Free things to do in Austin Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

Omni Barton Creek is officially kicking off the holiday season tonight. An evening at Barton Creek is the perfect way to get in the holiday mood. They have s’mores, Christmas lights, and an enchanting atmosphere.

Tonight they are having their 9th Annual Gingerbread House and Tree Lighting ceremony. The holiday shop is so fun to get lost in Christmas cheer. They will also have hot chocolate, games, and the gingerbread houses on display. There will be prizes announced for first, second, and third place in each age group for the gingerbread houses.

Now go be merry!

When: Today, November 30th

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
8212 Barton Club Drive
Austin, Texas 78735

 

Thanksgiving is over and we are heading full speed into Christmas! Kick off the holidays tonight at the Four Seasons Hotel, a place that really knows how to do Christmas. The kids will love the famous Gingerbread Village. The fairy tale is set to become reality with this year’s theme, revealing several whimsical—and completely edible— scenes from classic children’s stories and nursery rhymes. There will be hot apple cider, cookies, photos with Santa, and the opportunity to meet the talented pastry chefs behind the village.

The Holiday Open House takes place in the lobby and is complimentary for locals and visitors.

When: Today and Tomorrow, November 28th and 29th

Time: 5-6 p.m.

Location:
Four Seasons
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701

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 10th – 23rd.

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.

When: today, November 27th

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location:
2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704

http://austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

Lots of us spent yesterday counting our blessings and feeling thankful—so maybe there is room in your wonderful life for one more? Today and through the weekend, the Austin Animal Center is offering free pet adoptions. What better way to spend this holiday weekend than saving a pet’s life? Give a playful pup or cuddly cat the gift of a forever home!

Zappos.com, today announced it will work for a second year with Best Friends Animal Society to sponsor pet adoptions this holiday season. Beginning on Black Friday and continuing through Cyber Monday, customers at Austin Animal Center will have the opportunity to adopt a dog or cat through the Zappos.com Pawlidayz initiative. The company has pledged to donate a total of $1.25 million to Best Friends Animal Society.

All adoption fees are covered by Zappos.com!

When:  Today, Friday November 25th through Monday, November 28th

Time: 11 a.m.– 7 p.m.

Location:
Austin Animal Center
7201 Levander Loop Bldg A
Austin, TX 78702

Man, it’s going to be a beautiful day for this one—come one, come all! The 11th annual Carnival O’ Pizza is back for an afternoon of pizza-themed fun that’s bigger and better than before! Call all your pizza-obsessed friends and get down to South Congress to enjoy the perfect Austin day. Pants with an elastic waistband are highly recommended.

A celebration of Home Slice’s love for all things pizza, this free family-friendly event will have over-the-top pizza-themed activities and exciting prizes, with all proceeds to benefit Austin Bat Cave!

There will be carnival-inspired games, dancing, a photo booth,and raffles to win one of 60 prizes. One lucky raffle winner will be the only person in the world who can make a reservation at Home Slice for the next year!

When: Today, November 12th

Time: noon – 7 p.m.

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Location:
Home Slice Pizza
1415 And 1421 South Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704

It doesn’t get much more Austin than this: ultra-hip, custom designed, cooler-than-your-own-house houses for dogs. This Saturday, it’s the 12th Barkitecture design show, contest, silent auction and, most importantly, fundraiser! From its inception in 2005, Barkitecture has become an Austin favorite and gained national exposure. Hosted by Animal Lovers of Austin, Inc. this architectural dog-centric event showcases doghouses created by Austin’s best and brightest architects, interior designers,and builders. It’s a kid-freindly and pet-friendly event where attendees can check out and bid on these one-of-a-kind doghouses and learn about adoption opportunities from Austin Pets Alive!

You can also shop local vendor booths, enjoy a Fashound Show, hit the photo booth with your pooch, and check out face painting for the kiddos!

When: Saturday, November 12th

Time: noon – 4 p.m.

Location:
Jo’s Hot Coffee Good Food
1300 S Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704

Creek Show 2016 is just around the corner, and this year you’ll have 10 nights to see the amazing art and light installations downtown along Waller Creek. The show is designed to highlight Waller Creek and its future transformation into a series of urban parks.

