If you’re looking to embrace the holiday spirit in Austin, there are a plethora of events and attractions sure to get you in the mood. Take a look at this list of Austin area holiday events and attractions, and let me know if you have a favorite holiday happening to add to the list!
A Christmas Affair
The Junior League of Austin hosts its annual shopping extravaganza. Proceeds from the event fund various charitable endeavors of the Junior League of Austin. A Christmas Affair hosts around 200 vendors selling unique gifts for the entire family. Santa will be there, and a variety of special events enhance the shopping scene. For tickets and more information visit their website.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is another Austin holiday tradition. The eleven-day event features live music, fine art, and an assortment of other unique gift retailers. The event is complete with a bar and food from Southside Flying Pizza. The Bazaar is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on their website or at the door.
Trail of Lights and the Zilker Tree
Trail of Lights: Decmber 8th-23rd 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m
Zilker Tree: November 26th-December 31st 6 p.m.- Midnight
In my opinion the Trail of Lights and the Zilker Tree are the most quintessential Austin holiday events around. Zilker Park transforms into an unbelievable display of hundreds of thousands of lights, that to me, are the essence of the holiday season in Austin. If you’re not up for the entire Trail of Lights, you must spin under the Zilker tree. Twirling under the 3,309 light bulbs that create the Zilker Tree till you get dizzy and fall over is an Austin rite of passage. Once you’ve had enough you can grab a cup of hot cocoa and meander through the full trail of lights if you’re up for it. The tree is free, and the Trail of Lights offers many free nights. Check their site for the full schedule.
Mozart’s Light Show
November 17th through January 1st (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Mozart’s coffee is a beautiful place to enjoy a cup of coffee or cocoa any time of year with the gorgeous Lake Austin backdrop. However, around the holidays, Mozart’s sets up an elaborate light show display with thousands of LEDs creating a holiday wonderland atmosphere. This year, various children’s choirs will be adding to the ambiance. The light shows lasts about 15 minutes, and starts nightly at 6 p.m. running every hour on the hour until 11 p.m.
Ice Skating at Whole Foods
November 24th through January 15th (closed Christmas Day, limited hours Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve/Day)
The flagship Whole Foods in downtown Austin turns their rooftop into an ice-skating rink for the holiday season. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the $10 admission fee includes skate rental. Check the Whole Food’s website before attending as they are closed for some private events during the week.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
November 24th-December 24th (closes early Christmas Eve)
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar has been an Austin attraction for over fifteen years. The Bazaar features work from over 200 artists. If you’re looking for something truly unique for someone special in your life, this is a great place to shop! Blue Genie is open daily from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. Visit their site for more information.
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker
December 8th- 23rd
This iconic holiday ballet returns to Austin for its 55th year. Ballet Austin’s production of The Nutcracker features beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes, and hundreds of graceful dancers with the musical notes of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Gather your friends and family, and head to the Long Center for a show not to be missed this holiday season. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; matinees begin at 2 p.m. Visit their site for tickets and more information.
Have favorite holiday pastimes of your own you would like to share? Email your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.