As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. Holiday light displays are no exception. The Southwestern U.S. may not get much snowy, holiday weather, but people there still know how to put on a great holiday lights display. Here’s where to find Christmas lights in Texas and the Southwestern United States. This info has been updated and verified current for the 2018 holiday season, so come on down to Texas and get your Christmas lights on, y’all.
Where to find Christmas Lights in Texas
If you’re in or near Texas’ capital city, you’ll want to check out the Zilker Park Trail of Lights. More than 2 million twinkling lights in colorful displays adorn the mile-long trail guest can stroll. The 2018 light display will run from December 10-23, with tickets going on sale in October.
Boasting the “largest Christmas Attraction in Texas,” Santa’s Wonderland includes horse-drawn carriage and hay rides through the lights. Santa’s Wonderland has generous hours this season, starting November 9 and running through December 30th. If you want to know more about Santa’s Wonderland, check out Road Warrior Traveling Mom’s post here. And, if you want a dad’s perspective on things NOT to do at Santa’s Wonderland, we’ve got that, too.
More than 600 LED Light Displays can be seen each holiday season at the Texas Motor Speedway’s Gift of Lights. It ends with a drive through, light-up tunnel. Gift of Lights opens November 29 and runs through December 30.
Festival of Lights features a mile-long trail of more than 100 lighted holiday scenes, shows, visits from Santa and a “Snow Zone” for kids. November 17- January 6.
Light Show Spectacular takes place every year in downtown Grapevine and the best news? This event is totally free. Check here for updated 2018 dates when they are published.
If you want to see Christmas lights in Houston, head to the Houston Zoo to see Zoo Lights. You’ll see 15 miles of earth-friendly LED lighting illuminating ancient oak trees and decorate the paths to light your way through the zoo…and since the weather is (usually) so mild in Texas, you CAN enjoy the zoo in the winter months. Usually. Texas weather is notoriously fickle. Zoo Lights runs from November 17 all the way through January 13.
The Marble Falls Walkway of Lights has historically been one of Texas’ most popular display of Christmas lights. They don’t have their 2018 dates published yet, but you can check this website for updates.
New Braunfels is a charming German town between San Antonio and Austin. This small community is home to Santa’s Ranch, a drive-through display of lights and other fun Christmas decorations. Santa’s Ranch opens November 2 and runs through December 30th. I recommend going early or late in the season. Christmas week is very popular and you will wait in line for at least half an hour to enter the ranch…which is no fun when you have little ones that have to “go.” Ask me how I know this.
The San Antonio River Walk transforms for the holidays with more than 100,000 lights. The Ford Holiday River and Lighting Ceremony kicks off the fun on November 23. Look for lighted floats with celebrities, bands and costumed participants, and enjoy Holiday Boat Caroling during evenings in December. Enjoy Christmas lights on the Riverwalk through January 6.
SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas also have impressive light displays, with SeaWorld’s light display actually being the largest in the state. SeaWorld doesn’t have their 2018 dates published yet but you can check back with this site for more info in the coming weeks. Info on Six Flags Fiesta Texas Holiday in the Park can be found here.
The dancing lights at the Mill Pond in San Saba are a must see. They’ll start on November 22 and run through early January…no specific end date is listed on their website but you can see more information here.
Not planning to be in Texas during the holiday season? We’ve also included some information on some of our favorite Christmas lights throughout the Southwest United States. Read on!
Holiday Light Displays in Arizona
The North Pole Experience brings Santa’s Workshop to life! Start at the Little America Hotel to see the twinkling light display and catch the Polar Express train to the North Pole. November 16 – December 28
Desert Botanical Garden celebrates its 38th year of Las Noches de las Luminarias. It features 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags, thousands of white twinkle lights and the vibrant sounds and sights of 10 performing groups. This is available December 1 – 23 and again from December 26-31.
Take a trip on the Polar Express with the Grand Canyon Railway! Each evening passengers travel to the North Pole, a Christmas village where Santa and his reindeer welcome visitors. This year, the Polar Express runs from November 9 through January 5 so you have lots of time to check it out. For more TMOM info on the Polar Express, read this article.
Holiday Light Displays in Colorado
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari features more than 1 million lights, more than 80 animated light sculptures, Sky Rides, and visits with Santa. Electric Safari is available December 7 – January 1 (closed on December 24).
The Denver Botanical Gardens presents a Trail of Lights for the whole family, with more than a million twinkling lights synchronized to music. Hot drinks, seasonal entertainment and hay rides available. Enjoy Trail of Lights November 23 – January 1.
Holiday Light Displays in New Mexico
The ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden hosts the holiday light show, “The River of Lights.” It features giant sculptures of plants, animals and seasonal themes created by millions of lights. The River of Lights is open November 24- December 30 (closed on December 24-25.)
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden celebrates GLOW on weekends throughout the holiday season. Look for Santa, hot cocoa and more fun for the family. This begins December 14 and runs through December 31st, although their website lists a preview on December 6th…contact them directly for more info.
Holiday Light Displays in Nevada
Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a holiday drive-through event, has more than 1 million lights in over 400 animated and sparkling displays. Fun includes a PJ 5K Fun Run and a Living Nativity. This begins November 8 and runs through December 31. Make sure you check their website before visiting as they have different hours for weekends and holidays. in Oklahoma
Holiday Light Displays in Utah
Salt Lake City
Utah’s Hogle Zoo celebrates Zoo Lights with more than 200 animated light displays. Guests wear hologram glasses to walk along lit pathways and through the 135-foot lighted tunnel. Santa is scheduled to visit, among other nightly planned events. Check this out November 30 – December 31. Closed Christmas Day.
If you don’t see your favorite places to see Christmas Lights in Texas (or the Southwest U.S.) leave a comment on this post and tell us about it!
More Holiday Lights Displays Around the World
Disclosure: This is an updated version of a post originally written by Rebecca Darling.