What better way to spend the most wonderful time of the year than at one of the best Christmas cities in the U.S — Branson, Missouri! On every street corner, visitors are sure to find holiday festivities, sparkling decorations, Christmas-themed shows, and family fun attractions.
The Branson Christmas season begins early, starting the first of November, and typically runs at least through the first of January. There’s guaranteed to be something for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re looking to skate on the ice by a beautiful Branson Ferris Wheel or watch Branson’s Annual Adoration Parade!
So grab a cup of cocoa and read on to learn the Top 20 Things To Do This Christmas Season in Branson, 2021!
1. An Old Time Christmas® at Silver Dollar City
‘Tis the season for Broadway-style shows, holiday-themed foods, and plenty of hot cocoa at Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas®” celebration, the “most illuminated park on Earth.” SDC will additionally be adorned in millions of Christmas lights everywhere the eye can see with every color imaginable, making for a truly amazing sight, especially in one of the newer sections of the park, “Christmas in Midtown Light Spectacular.”
This 2021 year, Silver Dollar City is excited to announce an all-new half-a-million-dollar stage production, ‘Home For Christmas’ – a performance that will show at the Red Gold Heritage Hall and will feature over 28 songs, a 4-member band, and a cast of 12 dancers and singers. Make sure to layer up for the Christmas celebration, with festivities running from Saturday, November 6 – to Thursday, December 30!
*Other exciting things going on at Old Time Christmas® at SDC: Festive Family Entertainment, Seasonal Food Items, Santa’s Cottage, Exhilarating Rides, Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, Fun Attractions, Christmas Themed Shows, Over 6.5 Million Lights, and more!
2. The Polar Express ™ Train Ride
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the North Pole, and The Branson Scenic Railway Train is ready to take there with some special surprises along the way! Gather your family and friends. Take your family and the kids and immerse yourself in the nostalgic holiday story as you ride aboard The Polar Express™ Train Ride. This particular ride includes a reading of the original story, melodies from the motion picture soundtrack, and the fan-favorite complimentary hot cocoa and cookies. Keep an eye out for some special characters who will join the journey to the North Pole, including Santa, Christmas Carolers, and a certain Hobo during this 1 hour and 15-minute ride.
Coach: Single serving of hot chocolate and a cookie.
Premium: Unlimited hot chocolate, cookies, and a souvenir ceramic mug.
*Answers to commonly asked questions about this annual holiday train ride can be found here.
3. Branson’s Adoration Celebration Parade
For over 70 years, the annual Branson Adoration Parade has taken place in Historic Downtown to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas – and this year will be no exception! This special community event begins with the lighting of the “Adoration Scene” – one of the most extensive nativity scenes in town – and has a special parade event to follow after.
What you might see at the Adoration Parade: High School marching bands, local community groups, uniquely decorated floats, and an appearance of some special holiday characters, including the Grinch, St. Nick, and baby Jesus from the Nativity Scene.
When: Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 5 PM.
4. Snow Tubing at Wolfe Mountain
Home to the Branson Zip Lines and Canopy Tours, Wolfe Mountain harbors a fun Snowflex artificial snow tubing hill. The 400-foot-long slope allows up to six tubes to run down and is open to all ages and adventure seekers. This attraction is open year-round and is located north of Branson along Highway 65. Go grab your tube and enjoy a day on the slope at Wolfe Mountain!
5. Drive-Through Light Displays
There are three main drive-through light displays in the Branson area open from dusk until late at night. The displays include:
- Let There Be Lights at Promised Land Zoo: One of the longest drive-through light displays with the region’s only live reindeer herd!
- Branon’s Lights of Joy: Includes over 300 displays and millions of twinkling LED lights. Lights of Joy will feature all-new displays and lights this 2021 year.
- The Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills: Rated one of the top drive-through light displays in the country, Shepherd of the Hills features unique displays, story-telling animated characters, sparkling lights everywhere the eye can see, and lots and lots of hot cocoa.
