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Dallas Holiday Parade

Best Things to Do This Weekend in DFW: December 2–4

DFWChild calendar editor's recommends the top five events worth venturing out of the house with the kids.

Wanna get out of the house? DFWChild’s calendar editor recommends the top five kid-friendly events each weekend coming to Dallas-Fort Worth that are worth the effort of venturing out. Sign up here to get our Weekend newsletter directly in your inbox every Thursday and find more family fun events every day of the week at dfwchild.com/calendar.

December 2–4

Dallas Holiday Parade
Downtown Dallas
Saturday, December 3, 10am–noon
Because where else will your kids experience the sheer joy of gazing up this gingerbread man balloon the size of a building? Reserve your bleacher seats now, if you prefer to sit, and let your littles let out their energy at the nearby Main Street Garden, hosting a family festival with food trucks and live entertainment before and after the parade. FREE Learn more

Tree Lighting Celebration
Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
Saturday, December 3, 3–6pm
Mayor Eric Johnson joins Santa in lighting this 48-foot tree on the city’s “front lawn.” Catch the festivities, then head across the street for more fun (including a Christmas drone show) at the Reliant Lights Your Holidays event. FREE Get details

Merry & Bright Christmas Drone Show
Grapevine Main Station
Saturday, December 3, 8pm
This synchronized drone show is a high-tech alternative to fireworks. Come see a fleet of 160 drones create Christmas magic in the sky over Main Street and in front of Peace Plaza next to the new ice rink. FREE Show me

Winter Fest
Fort Worth Museum of Science & History
Saturday, December 3, 10am–4pm
Sunday, December 4, noon–4pm
Come sip on hot chocolate while you listen to the story of Chanukah and watch ballet folklórico dancers at this multicultural holiday celebration. Learn more

Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy
Allen Performing Arts Center
Sunday, December 4, 3:30pm
A couple weeks before Allen Civic Ballet’s The Nutcracker performances, their costumed dancers including Clara, Mother Ginger and the Nutcracker Prince himself welcome children for tea, lemonade, treats and photo ops. Get tickets

November 25–27

Enchant Christmas
Fair Park, Dallas
Opens Friday, November 25, 5:30–11:30pm
Saturday, November 26, 4:30–11:30pm
Sunday, November 27, 4:30–11:30pm
Continues through January 1 (closed on select days)
Fans of Hallmark Channel holiday movies will especially love this white Christmas experience, featuring an ice-skating trail, Santa visits, and an all-new light maze adventure called “The Mischievous Elf.” Check out the Hallmark Cozy Christmas lounge for photo ops, wine tasting, and a chance for fans to win a visit to a Hallmark movie set while in production. Learn more

Gift of Lights
Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth
Opens Thursday, November 24
Continues nightly through January 1
Relax and enjoy the ride as you cruise through this 2-mile drive-thru light show around Texas Motor Speedway. Open either 6–9pm or 6–10pm, depending on the night. Organizers suggest coming early or on Sundays–Wednesdays for the shortest wait times. Show me

Disney on Ice: Into the Magic
Credit Union of Texas Event Center, Allen
Wednesday, November 23, 7:30pm
Friday, November 25, 11:30am, 3:30pm and 7:30pm
Saturday, November 26, 1pm and 5pm
Sunday, November 27, noon and 4pm
During the Thanksgiving holiday, you be reuniting with family and also with (well, if you see this ice-skating show, anyway!) some of your fave Disney characters. Moana and Maui, Anna and Elsa, young Miguel from Coco—they all come together and hit the ice in this great, new mashup. Reserve tickets

‘Twas the Night Before
Texas Trust CU Theatre, Grand Prairie
Friday, November 25, 7:30pm
Saturday, November 26, 1pm, 4pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, November 27, noon, 3pm and 6pm
Continues through December 11
Cirque du Soleil reintroduces its’ first-ever Christmas show, inspired by the classic Nutcracker story. This version follows young Isabella, who’s “jaded by the craze surrounding Christmas” (sound familiar?) and gets whisked away to a dreamy world of hoop-diving reindeer and a host of impossibly daring acrobatic performers. Show me

Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf
Dallas Children’s Theater
Sunday, November 27, 1:30pm
Continues December 23
Get ready for a jazz musical starring Eubie the elf, who cheers up the miserable town of Bluesville. You know what makes us really happy? That this professional children’s theater offers special performances for those who have autism and who are deaf or hard of hearing. Call the box office to book your seats for these sensory-sensitive (Dec. 3) or the American Sign Language-interpreted show (Dec. 11). Reserve tickets

