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Spending the Holidays in Dallas

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Dallas is known as Texas' most metropolitan city. The 'Big D' is modern attractions, tremendous shopping, world class dining and more. All of this makes it a popular stop for visitors to Texas. And, there's no better time to visit Dallas than during the holiday season.

If there's one thing that defines the holiday season in the Dallas area, it is parades. Hands down, the centerpiece of Dallas' holiday season is the annual Children's Hospital Christmas Parade (formerly the Neimann-Marcus/Adolphus Children's Parade). Held during the first weekend in December, this holiday extravaganza has been entertaining Dallas area residents and visitors for over 20 years. It has become so popular, in fact, that more than 350,000 spectators line the parade route each year just to get a glimpse. The Children's Hospital Christmas Parade, complete with floats, bands, inflatable balloon characters, and more, begins at the corner of Austin and Commerce Streets, follows Commerce east to Harwood Street, travels south on Harwood to Young Street, moves west on Young Street to Ervay, south on Ervay to City Hall Plaza and finishes at Akard Street.

Although the Children's Hospital Christmas Parade is the largest, it is far from the only holiday parade in the Dallas area. The day after Thanksgiving, in neighboring Ft. Worth, the Ft.Worth Parade of Lights kicks off the holiday season in the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Having been held over Thanksgiving Day Weekend for nearly 30 years, the Ft Worth Parade of Lights features over 100 lighted parade entries and signals the start to the "holiday light season," as downtown Ft Worth is fully illuminated with holiday lights following the parade's conclusion.

At the conclusion of the holiday season is yet another parade - the Comerica Bank New Year's Parade. Formerly known as the , since it was held as a prelude to the annual college football bowl game by the same name, the Comerica Bank New Year's Parade is held on New Year's Day in downtown Dallas.

Of course, the Cotton Bowl game represents somewhat of an extension of the holiday season in Dallas. Unlike many college football bowl games, which are held during the middle of the holiday season, the Cotton Bowl is generally held the week after New Year's. Because it is such an incredible important event to the Dallas area, the week leading up to the Cotton Bowl game feels every bit as festive as the holidays. Held in its namesake stadium for seven decades, the Cotton Bowl game moved to Cowboys Stadium upon its completion (2009 football season, 2010 Cotton Bowl). This annual postseason college football game features teams from the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences.

Lest anyone begin to think parades and football games are the only things available during the holiday season in Dallas, don't forget about Dallas world class shopping opportunities. Dallas has long been known for the quality and variety of its shops and malls, but during the holidays the Dallas area merchants ramp it up. Shopping truly becomes an even in Dallas during the holiday season. Dallas also has a wide array of wonderful restaurants, clubs and hotels. Many of these will be hosting parties throughout the holiday season, but especially on New Year's Eve. The largest and best known of Dallas' New Year's Eve parties is the Big D NYE. Held at the AT&T Plaza at American Airlines Center, Big D NYE features fireworks, live music, band competitions, and more. Best of all, the event is free and open to the public. Other traditional hotspots for New Year's Eve in the Big D include the House of Blues, Poor David's Pub, and Billy Bob's in Ft Worth.

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