Thanks to The Domain for sponsoring this year’s 2018 Holiday Event Guide. There are so many special things to do and see in the Austin area over the holidays, and it helps to have a handy list of all that is happening in one spot. Be sure to stop in at The Domain this holiday season to enjoy shopping, carolers, carriage rides, a visit with Santa and more!
When: Daily through January 1, 2019, various times
Where: The Domain, 3220 Amy Donovan Plaza, Austin
Shopping has never been more fun & festive during the holidays than it is this year at The Domain! Celebrate National Cookie Day at The Domain on Tuesday, December 4, from 3-6pm. Come share the holiday spirit and satisfy your sweet tooth! Look for the cookies near the Beneath the Tree Santa Photo location.
- Holiday Light Shows – Stand in awe as more than 200,000 lights and strobes dance in snychronization to holiday music! Lights shows available between Dick’s Sporting Goods & Dillard’s at 6, 7 and 8 pm. Shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Santa Photo Experience – Visit the Beneath the Tree Santa Photo Experience, where children sit inside a 10-foot tall drum situated under a 34-foot tall tree. Share your wishlist and capture a picture to save the memory. Click here for complete hours and to make an appointment.
- Complimentary Horse Drawn Carriage Rides – Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride under the holiday lights each Friday and Saturday night from 5:30 – 9:30 pm. Pick-up locations near California Pizza Kitchen and The Brass Tap.
- Strolling Carolers – The sounds of the season come alive with performances by Austin Carolers in between Neiman Marcus and Macy’s each Saturday night through December 22 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
When: Daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. through January 21, 2019
Where: Whole Foods, 525 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin
A must-do for locals and visitors alike, Ice Skating on the Plaza at our Flagship store (located in Downtown) has become one of Austin’s most anticipated events of the holiday season! Cost is $10 per person and includes use of skates. Be sure to check the calendar for closures due to private events!
When: Through December 30, various dates and times available
Where: Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin
The 2nd annual Winter Wonderland will transport guests of all ages to a world of wonder, offering a completely new, immersive and captivating experience that includes the Chinese Lantern Festival. The world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival will brighten up guests’ holiday season by allowing them to experience the wonders of illumination and travel through a extraordinary cultural experience. Traditionally held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, this colorful and lively Chinese celebration includes interactive entertainment, immersing guests with the culture, music, arts and life of authentic China.In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, guests will get to experience the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Texas as well as festive favorites like the H-E-B Tunnel of Lights, Singing Trees, Dell Children’s Santa’s Haus, and the Petting Zoo. Families can continue enjoying the festival with additional holiday happenings including the Vendor Village, Pizza Hut Express Train Rides, Santa Portraits, Camel Rides, and much more! Kids 5 and under receive complimentary entry courtesy of Dell Childrens’. Complimentary parking available in Lot A with shuttle service to the Winter Wonderland entrance.
When: Friday, November 23 until Saturday, December 29, Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where: ArtSpace, 231 E. Main St, Round Rock
All aboard! Model trains are coming to ArtSpace this holiday season and we welcome you to stop by and see the miniature landscapes and cityscapes come to life. FREE!
When: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays through December 29, various times available
Where: Old Settlers Hall, 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock
The players of the fictional KPNF radio station put their signature spin on Charles Dickens’ masterpiece about Ebenezer Scrooge and his unforgettable tale of redemption one miraculous Christmas Eve night. Tickets are $15-$25. The show is most recommended for ages five and up. It runs about 1:30 with one intermission.
When: November 21 – December 30, various times
Where: ZACH Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd, Austin
Austin’s most rockin’ holiday tradition returns to make merry with new music and surprises 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 score that spans all genres and eras. Motown meets the Ho-Ho-Holidays in this family-friendly spectacular, creating an infectious spirit that has everyone dancing in the aisles. Celebrate the season with the loving Cratchit family and three soulful ghosts as they take Ebenezer Scrooge on a joyride to rediscover his heart and love for human kindness. Ages 6 and up.
When: Daily through January 1 (closed on Christmas day), 6-11 p.m.
Where: Mozart’s, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin
Mozart’s annual light display featured over 1 million LED lights and takes place every hour on the hour until 11 p.m. 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.
