Thanksgiving Weekend Ideas Around Dallas

If you’re entertaining loved ones in Dallas this Thanksgiving, you might be wondering what to do after everyone has pushed their chairs away from the dinner table. However, if you find it hard to be grateful for Black Friday and crowds of shoppers jostling for the best deals, don’t fret. We’ve got plenty of other festive events you can enjoy all holiday weekend long. This year, why not show your visiting relatives the best our great city has to offer? Don’t be surprised when they’re eager to visit again after being introduced to the following.

When it comes to impressing out-of-towners, it’s hard to beat the Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Rd.), which will be exhibiting its “12 Days of Christmas” outdoor installation through December 31. Here, a collection of large, 25-foot Victorian-style gazebos has been encased in glass and filled with whimsical characters, animals and the sound of holiday carols. Strung out over a mile-long walk, it’s viewable during the day — and, on Tuesday through Sunday, in the evening. Lit up by holiday lights, the “12 Days of Christmas” becomes a truly magical experience. Make sure to check out complimentary events for the kids including visits with Santa, Santa letter-writing and an “elves workshop” where kids can make seasonal crafts and play games.

If your guests are history buffs, then head to the George W. Bush Presidential Center (2943 SMU Blvd.), which will be presenting a special exhibit entitled “Deck the Halls and Welcome All: Christmas at the White House 2006.” This all-new showcase is open to the public until January 6 and will give visitors a rare glimpse into the holiday cheer that filled the White House during 2006. Highlights of the exhibit include a replica of the official White House Blue Room Christmas tree, candid behind-the-scenes photos, and the original decorations, ornaments, ribbons and lights that adorned 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue during Bush’s tenure.

You can time travel a bit further this Thanksgiving weekend with a trip to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (2201 N. Field St.). As part of the museum’s unusual “Illuminate” light show, The Life Then and Now Hall will be transformed with the use of projectors, and museum hallmarks like the Frenelopsis — a 110-million-year-old tree — and the long-necked Alamosaurus dinosaur will be spectacularly decorated with holiday lights. Make sure you don’t miss the Aurora Butterfly of Peace, located in the Gems and Mineral Hall. This original piece of art took 12 years to complete and features 240 naturally colored diamonds arranged in the shape of a butterfly. Guests will also have access to a number of special activities with general admission, such as Illumination Trivia and glowing treats at the cafe that the kids are sure to love.

If you would like to surprise your guests with something luxurious and restorative after a long day in the kitchen, you can head to Dallas’ iconic Adolphus Hotel (1321 Commerce St.) for a holiday experience that’s sans pareil: tea in the French Room. This event kicks off the day after Thanksgiving and runs Wednesday through Sunday afternoons until December 30. The price is $59 per person and includes a full three-course menu in addition to a wide selection of teas. Reservations are encouraged. Your repast complete, make sure to take advantage of the prime location and show your guests the Downtown sights — including the Christmas displays in the windows of the nearby flagship Neiman Marcus (1618 Main St.) department store.

What events do you have planned for the weekend after Thanksgiving? Share with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. And from all of us at Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy, Happy Thanksgiving!