Grapevine The Christmas Capital of Texas
If you have never been to Grapevine, Texas during Christmas time man are you missing out! I am lucky that when we moved to the DFW area about 4.5 years ago we ended up being about 15 minutes away from this holiday epicenter. During the first year we had no idea what to do or that tickets for some events sold out in August! We have two kids ages 3 and 6 so they are in the prime of Santa magic so we wanted to ensure that we did some events each year to make that come alive. Here is a list of our favorite places in the Grapevine/ Mid Cities/ Fort Worth area… yeah we don’t drive to Dallas much lol! Keep in mind I have pictures from several years so some attractions may look a bit different this season.
Now go ahead and just bookmark this event for next year because this is the one that sells out in the summer! We have ridden this vintage train to see Santa for the past three years and the kids love it. The train is decked out in festive decorations and each car has an elf helper to lead songs as we travel to “The North Pole”. The downside is there is not much scenery, if you are expecting some grand ride through snow capped trees unfortunately you are out of luck since it’s still Texas so don’t go in expecting that. Note the random houses and electric poles.
During your ride each child will receive their magic bell from Mrs. Claus that you can only hear if you believe. This makes a great photo opportunity when your kids cooperate I looked back and almost all are blurry because they were so stinking excited to get their bell! When you arrive they have snow (bubble machines) as you walk through Christmas trees to get to the stage where Santa finally arrives. So for those that live in “real” snow you will think we are crazy this is more like the foam party bubble machines in Mexico (don’t judge people) but our Texas kids have like no tolerance for cold so they think it’s great!
The show ends with Frosty Chocolate Milk, although this year I heard they are serving that on the train which I think is a MUCH better idea. Regardless of when it’s served it was my kids favorite part. When I told my daughter that we were doing something different this year she got all sad and said “but what about my frosty chocolate milk?!”
ICE! is an indoor ice sculpture tour with two million pounds of ice sculptures that are hand-carved each year at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine. Each year they have a different theme and this year is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer so I am pumped to see it since it’s our youngest favorite holiday movie. When you bring little kids a few things to note.. the lines are long, they walk and it’s COLD like chilly 9°F cold. Although the super fun part are the six ice slides where kids love to come shooting down. They provide long jackets but bring your own gloves and hats because you will need them. Also if you have real little ones bring snacks or something to keep their attention while you go through several waiting areas before you enter the attraction.
The Gaylord has a ton of other events and really is the epicenter of the Christmas festivities. We have enjoyed walking around the well decorated center, Ice skating, themed buffet breakfast with holiday characters, cookie decorating they have a ton!
I have seen The Nutcracker many places and although this performance does not have a live orchestra (the one downside) the grand hall with beautifully decorated trees, gorgeous ornaments and decorations to buy and the activities before the show for kids has brought us back year after year.
Now had you asked me before this year where is the place to visit Santa I would have told you NorthPark Center. It has a beautiful set up and Santa story time, but here is the draw back… THE LINES!!! People get up there super early in the morning to get tickets to get in line and even with that you have to wait around for your number to get called and they can only give you an estimate on when your group will go. After a few years of very hungry kids and complete meltdowns we stopped going.. see pic above.
This year we visited the Santa’s Village in Southlake and had the best experience. Even on a Sunday afternoon we had no wait, but if you wanted you could schedule in advance to ensure you have no wait they do that too! They took great pictures up close reading their lists as well and full size. I have a feeling this is our Santa from here on out! After our visit with Santa we did a quick carriage ride around the square and we are thinking about going back to hear Mrs. Claus do Story Time on December 20th!
So this is on the “new for this year” list but we had several friends attend last year and just RAVE on how awesome the lights were. First I love that they are offering options at a ton of different price points so even if you are a broke couple wanting to do some special things (ie get engaged and then see lights which is what we did 12 years ago in Austin) or have a family on a budget you can still experience the magic! There are several time slots to help reduce crowds and 15 locations for food and drink. When you tell me as a parent I can have wine and my kids get fed while I’m looking at lights I’m there! My dear friend Mo went there last year with her daughter (the adorable one above) and just raved so we are headed there as our cousin get together this year.
If you are like me it’s fun it try something new during the holidays but then there is the inevitable… do we have an outfit for that?! So I have listed what we would wear to each that is available now and in stores (several with an order online and drive to pick up option) Also, you can do same day delivery with Nordstrom with a flat $15 fee (for in stock items at your local store) but if you are in a major crunch it’s an awesome service!