Thanks to The Domain for sponsoring this year’s 2016 Austin Holiday Event Guide. There are so many special things to do and see in the Austin area over the holidays, and it helps to have a handy list of what all is going on. Be sure to stop in at The Domain this holiday season to enjoy shopping, carolers, carriage rides, a visit with Santa and more!
When: November 25, 2016 – January 1, 2017, various times
Where: The Domain, 3220 Amy Donovan Plaza, Austin
Shopping has never been more fun during the holidays than it is this year at The Domain. Enjoy carolers, Santa, holiday music and more throughout the 2016 holiday season.
- Holiday Light Shows – Stand in awe as more than 200,000 lights and strobes dance in snychronization to holiday music! Lights shows available throughout Domain II (between Dick’s Sporting Goods & Dillard’s) at 6PM, 7PM and 8PM. Shows Friday, November 25 through Sunday, January 1.
- Santa Photo Experience – Visit the all new Beneath the Tree Santa Photo Experience, where children sit inside a 10-foot tall drum situated under a 34-foot tall tree. Enjoy a story, share your wishlist and capture a picture to save the memory. Click here for complete hours and to make an appointment.
- Complimentary Horse Drawn Carriage Rides – Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride under the holiday lights each Friday and Saturday night from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Pick-up locations near California Pizza Kitchen and The Brass Tap. Available Friday, November 25 through Friday, December 23.
- Strolling Carolers – The sounds of the season come alive with performances by Austin Carolers in Domain I each Saturday night from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Carolers offered Saturday, November 26 through Saturday, December 17.
- Elf Academy – Put the little ones in elf training at The Domain’s Elf Academy on Saturday, December 3rd from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Click here for additional details.
When: November 23 – December 31, 2016, various times
Where: ZACH Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin
Austin’s newest and most rockin’ holiday tradition! Each year, ZACH’s A Christmas Carol features new hit songs and reimagined carols that create an infectious spirit that will have everyone dancing in the aisles. ZACH’s fresh and inspired adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic juxtaposes the traditional Victorian setting and costumes with a modern musical score that spans all genres. Come celebrate the season with three soulful ghosts, the Cratchit family’s boundless love, and Ebenezer Scrooge’s miraculous and joyous transformation. Recommended for ages six and up.
When: Friday and Saturday, November 25 & 26
Where: Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City
Join us at the Science Mill to check out our own light-spectacular exhibits, including the Fractalarium, the Cell Phone Disco, the Silo of McKays and much more. Make your own LED jewelry, presents for parents or teachers, White Elephant gifts or more at our LED Bling Bar. Enjoy full access to the museum’s hands-on exhibits, build a personalized avatar, see a 3D science film and more. The cost of this optional activity is $5 per person (materials fee for two gifts) plus regular admission fees.
When: November 25 – January 8, 6 p.m. nightly
Where: Mozart’s, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
Mozart’s annual light display takes place every hour on the hour until midnight. The show lasts fifteen minutes, but Mozart’s does get crowded, so plan to get there in advance, and consider dropping guests off since the parking lot fills up quickly (there is additional parking across the street). It’s also a lovely, centrally-located spot to enjoy the lakeside view and look for ducks.
When: Friday, November 25, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin
Join us on the City Terrace and take some time out of the busiest holiday of the year to celebrate the season. Bring the kids for a FREE photo with Santa overlooking the best view in Austin! Enjoy some holiday treats with all sorts of entertainment. Activities will be planned for the whole family, so bring everyone.
When: Friday, November 25, 2016, 6 p.m.
Where: Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave
Children’s activities include face painting & flash tattoos, with dance performances by the Lake Travis High School Cavalettes and Red Rubies, and a holiday performance by Madison McWilliams starting at 7pm. Then, see Santa, watch fireworks and enjoy live music by Andy Grammer!
When: November 25, 2016 – January 6, 2017
Where: ArtSpace, 231 East Main Suite 160, Round Rock
Bring the kids to marvel at the miniature trains riding through villages, across the countryside and more at this FREE show.
When: Saturday, November 26, 11 a.m.
Where: Starts at the Capitol at 11th and Congress, moving south on Congress all the way to Cesar Chavez, ending just north of the bridge.
Enjoy giant inflarable balloons, festive holiday floars, children’s characters, marching bands, classic cars, Santa, and more at this annual parade the benefits Blue Santa. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.
When: Saturday & Sunday, November 26 – December 18, 2016, 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Where: 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park
Holiday joy is in store on the North Pole Flyer train ride, a 2.5 hour excursion (no layover) on a real train featuring a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, all-you-can-drink hot cocoa and a locally baked holiday cookie. Each car is decorated for the season where passengers enjoy a live reading of the North Pole Flyer book-our railroad’s own Christmas Story! Our professional Santa will spend time in each car to “check your list twice”, and pose for photographs before handing out a gift to each child to remember this special ride! Tickets start at $38.
When: Saturdays and Sundays, November 26 – December 18, Noon and 3 p.m. seatings available
Where: Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin
A beloved holiday tradition, Teddy Bear Tea includes afternoon tea service, holiday caroling and a fireside reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Santa himself! Children are asked to bring a new, unwrapped teddy bear as a donation to Dell Children’s Hospital. Cost: Adults $45 and children aged 11 and under $30.
When: Sunday, November 27 – January 7, 2017, daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods, 525 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin
A must-do for locals and visitors alike, Ice Skating on the Plaza at our Flagship store (located in Downtown) has become one of Austin’s most anticipated events of the holiday season! Cost is $10 per person and includes use of skates.
When: Sunday, November 27, 6 p.m.
Where: Zilker Park, Barton Springs Road
Enjoy local entertainment, food, live music and more at the annual lighting of the Zilker Tree, which stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs – totaling 3,309 lights.