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Deck the Halls

These destinations are
packed with DARTable joy

North Texas goes all-out when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. Whether you're with kids, friends, or solo, DART can help you get in the spirit - instead of in traffic.

Historic Downtown Carrollton has a vibrant display of holiday lights, decorations and "snow"-flocked storefronts in the town square. Dec. 8 is the perfect time to catch St. Nick at the annual Santa on the Square event. For an unusual selfie, head to the square on Dec. 15, when you can snap yourself with a giant, inflatable snow globe. Stick around to browse the unique shops, or to eat at Babe's Chicken Dinner House. It's all a short walk from the Green Line's Downtown Carrollton Station.

Downtown Garland also is big on nostalgic charm. At Christmas on the Square, 100,000 lights adorn the neighborhood they even "dance" to music. The event kicks off with a Square Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 29 and runs throughout December. The first three Saturdays of the month, Santa will be there, along with carolers, hot chocolate and free movies at the Plaza Theatre. Take the Blue Line to Downtown Garland Station to enjoy the family fun.

Bishop Arts District is Dallas' own small-town-in-the-city, and it does the holidays right. The historic neighborhood shows its creative flair in the awesome lights lining the streets; usually there are some surprises in store. On Dec. 2, ring in the season at the Poinsettia Walk - a poinsettia in this case being champagne with cranberry juice. Participating stores provide the beverage, and the Dallas Streetcar's Bishop Arts stop puts you a few blocks from the merrymaking.

Dallas Zoo Lights also has a satchel-full of creativity. From Nov. 16 through the end of the year, more than a million lights outline the trees, walkways and sculptural decorations. The 26 animal-shaped lanterns are especially cool. The spectacle is on display on select evenings; check the dates before taking the Red Line to Dallas Zoo Station.

Klyde Warren Park is lit up year-round by the Dallas skyline - but during the holidays, it really turns up the dazzle with an amazing Christmas tree. The Tree Lighting takes place on Dec. 1; beforehand, there will be activities throughout the day, including an appearance by Santa. If you miss the event, you can get a terrific view from Lark on the Park, which offers a special menu on Christmas day. The M-Line Trolley drops you off right at Klyde Warren. The D-Link gets you within a couple blocks.

The city of Irving does a knockout job of dressing up Centennial Park with beautiful lights and a series of holiday-themed displays. The Holiday Extravaganza on Dec. 1 starts with a parade through the Irving Heritage District and finishes with a tree lighting at City Hall. The gorgeous display will be up through Dec. 26. While you're there, take in the vintage architecture and quaint restaurants of the neighborhood, served by Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE).

Village of Rowlett Downtown gets you in the holiday spirit Dec. 8, when it comes to life with music, dance and festive floats at the Hometown Celebration Holiday Parade. You also have a unique chance to go local with your gift-buying at "Shop Small Through the Holidays." From Nov. 24 through Dec. 15, Main Street boutiques will host a series of pop-up shops selling handmade goods and sustainably sourced items. Get there by taking the Blue Line to Downtown Rowlett Station.

Photo Credit: Chris Reynolds, Lucky Moon Photography

Photo Credit: Chris Reynolds, Lucky Moon Photography

Downtown Plano Arts District is rich in holiday tradition, starting with Dickens in Downtown Plano on Nov. 30, when the district transforms into a picture-book wonderland. There's caroling, a visit from Santa and a tree lighting in Haggard Park. The festive feeling continues throughout the holidays - you can even get a traditional Italian "Feast of 7 Fishes" at Urban Crust on Christmas Eve. Take the Red Line to Downtown Plano Station and you're right there.

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