Whether you’re a local or just visiting for the holidays, you’ll find plenty of Christmas cheer at the Dallas Arboretum. From festive lights, to photos with Santa, to mulled wine, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden has something for everyone.
Since moving to Dallas, we’ve been on the hunt for experiences that remind us of the chilly Northeast. Especially around the holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, most days I love the warm Texas sunshine. But my New York heart did a happy dance when we turned the corner to Christmas trees, a German-inspired Christmas village, and snow covered gazebos at the Dallas Arboretum.
No, the snow isn’t real.
Despite the fake white stuff, the Dallas Arboretum delivers when it comes to Christmas. Sipping mulled wine while I watched my toddler devour fresh baked Christmas cookies warmed my soul. Wandering through the oversized Twelve Days of Christmas themed gazebos made me more giddy than I’d like to admit. And seeing the one million lights at night made me actually forget how much I miss New York City Christmases.
There’s also ugly sweater competitions, private cooking events, and Twelve Days of Beer. Plus my kids love the children’s garden. So yeah, we’re basically chilling at the Dallas Arboretum every weekend until Christmas.
Are you looking for more holiday travel destinations in the US? Check out this Bethlehem PA Christmas Bucket List for a guide to the USA’s very own Christmas City!
Twelve Things To Do At the Dallas Arboretum During Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Set in gorgeous Victorian style gazebos, the classic Twelve Days of Christmas song comes to life. Each setup depicts one of the twelve gifts from the Christmas carol; cue singing five golden rings.
Holiday music pipes through speakers as visitors make their way through the song. It’s worth it to walk through more than once; I notice something new each time!
DeGolyer House “Christkindlmarket Treasures”
The historic DeGolyer House features nativity collections, displayed around the magnificently decorated home. Each room of the house features elaborate decor and collections of treasures typically found in European Christmas markets.
Pauline and Austin Neuhoff Christmas Village
The brand new Christmas village features twelve European inspired holiday shops. Each storefront is themed and provides visitors with samples, such as pumpkin bread and smoked bacon bits. It is Texas after-all.
At night, musicians and choirs may play for the crowds while street performers entertain.
One Million Lights at Night
The Dallas Arboretum is open for extended hours on select nights during the Christmas season. While admission is extra (and steep!), the one million lights dazzle.
Since we’re members, we go frequently. But, if you’re only visiting once during the season, make your trip at night.
Sip Mulled Wine
Does anything feel as festive as sipping warm mulled wine with a Christmas chill and twinkling lights around you? It’s one of those simple hygge moments for me, as I cup my drink and watch my toddler devour Christmas cookies before making laps around the Christmas tree.
Get a Picture by the Christmas Tree
A 30 foot tall spruce tree takes center stage at the arboretum. It doesn’t hurt that it sits right across from the German food and drink cart, either.
Christmas Cheer for Children at the Dallas Arboretum
Rory Meyers Children’s Garden
On any day, the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden is insane in the best way possible. The barefoot toddler’s exploration area, children’s wildlife walk-through, and education center are what convinced us to become members.
During Christmas, children can search for Santa’s forest helpers as they meander through the garden. The education center has season themed crafts, too.
Visits with Santa
On Wednesday evenings and weekends, Santa visits the Dallas Arboretum to hear Christmas wishlists and sit for photo-ops. Visitors can find his home in the Christmas village.
Holiday Cookies After Hours
Special Christmas cookies are available only if you’re visiting the Dallas Arboretum at night. And they’re a great accompaniment to mom’s mulled wine…
Special Holiday Events
Twelve Days of Beer and More
Twelve Days of Beer is a special tasting event held every weekend. Local breweries provide samples for guests to taste while overlooking the Dallas skyline.
Other food and drink events include cocktail workshops, farm-to-table dinners, chocolate painting, baking how-tos, and the young chef’s academy.
Ugly Sweater Contests
If visiting on a Thursday evening, don your ugliest sweater and enter the weekly Ugly Sweater Contest for a chance to win a pair of the Arboretum’s spring concert tickets.
Become a Member and Save
During the holidays, the Dallas Arboretum offers $15 off select memberships. It’s the perfect time to join if you’re local; visiting two or three times (depending on membership level) pays for the membership.
Final Thoughts on Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum
Who knew a seasonal botanical garden and arboretum has so much holiday festive cheer? From walking the Christmas Village with mulled wine to sitting your kids on Santa’s lap, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
Have you visited Dallas during the holidays? What about the Arboretum? Would you add anything to this guide?