Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the best places to spend winter if you're looking for warmer weather, according to a new WalletHub list. With endless amounts of beautiful light displays, abundant shopping opportunities, and numerous festive attractions available, it's no wonder DFW is constantly named as one of the top spots to celebrate the colder months.
Fort Worth always has something going on, even in the winter. If you have family and friends coming into town or are just looking for something to do, why not make time for these top events and winter attractions?
Japanese Garden Fall Festival
One of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden's most popular annual events, the Fall Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture with more than 5,000 chrysanthemums on display.
The Fort Worth Japanese Society presents cultural performances throughout the day. In addition to the beautiful blooms, enjoy the cultural demonstrations, like Ikebana flower arranging, traditional music, and dance performances. Watch taiko drumming, swordsmanship, and karate demonstrations. Learn origami or play Japanese games, browse unique vendors, or try traditional foods.
The fall Japanese Garden Fall Festival 2022 event will be held Nov 5-6 from 9 am-5 pm. Children under six are free. Prior registration is essential for the tea ceremony in Oak Hall, and there is an additional fee.
Lone Star Film Festival
The Lone Star Film Festival celebrates film, television, and digital content from around the world. Movie Magazine ranked the Lone Star Film Festival as a "Top 50 Film Festival."
Held annually in Fort Worth, the festival features independent and studio films, red carpet premieres, celebrity appearances, panels and Q&As with filmmakers, special events, afterparties, and more. Categories include narrative, documentary, and short films.
This year's festival will run November 10-14 at The Cowboy Channel Studio and Downtown Cowtown at The Isis. Special screenings are at other venues around town. Tickets start with day Passes for $45 and go up to $850 for an all-access VIP pass. Individual screening prices are found in the event guide.
The event coincides with the Fort Worth Film Commission Party and a Lone Star Film Festival Gala.
Pumpkin Spice Half Marathon
The Fort Worth Pumpkin Spice Half-Marathon & 5K is a fall tradition for runners of all levels. The 13.1-mile course starts and finishes downtown Fort Worth and takes participants along the historic Trinity Trails. The race benefits the Fort Worth Street School, which helps homeless and at-risk youth earn their high school diploma.
Visit the Shack for the afterparty, where they serve Pumpkin Spice coffee from Brewed, hot chocolate, beer, ice-cold drinks, and get the atmosphere going with heart-pumping music. There's also a pumpkin pie eating contest, a fall costume contest, and other pumpkin pie treats.
Entry fees vary by distance. Courses include 5k, 10K, and the half-marathon option. The half-marathon course has restrooms, hydration stops, and pace groups. This year's race is on November 19; you can register here.
Stockyards Championship Rodeo
What's winter in Texas without a bit of rodeo action? Head to the Fort Worth Stockyards for a taste of Texas with the world's only year-round, daily rodeo. This exciting event features bull riding, tie-down roping, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, and steer wrestling.
November hosts the PCRA Stockyards Championship Radio. The rodeo runs every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $15 for kids and $35 for adults.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden's Lightscape event is a must-see during the holidays. This event will feature stunning installations that are colorful and imaginative with sound effects. With more than one million lights, this beautiful display is one of the largest in North Texas.
Lightscape will take place in the 120-acre Fort Worth Botanic Garden and includes a custom-designed walking trail. Ticket holders will stroll a colorful one-mile path of suspended strands and tunnels of light, fire gardens, bluebonnets, singing trees, treetop sculptures, and more. Savor marshmallows near a fire pit and sample hot chocolate or other festive drinks at stations along the way. The average tour time is 1.5 hours.
Lightscape runs from November 18 to January 8 on select nights from 5:45 pm to 10 pm. Tickets are for timed entry. Admission is $28 for adults and $18 for kids ages 3-12. Children under two are free. Fort Worth Botanical Garden members receive $5 off their tickets. International installations have sold out, so get tickets early.
GM Financial Parade of Lights
The GM Financial Parade of Lights is Fort Worth's largest holiday parade and an annual tradition for more than 60,000 spectators. The parade features over 100 illuminated floats, balloons, marching bands, equestrian units, clowns, and Santa Claus. The 2022 parade will be held on November 20 at 6 pm with the route running from Weatherford Street to Houston Street.
Admission is free for spectators. For those who would like a guaranteed spot along the parade route, bleacher seats are available. Tickets are $18 for adults and $5 for kids ages 3-12. Children under three are free.
Modern Lights at The Modern Art Museum
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is breathtaking anytime, but its renowned light display can only be seen during the holiday season. During the winter, the Modern's trees are illuminated with an extensive variety of festive lights.
If you stroll through the galleries, you'll experience the magic up close rather than just driving by. The best part of all - the museum galleries have free admission until 8 pm every Friday. The A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion exhibit is open until January 8.
Café Modern offers a "Dinner with Lights" package on Friday evenings with special seasonal fare whipped up by its executive chef. Reservations are required for this option.
If you don't want dinner, on the first Friday of each month, come to the Museum's Grand Lobby from 5-8 pm for live music by the First Friday House Band. Drink specials are for sale at the cash bar, and a special light bites menu is available at Café Modern.
