18 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Branson's Christmas Wonderland
When it comes to our love for Christmas, we don’t beat around the bush. We love it. Every year, you can find us unabashedly gorging on all things Christmas starting as soon as we can. Whether picking out the perfect Christmas tree, driving around to see the neighborhood lights, or binging on our favorite Hallmark movies, we’re squeezing every bit of holiday cheer out of the season to hold us over until next year. We believe no venture could be more festive than visiting a Christmas-crazed destination that feels like it came straight out of our holiday-loving dreams. And we’ve found the ultimate holiday hot spot in Branson, Missouri. Taking notes from the cheerful holiday celebrations of Walt Disney World and the old-fashioned Christmas charms of our beloved small towns, Branson gives a holiday experience like no other. You can go all out at An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City, with its over 6.5 million lights and family-fun activities; or you can venture around town for impressive light and tree displays, holiday boat rides, and an authentic five and dime. No matter what, you’re bound to run into the man of the season—Santa—and have the most amazing Christmas trip ever. Here are 18 reasons why you need to head to Branson, Missouri, this Christmas.
Head to Silver Dollar City for over 6.5 millions lights and 1,000 Christmas trees.
This park transforms into a winter wonderland, a festival called An Old Time Christmas, complete with so many twinkling lights, Christmas trees, and events that you’ll never want to leave. Christmas musicals, train rides, and parades keep visitors feeling festive.
Christmas in Midtown has over 1.5 million lights and opens for the first time on November 4, 2017.
This new addition gives 1.5 million more lights to the Christmas celebration at Silver Dollar City, definitely making it one of the most illuminated places we’ve ever heard of. Christmas scenes and displays, such as an overheard canopy of angels, give a wondrous touch to the annual festival.
Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade is a crowd favorite.
If you love the Christmas parade at Disney World, this musical parade with lights, characters, and festive floats will hit the spot. The parade kicks off after sundown to make sure the Christmas lights get to be on full display.
Watch classic Christmas stories come to life at the holiday musicals.
You can stop in and take a seat for “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “The Living Nativity” to watch your favorite Christmas stories.
Take a scenic ride on the steam train
The Frisco Sing-Along Steam Train takes you on a short train ride through the Ozark Mountains, with carols and a telling of the nativity story along the way. This steam train is super popular with kids and reminds us a little of our favorite Polar Express!
Find gifts and traditional holiday decor at Christmas Hollow, the year-round holiday shop.
This place is a collector’s dream. Abounding with decorated Christmas trees, thousands of ornaments, and nativity sets of all styles, this Christmas shop gives a new meaning to holiday decorating.
Or take a trip down memory lane at Dick’s 5 & 10, an authentic dime store located downtown.
This five and dime opened in 1961 and has been stuffed full of one-of-a-kind gifts, quirky finds, and vintage toys and gadgets since. It gets positively festive during the holidays, and you can find just about any gift for a loved one there (especially a great gag gift!).
Grab some famous fruitcake made by students attending the College of the Ozarks.
Students churn out thousands of fruitcakes, jams, preserves, and apple butter all year long (but ramp up production for the holidays!) to earn their tuition at the College of the Ozarks. The heavenly holiday aroma wafts from the student kitchen as they use the original, old-fashioned recipe that was used when the operation began in the 1930s. You can purchase these goodies for your family and friends and look forward to receiving a fruitcake in the mail with a handwritten note from a student!
Drive through the mile-long Gift of Lights display.
This magical mile might give the brightest drive-thru light attraction we’ve ever seen, featuring all LED lights and displays that keep getting bigger. We love how you’re charged by the carload, not by the number of individual guests. (Just like the old drive-ins!)
Check out the over-the-top gingerbread village at Chateau on the Lake.
This lakeside resort transforms its lobby into a sugar-filled gingerbread village with impressive (entirely edible) architecture made by a chef and volunteer team. This resort gives beautiful views and a comfortable home base for a holiday trip with your family.
Take a spin on the Branson Ferris Wheel.
This ferris wheel was a standout on the Chicago skyline until 2015 when it moved to Branson. It offers views of the Ozark Mountains and features hundreds of thousands of LED lights for an electrifying holiday display that you get to experience on and off the wheel.
Sail the waters on the Showboat Branson Belle, a 1890s-style paddlewheeler.
While you can do a classic evening cruise on this showboat any night on Table Rock Lake, we recommend the Santa’s Pancakes and Pjs Cruise for a festive holiday breakfast with fun musical entertainment, a visit from Santa, and family fun in your pajamas. It’s a perfect treat for your little ones.
And get an onboard visit from Santa and his show!
It’ll give a great photo opportunity with Santa and your little ones in their Christmas pajamas too!
Experience Christmas at Dixie with Dolly.
If you’re a fan of Dolly Parton (who isn’t?), then this Western show that’s kin to the Pigeon Forge park could be a great outing for your family this year. Watch a high-energy show with rodeo clowns, horse riding, and holiday décor (you’re sure to fall over laughing); and during the holidays, the show turns into a live-action nativity story with interludes featuring animated elves and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
See over 1,000 gussied-up Christmas trees around the town.
Not only are there 1,000 decorated trees at Silver Dollar City, but throughout the rest of the town, you can experience dozens of beautifully decorated trees, including the 80-foot tree at Branson Landing.
Attend The Most Wonderful Time of Year Parade to get in the spirit.
This town parade features great live performances, holiday floats, and special surprises each year for an occasion ready for celebration. A main stage set up in front of the Branson Landing fountains will serve as the go-to spot for your family to see the many fun performances.
Get lost in the World’s Largest Toy Museum.
Branson is home to this impressive store filled to the brim with toys of all types. Vintage toys, rare collectibles, entire donated collections, and everything in between. It’s now been expanded into six museums that each focus on different collections.
Run into Santa all season long.
In Branson, you get plenty of opportunities to run into the most popular man of the season: Santa. Every event, attraction, or holiday scene usually gets a visit from the big guy, especially on weekends. On your visit, make sure to tell him your Christmas wishes before heading home!