- Branson VIP Holiday Lights Coach Tour: Let someone else do the driving and see the Branson-lighted nativity scene. The Coach Tour also takes guests through two light displays and ends with yummy treats and hot chocolate.
6. Christmas on the Showboat Branson Belle
All aboard the Showboat Branson Belle for a three-course meal, holiday entertainment, and beautiful views of Table Rock Lake! This particular dinner attraction takes guests out onto the lake with the full intention of getting guests in the spirit of the season with beautiful Christmas decor on the inside and outside of the showboat, a home-style dinner, family entertainment, and all of your favorite Christmas tunes performed live on stage! The show has a cast of talented performers, entertainers, comedians, acrobats, and a four-piece band sure to entertain and create memories during this 2-hour cruise.
General Seating Menu Includes:
- Wedge Salad
- Hot Roll with Butter
- Rotisserie Chicken Thighs
- Pot Roast with Demi-Glaze
- Fresh Green Beans
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
- Iced Team & Coffee
*Showboat Branson Belle Christmas Dates: November 6 – December 30
7. Live Reindeer at Promised Land Zoo
If you like reindeer, the Promised Land Zoo has a treat for you! The Promised Land Zoo just happens to be home to the region’s one and only reindeer herd! Guests will have the opportunity to feed, pet, and take photos with Santa’s flying helpers, including Dasher and Dancer and Comet and Cupid, and – well, you get the point!
The Christmas season at Promised Land Zoo will also host a petting zoo, a two-mile drive-through light display, Christmas shops, a Candyland Village, and more! The light display is self-guided, so take your time and enjoy!
Santa’s Safari VIP tour lasts about 45 minutes, and the drive-thru is available November 1 – December 31.
VIP Tickets to Santa’s Safari:
- Meet some of Santa’s Real Life Reindeer
- Self-guided Drive-Thru Lights Display
- Elves Secret Gift Shop
- Dancing Trees
- Meet Santa
- Cocoa and Popcorn at the Christmas Tent
- Stocking Stuffer Gift Shop
- Animal Adventure Building
Learn more details on Christmas at Promised Land Zoo here.
8. Winter Wonderlanding at the Branson Landing
Like most of the Branson area, the Branson Landing shopping area begins to look a lot like Christmas during the months of November and December. The shops and restaurants get out their holiday goodies for the shelves, and – outside – there are the famous silver reindeer sculptures, and the 63-foot state-of-the-art LED animated Christmas tree!
At the center of the Branson Landing is the famous water fountains which come alive every 15 minutes as they move to choreographed musical numbers. During the holidays, the water fountain, lights, and fire will synchronize to Christmas hit classics such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Santa will also make an appearance in Town Square from early November through Christmas Eve.
Here’s what’s going down at the Branson Landing this December:
December 1: Branson Landing’s Winter WonderLanding
When December hits, the Branson Landing will bring out the best of magical holiday lights, entertainment, and décor so guests can experience the full effect of Winter WonderLanding for the holiday season.
December 1 – December 24: Where Is Elfie?
Running from Black Friday through Christmas Eve, visitors can try their hand at finding the Branson Landing Elfie. If guests find the cute elf, they can take a selfie and post the photo pubically to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #BLElfieSelfie. Doing this will secure their chances of winning special prizes!
December 7: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
The Veterans Task Force will host a memorial event at Branson Landing Tuesday, December 7. Please check the bransonlanding.com event page for more details!
9. Live Christmas Shows
It’s no secret that Branson offers every type of holiday show imaginable during the festive Christmas season. Some of the most memorable performances during the months of November and December include the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, The Haygoods, and A Shepherd’s Christmas Carol Dinner Show at Shepherd of the Hills.