Modern Lights runs from November 25-February 5. They turn on around 5 pm and stay illuminated until midnight.
Texas Motor Speedway Gift of Lights
The Gift of Lights is a drive-through holiday light show featuring over two million lights. The event benefits various charities, including the Speedway Children's Charities. The 2022 show runs from November 24 to January 1 on select nights from 6 pm to 10 pm. Usually there is a Holiday Village, but it will not be available in 2022-2023.
Admission is $35 per car or $60 per VIP pass, which covers buses, limos, and RVs. Online tickets are good for any date and time, but weekends and dates closer to December 25 have traditionally longer wait times. The average drive-through time is 45 minutes.
The outdoor Panther Island Ice, a seasonal outdoor rink at the Coyote Drive-In, won't be available for the 2022-2023 season. You may be looking for other places to enjoy this popular winter activity. Don't worry! You can strap on ice skates at:
Stockyards Rodeo Rink, the Livestock Exchange Building, November 25- February 5. The first-ever Stockyards Rodeo Rink is a professional ice-skating rink that spans over 4,000 square feet. The winter wonderland will include festive programming such as photos with Cowboy Santa, live music, and a (hot) Cocoa Corral. There will also be a picnic area with fire pits.
Grapevine Ice Rink in historic downtown Grapevine also launches its first outdoor ice-skating rink in 2022. From November 18-January 8, it will run a 4,500 sq ft venue with real ice and a concession area.
Christmas at Gaylord Texan will have a 6,000 sq ft ice rink as part of its winter attractions. Other draws include the popular ICE! exhibit, snow tubing, building your own snowman, and a Santa's snow throw.
Ice at the Parks in Arlington and Nytex Sports Center in North Richland Hills also operate year-round ice-skating rinks.
Home for the Holidays
If you're willing to drive to downtown McKinney, you'll experience a small-town feel with big winter holiday cheer. Take a trip back in time by visiting McKinney's commercial historic downtown, which is over 165 years old and adorned with Victorian-style holiday decor.
You'll enjoy family activities, delicious food, and entertainment, all within 14 city blocks. The festival includes children's arts and crafts, live music, costumed characters, a petting zoo, a Ferris wheel, carousel, and much more.
Home for the Holidays runs from Nov 25-27 and is free. The first day opens with a tree-lighting ceremony at 6:15 pm.
Christmas in the Square
One of Fort Worth's most popular holiday shopping and dining destination, Sundance Square dresses up for the season. You can't miss the Fort Worth Christmas Tree in Sundance Square Plaza, towering over 50 feet high and decorated with hand-crafted ornaments. The square hosts various holiday-themed performances and events, so it's best to check their schedule.
Sundance Square NYE party
Fort Worth's Sundance Square is the place for New Year's Eve celebrations. The square fills with people of all ages to enjoy live music, a giant lighted ball drop, and spectacular fireworks show at midnight. The event is free and open to the public. It runs from 10 pm to 12:30 am on December 31.
Bass Performance Hall NYE Celebration
The Bass Performance Hall is Fort Worth's premier performing arts venue and is the perfect place to ring in the New Year. The hall will host a live performance, although the lineup has not yet been released as of early November 2022. Balloons drop at midnight. The event runs from 9 pm to 1 am on December 31. Tickets start at $125.
Zoo Year's Eve
The Fort Worth Zoo is one of the top zoos in the nation, and it's a great place to spend New Year's Eve with the family. The kid-friendly event features live entertainment, carousel and train rides, face painting, and more.
For $85 per child (10% discount for members), children can sleep among the animals at the award-winning zoo. The event includes pizza, a movie, access to zoo-themed crafts, and a guided night hike. Plus, continental breakfast is served in the morning.
Armed Services Bowl
ESPN's Armed Forces Bowl has become a significant event in Fort Worth over the years, having been played here since 2003. In addition to honoring America's military personnel and their families, the bowl also recognizes individuals who have made great contributions to the armed forces. Two awards will be presented this year: The Great American Patriot Award and The Armed Forces Merit Award.
The game features teams from the Mountain West Conference and the American Athletic Conference. It is played at the Amon G. Carter Stadium at Texas Christian University. The 2022 event is scheduled for December 22, with kickoff at 6:30 pm. Tickets start at $25. Veterans can get complimentary tickets.
Fort Worth Stock & Show Rodeo
The Fort Worth Stock & Show Rodeo is one of the country's top rodeos and a great way to experience Fort Worth's Western heritage. Since 1896, the 23 days of activities features a rodeo with cowboys from all over the world competing in events like bull riding, bronc riding, and steer wrestling.
The 2022 event will be at the new Dickies arena and have events like the "Moo-seum Experience" and the All-Western Parade. Expect live music, four acres of shopping, kid-friendly activities, and a carnival atmosphere.
The 2022 event runs from January 13-February 3. Tickets start at $16 for adults and $8 for kids ages 3-12. Children under three are free.
Fort Worth Winter Events
These are just a few of the great events going on in Fort Worth this winter! For more ideas, check out the Fort Worth Calendar of Events. If you want to learn more about the activities and things to do in Fort Worth, Chicotsky Real Estate Group is happy to share our local knowledge and insider tips.