The Marshall Tucker Band in concert
Southern rock band The Marshall Tucker Band has released 23 studio albums in their career, most recently 2007's The Next Adventure.
Tesla in concert with Cinderella's Tom Keifer
Rock band Tesla will perform as part of the Fort Worth Stock Shown & Rodeo Auditorium Concert Series. Tesla has released eight albums in their career, most recently 2019's Shock.
John Michael Montgomery in concert
Country singer John Michael Montgomery, best known for early '90s hits like "I Love the Way You Love Me," " I Swear," "Be My Baby Tonight," and "I Can Love You Like That," will co-headline this concert with Deana Carter, best known for her hit "Strawberry Wine." This concert is part of the Fort Worth Stock Shown & Rodeo Auditorium Concert Series.
Weekend event planner
Thanksgiving weekend around Fort Worth will start off with many holiday-related events, including a light display, ice skating, Christmas train ride, a theater production, and a symphony event. It will end with a quintet of concerts, headlined by an iconic band, as well as an appearance by a well-known character actor.
Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, November 24
Texas Motor Speedway presents Gift of Lights
Texas Motor Speedway will open its gates to the public for the annual Gift of Lights drive-through holiday lighting spectacular. There are 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. Taking place through January 1, there will be special theme nights with discounts offered for participating vehicles.
Friday, November 25
Stockyards Rodeo Rink
The Stockyards Rodeo Rink will feature an all-new ice skating rink, Cowboy Santa's Winter Wonderland, live music, theme days, activations, Coco Corral, and more. There will be five 90-minute skating sessions Mondays through Thursdays, with an extra 9 pm session Fridays through Sundays. Ice skates are included at the venue, which will be open through February 5, 2023.
Grapevine Vintage Railroad presents North Pole Express
Guests can don their favorite pajamas and experience the magic of Christmas onboard Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express. Mrs. Claus takes guests on a holiday adventure to Santa’s Workshop. All guests will receive a cookie and a taste of Santa’s Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk served in a keepsake Memory Mug. Children will also receive a “We Believe” bell. The event takes place through December 23 at Grapevine Cotton Belt Depot.
Casa Mañana presents A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy
Casa Mañana presents a new, fresh twist on a classic Dickens tale that will have children ages 4 to 100 laughing alike. A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy features a contemporary pop score and current pop culture references that are guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles. The production runs through December 23.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents "Home for the Holidays"
Audiences can catch a glimpse of jolly old St. Nick with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for another installment of "Home for the Holidays," the favorite holiday tradition that comes complete with magical snowfall and Christmas carols. The concert, conducted by Stuart Chafetz and featuring vocalist N’Kenge and the Lone Star Youth Chorus, will have three performances through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.
Eagles in concert
The legendary band Eagles, with the lineup of Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, and Vince Gill, come to Fort Worth as part of their Hotel California tour. The concert will feature them playing their iconic album Hotel California in its entirety, accompanied by an orchestra and choir. After an intermission, they'll return with an entire additional set of the band’s other greatest hits. The concert will be at Dickies Arena.
Aaron Watson in concert
Country singer Aaron Watson has been recording music for over 20 years, but it wasn't until 2012 that he hit it big with his 11th album, appropriately titled The Underdog, which went to No. 1 on the country charts. He's been near the top of the charts ever since. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of his new album, Unwanted Man.
Saturday, November 26
Downtown Cowtown at the Isis presents An Evening with Barry Corbin
Downtown Cowtown at the Isis presents a special evening with Emmy-nominated actor and Fort Worth friend Barry Corbin. Corbin will enchant the audience during the first act with his razor-sharp wit and wisdom as he recaps 81 years of outrageous, sobering, and true stories from his life and experiences on film, TV, and stage. The show’s second act will allow the audience to participate in a moderated Q&A.
Joshua Ray Walker in concert
Rising star Joshua Ray Walker may just be the next big thing to come out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. His honky tonk-infused music has struck a chord since his 2019 debut album, Wish You Were Here. His latest release, 2021's See You Next Time, is the conclusion of a trilogy of records that share characters and vibes. He'll play at Tannahill's Tavern and Music Hall.
Eli Young Band in concert
Eli Young Band is a prime example of how some college bands can actually make it big in the music world. After forming at the University of North Texas, they quickly gained notoriety, opening for the likes of Miranda Lambert. Six albums later, three of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Country charts, the band remains one of the bigger success stories to come out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of their new album, Love Talking.
Sunday, November 27
Pat Green in concert
After rising through Texas' dancehall scene years ago, Pat Green earned himself major label support in Nashville and became the poster child of Texas music for a whole generation of fans. Green’s explosive live shows have made him a fan favorite, and the San Antonio native and Fort Worth resident has sold over 2 million albums and been nominated for three Grammy Awards. He'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.
