 21 years old for this ride.

All of the tours include narration.

WHERE: Bus lanes at Mockingbird Station. Corner of Worcola St. & E. Mockingbird Ln. Dallas, TX 75206

LINK: MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TROLLEY RIDE

*If you have any holiday events you want to be included on this list, please email Jay Wallis at jwallis@wfaa.com.