Family friendly events in Austin, Texas are an ongoing occurrence. There are always great family friendly places and events to attend!

Each year there seem to be more and more decorated trees along 360. It’s one of those things that makes Austin unique and eclectic all at the same time.

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The story goes that this tradition began over ten years ago with just one tree, decorated under the cover of night by a local family.  Each year more and more decorated trees pop up from mid-November through Christmas.

You can always participate and decorate your own.  If you don’t have the time to do it before Christmas, be sure to take the time to drive down 360 and appreciate the trees!  It’s really fun!

The tree decorations have just as much variety and spark as the city’s residents.  Currently there are more than 100 trees decorated with everything from traditional ornaments, candy canes, and garland, to funky trees sporting flamingos, rainbows, Barbie’s, and more.

Important: After New Year’s make sure to go “un-decorate” your tree.  We don’t want litter everywhere.

I love how we manage to keep “Keep Austin Weird,” one day at a time.

Location:
Loop 360
 They come in batches, Spicewood Springs has a bunch.

Photo Credit: http://www.penick.net/digging/images/2010_12_16/XmasTrees360_7.JPG

I absolutely love the Capitol holiday tree (and Menorah).  Make sure to go after sundown as the tree changes colors and does various light shows. You can get some really great photos with the Capitol in the background.

While you’re there I’d recommend scrolling the Capitol grounds. I love walking the Capitol grounds at night; there is something pretty majestic the building being lit up at night. It’s definitely worth the stroll on the grounds.

When: now – New Years

Location:
The Capitol
1100 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701

How does Home Slice Pizza make their pizzas so good?  I can eat there day after day and never get burned out on their pizza.  It’s time again for their annual Carnival O’ Pizza!

This is the best kind of carnival if you ask me, complete with a pizza eating contest and a “Hands on an Eggplant Sub” contest. It’s always quite a spectacle. Last year the hands on an eggplant sub contest didn’t end for days and I suspect this year it will be no different.

It’s a day full of contests, picture booths, raffles, break dancers, games, live music, and more. The raffle prizes include the “right to be the only person on earth that can make a reservation at Home Slice,” which is awesome because they’re always busy.

The day can be enjoyed by the entire family, all while eating too much pizza.

All proceeds raised from the event benefit Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids.

When: today, December 13th 

Time: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Location:
Home Slice Pizza
1415 South Congress
Austin, Texas 78704

https://www.facebook.com/events/850561411643996/

Photo Credit: Home Slice Facebook Page

There’s nothing like a good holiday movie to really get you in the Christmas spirit. I think that we can all agree The Polar Express is a classic amongst all ages.

Tonight  is you’re opportunity to see it on the big screen at The Paramount!

When: today, December 11th

Time: 7 pm

Location:
The Paramount
719 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701

http://www.austintheatre.org/site/Calendar/1418749502?view=Detail&id=42402

 

Mozart’s is one of the best coffee shops in Austin, mostly because they have a phenomenal location on Lake Austin and a great outdoor deck. It’s one of the best places in town to see some spectacular holiday lights.

Each year they take Christmas lights to the extreme with an extravagant display. They have a light show at the top of each hour starting at 6 p.m. One of the songs is Wizards in Winter by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. I love it and of course, the Texas Fight song!

This cold weather will make Mozart’s coffee and hot chocolate taste even better. This is a fun stop for the entire family, including the dog.

Be sure to grab your camera because Mozart’s and Hula Hut are sponsoring a photo contest where you can win several cool prizes. To learn more about entering visit: www.AllAboutTexasChristmasLights.com.

Time: Top of every hour, starting at 6 p.m.

When: now – New Years

Location:
Mozart’s Coffee
3826 Lake Austin Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78703

http://www.mozartscoffee.com/

Photo: Mozart’s Coffee

It officially feels like winter and tonight The Driskill kicks off an entire series of holiday fun.

The Driskill will be bright with holiday lights starting tonight at their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. There will be choral performances to help get you in the holiday spirit!

After the tree lighting, The Driskill will continue to celebrate the holiday season through New Years so check out their Facebook page for a full line-up of the fun they have planned for this month, https://www.facebook.com/TheDriskill?ref=br_tf.