P!nk comes to Arlington as part of her Summer Carnival Tour in support of her new album, Trustfall. She will be joined by Brandi Carlile, Grouplove and KidCutUp.
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This week's hot headlines
Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.
1. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.
2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.
3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."
4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.
5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.
If roasting ‘smores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.
Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.
Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.
Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks
Tyler State Park
Avoid the Black Friday madness with the 15th annual “Walk-off the Bird” Bird Walk, a 2.1-mile walk by the lakeshore at 9 am November 25. Bring your binoculars to relax and enjoy the bird life of the East Texas Pineywoods. At 2 pm the same day, enjoy a Fall in the Savannah fall foliage hike. Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.
Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.
Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.
Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive from November 25 to December 19. Come back December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.
Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 a.m. December 10.
Cedar Hill State Park
Walk off your Thanksgiving Day meal and explore nature in the cool fall air during the three-mile Thanksgiving Nature Walk 7:30-9 a.m. November 26. Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm. December 17.
Austin/San Antonio-area parks
Bastrop State Park
The park’s annual Gobble Till You Wobble hike November 25 has been canceled due to predicted rains. However, you can still follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 a.m. to noon December 17.
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 am. to 3 pm November 26 to explore how early Texans at the Sauer-Beckmann Farm got ready for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas tree; learn how to make wreaths out of local cedar and dip candles as the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.
Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am to 2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Buescher State Park
Take a Giving Thanks Guided Hike and learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 3-4 pm November 26. On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.
Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 p.m. December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm. December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.
South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2 to 5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.
Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks
Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.
Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.
Lake Livingston State Park
Learn about your favorite Thanksgiving food (the turkey) during Campfire Turkey Talk on November 26. Rangers will cover the history of Thanksgiving, the habits and behaviors of wild turkeys, and share interesting facts about turkeys, including how it nearly became our national bird.
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.
West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks
Franklin Mountains State Park
Pack your Thanksgiving leftovers and hike 1.5 miles up to Aztec Caves during the park’s Turkey Trot at 11 am November 25. On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.
San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park 6-8 pm December 10.
As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.
According to the personal finance website, the average holiday budget in Flower Mound is $3,531 per person, the third highest in the nation.
The town's 2021 population of 77,243 (per the U.S. Census) boasts a median income $139,703 and earlier this year was named by Ventured.com as the richest city in Texas.
In spite of an increase over last year's gift list totals, Flower Mound dropped to the third spot after being ranked No. 1 last year with a budget of $3,427. Newton, Massachusetts (budget $4,233) and Palo Alto, California (budget $3,920) edged out the Texas city this year.
Flower Mound was the only Texas city in the top 10, but there's plenty of holiday cheer to be found in the report, and not just for Flower Mound Santa fans.
Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.
Despite nationwide focus on inflation strains, holiday spending is expected to be healthy, and higher than last year.
"The seeming social upheaval in recent times may lead households to spend more in an attempt to take some control of the environment which they can control," says Robert Wright, University of Illinois, Springfield professor emeritus who was among five experts consulted for advice about holiday shopping.
This could be good news if your Christmas wishes are on local shopping lists. Eight other North Texas cities landed in this year's top 100 heftiest holiday budgets:
- Allen, No. 17 , $2,670
- Frisco, No. 37, $2,150
- McKinney, No. 45, $2,070
- Plano, No. 50, $1,999
- Carrollton, No. 55, $1,837
- Richardson, No. 58, $1,823
- North Richland Hills, No. 81, $1,658
- Lewisville, No. 90, $1,630
Fort Worth landed at No. 366 with a budget of $890, while Dallas landed at No. 401 out of 558 cities with an average holiday budget of $845.
Elsewhere in Texas, spending in the Austin area won't be ho-hum with the Capitol City's budget of $1,705 ranked at No. 78. Two Austin suburbs, Cedar Park (budget $2,855) and League City (budget $2,541) ranked 14 and 20, respectively.
Santa's bag could be a mixed bag in the Houston area with three suburbs in the top 100, but the urban center falling behind:
- Sugar Land, No. 15, $2,793
- Pearland, No. 36, $2,172
- The Woodlands, No. 71, $1,733
- Houston, No. 366, $890
Things don't look too jolly for San Antonio, ranked at No. 431 with an average budget of $803 or Pharr, which was the lowest ranked city in Texas.
At No. 553 with a budget of $487, the Rio Grande Valley city came in just a few spots ahead of last place Hartford, Connecticut, with a budget of only $211.