Some holiday-themed shows will feature a 2-hour show of Christmas music and costumes, while others have it in the show’s second half. Here are a few in Branson happening this 2021 year:
Branson Christmas Shows:
- Branson’s Christmas Wonderland
- Broadway to Buble – starring George Dyer
- A Shepherd’s Christmas Carol Dinner Show at Shepherd of the Hills
- Dickens’ Christmas Carol at Silver Dollar City
- Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety Show
- Dolly Parton’s Stampede Christmas Dinner & Show
- Hughes Brothers Christmas Show
- Sanders Family Christmas
- The Texas Tenors
- Clay Cooper’s Country Express
- Oak Ridge Boys Christmas
- The Johnson Strings
- Pierce Arrow
- #1 Hit’s of the 60s
- Presley’s Country Jubilee
- Legends in Concert Christmas Spectacular
- Comedy Jamboree
- Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers
- The Haygoods
10. Branson Ferris Wheel & Ice Skating
The Ice Ring: For the second consecutive year, The Track Family Fun Parks has partnered with “The Holidays On Ice” to install and operate a 7,200 sq. ft. outdoor natural ice skating rink, the only one in Branson. Weather permitting, the rink will be open for both daytime and nighttime skating from November 12th through New Year’s Day.
The Wheel: Originally based at Chicago’s Navy Pier, the 150-foot attraction was moved, refurbished, and reopened in Branson in 2016. The Branson Ferris Wheel can fit up to 240 passengers on its 40 gondolas, and the wheel itself is adorned with 16,000 LED lights making for a dazzling year-round experience after dark.
11. Titanic Museum
Open since 2006, the Titanic Museum continues to impress guests with over 400 pre-discovered artifacts placed in 20 galleries, interactive displays, and a deep-set knowledge of everything there is to know about the Titanic. The museum’s interior will be decorated for the holiday season starting Thanksgiving weekend with thousands of beautiful lights and Christmas wreaths and trees by the Grand Staircase. The Titanic Gift Shop will be open to the public every day, selling unique Christmas gifts, items, and collectibles.
12. Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede
Voted as Branson’s #1 Choice For The Holidays Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede offers guests a delicious four-course feast, live entertainment with 32 houses and their riders, and a live nativity scene with camels, sheep, and flying angels. All done in a 35,000-square-foot arena, the Stampede arena is magically transformed into a winter wonderland with evergreen trees, traditional Christmas outfits, sparkling holiday lights, and the best of Christmas tunes. The show takes a playful twist when Elves from the North Pole and the South Pole compete in a friendly rivalry while the feast is served! If you want to see the animals even more up close, guests are invited to take a stroll down the beautiful Horse Walk and meet the 4-legged stars of the show!
Image Credit: Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau on Flickr.com
13. North Pole Adventure at Shepherd of the Hills
November 12 – December 26
Shepherd of the Hills is hosting their annual Trail of Lights drive-through display as well as”A Shepherd’s Christmas Carol” dinner show and the Saturday ‘Santa and Pancakes’ show and breakfast.
The North Pole walk-through experience takes visitors on a journey through thousands of lights, giant candy canes, falling snow, a tree lot maze, and a trip to the top of the 200ft tall “North Pole” (also known as Inspiration Tower), which will be open during the holiday season from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Other Christmas Activities:
- Santa’s Workshop
- Real-Live Reindeer
- Little Elves Playground
- Rudolph’s Hayride
- Old Matt’s Cabin
- Petting Zoo
- Area’s tallest Christmas tree
- Traditional Displays & Lighted Walkways
14. Kringle’s Christmas Shop
Open year-round, the Kringle’s Christmas Shop is one of the largest in the state of Missouri and houses 125 designer-decorated trees, thousands of ornaments, and unique gift items, all in the 8,000-square-foot retail space at the Grand Village Shops. Some of the feature items you might discover at Kringle’s include: Department 56 Villages, Jim Shore, Musical Instrument Ornaments, Christopher Radko, Mary Bowman, Possible Dreams, and Snowbabies.
