From spectacular lights in Johnson City to the bulbs that set San Antonio aglow, check out our top stops for high-wattage whimsy.

Johnson City Lights
Credit: Art Meripol

1. Best mug o' cheer: Wash down a lamb burger and sweet potato fries with a County Jail Pale Ale at Pecan St. Brewing in Johnson City.

2. Best Friday night lights: Johnson City and Pedernales Electric cloak themselves in more than a million bulbs. Carriage rides add to the fun.

3. Best shortbread stop: See why Rebecca Rather's pig cookies have a cult following at The Pink Pig, her rustic-chic new spot that overlooks a horse pasture.

4. Best stocking stuffers: Fredericksburg celebrates its German heritage at the St. Nikolausmarkt ( Visit the awesome boutique Red (

5. Best long winter's nap: Settlers Crossing features seven historic guest houses, massive oak trees...and pet donkeys. Rooms from $165;

6. Best comfort food: The charming town of Comfort is festive and garland-strewn this month. Take a shopping break at High's Cafe & Store.

7. Best cowboy treasures: In historic downtown Boerne, don't miss The Green Bull jewelry store ( and Billy's Western Wear (

8. Best elixir: The Esquire Tavern's balcony overlooks San Antonio's dazzling River Walk lights. Try the Mas Chignoni cocktail. (Trust us.)

9. Best spot for sugar plum sueños: At the Cuban-inspired Hotel Havana, every room is unique. Use code SLREADER for a 20% discount Sunday through Thursday. Rooms from $135;