This year Creek Show 2016 will offer an expanded children’s program with kid-focused programming from partners like The Thinkery and Austin Bat Cave on a number of nights. Visitors can use their wristbands to receive all kinds of wonderful benefits from surrounding restaurants, music venues, and more.

For more information visit our Sneak Preview of the 2016 Show.

Note: All events are subject to change.

NOVEMBER 10

OPENING NIGHT

Live DJ Set
6pm-10pm, Sabine Tree Deck
Corduroi, BoomBaptist, Selva Oscura, and Darius Gibson
Produced by Empire Control Room & Garage and Heard Entertainment

Dance Waterloo
This local dance troupe will preview December’s Panorama Playground creekside.

Food & Drink Specials
Grab a wristband at the WCC Info Table to unlock tons of specials near Waller Creek and in the Red River Cultural District.

Free Show in CB’s Lounge
8pm (doors), Stubb’s
Hilary York with members of The Ripe

NOVEMBER 11

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

The Thinkery
6pm-8pm, Sabine Tree Deck
These stations will allow children to explore electricity and fluorescence. Activities will include Circuit Blocks & Glowing Senses and Bubbles.

City of Austin Watershed Protection Department
6pm-8pm, Sabine Tree Deck
Grow Green: WPD will have information about gardening to protect your creek’s watershed.  There will be lots of useful tips and native seed packets to take home.

GENERATION WALLER MONSTER BASH
7pm-9pm, The Gatsby
Happy Hour hosted by WCC’s young leaders group, Generation Waller. This event is a great way to get plugged in to Waller Creek as an advocate or volunteer. Come meet up, enjoy a DJ set by Dan Gentile (of Flying Turns), and enter the raffle to win great prizes.

NOVEMBER 12

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

The Thinkery
6pm-8pm, Sabine Tree Deck
These stations will allow children to explore electricity and fluorescence. Activities will include Circuit Blocks & Glowing Senses and Bubbles.

City of Austin Watershed Protection Department
6pm-8pm, Sabine Tree Deck
Grow Green: WPD will have information about gardening to protect your creek’s watershed.  There will be lots of useful tips and native seed packets to take home.

FREE SHOW
So Official
9pm (doors), Empire Control Room & Garage (patio), all ages, Free with Creek Show wristband

NOVEMBER 13

GUIDED TOUR OF WALLER CREEK – ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED
5:30pm-7pm, meet at Historic German Free School, Registration capped at 20
Carolyn Wright, co-author of Austin’s Waller Creek, will be your guide for this informative tour hosted by the German Texas Heritage Society. For reservations please contact Carolyn at 512-343-7205 or at carolynwright7@gmail.com with your name, contact information and number of reservations.

NOVEMBER 14

CREEK SHOW OPEN
6pm-10pm, Waller Creek, between 5th and 8th Streets

NOVEMBER 15

2016 CREEK SHOW 2016 ARTIST TALK – ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUESTED AT CREEKSHOW.COM

6:30pm-8:30pm, Palm Door on Sabine (401 Sabine)
Artist Talk with all five Creek Show design teams moderated by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. Registration is free and includes admission, drinks, and light refreshments.

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Free Angola Capoeira Society
6pm-7:30pm, Sabine Tree Deck
This group teaches people of all ages the traditional holistic African Art of capoeira Angola. In it they learn to play music, sing, dance, and play the game of the martial art, capoeira.

FREE SHOWS

Raise Her Voice Concert Series
9pm (doors), Cheer Up Charlies, 21+, Free with Creek Show wristband
Raise Her Voice concert series is the freshest way to discover new up and-coming female artists based in Austin, Texas.
Performances by Mélat Kay, Amea, Cara Bishop, and Raynna. Vibes Directed by Michelle Umachi.

Ulovei Residency / Dump Dump
9pm (doors), Empire Control Room, 18+, Free with Creek Show wristband

NOVEMBER 16

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

The Edge of Imagination Station
6pm-7:30pm, Sabine Tree Deck
Do you want to bring your ideas to life? Using materials such as chalk, paper, and 3D objects you can create your own stop motion animated sequence with The Edge of Imagination Station.

