Making Spirits Bright: Waco’s Best Holiday Events for 2023

Nov 08, 2023

Make your 2023 holiday celebrations your best yet!

Waco does the holidays in style, with family-friendly festivals, live entertainment, vendor markets, and millions of cheerful twinkle lights. Add a few of these holiday events to your Christmas calendar for an extra-sweet season.

Feztival of Trees

Dates: November 18–25, 2023

Location: Karem Shrine, 400 Karem Cir, Waco, TX 76712

At Karem Shrine’s first Feztival of Trees, local businesses can donate fully decorated Christmas trees, unwrapped gifts, and/or company products for a festive holiday raffle. Guests can wander this one-of-a-kind forest of tinsel and lights, and may buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a tree and the accompanying gifts.

The event includes a Santa photo op for kids (and adults!), Christmas light drive-thru, kids’ train rides, hot cocoa, and great food. Proceeds from the raffles will sustain the Karem Shriners, who support the philanthropic hospital system Shriners Hospital for Children.

Interested in sponsoring a tree? Call 254-848-5600 for more information. 

decorated christmas trees

Lights of West

Dates: November 22–December 30, 2023

Location: 2818 Wiggins Rd, West, TX 76691

Pack up the car and head to West, Texas, just nine miles north of Waco, for the annual Lights of West. Over a million colorful holiday lights and cheerful decorations illuminate this one-mile driving trail. You can drive through the lights in your own car, or take a trailer ride so everyone will get the best view.

After completing the trail, step out of the car for more holiday fun. Solve a maze made of festive lights, roast marshmallows at the firepits, enjoy live Christmas music or movies, and drop a letter to Santa. The man in red himself will also appear on Saturdays and Sundays, and the week of Christmas. Check their calendar to confirm exact dates!

Christmas at the Silos

Dates: November  24–December 30, 2023 (stores closing at 5 p.m. on December 7, closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Location: Magnolia Market at the Silos

Christmas at the Silos sees this shopping destination transform into a holiday dreamland for the season. Each shop is all lit up with festive greenery and twinkling lights, creating a festive atmosphere for your holiday shopping. Pick up gifts and look for classy holiday decor for your home.

This season-long celebration will include limited-time holiday menus, visits from Santa, and a post office so the kiddos can send their letters to Santa at the North Pole.

Wild Lights at the Zoo

Dates: November 24–December 31, 2023

Wednesday–Sunday (plus daily December 18–23)

Location: Cameron Park Zoo, 1701 North 4th St, Waco, Texas 76707

Cameron Park Zoo brims with good cheer during Wild Nights at the Zoo. Presented by Reliant and brought to you by TFNB Your Bank For Life, the zoo will glitter with three million tiny lights after the animals are safely tucked in bed for the night. It’s Waco’s largest holiday light show!

Sip a hot chocolate or a grown-up drink from Ralph’s Watering Hole as you take in the sights. There will be games for all ages and local food trucks for a holiday feast. Kids can mail letters to Santa, and visit with him in person under the Zoo’s pavilion in the Meadows area from November 24th through December 23rd.

Don’t want to miss the animals on your trip to the zoo? Purchase a “Zoo/Wild Lights” combo ticket to visit the zoo during the day and Wild Lights at night. Use the combo on one day or visit the zoo and Wild Lights on different days.

mini bus covered in christmas lights penguin made of christmas lights with child's face

child sitting on santa's lap

Homestead Fair

Dates: November 24–26, December 1–2, December 8–9

Location: Homestead Craft Village, 608 Dry Creek Rd, Waco, TX 76705

Over 20,000 visitors attend the Homestead Craft Village’s Annual Homestead Fair each year. In fact, this event is so popular that they’ve extended it to three weekends for 2023!

At the Homestead Craft Village, the focus is on handmade goods, low-tech living, and self-sufficiency. Attend demonstrations and seminars to learn homesteading skills like raising poultry, caring for goats, managing beehives, and making your own butter and cheese. Get in on the action by dipping beeswax candles or painting a clay bowl. Watch the village artisans as they demonstrate their skills, and then shop their handmade goods like solid wood furniture, woven baskets, metal crafts, toys, and clothing.

