Grapevine, Texas is more than just a Christmas miracle. This historic town becomes a glitzy winter wonderland during the holiday season, but the city offers fun activities all year round.
Located just outside the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Grapevine is an ideal stopover if you’re traveling in Texas. In addition to its vintage downtown, the Texas town is home to the Great Wolf Lodge, LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Aquarium. Travel back in time aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad or spend an afternoon boating on Lake Grapevine. Finish off your trip sampling delicious local wines at one of the town’s many wineries.
From a vintage Christmas train to LEGOLAND, here are a handful of reasons why we love Grapevine.
Visit the SEA LIFE Aquarium and experience the only 360-degree ocean tunnel in Texas. Located in Grapevine Mills Mall, this aquarium is an intimate labyrinth of sea creature encounters.
At SEA LIFE Aquarium, you’ll delight in seeing aquatic life from all angels. Look through glass floors, peek up through bubbles in the tanks and walk through a glass tunnel. There’s also Shark Mission, Stingray Bay and a small play zone to keep active children entertained. Finally, the aquarium offers a touch pool where you can stroke starfish and allow sea urchins to nibble on your fingers.
If you’re traveling with LEGO-loving kids (or adults), LEGOLAND Discovery Center, located in Grapevine Mills, is a must-stop destination. Though this LEGOLAND isn’t huge, it’s jam-packed with pint-sized fun.
Here, kids can fly on the Merlin’s Apprentice ride, journey on a quest to save a princess, take pictures with their favorite LEGO stars and build a LEGO racing car. There are 4D movies, a pedal-powered flying ride, obstacle course challenges and endless brick-building opportunities.
Great Wolf Lodge is best known for its 80,000 square-foot indoor water park. With exciting waterslides, a wave pool, a lazy river and a giant water fort, this water park promises to be a blast.
In summer, the full-service family resort provides a respite from the Texas heat. But winter provides a cool treat too, as the resort transforms into Snowland. Snow machines run three times daily, filling the air with fluffy white flakes. Children are invited to write letters to Santa and to attend North Pole University, where they train to be Santa’s helpers.
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In addition, Gaylord Texan Resort offers seemingly endless holiday events, like photos with Santa, snow tubing, ice skating and decorating ginger bread houses. The resort’s signature holiday attraction is a bone-chilling 9-degree ICE! attraction carved from over 2 million pounds of ice. This year’s attraction is a recreation of scenes from The Polar Express.
In the summer, families at Gaylord Texan Resort can enjoy the 10-acre outdoor water park, Paradise Springs.
5. Christmas Capital of Texas
Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas, plans 40 days of festive events, many of which are free! Don’t miss the annual Parade of Lights down Main Street or the City Hall Light Show Spectacular. Be sure to check the schedule and plan your visit so you can pack it full of holiday fun.
6. Downtown Grapevine
Grapevine’s Main Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a visit here will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Chock-full with restaurants, art galleries, wine tasting rooms and boutiques, it’s easy to spend a whole afternoon here.
During the holidays, families can take advantage of rustic photo opportunities while enjoying the many lights, decorations and quirky surprises around every corner. Be sure to seek out the caroling snowmen and Captain Christmas, an animatronic singing reindeer.
7. North Pole Express
No visit to the Christmas Capital of Texas would be complete without seeing the real, live Santa Claus. Hop aboard Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express, which departs from Main Street. Travel in authentic Victorian-style coaches on the way to Santa’s Workshop. The journey is hosted by Mrs. Claus who presents each passenger with a silver bell. After exiting the train, guests walk through snow flurries to a musical show where a cast of elves introduce Santa.
Unfortunately, tickets are no longer available for this winter season, but visitors are encouraged to sign up for the waitlist. Tickets for the 2023 season go on sale in the summer and sell out quickly, so be sure to plan ahead for this.
8. Extreme Glassblowing
VETRO Glassblowing Studio & Gallery is a state-of-the-art facility where guests can give glassblowing a try. Glassblowing classes teach participants age 14 and up to work with 2,100-degree molten glass. If you seek a less intense experience, you can stop by the studio and watch live demonstrations by the experts. It is fascinating to learn about color formulas and techniques from nationally recognized glass artists.
9. Free Museums in Grapevine
Finally, while in Historic Downtown Grapevine, be sure to visit the free Settlement to City Museums, a collection of four museums including the Keeling House Museum, the Donald Schoolhouse, the Cotton Ginners Museum and the Grapevine Historical Museum.
Tucked away behind the Grapevine Visitor Information Center on Main Street, these museums tell the history of Grapeville, from the 1800s on. Here, you can tour two lovingly-restored 19th century pioneer homes and a two-room schoolhouse.
Check the website for holiday events. Family Saturdays cost $5 in advance and include activities like making a Victorian Christmas ornament.
Visiting Grapevine Texas During the Spring? Here’s Where to Find Texas Bluebonnets
Although bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, bloom everywhere across the state, one of the best places to find them is the Texas Hill Country. You will be able to find bluebonnets in and around Dallas as well as near lakes, fields or parks throughout Texas.
Bluebonnets bloom from late March to early April (varies depending on how cold the winter was).
If you’re planning a summer trip, check out these fun things to do in Grapevine in the summer.
Check below to see some of the accommodations available to book near these attractions in Grapevine, Texas: