Family friendly events in Austin, Texas are an ongoing occurrence. There are always great family friendly places and events to attend!
You might already need a break from the Christmas hustle, and if so—we’ve got the perfect idea. Head to one of Austin’s true treasures, the Blanton Museum of Art, to check out their new temporary exhibition called The Open Road. It explores the photographic road trip as a genre and America as an imaginative resource, presenting the stories of photographers for whom the American road was muse.
This exhibition is on view in the Butler Gallery, located on the ground floor of the museum.
When: Now through January 7th
Open Today: 1 – 5 p.m.
Blanton Museum of Art
The University of Texas at Austin
200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Austin, TX 78712
It’s December and we are officially going crazy for Christmas in Austin. Ring in the season at this free, family-friendly event that celebrates the arrival of the holiday season and the joy it brings. Enjoy live music from local favorites like Riders Against the Storm, Jane Ellen Bryant, Charlie Faye and the Fayettes, Gina Chavez, and more.
They’ll also be a ton of great activities for the kids like face painting, ornament making, carnival games, and gingerbread decorating! Plus the big guy will be there—all the way from the North Pole.
When: Today, December 2nd
Time: 5 – 9 p.m.
1100 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
It’s the big one! Tonight, the Christmas season officially kicks off in Austin with the lighting of our beloved Zilker Tree. Enjoy local entertainment, food, live music, and more tonight for this special occasion. The tree stands 155 feet tall and is made of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs—totaling 3,309 lights.
The tree will be on display nightly from until December 31 from 6 p.m. – midnight. Don’t forget that area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. It’s totally worth the trouble, but make sure you plan ahead!
When: Today, November 26th
Time: 5:30 – 11:00 p.m.
Barton Springs Road
Photo: Jennifer M. Ramos
Skip the mall and big box stores this year and enjoy your holiday shopping experience at one of Austin’s favorite traditions: The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. This famous fine art market and musical festival features national and local award-winning artists, at least three bands performing live each day, two full bars and local food—and all in a festive, lively atmosphere.
Guests can shop from over 175 artists who will be selling their handmade gifts, fine art, heirloom pieces, and stocking stuffers. Take your shopping breaks by the Armadillo stage and sip on a craft beer or cocktail. This year they’ll have Korean BBQ from Chi’lantro and hand-tossed Neapolitan style pizza in the Southside Flying Pizza kitchen.
With a collection of musicians as well curated as the art, the Armadillo stage will host greats like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Nakia, Ruthie Foster, Charley Crockett, and Shinyribs.
Click here for a photo gallery of Armadillo artist’s work and here for a full lineup of music.
When: December 14 – 24th
Tickets are $8 for a single-day pass; available at the door, or in advance at https://armadillo.ticketbud.com/2017. For best value, purchase a season pass, which allows for entry throughout the duration of the show. Free admission for children 12 and under.
Time: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Palmer Events Center
900 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
Photo by Jennifer M. Ramos.
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has just announced a new holiday tradition and festival with—get this—a million lights, camel rides, and hot air balloon rides! The holidays in Austin just keep getting better and better. Winter Wonderland will run from December 1 – 30, open daily from 6 -10 p.m., and 6 – 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets are on sale now.
Like we said, a million lights will illuminate the Circuit’s Grand Plaza, which will also include Santa’s workshop, a petting zoo, a human snow globe, holiday movies on the lawn, a walking light trail, and the the Tunnel of Lights! Guests can also purchase tickets for additional offering like the hot air balloon float up to 100-feet high, Santa’s train ride for kids, a giant skating rink, camel rides, carnival rides for both children and adults, and souvenir photos with Santa. Families who donate a book to the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program at Winter Wonderland will receive one complimentary ride on the COTA Express. Guests can also hear their favorite stories read daily by Mrs. Claus at Reading Hour in the Grand Plaza. And the adults can enjoy a frosty beverage and friendly games in the Bud Light Friends Chalet after walking the .8 mile Circuit of Lights.
Entertainment throughout the Winter Wonderland will include performances by Austin school district ensembles and local artists. Plus there will be food trucks, hot cocoa stands, and other holiday-inspired beverages at Winter Wonderland. Last, but not least, you can do your holiday shopping at Go! Games—a giant pop-up shop featuring games, toys, and books—and the charming Bavarian Village with local vendors selling handcrafted goods in an enchanted setting.
Purchase tickets at the Grand Plaza Box Office or right here. Discounted group ticket sales, as well as options for corporate and private parties are also available. For information regarding special bookings or Winter Wonderland at the Circuit, click here.
© David Brendan Hall, www.davidhallphotog.com
Last year was the start of a new Austin tradition—a spectacle for everyone to enjoy right before the holiday season officially kicks off. Waller Creek Conservancy’s Creek Show, which is free and open to the public, is returning for a second year and taking place November 10-18. Downtown Austin will be lit up like never before! We have a feeling this will become a mainstay of the holiday season in Austin—just like the Zilker Tree and the Trail of Lights. Bring the kids and walk along the Waller Creek downtown as you explore six luminescent, site-specific installations along between 5th and 8th Streets, all created by local artists.
They’ll also have hands-on, family friendly activities every night at the Sabine Tree Deck between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Thinkery will be on-site Fridays and Saturdays and you can visit the Creek Show Lounge (700 E. 6th St.) for interactive entertainment, a Creek Show photo booth, Waterloo Park model, and more.
The kids will really love this—and adults get to see their city in a whole new way.
For more details click here.
When: November 10th-18th
Waller Creek between 5th and 8th Streets
Vintage Market Days is an upscale, open-air vintage event that goes all over the country and now for the sixth time they are coming to Austin! “Hello, Fall” will be held at the Lakeline Mall area in Cedar Park from October 27-29. This is the perfect girls weekend or early holiday shopping trip. Let’s get way ahead of the ball, shall we?
Come out and shop original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings, consumable yummies, seasonal plantings, and a little more.
Fun fact: Vintage Market Days was named by Country Living as one of the “7 Flea Markets & Barn Sales You Won’t Want to Miss.”
Friday – Early Buying Event – $10 with pre-purchased tickets or paid entry at the gate. Shoppers will have first shot at all of the true vintage items, enjoy live music, food trucks, and have a chance at winning a custom farmhouse table and matching bench.
Saturday & Sunday – General Admission – $5 with pre-purchased tickets OR paid entry at the gate. Shoppers will have access to all of our vendors, enjoy live music (Saturday only), and food trucks.
Once admission has been paid, shoppers can return as many times as they would like. Children 12 and under are free. ATMs will be on site. The event is pet-friendly and handicap accessible. Parking is free and on asphalt. The event is rain or shine!
For more information, click here.
Present Company’s 4th annual Shakespeare at the Market, Romeo & Juliet, runs October 13th – 29th on the rooftop of the downtown Austin flagship Whole Foods Market. Promoting the philosophy of accessible art, Shakespeare at the Park is free! A suggested $20 donation supports the artists and event. RSVPs are encouraged.
When: Today, October 13th
Time: Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. show
Whole Foods Downtown
524 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703
A few things to remember!
- Picnics and blankets or chairs encouraged
- BYOB or purchase from Whole Foods
- FREE & PLENTIFUL parking in the Whole Foods garage
- Parents encouraged to research the plot and have any necessary conversations with children under the age of 10.
For the few of us who aren’t going to ACL this weekend, we present the most awesome alternative plan: The Cross Plants and Produce Pumpkin Patch opens today!
This is a year round farm market and local plant nursery and in the fall, it’s transformed into a sea of orange! Expect to find local treasures in the shop such as kettle corn, fall cookies and treats as well as the best milk, eggs, honey, meats and produce you’ve ever tasted.
Outside, you can stretch your legs and get some use out of those cute Halloween costumes at our many cute photo spots. Paint a pumpkin for $5 and hunt for the perfect pumpkin to carve. There’s a hay pyramid to climb, a tunnel to crawl through, a tractor to explore, play house for imaginations to run wild, tree swing to fly like a bird, and lots of room to run and play.
Bring a picnic and stay a while and hang with their mini horse and mini donkey, Shorty and Spot! It’s the perfect fall family day.
When: Today, October 7th
Time: 10 a.m.
Cross Plants and Produce
705 N Old Highway 81, Kyle, Texas 78640
Next week, world-class racing and Grammy Award-winning artists will descend upon our lovely city for the star-studded entertainment event of the year. Are you excited? You should be. There is so much happening at F1, and we’ve got the rundown for you here.
The 2017 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix returns to its only stop in the U.S. for the sixth year running with a revved up festival atmosphere throughout the pulse-pounding weekend.
While the stars of the racetrack provide the most glamorous high speed challenge found on four wheels, superstars Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder will perform full concerts on a massive Super Stage.
The glitz and glamour of F1 attracts celebrities from across the globe. Notable appearances this season include in no particular order: Donatella Versace, Kit Harington, Liam Cunningham, Prince William Duke of Cambridge, Michel Salgado, Patrick Stewart, Kate Upton, George Lucas, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Pamela Anderson, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson to name a few.
Here is everything you need to know about the event …
The American Soundtrack fueled by Exxon Mobile Stations
Justin Timberlake will be performing Oct. 21 after F1 qualifying on a purpose-built Super Stage in the Circuit’s infield. This has an awesome festival feel with a massive stage and grassy hillside from which to watch the concert.
And none other than Stevie Wonder will be performing Oct. 22 after the F1 USGP, also on the Super Stage. You can upgrade your admission ticket to include a standing pit upgrade to be as close as possible to Stevie when he performs!
Plus there will be great Texas musicians performing on stages all around the Circuit throughout the weekend.
Topgolf is bringing an epic, one-of-a-kind experience to the USGP weekend. Crush brings Topgolf’s unique tracking and scoring system to some of the country’s most iconic stadiums and venues, creating an environment where pros and amateurs alike can crush golf balls while overlooking COTA’s legendary Turn
American F1 Team
Haas F1 Team is an American team, making the USGP their home race. A dedicated area at the track, Haas Hill between Turn 18 & 19, will be the place to cheer on the team with fellow fans. Haas Hill will be the place for a chance to glimpse the Haas F1 Team drivers, and enjoy weekend-long giveaways.
Food & Beverages
Food trucks will be around the track from local Austin favorites provide tasty flavors from a wide variety of cuisines, and sports bars will pop up around the Circuit for drinks and catching up on other sporting events taking place over the weekend .
The hub of festival activity will be at the large grassy Grand Plaza, with the F1 Game Zone (Pit Stop simulator, podium, and more), Family Fun Zone (face painting, fake tattoos, nail art, RC cars, more), F1 merch, and much more.
How to Join In
Tickets are available now at thecircuit.com, or by calling 512.655.6300.
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