FREE SHOW

Road to Euphoria x HE^RD Presents: Space Jesus at The Chop Shop
9pm (doors), Empire Control Room, 18+, Free with Creek Show wristband

NOVEMBER 17

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

The Edge of Imagination Station
6pm-7:30pm, Sabine Tree Deck
Do you want to bring your ideas to life? Using materials such as chalk, paper, and 3D objects you can create your own stop motion animated sequence with The Edge of Imagination Station.

Attendance Records presents Field Notes: A Mobile Recording Box
6pm-10pm, 8th Street Lawn
Step into the unknown and feel inspired by your surroundings. Record your inner thoughts through song, spoken word, ramblings, or any noise you see fit in the moment. All noise will be compiled into a special Creek Show field recording to be showcased on the next Attendance Records album.

FREE SHOW
Bourgeois Mystics
8pm (doors), Mohawk (Indoors), all ages
Bourgeois Mystics headlines with Interrobang, Arc Iris, and Dayeater

NOVEMBER 18

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Austin Bat Cave
6pm-10pm, Sabine Tree Deck
At Austin Bat Cave’s installation, kids and adults alike will have the experience of “becoming a tree” through projected imagery. A digital storybook will be created and displayed using crowd-sourced descriptive words of the experience.

Attendance Records presents Field Notes: A Mobile Recording Box
6pm-10pm, 8th Street Lawn
Step into the unknown and feel inspired by your surroundings. Record your inner thoughts through song, spoken word, ramblings, or any noise you see fit in the moment. All noise will be compiled into a special Creek Show field recording to be showcased on the next Attendance Records album.

FREE & FEATURED SHOWS

Pure Ground Rock & Roll at Empire Control Room & Garage
7pm (doors), Empire Control Room, 18+, $2 off entry with Creek Show wristband

Join Julian Acosta for his Single Release party with Swimming with Bears, Daniel Eyes & the Vibes, and Eric Burton. Your Creek Show wristband gets you $2 off at the door and a drink special inside.

Moving Panoramas
8pm (door), Cheer Up Charlies, 21, Free with Creek Show wristband

Moving Panoramas headlines with Roses, Food Group, Ramesh, RG Lowe (of Balmorhea)

NOVEMBER 19

CLOSING NIGHT

Country Music at Waller Creek
7pm-10pm, 8th Street Lawn, family-friendly
Live country music from Austin’s own The Rated Ex’s, The Ugly Beats, Jana Horn, and Elaine Greer.

Creek Week Cook-Out: Country Music & Dance Lessons
10pm-2am, Barracuda, 21+
Two stepping lessons from Jaime Moreno (10pm) and live music from Bobby Marlar, The Dollar Generals, and Rattlesnake Milk.

KIDS’ & FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Austin Bat Cave
6pm-10pm, Sabine Tree Deck
At Austin Bat Cave’s installation, kids and adults alike will have the experience of “becoming a tree” through projected imagery. A digital storybook will be created and displayed using crowd-sourced descriptive words of the experience.

FOOD & DRINK SPECIALS IN RED RIVER CULTURAL DISTRICT! (with free wristband)
Pick up your free wristband at the Waller Creek Conservancy info table to take advantage of these nightly offers during Creek Show 2016, November 10-19.

Arlo’s
$2 off orders of $8 or more with wristband. (Valid Nov 10, 11, 12 & Nov 17, 18, 19)

Daruma
$2 off ramen with wristband, all nights.

Empire Control Room and Garage
Use coupon code CREEKSHOW to purchase tickets for shows Nov 10-19 at empireatx.com.

Esther’s Follies
20% discount at door with wristband, all nights

Hilton Garden Inn
10% off Bar Menu and $5 domestic beers and wines with wristband, all nights.

Hoboken Pies
$2 slices special with wristband, all nights.

Hotel Indigo / Holiday Inn Express
15% discount for rooms & Red River Tavern with wristband, all nights.

