Merry and bright
There's nothing more fun on a December night than loading the family into the car, fueling up with hot cocoa, and driving through neighborhoods to view Christmas lights. Entire streets, blocks, parks, and major attractions throughout North Texas have flipped the switch on this year's festive yuletide decor. Here are the biggest, best, and brightest commercial and neighborhood displays around Fort Worth in 2019. Be sure to check back, as the list will grow as Santa's arrival approaches.
Sundance Square Plaza
Any tour of Fort Worth lights should start at downtown's Sundance Square for a few pictures with the illuminated Christmas tree in the plaza. This year’s tree is a towering, 50-foot concolor fir tree, which sparkles with 10,000 LED lights and ornaments. Santa sits near it on the stage, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland with a dramatic silver fabric backdrop. There's no waiting in long lines to see Santa, thanks to Sundance Square’s virtual line system: simply check in at Santa’s Sleigh, provide a cellphone number, and you'll receive a text confirming your time to see Santa. Meanwhile, the plaza features large, colorful sculptures as settings for photos with family and friends. The tree stays up through New Year's Day.
Texas Motor Speedway presents Gift of Lights
Although you don't actually get to drive on the track at Texas Motor Speedway during its annual Gift of Lights drive-through holiday lighting spectacular, it's still impressive. The event includes over two miles of light displays, with almost 3 million lights, while visitors get to stay in their warm cars, listening to Christmas music on KLTY. After they finish with the drive, visitors can visit Santa’s Village on the inside track to get a picture with Santa, take a ride on the Reindeer Express miniature train, see a few retired race cars, and more. Bring five canned goods and get $2 off the regular $30-per-car price. Discounts available for military and first responders, too. It's open through January 5.
The Modern Lights
After you take in the art inside The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, spend time in the evening meandering through the dazzling lights on the museum grounds. For the third year, the Modern is illuminated with a spectacular array of festive lights. Not only are passersby treated to a stunning display, visitors and families can enjoy nightly viewing opportunities with extended museum hours (until 7 pm on Tuesdays and 8 pm on Fridays). For the best seat in the house, take in the view from Café Modern during "Dinner with Lights" on Friday evenings for dinner, 5-8:30 pm; or enjoy "Lights, Flights, and Bites" on Tuesdays until 7 pm. The museum is lit up every night until February 2.
Daystar Television Network presents Daystar Christmas
Daystar Christmas is the annual holiday lights display at Daystar Television Network in Bedford. The event, taking place through January 5, features over 1 million lights, a life-sized Nativity, kid-friendly Christmas town, a newly added drive-through tunnel, and more. Guests will have the chance to take photos with Santa, and there will also be a special reading of the Christmas Story and Scratch Café holiday hours.
Six Flags Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Over Texas decks its halls, trees, and roller coasters with thousands of star-bright LED lights. They've also filled the streets with festive Christmas trees and wreaths, brought in a frosty snow hill, and on select days, they'll invite carolers to sing holiday classics and put on seasonal shows. The most magical time of the year is even more enchanting with discounts, available on the Six Flags website. The holiday spirit continues through January 5; check their website for hours and special events.
City Hall Light Show Spectacular & Whoville
Go to Grapevine for the blockbuster Lone Star Christmas at the Gaylord Texan Resort, but stay for all the other festive events and displays around town. The popular Lightshow Spectacular is a brilliantly choreographed light and sound show that runs continuously, nightly through January 4. Sing along with the Singing Christmas Tree, enjoy the light show at City Hall, and explore the world of Whoville. It's all located next to the Town Square Gazebo along Main Street. Grapevine's 40th annual Parade of Lights takes place at 7 pm December 5. Parade watchers will line Main Street to watch more than 100 decorated, lighted floats while marching bands play the soundtrack of the season.
Prairie Lights is a two-mile, drive-through holiday lights experience, situated along the shores of Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie. It boasts a stunning display of more than 4 million lights and other holiday attractions. Hundreds of all-new displays in shapes of all kinds line and arch over the roads. Halfway through the drive, visitors can get out of their vehicles for a stop at Holiday Village, featuring food, gifts, photos with Santa Claus, a brand-new indoor Holiday Show, and the Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest. The second half of the drive ends with the very animated light tunnel. The lights will be lit until December 31. Hint: Cut down on wait time by checking the current park status and purchasing a fast-pass, available on the website.
The Shops at Clearfork
The 500,000-square-foot, open-air shopping center gets decked to the nines, with trees gleaming with lights and a spectacular Christmas tree in The Plaza. Check the Clearfork Facebook page for all of their holiday happenings, including horse-drawn carriage rides, local choir performances, a holiday tea party with ballerinas from Texas Ballet Theater, and more through the season. A Clearfork Christmas on December 14 will welcome performances by Kids Who Carol, photos with Santa, and more festivities.
Light Up the Holidays at Centennial Park
Irving’s Centennial Park, at 444 W. Second St., becomes a winter wonderland with lighted displays of wreaths, trains, and other festive scenes on bridges, trees, and walls. The display of more than 60,000 lights is free and open to the public from dusk until 10 pm from December 7 to 25, weather permitting. (Hint: Wear comfy shoes and prepare to walk, as bike riding is not permitted.) Before those lights get switched on, though, the City of Irving hosts its Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting, beginning at 5 pm December 7 in the Heritage District. A procession of lit-up floats will travel through the historic district in downtown Irving. Immediately following the parade, the tree lighting ceremony and fireworks show will take place outside City Hall, 825 W. Irving Blvd.
You can pick any night to drive around Fairmount and see historic bungaloes lit festively for the season. But the best night of all is Festivus, the annual celebration and holiday lights tour. It takes place 5:30-9:30 pm December 6. The event includes a visit to Santa’s Village, as well as photos with Santa, vendors, food and beverages, snow makers, and carolers. Buses leave for the lights tour from the ticket location at One Safe Place, 1100 Hemphill St., beginning at 6 pm and running until 9 pm. Visit the website for tickets and more information.
The gorgeous historic homes in this grand Fort Worth neighborhood get illuminated in spectacular fashion, as do the long walks that lead up to them. A Candlelight Christmas in Ryan Place, an annual neighborhood fundraiser, has become one of the city's most cherished holiday traditions. The 35th edition — takes place December 7 and 8 and features five beautiful homes dating to 1915. The walking tour is self-paced, and docents will be on site to talk about the highlights of each home. In addition to the tour, there will be a tea room, pop-up shop featuring Mustard Seed Jewelry, kids' express train, and more. To read more about the homes and special events, click here.
Ridglea Hills, Fort Worth
Folks who take walks and visit the ducks along Luther Lake in this westside Fort Worth neighborhood eagerly anticipate the arrival of the holiday lights on about 30 surrounding homes. The lights reflect in the water of the 10-acre lake, making for some pretty spectacular photo and video opps on clear nights. The best place to see them is along the bridge at Clayton Road.
Each year, more than 200 homeowners in this northwest Arlington neighborhood near Interstate 30 adorn their homes with extravagant light displays. This year is the neighborhood's 44th to stage the free event, which begins nightly at 7 pm. Find the entrance at Westwood Drive and Randol Mill Road, tune your radio to Christmas stations, and make your way slowly along the winding roads of the neighborhood. (Note: You'll want to plan for long lines as Christmas approaches, as December 25 is the last day for the display.) A map can be found here.