As one of the largest states, Texas offers a multitude of entertaining choices to make your holidays memorable and eventful. Spanning everything from historic towns, natural parks, fishing piers, coastal beaches and special festive events like holiday performances, trails of lights, and even a Christmas Capitol, the visitors have boundless options to choose from for their family and friends. The capital city of Austin and its sister cities Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, are only the beginning of fascinating and enjoyable travel destinations around the state.
Every year you can attend the lighting of a giant Christmas tree near the front steps of the Texas Capitol Building. There’s live entertainment after the ceremony, which showcases Austin’s renowned local music scene. Holiday lights adorn the businesses, bridges, and trees of Sixth Street. Quite possibly Texas’ best-known street, Sixth Street, is seven blocks of historic homes and commercial buildings dating back to the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. These old buildings were restored to house restaurants, live music bars, art galleries and trendy shops.
Holiday DeLights at Fair Park, the site of the annual Texas State Fair, captivates visitors with a 1,000,000 lights, a laser show, free movie screenings, Victorian carolers, quartets and of course Santa, his Elves and his reindeer. December truly is a magical month for the entire family, can you imagine one of the largest collections of 1930s art and architecture decorated in holiday style?
The city’s 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is featured for the first time an exhibition called The 12 Days of Christmas. The garden will come alive in the evening as guests will have the rare opportunity to stroll the garden as they view Victorian gazebos filled with mechanical characters and animals inspired by the famed Christmas carol.
The holiday celebrations begin Thanksgiving evening in America’s fourth largest city. Thousands gather along Post Oak Boulevard every year for the fireworks event and lighting of 80 trees. In December, more than 2 million lights illuminate life-size animated animal sculptures at The Houston Zoo.
Did you know that San Antonio is the state’s most visited tourism destination? There’s a good reason… The San Antonio River Walk.
For over 30 years, the day after Thanksgiving, the San Antonio River is filled with decorated and illuminated barges for the hour-long parade. San Antonio is also the setting for the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, the largest mariachi competition in the U.S. In December, the San Antonio tradition of tamale making is celebrated with Tamales! Holiday Festival at Pearl and La Gran Tamalada. The local holiday favorites are dessert tamales, and if you get a chance, you should try them.
About an hour’s drive from Houston, Galveston has a fantastic new attraction – Ice Land. Moody Gardens keeps their event at a chilly 9 degrees, so don your complimentary parka and explore the $5 million ice sculpture park (and you thought buying bags of ice at a convenient store were expensive). This exhibit features 30-foot tall holiday-themed characters in a wide variety of scenes and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants with his underwater friends. You can also check out the mile-long Festival of Lights, an ice rink and ride down an enormous ice slide.
For truly unique Christmas memories, Grapevine is the place for your family. It calls itself the Christmas Capitol and rightly so, for the variety and scale of events hosted by this city during the holidays.Some of the events include North Pole Express, Carol of Lights, Parade of Lights, Santa’s Wonderland, and live music at the Historic Palace Theatre, Christmas Wine Trains and after Christmas train rides.