Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us, and Austin-area event calendars are filling up with all things festive. We’ve narrowed down what is typically a very long list of merry making events to the top 25 things to do during the holidays in Austin. Grab those calendars and start your 2017 holiday planning! Many thanks to Springfree Trampoline for sponsoring this post!
Movies in the Park: Muppet Christmas Carol
When: Saturday, November 9, 6:30-10 p.m.
Where: Ramsey Park, 4301 Rosedale Avenue, Austin
Close out the 25th Annual season with some holiday cheer! Join us at Ramsey park for a very Muppet Christmas tale. Movie begins around 6pm, but get there early to grab your spot!
Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade
When: Saturday, November 18, 11 a.m.
Where: Starts at the Capitol at 11th and Congress, moving south on Congress all the way to Cesar Chavez, ending just north of the bridge.
Enjoy giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, children’s characters, marching bands, classic cars, Santa, and more at this annual parade the benefits Blue Santa. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.
Austin Empty Bowl
When: Sunday, November 19, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Central Texas Food Bank, 6500 Metropolis Drive, Austin
Potters from all over Central Texas donate bowls of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Thirty restaurants and bakeries donate delicious soups and breads, while musicians donate their time and talent to entertain us. Then, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, friends and families come together to purchase a bowl for $20, have it filled with soup, and enjoy the music. The bowl is yours to keep, as a reminder of those whose bowls are empty. The proceeds go to the Central Texas Food Bank to help sponsor the Kids Cafe Program and Meals on Wheels Central Texas’ Meals for Kids. Kids Cafe and Meals for Kids provide a safe, nurturing place where children receive a hot, nutritious dinner, as well as help with homework.
A Christmas Carol
When: November 22 – December 31, 2017, various times
Where: ZACH Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin
Austin’s most rockin’ holiday tradition returns to make merry with a new music to get the party started! ZACH’s inspired adaptation of the Dickens’ classic is a musical sleigh ride through rhythm and time, infusing the traditional Victorian story with a musical score that spans all genres and eras. Motown meets the HoHoHolidays in this family celebration, creating an infectious spirit that has everyone dancing in the aisles, creating an infectious spirit that has everyone dancing in the aisles. Join the loving Cratchit family and three soulful ghosts as they take Ebenezer Scrooge on a joyride to miraculous transformation, as he rediscovers his heart and love for human kindness.
Santa on the Terrace
When: Saturday, November 24, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin
This Black Friday, Santa is coming to town and spreading some holiday cheer! Join us on the City Terrace and take some time out of the busiest holiday of the year to celebrate the season. Bring the kids for a FREE photo with Santa overlooking the best view in Austin! Enjoy some holiday treats with all sorts of fun entertainment. Activities will be planned for the whole family, so bring everyone. And, in true Black Friday fashion, we’ll have some of our best deals of the year available!
The North Pole Flyer
When: Saturday & Sunday, November 25 – December 17, 2017, 8:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park
Enjoy a special 2 hour excursion on a real train that features a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, all-you-can-drink hot cocoa and a locally baked holiday cookie. Each car is decorated for the season where passengers enjoy a live reading of the North Pole Flyer book-our railroad’s own Christmas Story! Santa will spend time in each car to “check your list twice”, and pose for photographs before handing out a gift to each child to remember this special ride! Tickets start at $45.
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters Holiday Lights Display
When: November 17 – January 1
Where: Mozart’s, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin
Mozart’s annual light display takes place every hour on the hour until midnight. The show lasts fifteen minutes, but Mozart’s does get crowded, so plan to get there in advance, and consider dropping guests off since the parking lot fills up quickly (there is additional parking across the street). It’s also a lovely, centrally-located spot to enjoy the lakeside view and look for ducks
Zilker Tree Lighting Ceremony
When: Sunday, November 26, 5:30 p.m. pre-event music, 6:00 p.m. lighting
Where: Zilker Park, Barton Springs Road
Enjoy local entertainment, food, live music and more at the annual lighting of the Zilker Tree, which stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs – totaling 3,309 lights.
November 27 – December 31, 6 pm – 12 midnight, tree on display nightly. REMINDER – on Trail of Lights Nights the area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around those nights.
A PRAIRIE CAROL: Charles Dickens’ Christmas Tale
When: Friday & Saturday, December 1, 2 & 8, 9, 7-11 p.m.
Where: Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive, Austin
Based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, families will enjoy various scenes of Dickens’ classic tale in 1800s Texas on four nights in December. Bring the family to Pioneer Farms this holiday season for a most unusual event. Watch the village come to life with carolers and colorful characters that step out of history, not in England but in the Lone Star State. Then experience the classic Dickens tale like never before, as our actors take you into the story with an interactive theatrical presentation staged in the historic old buildings at Pioneer Farms.
When: Saturday, December 2, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where: The Domain, Amy Donovan Plaza, in between Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillard’s
Elves in training can enjoy music, face painting, balloon twisting, crafts, games, prizes, giveaways, a Santa snack and fun photo opps!
German Christmas Market
When: Saturday, December 2, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: German-Texan Heritage Society, 507 E. 10th Street, Austin
The German-Texan Heritage Society offers shoppers hand-made, imported crafts including plenty of Christmas themed decorations such as nutcrackers and ornaments. It is a festival atmosphere with traditional German Christmas music, tables full of handcrafted items direct from the Erzgebirge region of Germany, a visit by both our historic American Santa Claus and the traditional German Sankt Nikolas with gifts for the children, a hospitality serving of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), coffee, apple cider/juice and gingerbread cookies and plenty of German style baked goodies for purchase. All purchases are Sales Tax Free on this special day.
Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll
When: Saturday, December 2, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Austin at the Texas State Capitol, Congress Avenue and 11th
Sing holiday songs on the lawn of the Capitol and then stroll along Congress Avenue.
Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells
When: December 2-16 (Saturdays and Sundays), 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th Street, Austin
Based on the popular chapter book, Austin Scottish Rite Theater presents Junie B on stage as she struggles to take revenge on her nemesis “tattle-tale” May. This is a hilarious and heartwarming holiday tale.
Lights of Love
When: Sunday, December 3, 4-7 p.m.
Where: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas, 1315 Barbara Jordan Blvd., Austin
Lights of Love is a festive event for children and families to experience holiday fun and the magical moment when hundreds of sparkling lights suddenly illuminate the Ronald McDonald House and its big, bright holiday tree. Many activities are planned including cookie decorating, kids’ crafts, snow slide, music, photos with Santa Claus and much more! $5 per person suggested donation | $20 per family suggested donation.
Holiday Open House at the Four Seasons
When: Monday and Tuesday, December 4 & 5, 5 p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin
A beloved tradition, our Open Houses invite locals and visitors to ooh and ahh over the Gingerbread Village in the Lobby, all while enjoying complimentary hot apple cider and festive cookies. The talented pastry chefs behind this year’s Monopoly-inspired Village – along with special guest, Santa – will also be on hand for photo opportunities and to answer questions about the houses, which will be on display from November 21 through December 25, 2017.
12th Annual Mueller Tower Lighting
When: Tuesday, December 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Mueller Control Tower, Berkman Drive, Austin
Join the Mueller community for the 12th Annual Tower Lighting Ceremony! The Reagan High School Drumline and Boss Street Band will provide entertainment for the entire family. Free coffee, kettle corn and cookies will be available while supplies last! Food trucks will be on-site with food for purchase during the event. Free hot chocolate, hot cider and cookies will be served while supplies last! Food trucks will be on-site with food for purchase during the event. FREE!
Domain NORTHSIDE Kids: Frosted
When: Wednesday, December 6, 10 a.m. – noon
Where: Domain NORTHSIDE, 11700 Domain Blvd, Austin
The Boogaloo Crew will guide your littles in activities and crafts that get their bodies and minds engaged. End the morning by taking home a fun photo (and a first come, first served gift bag from select Domain NORTHSIDE and Rock Rose retailers and restaurants). Guided activities begin at 10am. Space is limited. After 10am, we will begin to take walk-ups and registered guests will not be guaranteed admission.
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcraker
When: December 8-23; shows at 2 & 7:30 p.m.
Where: Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin
Austin’s favorite holiday tradition returns for its 55th year with all of the colorful characters, pomp and pageantry you adore. Journey with young Clara Silberhaus from her family’s holiday party to the confection-filled Court of the Sugar Plum Fairy, where sweets of all kinds come to life. Ballet Austin’s annual production of the world’s best-known ballet features hundreds of dancers, gorgeous sets and costumes, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s magical score. It’s the perfect way for family and friends to celebrate the season together!
Gingerbread House Workshops at the Thinkery
When: December 9-24, various times
Where: The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Avenue, Austin
These hour-long, educator-led workshops are appropriate for all ages and offer everything needed to build and decorate a charming gingerbread house. Each attendee must reserve a seat in the workshop and we recommend purchasing one Gingerbread House Kit for every 2-3 people. Cost: $5 Member Adult or Child Seat | $12 Non-Member Adult or Child Seat | $20 per Gingerbread House Kit (Every group must purchase at least one house).
Charlie Brown Christmas
When: Saturday, December 9, 3:30 & 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Avenue, Austin
Join the Austin Chamber Music Center for a live music performance featuring all of your favorite tunes from the holiday classic – and more, including Snoopy! Bring your family to this Austin tradition and get in the holiday spirit!General Admission: $22-$37.
Holiday Family Day at The Blanton Museum of Art
When: Saturday, December 9, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: The Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd., Austin
Celebrate the holidays with the Blanton Museum of Art! Enjoy exploring the special exhibition and permanent collection galleries while engaging in fun conversation, and searching for creative inspiration to make festive art in our WorkLAB Studio that you can keep for yourself or give to your loved ones as a gift. Free museum admissions for children ages 12 and under; program included with admission.
Austin Trail of Lights
When: December 9-23, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Zilker Park, Barton Springs Road, Austin
Visit the Trail of Lights and take a spin under the Zilker Tree! Kids will enjoy an interactive kids’ area, photo opportunities, visit with Santa, delicious food and more. General admission is FREE on select nights, $3 for ages 12+ from December 15-17 and 20-23. Parking pass is $15-$20.
Cherrywood Art Fair
When: December 9 & 10, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Maplewood Elementary School, 381/2 St. & Maplewood
Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts ranging from jewelry to ceramics and more. There’s live music, an art corner for the kids, food and drinks and more! FREE Admission!
When: Tuesday, December 12, 8 p.m.
Where: Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway, Austin
The Austin Symphony once again presents its Christmas tradition, Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by Chorus Austin for you and your family at Hyde Park Baptist Church. This night of musical magic will comfort you through its familiarity and fill you with the joy of rediscovery. Let us begin your winter celebrations with a performance full of rejoicing!
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
When: December 14-24, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is an 11 day fine art, shopping destination featuring national and local award-winning artists, with live music and two full bars in a festive, lively atmosphere.
Looking to add a trampoline to your backyard this holiday season? Take a test jump at the Springfree Trampoline showroom, located in The Domain in Austin or at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave . Springfree Trampolines have no springs, no hard edges, and a frame beneath the jumping surface. That’s smart engineering. Their patented safety design and tgoma’s one at a time play feature will give you peace of mind that your kids are having a safe, fun jumping experience.