As Thanksgiving approaches, Dallas gears up to offer a delightful array of activities and events to celebrate the season of gratitude and togetherness. Whether you’re spending the day with your family, friends, or solo there’s no shortage of festive cheer to be found. Here are 11 fantastic things to do to around Thanksgiving to make the most of the holiday in Dallas.
1. Step into the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience
Starting November 17, step into holiday enchantment at the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience. Wander through a magical forest trail, aglow with Wizarding World creatures. Cast spells, encounter iconic beings, and relive film moments in a festive ambiance reminiscent of grand wizarding halls. After the adventure, cozy up in an enchanting village with hearty food and a crackling fire. Experience the magic of the season in this spellbinding holiday event.
2. Sign up for Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving doesn’t really start in Dallas until you run the YMCA Turkey Trot. On November 23, join thousands of fellow Dallasites in a race to give back to the community. A 5k race, an 8-mile race, and a fun run, as well as live music, food, and other fun activities, will all be part of this fun-filled day to celebrate with family and friends.
3. Watch Dolly Parton at Dallas’ Cowboys Thanksgiving game
Put your NFL gear and cowboy hats on because, on November 23, the Dallas Cowboys will face the Washington Commanders in their traditional Thanksgiving game at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium. However, what makes this game legendary is not only the clash of these two football titans but their halftime show. This year, the beloved Dolly Parton will be rocking Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kickoff in all its glory to the rhythm of her most acclaimed songs. An event not to be missed!
4. Experience Candlelight concerts
If music is what you’re after, then say no more! Candlelight is the perfect pre-, post-, and during-Thanksgiving event to go to this year. Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season surrounded by a sea of candles as talented musicians play classical renditions of all your favorite songs. “Cozy” and “spectacular” are words often used by guests who have already experienced Candlelight’s concerts. So, don’t let anyone spoil you the magic, and get your tickets now!
5. Light up your day at Dallas Zoo
A Dallas favorite, the Dallas Zoo lights up from November 17 to January 2 this year, with more than a million lights sparkling across the Zoo. Walk through a wild winter wonderland with larger-than-life glowing lanterns and holiday-themed photo ops perfect for the ‘Gram. Treat yourself to festive foods and drinks, chat with Santa, and groove to the musical performance at this unique holiday experience.
6. Make & Take: Thanksgiving Desserts
This year, make Thanksgiving dinner extra special by bringing delicious fall desserts that will surprise your family. The Central Market Cooking School in Plano is hosting, on November 21, a Make & Take: Thanksgiving Dessert class for those eager to enhance their baking abilities this season. You’ll learn to craft a traditional flaky pie dough and a cream cheese dough, customize an apple filling to suit your preferences, and prepare a delightful bite-sized treat featuring pecans.
7. Join ‘No One Eats Alone’ free Thanksgiving dinner
If your family’s out of town, your pals are busy, or you just don’t want to eat solo, swing by Underdogs for a free, hot Thanksgiving meal. Join the “No One Eats Alone” event on November 23 at 4106 River Walk Drive, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hang out, give thanks, and kick off the holidays together as they dish up turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy, and rolls for free. Drinks will be available for purchase.
8. Kick off the holidays at Christmas in the Square
Get ready to start the holiday season with a bang at Christmas in the Square! Running from November 18 to January 8, this event features the most massive choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas with over 10 dance-worthy songs at no cost. Additionally, there’s an ice rink, opportunities to meet Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a dazzling light tunnel available for an extra charge. So, revel in the holiday magic at Christmas in the Square, where there’s something special for everyone to enjoy this season!
9. Check out Home for the Holidays in McKinney
On November 24, gather around The Square in Historic Downtown McKinney for the traditional Christmas tree lightning at 6:15 p.m. This enchanting holiday market features a delightful array of activities for the entire family. With twinkling lights, live entertainment, food vendors, visits with Santa, a petting zoo, and Frosty’s holiday train, the downtown streets transform into a winter wonderland.
10. Visit Snowday x Santaland at Galleria Dallas
Embrace the season as Galleria Dallas transforms into a snowy paradise with Snowday x Santaland. From November 17 to January 7, guests can enjoy the thrill of meeting Santa, explore another side of the North Pole, and immerse themselves in the breathtaking decorations that make this season so unique. Whether young or old, this is a holiday immersive experience you need to try!
11. Hop on The Trains at Northpark
Hop aboard The Trains at Northpark for an extraordinary experience that combines holiday cheer with giving back to the community. The exhibit features a miniature train display with detailed cityscapes and beautiful landscapes, offering a magical journey for all ages. The attraction not only delights visitors but also benefits a good cause, as the proceeds support the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.