A Parade of Texas Holiday Celebrations

Downtown El Paso Downtown El Paso with Juarez, Mexico in the background
Denis Tangney Jr./Getty Images

Everything’s big in Texas, right? Well, while that slogan might not accurately describe absolutely everything in Texas, it is certainly fitting to apply it to parades. Some of the nation's biggest and best holiday extravaganzas take place in the Lone Star State. If you happen to be in Texas on Thanksgiving or in early December, you might want to check out one of these traditional Texas holiday parades to start your own winter season off Texas-style. The events in this list are all put on annually, but you should check the websites for specific details for when you plan to be in Texas at the start of the winter holiday season.

  • 01 of 06
    USA, Texas, San Antonio, San Antonio River and River Walk at dusk
    Adam Jones / Getty Images

    More than 150,000 spectators typically gather on the day after Thanksgiving to witness the Ford Holiday River Parade in San Antonio. In addition to watching lit-up riverboats make their way through the hour-long course, spectators see more than 122,000 twinkling lights illuminating the Riverwalk once the mayor “pulls the switch.”

  • 02 of 06

    The Grapevine Parade of Lights boasts that it is the largest lighted parade in North Texas. Its many lighted floats share the parade route with marching bands down Grapevine's historic Main Street. But don't leave early; Santa Claus makes an appearance on the last float.

  • 03 of 06
    Richard Carson

    Houston’s H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade features hot air balloons, marching bands, cheerleaders, Clydesdale horses, and costumed characters as it winds through downtown Houston. Kicking off the holiday season in Southeast Texas since 1949, the H-E-B Holiday Parade is one of the most popular annual events in the Bayou City. Reserved seating is available. Or you can take your chances with the first-come, first-serve general admission seating.

  • 04 of 06

    Dallas Holiday Parade

    The Dallas Holiday Parade has kicked off the holiday season in the Big D for several decades. More than 350,000 spectators usually witness the parade in person, and millions more watch on television.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    Downtown El Paso Downtown El Paso with Juarez, Mexico in the background
    Denis Tangney Jr./Getty Images

    El Paso’s uniquely Texan Thanksgiving Day parade, the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade, began in 1936 as a prelude to the Sun Bowl, held on New Year’s Day. The parade date was changed in 1978, and it has remained a Thanksgiving Day tradition since, drawing more 250,000 visitors to the Sun City for this holiday season kickoff event.

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    Since the 1980s, Fort Worth-area residents and visitors have opened their holiday season with the annual Fort Worth Parade of Lights. The parade features close to 100 lighted floats and generally draws about 100,000 spectators, who line its one-mile course and follow the floats to the “Lighting of the Tree.”