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Home for the holidays: Making memories in Downtown Arlington

The anticipation begins when she gets her tickets for the annual Symphony Arlington holiday concert. On the day of the performance, she dons her favorite Santa red sweater and encourages similar wardrobe selections of her entourage. After they arrive, they mingle and have drinks, but she makes sure they’re in their seats well before Maestro Robert Carter Austin and his orchestra of nearly 100 outstanding musicians take the stage to perform classical favorites and sing-along carols. For her, it’s a Christmas tradition she would never do without.

Making memories in Downtown Arlington, especially at the holidays, is what being a Texas Cultural District is all about.

Holiday traditions, Arlington style

For decades, Arlington families have come to Downtown for many of their favorite holiday events, including the annual Holiday Lights Parade and Christmas tree lighting ceremony with Santa Claus. These traditions, coupled with the Arlington Christkindl Market just north of Downtown, are making Arlington a first-choice holiday destination for families throughout North Texas and beyond.

Downtown remains the epicenter of holiday traditions in Arlington, particularly when great live music is involved. In addition to the annual Symphony Arlington Holiday performance, Arlington Music Hall is reprising its ChristmasSpectacular! this month. If you like the idea of singing Christmas carols over a pint, don’t miss Tavern Carols at Legal Draft Beer Co.

UT Arlington offers several musical options too, including the annual UTA Big Band Jazz Concert, UTA Symphony Orchestra concert, a holiday concert by the Texas Tradition Chorus, and Maverick Dance Company performances. The Grammy award-winning for KING & COUNTRY headlines at the College Park Center for an exclusive, one-night-only Christmas celebration.

For more family-friendly fun, get your tickets now to see Theatre Arlington’s production of A Christmas Carol - Scrooge & Marley, a delightful adaptation of the classic tale. If you’re planning to attend the Holiday Lights Parade (of course you are), come early for the entertainment on the Levitt Pavilion stage and stay after for a free screening of Elf.

December Calendar of Events

We’ve made a list and checked it twice for all of the events – holiday and otherwise - taking place in Downtown Arlington this December. Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments section.

December 1

Big Band Jazz Concert

Featuring the UT Arlington Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Lab and Ensemble, directed by Tim Ishii, Stefan Karlsson and Ken Edwards.

7:30 p.m.

Texas Hall, UTA

December 2

Arlington Music Hall presents ChristmasSpectacular!

An exclusive and original magical, musical celebration of the holiday season.

Various times and dates through December 11

Arlington Music Hall

A Christmas Carol - Scrooge & Marley

This heart-warming adaptation of the story of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the others is brilliantly theatrical and adds elements of inventiveness and creativity that will delight audiences of all ages.

Various times and dates through December 18

Theatre Arlington

Texas Tradition Chorus

This Burleson-based group of women presents a rousing, a cappella performance of holiday tunes in four-part harmony from a variety of genres.

7:30 p.m.

Sixth Floor, Central Library, UTA

Tavern Carols

Join in singing timeless carols and celebrate the start of the Christmas season.

8:00 p.m.

Legal Draft Beer Co.

December 3

Winter Run 2016

Help support the Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA by participating in this fundraising 1K, 2-mile or 10K race, hosted by The Runner.

6:45 a.m.

Maverick Activities Center, UTA

Holiday Celebration and Annual Holiday Lights Parade

Downtown Arlington is “Holiday Central” as the city gets the holidays started with entertainment on the Levitt Pavilion stage, the Holiday Lights Parade and the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree by Santa himself.

Entertainment throughout the day; parade begins at 6:00 p.m.

Levitt Pavilion and Downtown Arlington

Holiday Movie at the Levitt: Elf

Starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart and Zooey Deschanel. With the help of a new friend, a department store elf, Buddy the Elf tries to teach his dad and the world the true meaning of Christmas and to prove that Santa really exists. Rated PG.

7:30 p.m.

Levitt Pavilion

UTA Symphony Orchestra Concert

Dr. Clifton Evans conducts selections including Beethoven’s Coriolanus Overture, Ewazen’s Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

7:30 p.m.

Irons Recital Hall, UTA

December 4

Candlelight Yoga

Come for an evening of restorative movement and relaxation to help yourself unwind during the holiday season.

6:00 p.m.

Arlington Yoga Center

December 9

Maverick Dance Company Concert

A collection of new entertaining and progressive dance works by faculty, guest, and student choreographers.

8:00 p.m. with performances through December 11

Mainstage Theatre, UTA

December 10

A for KING & COUNTRY Christmas featuring Lauren Daigle

This two-time Grammy Award winning Christian pop duo will perform original Christmas songs, beloved Christmas classics and many of their #1 hits.

7:00 p.m.

College Park Center

December 15

Symphony Arlington presents Holiday Safari

Don’t miss this annual carol sing-along and performances of holiday favorites.

7:30 p.m.

Arlington Music Hall


Pablo Picasso: Ceramics

These ceramic pieces speak to Picasso’s imagination, wit, and quest for new and innovative ways to weave beauty and utility into a harmonious fabric.

Various times and dates through February 12, 2017

Arlington Museum of Art

UT Arlington Men and Women’s Basketball

Go Mavericks!

Various times and dates

College Park Center

UT Arlington Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition

A showcase for recent work created by graduating seniors of the UTA Department of Art and Art History.

Various times and dates through December 16

The Gallery at UTA

Beyond the Mask: Portraits of Cultural Identity

This exhibit includes works by various groups of indigenous people.

Through January 31, 2017

Fine Arts Building Suite 2109, UTA

Visit for a complete listing of events during the holidays and year-round. Click here for more holiday activities taking place around the City of Arlington.

Get social

Help us spread the word about the magic of the Arlington Cultural District at the holidays! Use #authenticallyArlington and @dtarlington while posting or tweeting about your favorite Downtown Arlington cultural destination.

About Downtown Arlington

Recently designated an official Cultural District by the Texas Commission on the Arts, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.