Kids will love the petting zoo, hay bale maze, and pony rides. Plus they offer live music, a wide assortment of international foods, and hayrides up to a scenic overlook. It’s a joyful way to spend a weekend!

sheep in field

maze made out of hay bales

North Pole Palooza

Dates: November 24–December 17, 2023

Location: Extraco Coliseum (at the Extraco Events Center), 4601 Bosque Blvd, Waco, TX 76701

Enter through South Coliseum Entrance facing Bosque Blvd

For one magical month, the Extraco Coliseum will channel the North Pole right here in Waco. North Pole Palooza offers some of the seasonal fun you’d expect, plus plenty of surprises!

Lace up a pair of ice skates and head out onto the family skating rink under the sparkle of festive lights. Kids can play on the snow playground, take photos with Santa, visit the petting zoo, and make a new friend at the Build-a-Teddy-Bear Workshop. At Santa’s Workshop, there will be more Christmas activities, like building gingerbread houses.

A live nativity scene brings the holiday’s origins to life, and the coliseum will ring with Christmas music. Stop by the Christmas Market to shop for gifts and holiday decor. Then warm up with hot cocoa for the kids, and cocktails at the Ice Bar for adults.

Christmas Experience with Waco Tours

Dates: November 25–December 22, 2023

Location: Launch location to be determined

Pile into a comfy van and get whisked into winter fun with Waco Tours’ Christmas Experience. This holiday excursion will take you from Waco to the Lights of West and back. At the event, you’ll get VIP access that lets you skip the lines for a more streamlined visit through the attractions. Then take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and get into the holiday mood with live entertainment.

The trip will pass in a flash as you play Christmas trivia and sing carol-oke with your friends. Sip hot cocoa and snack on caramel corn to sweeten the ride.

Merry Motown Christmas

Date: November 30, 2023

Location: Waco Hippodrome Theatre, 724 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

Popular singing group The Best of Motown and More will be sharing an upbeat Christmas concert at the Waco Hippodrome on November 30th. This slick quartet will display their smooth harmonies, sharp choreography, and eye-catching costumes with a program of Motown hits and Christmas favorites.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Dates: November 29—December 9, 2023

Location: Waco Civic Theatre, 1517 Lake Air Dr, Waco, TX 76710

The 1965 animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to life in this theatrical adaptation at Waco Civic Theatre. When Charlie Brown’s friends get caught up in holiday commercialism, he becomes director of the school pageant to spread the true meaning of Christmas. This production will feature four different casts throughout its run, each presenting their own special take on the famous roles.

A Charlie Brown Christmas will also be part of the Waco Civic Theatre’s “Nibbles at the North Pole” fundraiser. For an additional fee, kids can visit Santa, sample holiday cookies, and sip hot chocolate before the matinee performances on December 2nd, 3rd, and 9th. Ticket holders for A Charlie Brown Christmas will get a $5 discount code to the fundraiser!

Photo courtesy of Waco Civic Theatre

11th Annual Waco Wonderland

Dates: December 1–3, 2023

Location: Heritage Square, 300 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

Kick off December at the 11th Annual Waco Wonderland in Heritage Square park. This three-day celebration of the holiday season combines live entertainment, wintry attractions, and boutique shopping for an event everyone will love.

It all starts with a tree lighting ceremony on Friday at 7 p.m., along with holiday music and a fireworks display. Ride the 68-foot Ferris wheel and the trackless train around the festival. At The Santa House, you can meet Santa and take free pictures. Plus drop off your letter in the North Pole Express mailbox just outside. Visit the food court for tasty snacks, and do a little holiday shopping at the Mistletoe Market with booths by local merchants offering art, jewelry, clothes, gifts, and more.

On Saturday, the Waco Wonderland Parade will hit the streets with floats and costumed characters. The snow tube hills also open on Saturday! Hop on an inner tube and soar down the hills of real ice and snow (one for adults, and one for kids). If you visit on Sunday, you can also get up close and personal with friendly animals at the free petting zoo. With live entertainment on the main stage throughout the weekend, this will be a thrilling holiday event.

