Random Fun Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

As part of Hotel Van Zandt’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration, they’re creating an adorable holiday photo op for your pup—a picture with Santa Paws! So dress your little guy in his favorite Christmas sweater and head down to the Rainey Street District to make some memories. From now until December 14, there are all kinds of free events happening at the hotel, in what they call, “The Living Room.” It’s basically every great holiday activity packed into one place. Plus, each night there will be a roaring fire, vinyl holiday records playing in the background, a hot toddy bar, and light snacks for purchase.

When: Today, December 10th

Time: noon

Location:
605 Davis St.
Austin, TX 78701

We’ve done just about everything for Christmas in Austin, but we’ve mostly been limited to land activites—until now! Tonight is Austin’s first annual Boat Trail of Lights! Hopefully this has the makings of a longstanding tradition that will get bigger and crazier every year. Call that friend of yours with a boat and get organized. Decorate the boat (and/or your body) with holiday spirit and lights and meet under the 360 Bridge. Boaters will hit the lights at 6 p.m. sharp, and listen to holiday music.

Boaters and spectators will need to pay normal entrance fees at the bridge. The city can accept cash and checks only and it costs $15 for a truck and trailer, $10 for a vehicle, and $3 for anyone who walks into the park to watch the fun.

If you are planning on launching at the 360 Bridge, message the page Boat Trail of Lights and let the organizers know (this is important!). They need to make sure everyone isn’t coming at once.

When: Today, December 9th

Time: 6 – 8 p.m.

Location:
Lake Austin
Austin, TX 78701

There’s so much to do in Austin this holiday season, but trust us, there is nothing else quite like this. NunaMaana Immersive Dance Theater is putting on A Peasants’ Holiday Masquerade and tickets are on sale now. Sometimes it’s best to go into things like this knowing as little as possible, but we’ll give you the basic plot: A group of tawdry, goat-farming-peasants have gotten their hands on a few elegant robes and opaque tights and decided to throw a masquerade ball. It will be an epic evening of booty-droppin’ Shakespearean festivities!

Come explore a comedic, medieval world where you can eat, mingle, dance, and drink as you wish—all as characters guide you through a story.

NunaMaana’s mission is to bring groups of people together in a powerful way to share in their human experience and celebration. The name is derived from indigenous words, Nuna is inspired by a word meaning “child.” The company makes playful things! Maana is inspired by a word meaning “something physical that is imbued with magic.” As artists this is always their goal.

Catch this completely unique performance this December.

When: December 8th, 9th, 16th, and 17th

All shows @ 8:00 p.m.

Click here to purchase tickets.
*Open Bar is included with every ticket!

Location:
Atmosphere Coworking
2400 East Cesar Chavez Street #208
Austin, TX 78702

Image courtesy Sharper Photography. 

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.

Location:
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.

Location:
1100 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

It’s time to get a little more proactive about finding that special someone. At some point soon it may actually get a chilly in Austin, and that means you are going to need someone to cuddle up with by the fire pit. So tonight—ladies, bring a man, and men, bring a lady. You know, the one you love, but have already put in the friend zone. Hey, you aren’t going to date them, but their soulmate is out there somewhere!

When: Today, November 29th

Time: 7-10 p.m.

Location:
W Austin Living Room Bar

Get your tickets here.

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.

Location:
Zilker Park
Barton Springs Road

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

Location:
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

 

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

Location:
Waller Creek between 5th and 8th Streets