From horse-drawn carriage rides through charming Main Streets decorated in Christmas lights to the excitement of ice skating in downtown Oklahoma City, explore this list of the top holiday events in Oklahoma and usher in the holiday spirit in style.
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Whether revisiting the 1800s for a Victorian Christmas, or grabbing a front row seat at a magical presentation of “The Nutcracker,” Oklahoma has plenty of festive events perfect for helping you celebrate the enchanting holiday season. Get in the spirit with warm gingerbread cookies, candy canes and mugs of hot cocoa at an Oklahoma festival during the holidays and create your own family memories and new traditions with the much-loved Oklahoma favorites listed below.
For an old-fashioned Christmas experience, visit historic downtown Claremore for Dickens on the Boulevard and capture an early dose of the holiday spirit. Held in mid-November, this annual event gives “window shopping” a whole new meaning as Victorian-garbed shopkeepers provide living window displays. Visit the charming artisan village for historical demonstrations and watch as the townspeople portray the lives of blacksmiths, glass blowers, sculptors and more. This two-day event wraps up each night with a Victorian street dance amid a flurry of live entertainment, a Victorian food court, living nativity and pictures with Santa.
Oklahoma’s capital city is brought to life during the holiday season with the much-anticipated, month-long Downtown in December celebration. Lace up your ice skates and sail around the outdoor Devon Ice Rink. The popular Bricktown Entertainment District is transformed into a winter wonderland with twinkling lights, free river and canal cruises as well as holiday window displays. Grab a steamy cup of apple cider and take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride to enjoy the beautifully decorated, brick-lined streets. Downtown in December also ushers in Free Museum Sundays, providing the perfect holiday entertainment for those out-of-town guests.
Step into a magical winter wonderland with a spellbinding trip to Tulsa’s Winterfest. This annual tradition, held in the heart of downtown Tulsa, sets the season aglow with everything from an astounding 44-ft. tree decked out with over 35,000 lights to cozy horse-drawn carriage rides along the streets of T-town. Make your way to the BOK Center, the enchanting epicenter of Winterfest, for live entertainment, a holiday-themed marketplace and candy canes. Fly across the ice on the outdoor ice skating rink or mark your calendars for the festival’s stunning parade of lights. Festivities run through the New Year.
Step back in time and celebrate a Territorial Christmas in Guthrie, home of the largest Historic Preservation District in the nation. Reminisce about holidays past with the cheerful sounds of carolers, take a ride on a candlelit trolley or browse decorated store windows depicting Victorian-era Guthrie with living displays. This Territorial Christmas Celebration also features an old-fashioned Christmas parade and living nativity event. Take in the dazzling scene of homes decorated in early 20th-century style with the Territorial Homes Tour or marvel at the intricate costumes worn by revelers during the Victorian Walk Evenings. As an added bonus, throughout the month of December, Guthrie’s Pollard Theatre brings a classic winter tale to life.
Share the magic of the season with one of Oklahoma’s most endearing holiday traditions, “The Nutcracker.” Each December, both the Oklahoma City Ballet and Tulsa Ballet present this magical masterpiece with their special touches. This classic ballet has enthralled generation after generation with the tale of a young girl’s fantasy of the Mouse King, Nutcracker Prince and his toy soldier brigade that combine to create the heartwarming story of a fairytale Christmas.
Celebrate the season with Tulsa’s Bethlehem Walk which offers an interactive, guided journey through first century Bethlehem. Under the premise of registering for the census, visitors will be guided through wooded church lands to Bethlehem where they’ll encounter prophets from the Old Testament, the three Wise Men, shepherds with their sheep, Roman soldiers and other travelers. The conclusion of the journey will lead guests past a marketplace, inn and stable complete with the Baby Jesus and living farm animals.
For a living nativity without the winter chill, head to the indoor Living Nativity at Shepherd's Cross, a working farm located in Claremore. Bring your family to this walk-through nativity and experience the birth of Jesus Christ. Meet Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, shepherds and angels who will be among the 100+ participants dressed in period-appropriate costumes. The nativity also features live animals including sheep, donkeys, chickens, mules, horses and guineas. Enjoy the peaceful reflection of a look back in time and create new Christmas memories as you stroll through the Amish-built gambrel roof barn.
Celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas tradition in style with a visit to Fort Reno’s Christmas Guns event, held at Historic Fort Reno in El Reno. Witness this unique tradition brought to America by German immigrants and make sure your holiday ear muffs are fastened in place as firearms are discharged around the grounds. According to legend, the loud noise produced by the firearms will dispel evil spirits before the upcoming holiday. After Christmas Guns, stick around for storytelling, snacks and a visit from Santa.
Step into a living Christmas postcard, bundle up with warm scarves and mittens, and dash across the ice with a trip to a holiday ice rink across the state. Seek out the Devon Ice Rink in downtown Oklahoma City during Downtown in December and glide around the rink as you celebrate the city’s winter splendor with other holiday revelers. Or, venture north of Oklahoma City to the Edmond Outdoor Ice Rink in Mitch Park and enjoy the fresh air and open, starlit skies. Tulsa's annual Winterfest celebration also invites holiday visitors to its outdoor rink for ice skating beneath a stunning 44-ft. tall Christmas tree with the lights from the Tulsa skyline twinkling in the distance.
No holiday would be complete without a trip through sparkling Christmas light displays, so be sure to check out the Top Holiday Light Displays in Oklahoma and start making holiday memories in Oklahoma that will last a lifetime! Drive through parks alive with holiday spirit, stroll among the twinkling lights or enjoy a sleigh ride in a Christmas wonderland at any of Oklahoma's festive light displays.
If you're still in the mood for more holiday fun, browse our full list of holiday events and create your checklist today!