Free or Cheap Things to Do at Christmas in Dallas
Do you live in the Dallas area or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to visit Dallas around the Christmas holiday. As we all know, this time of year can be really expensive, even if you don’t celebrate the holiday. Whether your gifting has gotten out of hand or you’re simply planning for your next adventure, we can all benefit from saving a little extra. In consideration of this, I’ve created a list of free or cheap things to do in the Dallas area at Christmas. Cheers to a great holiday season in our neck of the woods!
One of our absolute favorite things to do for Christmas is visit Santas Village in Richardson, Texas. Santa’s Village is a tiny town made up of christmasy-decorated tiny houses. Each house offers a fun activity for kids, including a picture with Santa. There are also hot chocolate and snacks. Santa’s Village is open on the weekends from December 1-16. Operating hours are from 6 PM to 9 PM.
The Trains at Northpark run from November 17 to January 16. This is a huge holiday train exhibition located inside the Northpark Mall that includes 1600 feet of track themed in a journey from the east to the west coasts of America. This is a wonderful event for young and old.
Cost: $4 for children and seniors; $7 for adults
If you’re in town for the earlier part of the month, be sure not to miss the annual Dallas Holiday Parade. This festive celebration is always held on the first Saturday in December. It is located in Downtown Dallas and has been running for over 30 years, making it a classic part of Christmas in Dallas.
Cost: Free; Guaranteed seats are available for purchase.
What’s not to love about a horse drawn Carriage ride at Christmas? This free attraction is located at Watters Creek in Allen Texas. Each carriage holds up to six passengers, so bring the whole family. Rides are available on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9 pm as well as Sundays from 4 to 7 pm. This event usually kicks off right after Thanksgiving and continues until the Sunday before Christmas. Carriage rides are first-come, first-served, so get there early.
The Heard Natural Science Museum host’s the most unique holiday light display in North Texas. The Heard Museum is a nature preserve located in McKinney Texas. This cheerful event includes the opportunity to take professional photos with Father Christmas and Mother Nature. Enjoy live music from local musicians as well warm beverages for purchase.
Cost: $4 for kids (3-12); $7 for Adults and Seniors
Christmas in the Square is located in Frisco, TX and runs November 23 through December 31. This huge holiday event presents the largest choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas. Visitors are able to listen to music on the radio inside their vehicles or from speakers throughout the square is they walk about. There is also a paid opportunity to ice skate in the square’s outdoor ice rink.
Cost: Admission is free; Additional activities available for purchase
Need help getting the kids fully into the holiday spirit? In Allen, kids are able to write a letter to Santa at Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium or Joe Farmer Recreation Center. After writing their letters children can drop their letters into one of Santa’s mailboxes. Letters will be delivered to Santa, and he will respond with a personal letter back to your home. Letters must be received by December 10. This event is open to ages 1 to 12
OK, this is the one splurge on the list. Ice! at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center is the hotel’s signature holiday attraction and one of Dallas’s big holiday events for kids. This attraction is an indoor winter wonderland. Completed each year, with 2,000,000 pounds of ice sculptures that are hand-carved in a new theme. This is a walk-through style attraction that includes six ice slides. The ticket prices for this event are on the steep side but can often be purchased on Groupon (which is where we got ours.)
Cost: Free for kids 3 and under; On “Value Days” prices start at $13.99 + taxes and fees for kids 4-11 and $17.99 for ages 12+
Visit one of the premier neighborhoods in Dallas, Highland Park, to see beautiful holiday-decorated homes. Neighborhoods are best viewed by car, but there are also carriage rides available for purchase. Best location to start your tour is at Preston Rd. and Armstrong Parkway.
Vitruvian Lights at Vitruvian Park in Addison is a festive event where the park transforms into a magical holiday wonderland. Bring the entire family to take in the lights. This affair features music from local musicians, food trucks, and free photos with Santa on special event dates. The lights festival runs from Nov. 23rd to Jan. 1st. Event is suitable for all ages.
Cost: Admission is free; Parking is $10