The Marshall Courthouse is a great place to see the holiday lights, one of many in Texas.

5 friend-friendly things to do in Texas this winter

Christmas events in Texas are a dime a dozen. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, as families gather from around the country to celebrate the season and enjoy each other’s company. So it only makes sense that there’d be plenty of family-friendly opportunities for revelry in the country’s third-largest state.

But what about events that are, well, “friend-friendly?” Are there as many of these? You bet there are, and happening all winter long. Here are five of them:

1. Visit the ‘Christmas Capital of Texas’

If you heard it through the grapevine that the city of Grapevine is Christmas capital of the Lone Star State, you heard correctly. Over a span of 40 days, starting in late November and ending in the first week of January, 1,400 events are on the docket, including ornament creation demonstrations and classes, happy hour at Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, and a farmers market at the Town Square Gazebo. Check out the website for the calendar of events that you and your bosom buddies might enjoy.

2. See the lights

The anticipation and build up of Christmas Day is one of the reasons why this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. And who among us doesn’t enjoy the array of brilliant lights that adorn city streets and town squares? Perhaps inspired by the “12 Days of Christmas” jingle, GuideLive features 12 Texas locations where the lights are so impressive you have to see it to believe it, including Deerfield, the mansions in Highland Park, and the 2 million LED lights that deck the halls at the Texas Motor Speedway. Here are some of the other places in and around Texas where your visit is  sure to be illuminating.

3. Head to the Las Colinas Home Show

For the sixth time in as many years, the Irving Convention Center is hosting the annual Las Colinas Home Show. On Jan. 14 and 15, a cast of thousands of domestic-minded men and women are expected to gather at the Convention Center to see and experience the latest and greatest in home improvement. Over 100 exhibitors will be on hand, ready to field any and all questions, concerns, and comments. Ticket prices start at just $10, but military and senior citizens get a special discount of $2 off of regular admission.

4. Go ‘museuming’

You and your friends have probably gone clubbing or antiquing before – and if you haven’t, you’ve at least heard of it – but how about mixing it up this winter by doing some “museuming”? Dallas is loaded with both educational and entertaining museums that will strike a chord with you and your cohorts, like the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, the Nasher Sculpture Center across from the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Presidential history buffs will be amazed by the collection of photographs and artifacts from President John F. Kennedy’s time in the White House, including details surrounding the tragic events of Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated. The Dallas Firefighters Museum is another great look at what things were like back in the day for yesterday’s heroes. USA Today has a few other suggestions for where to go in and around the Big D.

5. Chill out with some chili

Few would describe Texas as especially chilly in the winter months, but when it comes to the food, few places make it better. From the spicy variety to heaping helpings that are more mild, this hearty dish is as synonymous with Texas as pizza is to New York. Why not give a few places a try? OnlyInYourState.com references some of the places that are sure to please the palette, like 24 Diner in Austin, Killen’s BBQ in Pearland, and James Coney Island Grill in Houston.

Make it a truly eventful – and “friend-full” – winter by attending the plethora of events in Texas, and by making up some of your own. It’s the best way to close out the year that was and welcome in 2017.