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

This may come as a big surprise to you, but today there is a 100 percent chance of a wintry mix! That’s because the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City is having its second annual Snow Day. The outdoor Science & Art Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland with 20 tons of snow.

This is the perfect activity to get the whole family out of the house today. Go for a lovely drive and give the littlest Texans the kind of winter fun they rarely get to have.

Highlights include a live action ice sculpture, ice piano, snowball catapult launches, mini snowman building contest, snowball radar throws, and more.

When: Today, January 14th

Time: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the event or online here. Members get in free.

Hill Country Science Mill
101 S Lady Bird Ln.
Johnson City, Texas 78636

*Visitors are encouraged to bring mittens or gloves to keep their hands warm while playing in the snow.


It’s gonna be a little chilly tonight, but let’s all cozy up and enjoy the Christmas-y weather while we can. Join Austin Parks Foundation for Movie Night at the Trail! They’re screening two versions of The Grinch on the very last free night at Austin Trail of Lights.

7:30 p.m. – How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 animated)
Run time: 26 min

8:15 p.m. – How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000 Jim Carrey)
Run time: 1 hr 44 min

When: Today, December 16th

Austin’s Trail of Lights
2400 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, Texas 78746

Barely just one-year-old, the Hotel Van Zandt in the Rainey Street District has become a fixture of Downtown Austin, winning all sorts of awards and offering gorgeous interiors and jaw-dropping sunset views of Lady Bird Lake. Now they are getting in on the holiday happenings in the city by starting their very own tradition: 12 Days of Christmas. From December 12-23, there will be 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. Yep, that sounds like a winter wonderland to us.

Throughout the 12 days, families, friends, couples, and pets are invited to come out and get into the spirit. Here’s a complete list of what’s happening each day. (Look at December 18th—that’s our favorite by far!):

December 12: Tree lighting and live music by Kate Priestley Holiday Trio (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 13: Movie night – It’s A Wonderful Life (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 14: Christmas classics on vinyl (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 15: Holiday Trivia with Austin’s favorite host: Taylor Ellison from We Are Austin (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 16: Live holiday music by Drew Davis & Ray Prim (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 17: Christmas classics on vinyl (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 18: Santa Paws – In partnership with Austin Pets Alive!, if you adopt a pet, you receive a two-night staycation for guest and pet at Hotel Van Zandt. Professional photos, $10 donation; iPhone photos, $1 donation (12:00-3:00 p.m.)
December 19: Cookie decoration (5:00-8:00 p.m.) -There will be a contest for a two-night stay on property
December 20: Movie night – Love Actually (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 21: Photos with Santa – Professional photos are available for purchase and proceeds will go to charity (5:00-8:00 p.m.)
December 22: Ugly sweater party – There will be a contest for a two-night stay at the hotel (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
December 23: Winter Wonderland on the Pool Deck with Snuggies and Motown Christmas music by The Argyles at Geraldine’s (5:00-10:30 p.m.).

For Austinites, tonight is the night the magic of Christmas officially begins! It’s the grand opening of the city’s much-beloved Trail of Lights. In the 52 years since the first Yule Log was lit, the event has expanded to more than 40 displays, 2 million lights, and holiday activities that create countless memories. The Trail of Lights is one of the three largest events in Austin and receives national accolades while remaining a deeply cherished local tradition.

Parking and shuttle information is here. But the best way to go is the ZiP Fast Pass! They allow access to the Trail of Lights at 6:00 p.m., one hour before the Trail opens to the general public. ZiP guests also receive access to the Lounge in Zilker Village where you’ll find restrooms, cookies, cocoa, and seating. Purchase required for ages 6 and over; children under 6 are free with a ticketed ZiP adult.

Cost: ZiP Fast Passes are $15-$20

When: Tonight, December 10th

Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78746


This December, The Paramount is celebrating the holidays with heartwarming seasonal movies. Tonight, the classic family comedy A Christmas Story will be featured on glorious 35mm. So turn off the TV, skip the commercials and distractions, and bring all your friends and family to watch Ralphie try and shoot his eye out in the festively decorated Paramount Theatre!

When: Today, December 9th

Time: 7-10 p.m.

The Paramount Theatre
713 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

Art Alliance Austin’s Art Breaks are always fun events. They give you a behind-the-scenes look at galleries, private collections, artist studios, and an introduction to the people who shape the city’s art scene. Guests learn something new while they have a drink and mingle. For the December Art Break, you will get an exclusive tour of Industry Print Shop. Meet co-founder Tony Diaz and learn how a print is made. Founded in 2007, Industry is one of Austin’s most prolific, artist-run print shops and has built a phenomenal reputation in the world of art and design with a keen eye for detail and outstanding customer service.

Guests will have the opportunity to purchase prints, fulfilling your holiday shopping needs. From small projects to international campaigns, their goal is to provide the highest quality screen-printed materials to bring your vision from an idea to a tangible product. Event goers will enjoy light bites, beer, wine and cocktails and a unique experience with an educational component.

When: Today, December 7th

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Free! Art Breaks events are complimentary to members and prospective members. To learn more or become a member, please click here.

RSVP by emailing rsvp@artallianceaustin.org

705 Wallingford Bend Dr #110
Austin, TX 78752

Attention Hello Kitty fans: The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is here in Austin! The truck will be parked right by Men’s Warehouse at Barton Creek Square Mall all day today. If you are Christmas shopping, or just hankering for a sweet treat, make sure to stop by.  The yummy menu will include a three-piece Hello Kitty cookie set, a rainbow macaron box set with a surprise Sanrio character design, a 4-pack of mini cakes, and bow-shaped bottles of water.

When: Today, December 3rd

Time: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Barton Creek Square
2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy.
Austin, Texas 78746

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.

Four Seasons
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin, TX 78701

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.


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

Every Monday at Craft Pride is video game night—and, guess what, November is Nintendo month! Show off your Wii skills and win gift cards, brewery swag, and gaming accessories. This is your chance to get all the glory and have a ton of fun while you’re at it.


When: Tonight, November 7th

Time: Free play starts at 8:00 p.m. | Tournaments start at 9:00 p.m.

Cost: Free to enter; 21+ only

Craft Pride
61 Rainey St.
Austin, Texas 78701