Winter in the Falls is a magical time filled with time-honored traditions for the whole family. A star marks the spot of the Depot Square Historic District, a six-block reminder from the boom of oil discovery and railroad development. The brick inlay at the intersection of 8th and Ohio serves as the central-point to an abundance of shopping, entertainment, urban wineries, breweries, and restaurants all within walking distance. While it does not take long to arrive at any destination on foot, GOAT scooters are conveniently located throughout downtown allowing visitors to zip from destination to destination in no time. As cooler temperatures settle in and the nights become longer, Wichita Falls embraces the holiday spirit in a Texas-sized way.
For more than thirty years, historic Downtown Wichita Falls has been transformed into a winter wonderland during the City Lights Parade. The annual event brings visitors from all around to delight in the lighted parade featuring 100 breathtaking floats and decorated vehicles. Put on your favorite winter coat and bundle up your little ones in matching scarves, hats, and gloves to watch as their eyes light up during the brilliant procession of costumed characters and fantastical displays. Each year brings a new theme, each more spectacular than the last with this year’s theme proving extra sweet.
This year’s festivities for “A Wonka Christmas” kick off in Santa Land. Holiday revelers are invited to explore Santa Land in Park Central with family-friendly games, activities and live music. As no holiday experience is complete without a visit with Santa, the big man himself will be onsite for pictures and, of course, to receive any last-minute lists before heading back to the North Pole to prepare for the big night. Food and drink vendors will be offering tempting holiday refreshments. Making a return this year are the popular S’mores stations where guests can indulge in sugary perfection of gooey marshmallow and chocolate guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
While your little one is occupied with the classic confection, it is the perfect time for some holiday shopping as the all-day event also includes an Artisan market featuring handcrafted goods from local area merchants. Conveniently located in the Downtown Wichita Falls Market, vendors will be on hand to assist with any last-minute gift needs. Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Even the most discerning of family and friends will appreciate the unparalleled artisanship available.
While the City Lights Parade is a one-day spectacle, travelers can make memories all season long by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through enchanted neighborhoods with elaborate festive displays. PTL Carriage Rides are in operation seven days a week during the holiday season from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Couples will find the ideal ending to a romantic getaway by snuggling under a cozy blanket during a carriage ride under the starlit North Texas sky. Carriage rides are also the perfect opportunity for wholesome family fun. Sightseers can make the most of the experience by swinging by B Cocoa Artisan Chocolate beforehand for holiday-themed treats and hot cocoa crafted from the finest imported European chocolates. With indulgent goodies in hand, bask in the yuletide spirit through a winding excursion of perfectly-lit homes and holiday displays.
Fantastical holiday displays are simply in our blood. Each Christmas season for nearly 50 years, Midwestern State University, a gorgeous 225-acre campus, undergoes its Christmas metamorphosis to emerge as a beacon of holiday spirit featuring The MSU Burns Fantasy of Lights, one of the largest holiday displays of its kind. Its purpose is to provide a festive holiday atmosphere on campus, to serve as an outreach to the community, and to be a focal point for holiday activities in North Texas. While the displays are owned and operated by Midwestern State University, they are for the benefit and enjoyment of the Wichita Falls community and approximately 200,000 annual visitors. The Fantasy of Lights is filled with 46 individual lighted, animated displays. Stroll hand-in-hand from one display to the next taking in the sights and sounds of the familiar children’s stories, fairy tales, and holiday themes.
The changing of the seasons offers even more reasons to fall in love with the Falls. Your time is precious. With bountiful shopping, entertainment, and restaurants downtown all within walking distance, make Wichita Falls part of your winter traditions.