Take a load off the holiday stress by getting your friends and family out of the house to explore these unique offerings in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Best of all, the five events listed here are absolutely free!
Here’s a quick-hit guide to holiday freebies:
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Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops locations in Garland and Grapevine. There are free family holiday games and crafts. Children can get a free photo with Santa.
Good to know: Families can schedule their Santa time at the Bass Pass Ticket Depot located at the entrance to Santa’s Wonderland. Free Bass Pass reservations are available in-store on a first-come, first-served basis; weeknights have the most availability.
When: Through Dec. 24
Where: 5001 Bass Pro Drive, Garland; 2501 Bass Pro Drive, Grapevine
Watch Olympic skaters
Galleria Dallas delights visitors each year with photo ops of its iconic 95-foot Christmas tree. What makes this experience even more special is the free holiday shows featuring live ice skating performances. This year is no exception, with such skating superstars as 2014 Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, 1994 World Champion Yuka Sato, 2017 U.S. National Dance Champions Maia and Alex Shibutani.
Good to know: The shows also feature local and regional youth skaters performing in colorful holiday costumes. Each show closes with the featured skaters and “Missile Toes,” a back-flipping Santa, lighting the Galleria Dallas Christmas Tree with a pyrotechnic flourish.
When: Noon Nov. 24 and 6 p.m. Nov. 25 (Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Emily Chan, Jonathan Cassar); 6 p.m. Dec. 2 (Yuka Sato); 6 p.m. Dec. 9 (Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov); 6 p.m. Dec. 16 (Maia and Alex Shibutani and Ryan Bradley).
Where: Dallas Galleria, 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas
Take a tour
Did you know more than half of the nation’s currency is produced in Fort Worth? The Bureau of Engraving and Printing offers a free, self-guided tour in an enclosed walkway where you can watch billions of dollars being printed.
Good to know: Leave your cameras and phones at home or in your car. You will not be allowed to take photos once you go through the security check.
When: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. (Last tour starts at 4:30 p.m.). Closed on Mondays, weekends, federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Where: 9000 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth
Fun with flurries
Every 15 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 25, six snow machines on both sides of Coleman Boulevard blow a “snow mixture” at Frisco’s Christmas in the Square. The snow flurries are created by the same machines used by Disney. Plus, don’t miss the choreographed holiday lights and music show 6-10 p.m. nightly.
Good to know: There’s also an ice skating rink set up Nov. 20 through Jan. 3. Cost is $12 per person.
When: Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 25
Where: Frisco Square, along Coleman Boulevard, Frisco
Cost: Free to stroll around and watch the flurries
Follow the herd
Every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Fort Worth Stockyards, the pitter-patter of the Fort Worth Herd’s hooves is heard along the brick streets. Out-of-town guests can get a glimpse of Cowtown lore and enjoy a day strolling through the historic area.
Good to know: The Fort Worth Herd steers can be viewed before and after cattle drives in their pens behind the Livestock Exchange Building on East Exchange Avenue.
When: 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Drives are not held on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Where: 130 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth