Being from a northern state, I never expected Texas to know how to do the snowy season right, but Grapevine, the Christmas capital of Texas, proved me wrong. This town, located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, takes the holiday seriously—and not just for those under a certain age. The fact is, Grapevine hosts 1,400 events in the 40-plus days surrounding the season, and you’d have to be a real Grinch not to find something that puts you in the holiday spirit.
A ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad is a wonderful way to kick off the celebration—it not only offers a North Pole Express® train ride for the kids followed by a visit with the jolly old elf himself, but adults can enjoy a different type of cheer on the Christmas Wine Train, which includes a delicious boxed Christmas dinner and libations from a local Grapevine winery. And speaking of wineries, Grapevine’s Urban Wine Trail is something that you can enjoy year-round, but it’s especially nice to visit the shops along and around Main Street when they’re decorated for the holidays.
As for decorations, this Texas town does it up big! Grapevine hosts The Parade of Lights, the largest lighted Christmas parade in North Texas, with more than 100 lighted floats and festive matching bands. They’ll also be introducing the Whoville experience this year, featuring dazzling decorations, a light show and more in the Town Square gazebo. Before the show or parade, I strongly suggest you drop into Dr. Sue’s Chocolate to partake of the Hot Chocolate Bar and Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m., or you can stop by JudyPie for scratch-made baked goods, including pies with the state of Texas carved into the crust.
Even area resorts get into the act—I was absolutely mesmerized when I entered the lobby of the Gaylord Texan Resort, which was decorated from top to bottom (and we’re talking nine stories) with more than 2 million twinkling lights and massive holiday decorations. It’s almost too wonderful to walk out of your room to be greeted by this sight every morning—who knew you could feel holiday cheer even before that first cup of coffee?
The resort also hosts ICE! which is something you’ve got to see at least once (if not many more) times in your life. While I loved seeing ice carvings of all of my favorite characters from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, I was absolutely floored by the Nativity scene, which was a true work of art. All of the sculptures, which fill a 14,000 sq. ft. space, are carved by a team of 40 master ice artisans from Harbin, China—if it hadn’t been blisteringly cold 9 degrees, I would have stood in admiration for days.
The Great Wolf Lodge is also full of wintry fun in Snowland, which includes a life-sized gingerbread house and Great Clock Holiday Show. What I especially loved was the indoor snowfall—it was so much fun watching southern kids’ reactions! I’m used to the white stuff, and even I was impressed. And lest all of this snow and ice make you cold, the lodge is also home to an 84-degree indoor water park—perfect for a winter warm-up.
If presents are a big part of your holiday, you’re in the right place as well; Historic Main Street, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has more than 80 locally owned shops and restaurants. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, visit Vetro Glassblowing Studio, where you can not only watch nationally recognized glass artists at work, but make your own ornament in their Extreme Ornament Experience. I liked mine so much that it hangs in my home year-round.
It would take me until next Christmas to talk about all of the things going on in Grapevine for the holidays, so visit www.grapevinetexasusa.com to learn more. And have a happy holiday!
Where’s your favorite place to spend the holidays? Tell us about it on Facebook!