Where To See The Best Christmas Light Displays In Texas

Even the Christmas light displays are bigger in Texas. From Grapevine to San Antonio, these are some of our favorite Christmas light displays sparkling throughout Texas.

Lights Spectacular, Johnson City, Texas

Ralph Aversen

The song says “the stars at night are big and bright (clap, clap, clap, clap), deep in the heart of Texas,” but dazzling Christmas light displays across the state have us wanting to change those lyrics up a bit. Known for doing things bigger—and sometimes better—Texans definitely make no exception when it comes to Christmas light displays. From showy private neighborhood displays to city displays and even an incredible zoo display, here are some of our favorite Christmas lights across Texas

01 of 09

Gaylord Texan's Lone Star Christmas

Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center
Robbie Caponetto

Grapevine, Texas 

As the official Christmas Capital of Texas, you can be sure that Grapevine has plenty of holiday cheer. At the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, Christmas festivities are taken to the next level. The Shine Light Show in the atrium features thousands of lights synchronized to holiday music and light curtains sparkle around the large Christmas tree. There’s also Merry and Light, where immersive light elements and massive, lighted decor provide photo ops. Lots of other Christmas happenings take place at the Gaylord as well, including ICE!, an ice sculpture wonderland made from 2 million pounds of colorful ice with a different festive theme each year; the Christmas Village with snow tubing, ice skating, a Christmas carousel, and shopping; and the Gingerbread Decorating Center. 

02 of 09

Austin Trail of Lights

Austin Trail of Lights, Austin, Texas

Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights 

Austin, Texas

Austin’s Zilker Park comes alive during the holiday season with the Austin Trail of Lights, a Christmas favorite since 1965. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the Trail of Lights every year to see more than 2 million lights twinkling through the park, plus 90 lighted holiday trees and more than 70 holiday displays and lighted tunnels. The Trail of Lights is one of the three largest events in the city and receives national attention year after year. The walking trail is 1.25 miles long and includes Candy Cane Lane, where you’ll find food, restrooms, the ZIP Lounge, and a place to write letters to Santa. In the heart of the trail is the North Pole, where Santa’s House and Workshop delight the young and young at heart. 

03 of 09

Vitruvian Lights

Vitruvian Lights, Addison, Texas

Bret Redman

Addison, Texas

During the holiday season, Vitruvian Park is transformed into a holly-jolly scene for Vitruvian Lights. Millions of dazzling lights are wrapped around more than 550 trees throughout the park’s 19 acres and walkway, and colors are reflected up from the spring-fed creek, creating a postcard-worthy landscape. You can drive or walk through the park to see the light displays every evening through the holiday season through January 1. 

04 of 09

Houston Zoo Lights

Houston Zoo Lights, Houston, Texas

Matthew Griffiths

Houston, Texas

A favorite Christmas experience in Houston, Houston Zoo Lights is a great way to spend an evening with friends and family. The Zoo grounds are transformed into a holiday wonderland, where animal-themed lanterns and illuminated flower displays come to life underneath towering oak trees wrapped in lights. There’s also a 33-foot-tall, color-changing tree, a Coca-Cola Bear display in the Flamingo Terrace, and Santa’s Workshop, where kids can grab a photo with the Man in Red. New this year is the photo-op area with ski lift chairs set in a snowy scene, a lighted tunnel, and an interactive dance floor. The Houston Zoo is also trying to save wild animals by taking in old and broken holiday string lights for recycling. Since 2016, more than 26,400 pounds of lights have been recycled by the Zoo.

05 of 09

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, TexasRiver Walk, San Antonio, Texas

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

A visit to San Antonio’s River Walk is a must when in the area, as the tree canopy looming over the San Antonio River coupled with waterfront restaurants, shopping, and boats full of visitors gliding through the city is a site in itself. At Christmastime though, the River Walk is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights draping down from the bald cypress trees lining the River Walk. Storefronts and bridges are also covered in Christmas lights, making a walk or boat ride through the area pure magic. 

06 of 09

Lights Spectacular

Lights Spectacular, Johnson City, Texas

Ralph Aversen

Johnson City, Texas 

The town of Johnson City, Texas might be small, but its annual Lights Spectacular light display is so big that NASA has reported seeing it from the International Space Station. For more than 30 years, Lights Spectacular has wowed crowds with Christmas cheer. More than 1.3 million bulbs illuminate the Pedernales Electric Cooperative campus, with lights draping the entire building and twinkling in the surrounding trees. It is advised to arrive before sundown to secure parking, but there’s lots to do with surrounding restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and wineries while you wait for the lights. 

07 of 09

Santa’s Ranch

Santa’s Ranch, New Braunfels, Texas

Santa's Ranch

New Braunfels, Texas

In the Texas Hill Country, Santa’s Ranch is a drive-through light display that’s perfect for the whole family. More than 1.5 million, custom-made lights illuminate the ranch, with displays of Rudolph, Frosty, the North Pole, gingerbread houses, and more included throughout. Holiday treats such as roasted pecans, kettle corn, and hot chocolate are available at the concession stand, as are souvenirs such as hoodies and mugs. 

08 of 09

Lightscape Fort Worth

Lightscape Fort Worth

Chris Smith

Fort Worth, Texas

Set within the 120-acre Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Lightscape is a stunning, one-mile walking trail featuring not only bright light displays, but sound too. Walk beneath suspended strands of lights and through lighted tunnels with the garden. Don’t miss the waving, lighted bluebonnet display, fire garden, singing trees, artistic installations, and even treetop sculptures. Visitors are welcome to roast marshmallows over a fire and sip hot chocolate and seasonal beverages from stations along the trail. 

09 of 09

Highland Park

Brazos Carriage Highland Park

Courtesy Brazos Carriage

Dallas, Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the gorgeous mansions that encapsulate Dallas’ Highland Park neighborhood. Residents pull out all the stops during the holidays, decorating their fabulous homes with elaborate light and lawn displays. And while these are private homes, visitors are welcome every year to experience the magic. Brazos Carriage and Whitehaven Carriages both offer horse-drawn carriage rides through the neighborhood if you don’t want to take your own car. Christmas music is provided, but guests are welcome to bring drinks and snacks. 

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