Many people imagine St. Louis when they think of Missouri, but Branson is the true entertainment capital of the state. There is plenty to do in Branson between the Titanic Museum and Silver Dollar City alone. That said, Christmas time is when Branson truly shines, and it’s got a lot to do with the vibrant lights you’ll find throughout the city.
Holiday celebrations are nothing new for Branson as they have made an event out of Christmas each year since the late 80s. However, Branson saw the opportunity to add Christmas tourism to its repertoire in 2015. You can find over 700 Christmas trees throughout Branson each winter season, and each of them is decorated to the nines.
The Christmas trees stay up from the start of November to January 1st. Part of the fun of the Christmas celebration in Branson is that you won’t find all the trees in the same place. Some are inside, some are outside, and they’re scattered throughout the city.
You can use the map on the Branson Christmas website to find the location of each tree. The collection of Christmas trees includes everything from classic to unique trees made of tires. There’s more to see than just Christmas trees as the Branson Christmas Coalition also decorates streetlights and organizes fun events.
Luckily, there are plenty of other fun activities to enjoy in Branson when you visit. Here are some essential attractions to check out when you celebrate Christmas in Branson.
Branson is known for live entertainment, and they lean into that at Christmas. Miracle of Christmas is the most theatrical of the holiday live shows in Branson, and it includes Hollywood-level special effects. The 50 actors in the show help immerse the audience, and the experience lasts from November 5th to December 28th.
Fans of live music will appreciate Presley’s Christmas Jubilee which includes fun renditions of classic songs with a fun dose of humor. The Duttons’ Christmas is another great example of traditional, family-friendly Christmas music played with the country soul that Branson is known for.
Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City is just as much about live shows as it is about thrill rides. Home to 40 attractions, you can find roller coasters, craftsmen demonstrations, and incredible performances. They add Christmas shows each year, such as a live rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Living Nativity.
The Time Traveler, PowderKeg, and Outlaw Run are the most intense rides at Silver Dollar City, so proceed with caution.
Whether you’ve seen the movie or learned about it in history class, The Titanic is an iconic piece of history. The Titanic Museum in Branson celebrates the history of the ship, its passengers, and the disaster it went through. Immersive and detailed, the Titanic Museum recreates the portions of the ship to give you context into its history.
The museum also features artifacts that were recovered from the ship’s wreckage. They also have a location in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but the one in Branson takes the cake.
Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills
The Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills has been one of the best Christmas attractions in Branson for more than 30 years. Enjoy the drive through a scenic trail lined with vibrant Christmas trails and sip the complimentary hot cocoa they provide. Part of what makes this event so special is that they accept donations that benefit local charities.
It’s a great way to support the community and get into the Christmas spirit. The Lights of Joy and Let There Be Lights are also fun Christmas light displays that you can drive through before the big day.
Polar Express at Branson Scenic Railway
The Polar Express at Branson Scenic Railway is a scenic, immersive Christmas activity. Branson Scenic Railway offers rides all year, but they get into the holiday spirit around Christmas each year. They transform the train into the Polar Express with fun Christmas decorations.
You will also get to see Santa Claus on the train, and he talks with the children and families to make their nights special. The experience also includes hot cocoa and cookies. Make sure to reserve your spot on the Polar Express as it sells out quickly as it gets close to Christmas.
Branson Travel Accommodations
Branson is quite accommodating to tourists, and it’s an easy city to reach. There are over 20,000 hotel rooms in Branson, and you can also find many rental homes. You can fly to either Springfield-Branson National Airport or Branson Airport, and they are both close to local hotels.
There are three Mariott hotels in Branson and four Hiltons in Branson. Branson is also home to many incredible locally-owned restaurants to enjoy during your trip whether you visit for Christmas or a summer trip to Silver Dollar City.