In other ‘lighting’ news The Mueller Tower will also have a lighting ceremony this evening. Here are details on that event.

When: Today, December 2nd

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location:
The Driskill
604 Brazos Street
Austin, Texas 78701

http://www.driskillhotel.com/austin-texas-holidays.php

Photo Credit: The Driskill Facebook Page

Tonight is the night, the famous Zilker Tree will be lit for the first time of the season..

I am so excited about the Tree Lighting this year as it is also a reminder that the Trail of Lights will be back this year as well. The Trail Of Lights will run December 7th – 21st.

This 155-foot tall “tree” is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs totaling 3,309 lights. It’s really something to be seen and an absolute icon as you go past the park in December.

The Zilker Tree lighting dates back to December 10th, 1967.

The Zilker Tree will be lit every night from now – December 31st, 6 p.m. – midnight.

Here is a list of some of our other favorite Holiday events happening this year!

When: today, November 30th

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location:
2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

http://austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

Black Friday survivors, come one, come all.

chuys-parade-200x300

It’s officially the Christmas season, so come out, bring a toy and enjoy the fun of a holiday parade! Who doesn’t love a good parade?

We may not be in New York City watching the Macy’s Day Parade, but this is still a morning filled with marching bands, and a personal favorite, holiday floats! They’ll have Elvis, Santa and his elves, and classic cars!

This is a fundraiser for Operation Blue Santa. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to the parade and Santa’s helpers will come collect it from you as the parade marches on.

This tradition started in 1989 as an effort to raise awareness for the toy drive that was already taking place at local Chuy’s restaurants. It’s tripled the amount of donations they receive and continues to grow each year.

If you can’t make it to the parade, local Chuy’s restaurants will be accepting donations throughout December.

When: today, November 29th

Time: 11 a.m.

Location:

Downtown Austin 
Starts at State Capitol (11th and Congress) heads South on Congress and ends just north of the South First Street

http://www.chuysparade.com/

Photo Credit: austintexas.org

Happy Thanksgiving! I love to start the holiday with a joke, Q. If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? A. Pilgrims.

So many people are looking for ways to give back this year. Here is a way for you to give back while getting a little pre turkcy workout in. The Turkey Trot has raised more than $2 million, donating the proceeds to Caritas of Austin. Caritas is a nonprofit organization that helps increase stability and self-sufficiency for those suffering from poverty or homelessness

The Turkey Trot is not a 5K, its 5 miles! So by the time you finish you’ll be sure to have earned your turkey!

Registration Starts: 7:30 am

When: today, November 27th

Location:
The Long Center

http://thundercloud.com/turkey-trot/

Yesterday was the official lighting of the Great Tree at the Domain and now the holidays are officially in full swing up there. They have plenty of holiday fun happening now through December.

Here is a run-down of some of the festive fun you can enjoy:

Holiday Light Shows
 (now – December 31st)
 – Hourly between 5PM & 9PM
Watch the holidays come to life with hourly lights show in Domain II. More than 82,000 lights and 2,200 strobes will dance to holiday music for the first 15 minutes of each hour.

Santa Photo Experience
 (now – December 24th) 
Domain II, across from iPic Theaters, next to Bath & Body Works
Enjoy holiday crafts and lounge seating while you wait to see the big guy! Or make an appointment online at www.Simon.NoerrSanta.com.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
 (Fridays & Saturday, 5PM-9PM)
 Enjoy complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides each Friday and Saturday night between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pick-up locations near Santa’s Workshop and at the Macy’s north entrance by California Pizza Kitchen.

Holiday Entertainment
 Century Oaks Park (Domain I, near Starbucks) 
Domain II events lawn
 Enjoy live music each weekend, with feature performances on the lawn in Domain II each Saturday afternoon.
 Fridays, 6PM-9PM
 Saturdays, 2PM-5PM & 6PM-9PM
 Sundays, 2PM-5PM

Strolling Carolers 
(Saturdays, 6PM-8PM) 
The sounds of the season will drift through Domain I each Saturday night as strolling carolers’ roam the sidewalks!

Location:
The Domain
11410 Century Oaks Terrace
Austin, Texas 78758

http://www.simon.com/mall/the-domain/stream/holidays-at-the-domain-2157103