In fact, many people come to the Ozarks, Branson in particular, every holiday season. There are so many amazing things to do and see and you can come back every year because there are always new things added. There are Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City and Shepherd of the Hills, special Christmas shows on the Branson 76 Strip, great holiday shopping, over 100 wonderful restaurants, Christmas parades, and the Polar Express train ride.
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1) Silver Dollar City
2) Holiday Shows on the Branson Strip
All summer long, the shows on the highway 76 Branson strip are packed with people who come from all over the world. Branson is famous for their star-studded shows such as Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Shoji Tabuchi Theater, the Duttons, Presley’s Country Jubilee, Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater, Pierce Arrow, and the Grand Jubilee Christmas Show.
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3) Holiday Shopping
Shopping in the Ozarks is not just fun, it is unique. You can buy things here that you cannot get anywhere else. And, at this time of year, you will get the best prices to be had all year long. From Tanger Outlets to the small craft shops on the Strip, you will find things you never knew you were looking for. Local artists are famous for their specialty work such as chainsaw creations and country boutiques on the Branson Landing. There are also flea markets and local gift shops where you can even enjoy seeing the artists at work. Many stores are also offering free hot cocoa and special gifts.
4) Holiday Light Tours
The light shows in the Ozarks are unlike any other. You can drive through the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights which has thousands of lights and displays, a trip to the top of the Inspiration Tower, and free hot cocoa. At the Gift of Lights in Branson, you will see more than 300 lighted displays on a mile-long drive through the park. The Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights and Village offers a ride through the light display on a horse-drawn carriage.
5) Polar Express
My favorite holiday tradition in Branson is the Polar Express. Just like the movie starring Tom Hanks, you can take a trip on a real Polar Express train that leaves from the historic depot built in 1906 in downtown Branson. During the ride, you will get free hot cocoa (yes, that seems to be a theme in Branson) and cookies and listen to Christmas carols during a reading of the Polar Express story from the 1985 book written by Chris Van Allsburg. The most enjoyable part of this trip is that you get to wear your pajamas! Really, they ask you to wear your PJs!
6) Holiday Parades
The Ozarks have several holiday parades going on in different towns and communities but the most well-known is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Parade, which is dedicated to Andy Williams and the Branson Adoration Parade on the Branson Landing. They both feature local stars and performers, floats, bands, and tons of candy for the little ones.
7) Other Fun Things to Do
All down the Branson Strip, you can find dozens of places to go enjoy anything you want to do such as mini-golf, swimming, paintball, go-carts, waterslides, and even a giant Ferris wheel we just got this year all the way from Chicago! There are way too many things to list here that you can enjoy in the Ozarks whether you are here in the summer or during the holidays.
No matter when you come, you will enjoy yourself and want to return again and again. Seriously! My husband and I came here on vacation in 2010 and loved it so much we started house hunting. We bought a home here on Table Rock Lake in 2012 and it is like living on vacation all year long! I am not exaggerating. We do not even really go to the shows or Silver Dollar City and we love it here. We just enjoy the lake, fishing, and nature. Every day we see amazing animals like deer, hundreds of different varieties of songbirds and woodpeckers, foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks, turkeys, and even armadillos. This place is like a nature retreat and it is so peaceful and far away from the noise and craziness of the city. You can sit out on the deck and listen to the animals during the day or night and not hear a single car engine, horn, siren, or airplane. It is like paradise.
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