Jim Jim’s
10% off on orders over $5 with wristband, all nights.

The Gatsby
20% off drinks with wristband, all nights.

Stubb’s BBQ
20% off in the restaurant, all nights.

Waller Creek Pub House
$1 off select beers and $3 Lonestar with wristband, all nights.

It’s Texas Book Festival time again! This annual book-a-palooza was the brain child of former First Lady Laura Bush. Since 1995, the festival has donated more than $2.8 million to public libraries across the state. This is an absolutely fantastic event that is family friendly and, best of all, free and open to the public!

Today there is a full schedule of panels and events at various locations in and around the Capitol. If you’ve never been, this is an essential Austin experience.

When: Today, November 6th

Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Click here to check out the schedule.

Location:
Downtown Austin

Creek Show 2016 is just around the corner, and this year you’ll have 10 nights to see the amazing art and light installations downtown along Waller Creek. The show is designed to highlight Waller Creek and its future transformation into a series of urban parks. Now The Waller Creek Conservancy is previewing five new artist installations that will be illuminating the creek from November 10–19.  The free, public art exhibit begins with the opening night event on Thursday, November 10 at 6 p.m. All designers participating in the 2016 event are Austin-based architects, landscape architects, and visual artists.

This year Creek Show 2016 will offer an expanded children’s program with kid-focused programming from partners like The Thinkery and Austin Bat Cave on a number of nights. Visitors can use their wristbands to receive all kinds of wonderful benefits from surrounding restaurants, music venues, and more.

The first night will include a DJ set along the creek and drink specials available at Easy Tiger, The Gatsby, Waller Creek Pub House, and more. Other confirmed events for Creek Show 2016 include Monster Bash, hosted by Generation Waller on November 11, and an Artist Talk on November 15 at The Palm Door on Sabine from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with the CreekShow 2016 designers discussing their work in relation to Waller Creek. The Artist Talk will be moderated by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, veteran arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. A closing party on November 19 will begin with live music along Waller Creek and continue at Barracuda with dance lessons and a local line-up of country music.

Below, check out designs of this year’s jaw-dropping installations. Downtown is about to get a lot more magical!

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Animalis

Project name: Nimbus Cloud

Design: Dharmesh Patel, Associate AIA | Autumn Ewalt, Artist

About: “Nimbus Cloud” resembles a rain cloud and is a reflection on the vitality of Waller Creek and the nature that surrounds it. Cumulonimbus and nimbostratus clouds produce precipitation. The creek acts as a watershed by collecting this precipitation from an area of 6 miles and meandering its way to Town Lake. “Nimbus Cloud” signifies one of the primary sources of Waller Creek today. Using programmable LEDs installed within the sculpture, abstracted imagery collected from Waller Creek and the areas surrounding the watershed will be conveyed onto the cloud. The water beneath the sculpture will mirror this ephemeral phenomena, creating a parallel that reflects the relationship between the creek and the environment.

crek_02_underbridge

East Side Collective + Drophouse Design

Project name: Deep Curiosity

Design: Tim Derrington, AIA & Lead AP | Wilson Hanks, AIA | Christian Klein, Owner of Drophouse

About: At this particular site, between 5th and 6th Streets along Waller Creek, stained concrete walls drop down to a soupy pool. Guardrails line the tops of retaining walls to form a viewing platform where visitors can peer into the murky waters below. There is no flora or fauna, there are no rocks to generate surface distortions, not even graffiti to mark the walls surrounding this urban trench. The experience here is a downward gaze and the viewer is left to wonder about the nature of the place. It is an unfinished space, partly natural, partly man-made. “Deep Curiosity” offers an alternative to the void—a view to the enlivened, complete Waller Creek experience that we know is imminent. A partially submerged, larger-than-life circular form finds its delicate balance in the murky water like an object from the future civilization. The scale of this inwardly glowing round form lifts the viewers’ eyes and imagination up and around. With no beginning and no end, the ring offers a glimpse of something whole and total, through which the full spatial possibility of this place is imagined. The depth of the dark abyss will be called to attention as well, as the massive ring is half submerged, allowing reality and illusion to coalesce and complete an object whose form and scale exist to encourage delight and epiphany with the use of curved steel and LED lighting. The object offers viewers a careful array of elements balanced precariously yet precisely in its place on WallerCreek, suggesting a future site where perfection is possible.

