Celebrate with over 1400 Events in 40 Days in the Christmas Capital of Texas, Grapevine!
GRAPEVINE, Texas — City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style…..Grapevine truly makes you want to break out and sing Christmas carols the minute you hit the city limits. And don’t tell the kiddos before you get there, but there are Santas everywhere. (Save that surprise for the moment they arrive, the looks on their faces are priceless!)
To say Grapevine goes above and beyond for the holidays is an extreme understatement, as there is something for everyone and something to do at all times during the highly-anticipated citywide event. Literally, the whole town gets involved!
Old-towne country feel, wine on every corner, thousands of holiday lights and a jolly old man everywhere you turn, it is not hard to fall in love with Grapevine, but it is hard not to become addicted.
We could not hit it all, but here are some of our highlights. With so much to choose from, you are sure to make your own memories.
We hunkered down at the Gaylord Texan Resort, which is the epitome of the phrase “everything is bigger and better in Texas.” The luxury resort and convention center boasts 4.5 acres of lush indoor gardens and riverwalk, a seasonal water park, indoor and outdoor pools, an elegant spa and 10 restaurants, bars and cafes serving everything from succulent steaks and seafood to traditional Mexican and Italian. And in true Grapevine spirit, the place is decked out for the holidays.
Brrrrrr….. don’t say we didn’t warn ya! We went through ICE! at Gaylord Texan, a must-see experience that you can thank us for later — after you thaw out. Ice! is a 14,000 square-foot attraction that is kept at a lip-quivering nine degrees. Parkas are provided complimentary for adults and children, but you are encouraged to bring your own gloves and wear flat, closed toe shoes.
There are more than two million twinkling lights and dozens of lavish holiday displays for guest to marvel at, before taking a fun swoosh down a chilly two-story slide. The ICE! experience features ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Snow Tubing, Cookies & Milk with Mrs. Claus, Glacier Glide Ice Skating and other holiday events sure to get the family in the holiday spirit. The hand-carved sculptures made by 40 remarkably talented master ice artisans from Harbin, China are something to behold.
It’s all about Main Street!
The entire family can enjoy the Parade of Lights, which is said to be the largest lighted Christmas parade in North Texas. This tradition features more than 100 floats and marching bands, and families line the streets to see Santa, his elves, reindeer and more come rolling by.
For relaxation, we strolled through the Historic Downtown Grapevine for a unique shopping experience. You can take a guided tour through town and see the Grapevine Glockenspiel Clock Tower, Grapevine Calaboose, the Palace Theatre, Torian Canin and other notable landmarks.
There are more than 80 locally-owned shops, boutiques, jewelry stores, winery tasting rooms, home decor, collectibles and more. Grapevine is known as an artisan town so, in addition to shopping, you can get up close and personal with blacksmiths and other trade specialists.
We took a tasty dip into Dr. Sue’s Chocolate
Dr. Sue Williams has been a doctor of internal medicine for more than 20 years and now she’s a world-renowned chocolatier! Wanting to make sweet treats that are healthy, she opened her shop, which has become a must-stop destination for travelers. During the holiday season, a Hot Chocolate Bar and Happy Hour is available with a barista serving up cups of old-fashioned hot chocolate made with your favorite flavorings and toppings. Even better, samples of Dr. Sue’s dark chocolate are available for sample and trust us, it’s hard to find a favorite because they’re all so good.
Did you know? Grapevine is home to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and Texas is the 5th largest wine producing state in the country.
With wineries up and down the Urban Wine Trail, including Messina Hof, Umbra, Bingham Family Vineyards and more, you must dip into a tasting room and leave with a bottle -- or two -- or three -- of the good stuff.
Need to go 'way back in the day'?
Then head on down to the historic Nash Farm, for education and a walk through time, interaction with livestock and an opportunity to feast on a real old-fashioned breakfast. Our group was allowed to assist with the morning chores -- just like Little House on the Prairie's Mary and 'Half Pint' -- feeding chickens, turkeys, sheep and other farm animals. Afterward, we feasted on biscuits with homemade butter and jams, salt pork (fried ham), hard-boiled eggs fresh from the farm's henhouse, pickled vegetables, trappers fruit and a variety of beverages.
