By Tim Falk
Published: 12/04/2021, edited: 08/18/2022
Everything is bigger than Texas, including the holiday celebrations. So if you and your dog are exploring the Lone Star State this holiday season, you’ll find a huge range of activities and experiences to enjoy.
From light displays and tree lightings to parades, parks, and dog walks, let’s take a closer look at the best dog-friendly destinations to check out in Texas this festive season.
There’s no better place to start your Texas holiday adventure than the state capital. This eclectic and charming city is very dog-friendly, so there’s a huge range of holiday experiences you can share with your dog.
Start the holiday season in style at the annual Downtown Holiday Stroll. Enjoy live music, carols, and the highly anticipated tree lighting.
Keen for some drive-through holiday fun? The Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park offers over 2 million lights and 40 displays (tickets $30–$40 per vehicle, runs until December 31).
Get your pup into the holiday spirit at Dogs Around Austin’s Holiday Party on December 11. Pics with Santa and an ugly sweater contest are just some of the highlights.
Check out the dog-friendly outdoor area at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden, drop by Austin Eastciders Barton Springs, or grab a bite to eat at Moonshine Grill.
Dog-friendly accommodation options include Kimpton Hotel van Zandt, The South Congress Hotel, and The Westin Austin Downtown.
Venture out into "muttropolitan" Austin to find some of the area's best holiday attractions.
Check out the millions of sparkling lights at Peppermint Parkway (tickets from $40, runs until December 26). Just make sure that your pup stays in the car (and is attended to) at all times.
Yard Bar’s Annual Pugly Sweater Party (December 4, 12pm to 3pm) is a much-loved holiday tradition. There are ugly sweater contests for dogs, humans, Pugs, and groups, with a $5 minimum donation to enter. Proceeds benefit Pug Rescue of Austin. Yard Bar also has its own dog park, while Fat City Stacks offers a dog-friendly menu.
Want your pup to pose for a photo with Old Saint Nick? The Arboretum offers Pet Photos with Santa from 12pm to 1pm on December 4 and December 18. You can also donate food and supplies to the Meals on Wheels PALS program to help pets in need.
Fancy a road trip? Make the half-hour drive to Leander’s Dog House Drinkery and Dog Park for Love-A-Bull’s annual Photos with Santa event on December 4. Tickets $20.
Have a “pawsome” time at Dogtopia of South Austin’s Rockin’ Christmas Party and Secret Santa Gift Exchange. Held all day on December 15, this holiday event gives your pup a chance to exchange gifts with their best daycare pals.
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters welcomes dogs on its beautiful patio. It also offers a much-loved annual Christmas light show, with 1 doggo per table allowed.
Check out the dog-friendly patio at Austin Terrier, enjoy some “grrreat” live music at Moontower Saloon, or wet your whistle at the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company.
Red Bud Isle Dog Park offers 13 acres of puppy playtime perfection.
The largest city in Texas, Houston knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. Check out these holiday highlights with your playful pup by your side.
Kick-start your holiday experience with a stroll along Main Street to check out the best light displays and decorations in the downtown area. Be sure to grab a pic of your pup in front of the iconic Holiday Tree at Houston City Hall.
Enjoy a beautiful nighttime stroll with your dog through the Mosaic of Light art experience in Discovery Green.
Speaking of Discovery Green, check out the dog runs in this popular city park, or strap on your skates to check out the ice skating rink (open November 12 to January 30).
Danny Jackson Family Bark Park is 15 minutes from downtown Houston. Not only does it offer separate areas for large and small dogs along with plenty of space to roam, but there are also 2 ponds for doggy swimming.
Barnaby’s Cafe is a dog-friendly favorite and even has a special menu for pups. Doggy ice cream? Yes, please!
The patio at Chatter’s Cafe & Bistro is worth checking out, while Axelrad is the ideal spot to quench your thirst.
From the 1880s to 1999, Pearl was the site of a brewery. Today, it’s a cultural hub with easy access to the San Antonio Riverwalk and some of the city’s best holiday fun.
Leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome at Pearl.
Every Wednesday in December before Christmas, from 6pm to 8pm, Pearl hosts Holiday Night Markets. Shop for unique gifts from local vendors, and maybe pick up a treat or 2 for your dog as well.
Celebrate Chanukah with the lighting of the menorah, December 1, 6pm to 8pm.
Indulge in a little retail therapy with your pup at the Holiday Stroll at Pearl, from 5pm to 8pm on December 9. Enjoy extended shopping hours and live music with your furry friend.
Every weekend from December 3 to December 19, Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias lights up the San Antonio Riverwalk in spectacular fashion. While you’re enjoying the gorgeous sights, be sure to listen out for boating carolers floating by.
When you’ve worked up a healthy holiday appetite, check out the best restaurants at Pearl with dog-friendly dining areas. Enjoy a steak and a craft beer at Boiler House, sample even more deliciousness at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery, or sip a refreshing beverage at Park Bar.
Planning an off-leash “pawty”? Madison Square Dog Park is small in size but big on fun.
Dallas dogs are spoiled for choice when planning their holiday activities calendar. Check out these “woofderful” experiences on offer in and around the heart of the city.
On the first Saturday in December, the city comes alive for the Dallas Holiday Parade. The 2-hour parade starts at 10am and is practically bursting with family-friendly fun.
What better way to start the holidays than with Klyde Warren Park’s Tree Lighting Celebration. Held on December 4 from 3pm to 6pm, this highly anticipated event boasts live entertainment, games for the kids, carols, and even visits from Christmas royalty!
Your pup will also love checking out the new and improved My Best Friend’s Park in Klyde Warren Park.
Every Wednesday night at the Galleria’s Santaland is pet night. So bring your leashed pup along to get a photo with Santa and immerse themselves in the festive fun.
Want to take your pooch for a stroll or a drive to check out some of the city’s best lights and holiday decorations? The iconic Christmas ornaments at the Omni Dallas Hotel are well worth checking out, while Highland Park and Swiss Avenue never disappoint.
If your pooch is in need of some off-leash fun and games, be sure to check out White Rock Lake Dog Park. This 3-acre park has a great water access area, and there are great trails for (leashed) walking nearby.
The M-Line trolley is pet-friendly and runs 365 days a year between West Village and the city’s arts district. The perfect way to see the city in style!
Craving some dog-friendly dining this holiday season? Check out MUTTS Canine Cantina, Katy Trail Ice House, or enjoy the beer garden and food trucks at Truck Yard.
No matter where you are in the Lone Star State, the holidays promise to be a magical time of year. And with your dog by your side, this 2021 holiday season in Texas is sure to be one to remember.
Planning to visit an attraction that doesn't allow dogs? Don't fret! Dog sitters with Wag! app can give your fur-baby some TLC while you venture out for some festive fun. Book a dog sitter today and start planning your holiday adventure.
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