Christmas Lights in the Village

Dates: December 8–10 and 15–17, 2023

Location: Governor Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village, 1300 S. University Dr, Waco, TX 76706

Behind the Mayborn Museum Complex

If you didn’t know that there’s a historic village tucked behind the Mayborn Museum Complex, you’re in for a treat! The Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village is a charming collection of wood-framed buildings from the 1890s, relocated from Liberty, Texas to Waco in the 1980s. The village includes a church, lawyer’s office, commissary, barn and smithy, carriage house, cook’s house, planter’s house, and a schoolhouse, each set up as they would have been in the late 19th century.

For the holiday season, this tiny town celebrates Christmas Lights in the Village. Bright lights will adorn each building and create twinkling walkways around the village for magical ambiance. Take a fun train ride through the village, visit the petting zoo, say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus, and take an audio tour through the town! There will also be live entertainment, like music and storytelling.

Historic Waco Candlelight Tours

Date: Friday, Dec. 8 from 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

Locations: East Terrace Museum, 100 Mill St, Waco, TX 76704

Earle-Napier-Kinnard House, 814 S 4th St, Waco, TX 76706

McCulloch House Museum, 407 Columbus Ave, Waco, TX 76701

Step into holidays past at Historic Waco’s Candlelight Tours. Explore three beautifully preserved 19th-century homes, each decorated with a different festive theme and collecting donations for a local charity.

East Terrace Museum

Theme: Winter Wonderland

Charity: Friends for Life

Earle-Napier-Kinnard House

Theme: The December 1904 Wedding of Anne Kinnard

Charity: Mission Waco

McCulloch House Museum

Theme: A Dickens Christmas

Charity: Humane Society of Central Texas

Volunteers will be stationed throughout the houses to answer questions. Snack on light bites and imagine cooking a holiday meal for the family with no electricity!

Shopping and Brunch with Santa

Date: December 9, 2023

Location: Lee Lockwood Library, 2801 W Waco Dr, Waco, TX 76707

Start the day with Mr. Claus at Historic Waco’s Shopping and Brunch with Santa event! Start with a brunch of finger foods. Then decorate holiday cookies, take professional pictures with Santa, and hear stories from the Young Storytellers Guild.

This is a great opportunity for holiday shopping, too! These wonderful local vendors will be onsite with one-of-a-kind handmade gifts:

The Nutcracker with Ballet Frontier and Waco Symphony Orchestra

Dates: December 9 at 7:00 p.m.

December 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Waco Hall, 624 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706

The Nutcracker at Waco Hall is an annual tradition. Professional dancers and talented students from Fort Worth’s Ballet Frontier work together with the Waco Symphony Orchestra to bring you their performance of the world’s most famous ballet.

This event sells out quickly each year, so make sure to get your tickets ASAP!

After the Sunday performance, take photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier Prince in Roxy Grove Hall. And stop by the Nutcracker Store in the lobby for nutcrackers and holiday ornaments.

White Christmas

Dates: December 14–23, 2023

Location: Waco Civic Theatre, 1517 Lake Air Dr, Waco, TX 76710

The classic 1954 holiday musical White Christmas hits the stage at the Waco Civic Theatre this December. When two World War II veterans end up at a Vermont lodge with a pair of beautiful singing sisters, the foursome conspires to put on a show and save the inn. While the stage adaptation is based on the film, the musical has a few changes that will keep fans of the movie on their toes. But you can still expect to hear the iconic songs “White Christmas,” “Sisters,” and “Blue Skies.”

Two different casts will take on the main roles, so you may want to see this show twice!

Photo courtesy of Waco Civic Theatre

Girl Named Tom: The One More Christmas Tour

Date: December 21, 2023

Location: Waco Hippodrome Theatre, 724 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

Pop trio Girl Named Tom will be bringing their beautiful harmonies to the Waco Hippodrome this December. Winners of The Voice Season 21, this sibling group will be performing songs from their album One More Christmas, including seasonal favorites, original holiday songs, and songs they performed on The Voice.

Contact the Waco TPID

Waco Tourism Public Improvement District Corporation

424 Clay Avenue, Suite 2343
Waco, TX 76706
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