Get kiddy with it!
The SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is another treasure the entire family can enjoy. Even though the colorful displays cater to kids, kids of ALL AGES (even way up into the double digits) will be mesmerized by the incredible marine life and attention to aquatic detail that the aquarium boasts. The 45,000 square-foot facility houses more than 30 spectacular displays of diverse marine life for visitors to eonjoy -- everything from shrimp and starfish to seahorses, sharks and stingrays. A huge tropical ocean tank with a walk-through tunnel serves as a stunning centerpiece and there are plenty of interactive games kids can participate in to enhance their education.
What's a Christmas without Charlie Brown?
A traveling exhibition from the Charles M. Schulz Museum has been set up at the Grapevine Tower Gallery. The exhibition consists of 50 Peanuts daily and Sunday comic strips, vintage Peanuts-themed seasonal novelties, a Santa letter writing station and more.
Where can you wear your swimsuit and hug Santa at the same time? It must be Great Wolf Lodge. During Snowland, guests at the family-friendly resort can experience an 84-degree indoor waterpark while enjoying visits from Santa, and participate in North Pole University activities, Santa's Letter Writing Depot, holiday carol sing-alongs, sit and snack inside a life-size Gingerbread House and more.
An honorable mention to Food and Service Director Uwe Rudnick, who gave us a wonderful demonstration of how to make Gluehwein, a German holiday drink. This is sure to make anyone a hit at their parties.
Tap into your creative side!
We made our own Christmas ornaments at Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Art Gallery. Nationally recognized glass artists at this state-of-the-art facility help guide you step-by-step in creating handblown and lampworked art, ranging from large-scale contemporary lighting installations to decorative art pieces and jewelry.
Painting with a Twist can give you either relaxation -- or a rip-roaring time with your friends. It just depends on what you are in the mood for. You can sip on some wine (BYOB) while following along with your instructor or you can just quietly channel your inner Picasso as you work on your creation. At the end of two hours, you'd be surprised just how creative you can be.
Grapevine is known for their vintage train rides and Christmas time is no exception. Adults can enjoy the Christmas Wine Train, where they can sip selections from featured wineries while snacking on lite bites and listening to holiday music.
As for the kiddos, the North Pole Express features more holiday music, elves, "Dear Santa" postcards and a special visit from Mrs. Claus herself, who presents all the excited children with a "We Believe" bell. After the train arrives at the North Pole, the children walk along a snowy Christmas tree trail and enter Santa's workshop where they meet the man of the hour and enjoy his Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk served in a special take-home memory mug.
Both trains depart from the Fort Worth Stockyards.
It was the butler, in the dining room, with a candlestick!
Or it could have been the Old West madame, the angry wife, the sneaky, snarky stagecoach guy or the mysterious preacher who popped into town. No matter who it was, the mayor is definitely dead! At Texas Star Dinner Theater, the hijinks are --well high-- and the entertainment is off the charts as the sheriff leads guests on a whodunnit mystery while the wine is poured, the food is served and the clues are spilled one at a time. At the end, the guests are left to vote on who they think the cowboy culprit is...and no cheating possible, because even when the plot stays the same -- the guilty party changes with each show. Catch "Dismay in a Manger" and a word of caution, get your tickets early because each show sells out.
Sometimes you have to open yourself up to something new -- and be SHOCKED at how much you love it!
For us, it was the "A Grapevine Opry Christmas" show at the Palace Theater. As first-timers, we did not know what to expect, but after a couple of Elvis impersonations (from the host), banjos, violins (or fiddles) and the most beautiful voices ever heard live, it is safe to say, we are a believer, and moreso, we will be back! The opry is filled with holiday music, new and old, and offers an incredible yuletide experience for old (and new) fans.
One last thing, we recommend checking in at the airport early, then having a bite to eat at the Grand Hyatt DFW, which is connected to the airport.
Click here for more information on Christmas in Grapevine. Full site dedicated to events, hotels, wineries, eateries, attractions and more. Happy Holidays!