E 8th Street Bridge over Waller Creek

E 8th Street Bridge over Waller Creek

Jules Buck Jones

Project name: Invisible and Absolute

Design: Jules Buck Jones, Artist

About: “Invisible and Absolute” is a sculpture of an extinct sea lizard called a mosasaur, commissioned specifically for Waller Creek Conservancy’s 2016 Creek Show. Mosasaurs swam through the shallow sea that covered Central Texas 100 –65 million years ago. In 1935, an almost complete skeleton was found in Onion Creek by UT geology students and is now on exhibit at the Texas Memorial Museum on the UT campus. When asked to create a piece for Creek Show, Jules Buck Jones immediately thought of this extinct animal swimming in the form of a skeleton, offering a little bit of history and the façade of fantasy. Extinct creatures like the mosasaur are simultaneously very real and very not, only present today in the form of fossilized bone. “Invisible and Absolute” asks the question: What is scarier? A 40’ monster or extinction itself?

zipper_02

OTA+ 

Project name: The Creek Zipper

Design: Kory Bieg, AIA

About: “The Creek Zipper” is a series of interconnected units that form zipper-like strands. Each unit varies depending on the width of the strand creating a dynamic overall geometry that ebbs and flows much like the water level of the creek itself. Though the water level will stabilize once the Tunnel Project is complete, the level will still rise and drop within manageable limits. Each unit will be raised on adjustable pedestal so the flat bottom of the unit will coincide with the average water level. When the water level is below average, the water will pass below the strands and be only minimally affected by the legs that support the units. When the water level rises above average, the water will interact with the folded geometry of each unit causing a turbulent flow. The distortion of water as it rises reflects the devastation that used to occur during floods. “The Creek Zipper” is an array of arrays. The project consists of a number of a strands that extend the length of the creek between the 6th Street Bridge and the 3 concrete steps that span the river between 6th and 7th Street. The strands are free-flowing and occasionally intersect and join one another to form larger strands. Each strand varies from the others, differing in length and width. The strands are made up of an array of CNC-milled aluminum units that connect to form the overall zipper. The units and strands are part of an assemblage that favors neither whole or part. The entire project, each strand, and each unit can be read as whole in and of itself, calling to question the hierarchical part/whole relationship that has traditionally dominated art and architecture for much of their histories. Though the strands and units are similar to each other and have the same generic properties, the specific geometry of each one is unique as a result of its association with the overall assemblage, its location on the site, and how it joins with neighboring units.

2016_0807_wccs_wscs_render-helix-1

 

West Shop | Cook Shop

Project name: Phantom Diversion

Design: Alisa West, Landscape Designer | Travis Cook, Designer

About: Their vision for Creek Show 2016 (Phantom Diversion) is an analysis and interpretation of a particular intersection between the natural and built environment. Currently, there are a series of exposed, above-grade diversion pipes that will later be functionally supplanted by the intake station at 4th Street, at which time they will be removed.  These paired diversion pipes are approximately 18” in diameter and are held in place by a series of caliche packed mounds that anchor and direct the pipe within the natural creek bed.  Our design seeks to bring to attention these temporal, infrastructural elements, and to reveal their mundane beauty through a linear series of glowing circular elements. The arrangement of these elements will undulate, swell, and distort based on site-specific data. Formally, the piece will serve as a visual linking agent between the additional Creek Show exhibits and the overall Creek Show site.

 

We’ll keep this short and sweet because you don’t have much time for reading. Taco lovers (that’s everyone, right?) are encouraged to stop by the new Fresa’s location at 1703 S. 1st Street for a complimentary breakfast taco of their choosing. That’s free breakfast tacos on a Friday—what are you waiting for?

When: Today, October 21st

Time: now – 11:00 a.m.

Location:
Fresa’s South First
1703 S 1st St.
Austin, TX 78704