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Texas for Christmas?

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Hi everyone.

Brief Background: Family of three. We have a teen daughter who is both brilliant and on the autism spectrum. For various reasons, we don't do Christmas with family. We do see one side in New Orleans for New Year's Eve. It's somewhat depressing to me so we always take off somewhere - usually Disney but last year we switched it up and went to DC/WIlliamsburg and had a great time. Probably the teen's favorite trip

We have limited Texas experience - one spring break trip 6 years to San Antonio (we loved it and until DC, it was the kid's favorite trip) and my husband spent a couple years in Fort Worth about 20 years ago.

I'd like to go somewhere driving distance of New Orleans since we'll end up there and then head home (we live 250 miles east of New Orleans). Texas just stays on the radar. I'm specifically thinking Dallas/Fort Worth for 5 days and then San Antonio for 4 days. Our budget can be up $500 a day - lodging/food/entertainment.

The big question is what would we do? We live in a very small beach town so we adore big cities - Whole Foods alone is a great morning and we always find an IKEA if we can (and we know there's one in that area). We have absolutely nothing where we live (it's a great place to live though) so things like art museums, zoos, shopping, mass transit are things we only get to do when we travel. We love holiday light displays. My teen tends to age younger due to autism so I like to find things (like zoos) where she can still be a kid but not stand out. She also is obsessed with theme park rides (seeing them but usually not riding them) so I'm thinking about the Six Flags holiday events as well as the event at Sea World.

Another question is where to stay in DFW area. I like Gaylord (especially for Christmas Eve and Day when nothing will probably be open) but I'm not sure we want to stay there the entire time. I'd like to find some "unique to Texas" hotel - maybe in Fort Worth?

Also not sure about San Antonio - loved Hyatt Hill Country last tine but wonder if we would be better off on the Riverwalk.

Am I crazy for considering this? The teen is up for anything with one major stipulation - she doesn't do boats/ship. Not even a little. My husband and I tend to be easygoing - we like nice (but not stuffy) hotels and resorts and we're not really into fine dining, spas, or bars.

Thanks for any advice.

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