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DCT Paddington Saves Christmas, photo by Karen Almond

Best Things to Do This Weekend in DFW: Dec. 3–5

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.

Dec. 3–5

Paddington Saves Christmas
Dallas Children’s Theater
Opens to the public Sunday, Dec. 5
Sensory-friendly show on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 1:30pm
DCT’s first live production of the season, nothing comes between Paddington Bear and his marmalade jam. Things get sticky when the accident-prone bear runs out of the key ingredient for making his all-time favorite snack and asks to borrow sugar from the neighbor. But, of course, the chaos returns to order just in time for Christmas Day.

Dallas Holiday Parade
Downtown Dallas
Saturday, Dec. 4, 10am–noon
See all the giant balloons, floats and marching bands in person as they make their way around downtown. Reserve your bleacher seats for $25 for guaranteed great views of the entire parade, or keep it simple and watch the parade live from home on CW33. The parade will be broadcast again on Christmas morning, so you could also save it until then to watch as the kids open their gifts.

Tree Lighting Celebration
Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
Saturday, Dec. 4, 3–6pm
Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus under the tree at the downtown park’s holiday party featuring snow flurries and a Nutcracker performance by The Dallas Conservatory. But the party’s not actually over at 6pm. Take the short walk across the street to Sammons Park at the AT&T Performing Arts Center for more performances and playtime in the snow play area from 5:30–8pm.

Christmas in the Stockyards
Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
Saturday, Dec. 4, noon–4pm
It’s a western wonderland at the historic Stockyards District, featuring photos with Cowboy Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus and more strolling entertainers around the district. Don’t miss the 4pm Christmas parade with the famed Texas longhorn cattle herd.

Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy
Hilton Garden Inn, Allen
Saturday, Dec. 4, 3pm
Take a seat on Sugar Plum Fairy’s golden throne and listen to Mother Ginger tells The Nutcracker story. You’ll see them again in a couple weeks when Allen Civic Ballet’s stages the full Nutcracker ballet at the Allen High School Performing Arts Center.


Nov. 26–28

Disney On Ice: Let’s Celebrate
Credit Union of Texas Event Center, Allen
Wednesday, Nov. 24 and continuing Friday–Sunday, Nov. 26–28
Mickey and Minnie lead the way onto the ice rink as all your kids’ favorite Disney princesses (and many more nonroyal but equally worthy characters, like Forky from Toy Story 4) perform live. Tickets start at $33. Can’t make it this weekend? Mark your calendars for Disney On Ice returning in April to Fort Worth.

Enchant Christmas
Fair Park, Dallas

Opens Friday, Nov. 26, through Jan. 2
Not seen in DFW since 2018, this holiday experience is back for more magical nights at the Fair Park Esplanade. Join the search for Santa’s missing gifts lost inside the Christmas Light Maze and slip on rented blades for the ice-skating trail. Take note: This is no mere rink but a path that winds in and around forest of trees lit with millions of twinkling lights.

The Nutcracker
Winspear Opera House, Dallas

Opens Friday, Nov. 26
For the ultimate classical holiday experience, there’s no skipping the Texas Ballet Theater’s professional and extravagant production, first in Dallas through December 5, then moving to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth Dec. 10–26. (For parents who want a less classical Christmas, book your seats ASAP for the one-time performance of The Nutty Nutcracker on Dec. 17.)

Texas Wild! Wonderland
Fort Worth Zoo

Begins Saturday, Nov. 27, continuing each Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 19
Expect snowfalls every half hour, story time with Mrs. Claus, and holiday-themed animal shows at Fort Worth Zoo’s inaugural Christmas event. Best of all, the festivities are free with regular admission and held during daytime hours, so you can experience holiday fun and visit with the animals.

Fowl Fling
In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center, Wylie

Saturday, Nov. 27, 1–3pm
After you’ve rested and recovered from your Thanksgiving Day feast, venture out to the big cat rescue center when staff treats their residents to a special feast all their own: Cornish game hens.


Nov. 19–21

Radiance! Featuring Frozen in Frisco
Riders Field, Frisco
Opens Thursday, Nov. 18, through Jan. 1
The former drive-thru lights show got a big upgrade this year. Now Radiance! has transformed into a full-blown family festival at the RoughRiders baseball field with all sorts of activities you can only experience during the holidays: two-story ice tubing hills, an ice skating rink, a snowball toss, even bumper cars on ice!

Dallas Zoo Lights
Dallas Zoo

Opens Friday, Nov. 19, through Jan. 2
Be on the lookout for larger-than-life animal lanterns and lighted sculptures at this drive-thru lights show, then hop out of the car at the Holiday Village for photos with Santa. Timed tickets are required in advance.

The Elf on the Shelf: Magical Holiday Journey
Choctaw Stadium (formerly Globe Life Park), Arlington
Opens Thursday, Nov. 18, through Jan. 2
A company of 50 dancing Scout Elves leap off the shelf in this new walk-thru experience where you can also meet Santa. and browse the Texas Christkindl Market for German-made toys and collectibles. Toy donations accepted here for Toys for Tots.

GM Financial Parade of Lights
Downtown Fort Worth

Sunday, Nov. 21, at 6pm
The largest illuminated holiday parade in all of Texas, with more than 100 floats, giant balloons, firetrucks, and marching bands expected to march down the 2.2-mile parade route around downtown Fort Worth. Fort Worth’s own Opal Lee, the 95-year-old social activist, is to serve at the grand marshal. Reserved seats available for a better view of the whole show.

Panther Island Ice
Panther Island Pavilion, Fort Worth

Opens Friday, Nov. 19, through Jan. 17
There’s no better place to humble yourself and break into a giggle fit than at this outdoor ice skating rink, opening next door to Coyote Drive-In movie theater.


Photo courtesy of Karen Almond