November 18–20

GM Financial Parade of Lights
Downtown Fort Worth
Sunday, November 20, 6pm
Santa trades in his sleigh for a lighted float during this 40th annual nighttime Christmas parade. Organizers expect more than 100 entries to participate this year, which in past have included everything from a giant Cookie Monster balloon to Elvis impersonators on mini bikes. Free to attend; reserved street seats available. Learn more

Radiance! & Frozen in Frisco
Riders Field, Frisco
Friday, November 18 through New Year’s Eve, hours vary
The Radiance! holiday lights show is back with millions of Christmas lights, plus the family attraction Frozen in Frisco. Combo tickets include with a two-story ice tubing hill, ice skating, snowball throw. VIP tickets gets you access to even more activities: bumper cars on ice, snowman building, and a Bucking Blitzen ride. Show me

Dallas Zoo Lights
Dallas Zoo
Thursday, November 17 through New Year’s Day, 5:30–10pm
Dallas Zoo Lights returns as a walk-thru event with more than a million lights twinkling across most of the zoo, new larger-than-life animal lanterns, elaborate holiday-themed displays in ZooNorth and Wilds of Africa, festive drinks and snacks for all ages. You can also visit Santa’s Workshop to see the jolly old elf himself. Plus, new ticket pricing features Premium Nights on Fridays and Saturdays and on Dec. 18–23. Reserve tickets

The Science Behind Pixar
Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas
Opens Wednesday, November 16, open daily, hours vary
In this new STEM exhibit at the Perot, you can snap a pic next to a life-size Buzz Lightyear and discover how Pixar creators brought Buzz and all your other favorite Pixar characters to life by taking part in more than 50 hands-on STEM activities. Learn more

Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Opens Friday, November 18, 5:45–9pm
Select nights through January 8
After the sun goes down, the garden’s walking trails light up with some unusual sights—waving bluebonnets, treetop sculptures, singing trees, a fire garden. Come see what it’s all about on select nights this holiday when stations along the one-mile lighted path offer roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate. Show me

November 11–13

ICE! Featuring The Polar Express
Gaylord Texan, Grapevine
Opens Friday, November 11, continues through New Year’s Day; open times vary by activity
You’ll need an actual parka (don’t worry, they’re provided) to walk through this sub-freezing exhibition of enormous sculptures carved from two million pounds of colorful ice. It’s really spectacular—and it’s also far from the only reason to visit the Gaylord this season. Learn more

Holiday at the Arboretum
Dallas Arboretum

Opens Wednesday, November 9, continues through New Year’s Eve; 9am–5pm and 6–9pm
Soon after its Autumn at the Arboretum festival concludes, Dallas Arboretum ushers in the return of its 12 Days of Christmas gazebos and Christmas Village with the Dazzling Musical Tree at its center. Come visit during the daytime or after dark to see everything lit up, and don’t miss the new exhibit in the DeGolyer House honoring Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa. Look online for more details about Santa visits and special family entertainment all season. Show me

The Trains at NorthPark
NorthPark Center, Dallas
Opens Saturday, November 12, continues through January 6
10am–8pm Mondays through Saturdays; noon–6pm Sundays; times and dates with exceptions for holidays
This 35-year tradition continues with its dual purpose: fundraising for Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and entertaining kids with a model train exhibit. See the 1,600-foot-track located on the second floor by Neiman Marcus. Personalized railcars available for purchase, too. Get details

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party
Dickies Arena, Fort Worth
Saturday, November 12
10–11:15am Crash Zone; 11:30am doors open; 12:30pm show
5–6:15pm Crash Zone; 6:30pm doors open; 7:30pm show
Sunday, November 13
Noon–1:15pm Crash Zone; 1:30pm doors open; 2:30pm show
These monster trucks are high-flying, fire-breathing, car-crushing—and once you flip off the lights, they’re glow-in-the-dark, too. Plus, the Crash Zone pass gets you access to the pre-party to see the trucks close-up and meet the drivers. Be sure to bring those ear muffs to protect your kids’ hearing. Show me

Elf the Musical
Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth
Friday, November 11, 7:30pm
Saturday, November 12, 1:30pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, November 13, 1:30pm and 6:30pm
“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” Relive all the laugh-out-loud moments when Buddy returns in this live musical. Visit the Bass’ website to download the free coloring sheet, and print it out for an easy activity on your car ride over. Learn more

Top photo courtesy of Dallas Holiday Parade