One of our favorite holiday traditions extends beyond exchanging gifts or downing eggnog. At Brilliant, we prefer to spend time with our loved ones exploring our communities and seeing just how creative they can get with their holiday decor. Since we all know Texans have a competitive streak, it’s easy enough to find homesteads vying for top Christmas decorations honors. While we couldn’t list them all, we did tally up some of our favorites across the state.
Here are 6 of the best Christmas light displays in Texas.
The Woodlands, Houston
When it comes to Christmas lights it’s a community affair in the Prestonwood Forest subdivision. The annual tradition kicks off with a decorating contest so passersby know just which houses to stop at. This year, make sure you cruise by the Best Block at 8100 Devonwood Lane, walk up to the Best Door at 7610 Bideford Lane, and take it all in at the Best House at 8110 Fernbrook Lane. In reality, just about every home is glowing bright so it’ll be easy for you to find your way through the neighborhood. After you’ve explored Prestonwood Forest, cast your vote online for the “People’s Choice Award” until Dec. 31.
Austin Trail of Lights
The state capital’s Zilker Park is celebrating its 50th anniversary tree lighting ceremony, so you know this year’s festivities are going to be worthwhile. This rich music scene offers not only a kick-off musical celebration, but nightly performances by some of the area’s biggest talents, including Ruby and the Reckless and Here Be Dragons. But before you enjoy the show, you’ll want to stroll through the state capital’s 1.25-mile long Trail of Lights. In December you can join them for UT Night, which celebrates all things Longhorns, and Heroes Night, where they pay tribute to first responders, active military, police, and veterans. Tickets to enter the park are free for a limited time. Top off the evening with a Ferris wheel or carousel ride for $6 and $4, respectively.
The San Antonio River Walk
There’s just something magical that happens when you combine a body of water and twinkle lights. So we found it appropriate to include San Antonio’s famous River Walk to our lineup this year. In addition to the holiday lights, throughout the season you can sail away on a caroling barge with local church, corporate, and civic choral groups. Tickets start at $125 for 15-20 people. Or if your singing group can’t join them on the entire river cruise, just enjoy the holiday tunes for free from the patios of the River Walk restaurants as they make their way along the winding river paths. Alternatively, take a walk at dusk when the Ford Fiesta de Las Luminarias turn on. The more than 2,000 Mexican Christmas lanterns light the path of three miles of the River Walk, making for an ideal nightly stroll with a loved one. What’s more is you can purchase your own Luminarias at the River Walk e-store.
Farmers Branch Christmas Tour of Lights
If you’re tired of walking, drive through Farmers Branch now through Dec. 30. Just tune your radio to 107.3 FM, start at the intersection of I-35E and Valley View Lane and continue down Denton Drive to see some of the best musical light displays in Texas. The driving show ends at the Farmers Branch Historical Park, but the festivities don’t die down there. The park features its own Winter Wonderland full of more twinkling lights, music, and Christmas displays. Suggested donations are $5 per vehicle.
We couldn’t write about some of the best holiday lights without including the Christmas Capital of Texas. In Grapevine, Texas, they offer more than 1,400 Christmas events over 40 days. Local establishments like the Gaylord Texan Resort features life-sized ice sculptures and elaborate ice slides all made out of 2 million pounds of ice. Or hop aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express to ride in a vintage car, receive a special silver Santa bell from none other than Mrs. Claus, and finish off the ride with trip to Santa’s Workshop and take a family photo with Kris Kringle himself.
Be sure to check out our Brilliant customers’ holiday lights submitted for our Light up Your Home contest. Cast your vote for your favorite before noon on December 27, 2016 on Facebook!
Looking for more lights? See “10 Places in Houston to Enjoy the Holiday Lights.”