Things to Do in Dallas and Fort Worth in December

Tours, Holiday Lights, Parades, and Charity Runs

If you live in or plan to visit the Dallas and Fort Worth area in December, then there are a bunch of things to do. Many of the activities are holiday-related activities, like the Dallas Holiday Parade or the Prairie Lights display, which are perfect for the entire family. For a non-holiday event, consider one of the many city tours that introduce you to Dallas through your taste buds.

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    Potatoes and greens on plate
    ••• Manny Rodriguez Getty Images

    Tour Dallas via your taste buds on a private bus. Depending on the tour you choose, you can be tasting chocolate, wine, Italian food, barbecue, or tacos and margaritas.

    The guided tour helps you explore the city through your stomach. The tour includes transportation via private bus, food samples, and drinks. This type of tour works well for families, friends, groups, and individuals. 

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    Massive hipped roof on a suburban American home inspired by the French countryside
    ••• Photo © Jackie Craven

    The Homes for the Holidays Home Tour is a tour of four homes—of varying styles (for example, French provincial, renovated historic, or contemporary)—in the Highland Park and University Park area.

    Proceeds raised from the tour are used to purchase instructional materials, books, technology, and math materials for kindergarten and first-grade classes at Armstrong and Bradfield elementary schools.

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    Neiman Marcus-Adolphus Children's Parade
    ••• Neiman Marcus-Adolphus Children's Parade. Louis Curtis, Jr.

    The Dallas Holiday Parade kicks off the holiday season. One of the largest parades in the United States, the parade attracts a crowd of more than 500,000 spectators. The parade features spirited marching bands, famous characters, magical holiday floats, larger-than-life balloons, and much more. The parade was formerly known as the Dallas Children's Health Holiday Parade.

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    Formerly known as the White Rock Marathon, you can lace up your running shoes and enjoy the BMW full marathon, half marathon, and five-person relay through Dallas. The racecourse highlights iconic landmarks throughout the city and features hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering on participants. Texas' oldest marathon, the race attracts runners from every state and across the globe each December. 

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    Surrounded by millions of dazzling lights, you can navigate through a giant Christmas light maze, glide around the ice-skating pond, waltz through the Christmas marketplace, enjoy live entertainment, or share hot cocoa with your loved ones.

    The market features gifts from home decor, jewelry, gourmet foods, holiday gifts, and more. The vendor market also includes an Arlington favorite, the Texas Christkindl Market, now known as the Texas Christkindl Market Lane.

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    The Dallas Jingle Bell Run benefiting the Trinity Strand Trail and the Mavericks Foundation begins from the Hilton Anatole. This is a festive family-friendly event with a nighttime 5K race, 1-mile fun run, and a lively post-race party. Participants come dressed in their spirited holiday attire and get a pair of jingle bells and glow sticks to "jingle all the way" through the race. Carolers and music are along the racecourse.

    The post-race party is held in the Chantilly Ballroom of the Hilton Anatole with a live performance and usually an appearance by the Mavs Maniacs, photo opportunities with the Dallas Mavericks Dancers and complimentary (adult and kid-friendly) beverages & snacks.

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    The Dallas and Fort Worth area features a number of festive plays, concerts, and musicals that offer something for everyone, from a variety of performances of "A Christmas Carol" and Christmas concerts to rock performances and a staging of "The Nutcracker" performed by puppets.

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    Trains at NorthPark Center

    ••• The Dallas skyline at The Trains at NorthPark. Courtesy of The Trains at NorthPark

    The Trains of NorthPark Center offers train lovers 2,500 feet of train track that winds through miniature landmarks like Reunion Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore. More than forty locomotives pull train cars around the track to the delight of kids and adults.

    Since 1987, the trains have raised more than $13 million for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which has helped more than 37,000 families.

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    Dallas Arboretum and Botanical GardensDallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
    ••• Jose Enrique Aguirre / EyeEm/Getty Images

    The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden present Holiday at the Arboretum featuring the return of the 12 Days of Christmas outdoor exhibit from November 4, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Check out the new “Nutcracker Suite” exhibit, with a combined collection of more than 800 nutcracker figurines.

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    From Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, you can enjoy Prairie Lights, a two-mile stretch of decorations and festive fun featuring over 4 million lights, hundreds of new displays, an all-new holiday magic light show, a snow maze, walk-through lighted displays, pictures with Santa, seasonal food, and family fun. About halfway through the drive, the Holiday Village has Santa, carnival rides (rides are included with the cost of admission), snacks, and souvenirs. 


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    Holiday in the park
    ••• Six Flags

    Select days from November 17, 2017, to January 7, 2018, Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, twinkles with Christmas lights. It's the most magical time of the year filled with enchanting experiences—like when rollercoasters mix with a giant dose of Santa Claus. The breathtaking winter wonderland features a variety of interactive activities to help capture the holiday spirit.

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    New Year's Eve party
    ••• Pixelfit/Getty Images

    The Dallas and Fort Worth area has a number of options for you to ring in the New Year in style. Go enjoy a rockin' New Year's Eve show at the Dallas House of Blues or head over to the world's largest honky-tonk at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth for their New Year's Eve show.