15. Christmas at the Butterfly Palace
See over 1,000 live butterflies, with over 50 different species from across the world, at the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure in Branson. During the Christmas season, guests can enjoy a special display of live butterflies, holiday music, the living angel statue, and many other unique attractions within the palace, such as the Rainforest Theater, the Living Rainforest Science Center, the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, and the Banyan Tree Adventure.
16. Branson Helicopter Tours
Witness all of the local holiday light displays at all new heights with the special holiday Branson Helicopter Tours available November 13 – December 30. The two available tours are:
Silver Dollar City Light Tour( 10 Mile Flight): Get a birds-eye view over Branson as you fly over the sparkling lights of Silver Dollar City, the 76 Strip, Shepherd of the Hills, and the Branson Ferris Wheel. Cost: $59 per person.
Branson Delux Light Tour ( 20 Mile Flight): Relax to holiday music as you get to see from above Silver Dollar City, the Branson Landing, the famous 76 Strip, Shepherd of the Hills, Branson Ferris Wheel, Let There Be Lights display, and more! Cost: $129 per person.
17. Christmas at the Keeter Center
The Keeter Center, located on the campus of College of the Ozarks, offers lodging, entertainment, dining options and more year-round! During the Christmas season, the interior and exterior of the Keeter Center will be full to the brim with holiday decor, displays, and special eats and treats.
The Keeter Center is the perfect spot for families and friends to spend time together in a cozy lodge setting with towering fireplaces and freshly made pastries and coffee at their Bakery. The Keeter Center will also host their 2021 Christmas Brunch on December 5, December 12, and December 19.
The buffet will include:
- Hot entrees and side dishes
- Salad and cold cuisine
- Carved meat, including smoked ham
- Breakfast selections
- Seasonal fruit
- Imported cheeses
- Caesar salads
- Made-to-order waffles and omelets
- Wide variety of desserts
- Entertainment from a wide variety of student musical talent
- Ice sculptures
Don’t forget to try one of the famous student-made fruit cakes, perfect for the holiday season!
18. Holiday Dining
There’s no shortage of dining options in Branson, especially during the holiday season. Many restaurants in Branson will serve their regular menu items, while others might serve special seasonal items such as ham and roasted potatoes. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants in the area:
- Grand Country Buffet
- McFarlain’s Family Restaurant
- MoMo Sushi & Grill
- Outback Steak & Oyster Bar
- Papa Grand’s Pizza
- Shepherd’s Mill
- Thai Thai Cuisine
- Cakes N Creme 50s Diner
- Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que
- Clockers Cafe
- Mel’s Hard Luck Diner
Learn more about our favorite local restaurants in Branson our Travel Blog Here.
19. World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex
Explore over six museums housing over 1 million toys from nearly every era and collection imaginable. The complex is filled to the brim with western toys, lunch boxes, tractors, Barbies, classic cars, hand-made dollhouses, collectible items, rare cast iron toys, and so much more!
Read more about the World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex here.
20. Branson Market Days – November 19 & 20, 2021
Located at the Branson Hilton Convention Center, this special holiday pop-up market will have food trucks and concessions, unique Christmas shopping items from over 175 vendors, and gift wrapping services. Admission is $5 – kids five and under are free.
21. Attractions To Keep in Mind
While these attractions aren’t necessarily Christmas-themed, there are many other year-round attractions worth checking out while you’re visiting during the holiday season.
- WonderWorks Branson
- Coral Reef Indoor Mini Golf
- Fritz’s Adventure
- Aquarium at the Boardwalk
- Hollywood Wax Museum
- Beyond the Lens!
- Veterans Memorial Museum
- Ozark Hills Winery
- Copperhead Mountain Coaster
- Runaway Mountain Coaster
- Branson’s Wild World Animal Attraction
- Vigilante Extreme Ziprider
Feature Image: Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau on Flickr.com
Interested in visiting Branson, Missouri, during the Christmas season? Claim your FREE maps, discount tickets, and our exclusive Vacation Guide Here. You can also book discount Show and Attraction tickets when you call us Monday – Friday 9 AM – 9 PM at (800) 208-8164.