When: Friday, November 30th, 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: Downtown Georgetown
The Georgetown Square will be transformed into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It’s a magical setting of a multitude of trees outlined with twinkling white lights, old fashioned lamp poles, Santa, over 150 vendors for holiday shopping, and entertainment for kids of all ages. It’s the place to journey back in time as you wander through Bethlehem Village. The parade takes place on Saturday at 10 a.m. FREE!
When: Saturday, December 1, 9 a.m.
Where: Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin
Santa is coming to town a little early this year—don’t miss your chance to see him! Join us on the H-E-B Terrace with friends and family to celebrate the season, and get a FREE picture with Santa in front of the best downtown view in Austin. Enjoy holiday treats and activities the whole family as we welcome our bearded friend from the North Pole.
When: Saturday, December 1, 4-7 p.m.
Where: Railroad Avenue to Main Street, downtown Pflugerville
Don’t miss this annual parade with lighted floats, live music, the lighting of the tree, a visit from Santa and more. FREE!
When: December 1-20, various times
Where: Various locations; check schedule
The Austin Symphony is once again bringing FREE music to all Austinites this holiday season. “Christmas in the Community” is a series of concerts held throughout the city of Austin featuring different ensembles of the orchestra playing familiar holiday music. The program kicks off on December 1st at the Macy’s at Barton Creek Mall and concludes December 20th with big band music by members of the orchestra at Central Public Library. All dates, times, and locations are listed below.
When: Saturday, December 1, 8, 15 & 22, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive, Austin
Step back in time to the 1800’s and celebrate a Victorian Christmas in the Lone Star State! The farm’s houses will be decorated just like they would have been in the 1800’s, and there will be music, shows, dancing and caroling hayrides, just like in 1800s Texas. Visitors can shop for unique holiday gifts in their General Store.
When: Saturday, December 1, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin
Explore the beauty of nature while making tree-inspired seasonal ornaments using acorns and ball moss, craft greeting cards out of found materials, and celebrate nature together. Free with regular admission.
When: Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 5:30 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 in a festive atmosphere. Shoppers will enjoy traditional German Christmas music, tables full of handcrafted items direct from the Erzgebirge region of Germany, a visit by the traditional German Sankt Nikolas, a hospitality serving of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), with additional food and beverages available for purchase.
When: Saturday, December 1, 5-10 p.m.
Where: Downtown Austin at the Texas State Capitol, Congress Avenue and 11th
Kickstart your holiday season at the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Holiday Stroll on Saturday, December 1 along Congress Avenue between 9th and 11th streets. Join us from 5:00 to 10:00 pm for a night of holiday cheer in downtown Austin, including the annual KUT 90.5 & KUTX 98.9 Holiday Sing-Along and the lighting of the downtown tree. A free, family-friendly event, Holiday Stroll has something for everyone including photos with Santa, a petting zoo, live ice sculpture, holiday arts & crafts, a live mural painting, local food trucks, artisan vendors, and more. Plus, enjoy a full night of live music with performances by the Austin Children’s Choir, DJ Girlfriend, Shy Beast, and The Polyphonic Spree!
When: Saturdays and Sundays, December 1-15, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th Street, Austin
You’re invited! It’s Pippi’s after-Christmas party, where kids eat their fill of sweets, and no grumpy grown-ups are allowed! Just in time for the holidays, this show offers live music and lots of playful action! All ages welcome.
When: December 1-24, various times and dates available
Where: The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Avenue, Austin
From tots to teens and all ages in-between, you’ll find a workshop that’s right for your family! Each Gingerbread House Kit includes all the supplies you’ll need—fresh gingerbread from La Mexicana Bakery, an assortment of candies and plenty of icing. After the workshop, participants are welcome to explore Thinkery while their house dries in the Gingerbread Village. 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).
When: Sunday, December 2, 12-5 p.m.
Where: The Bullock Museum, 1800 Congress Ave, Austin
Celebrate the season by giving back to others! Create, sing, and enjoy activities that focus on the joy of giving and receiving. Museum admission is FREE all day long.
When: Tuesday, December 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: John Gaines Park, 2708 Sorin St, Austin, Texas 78723
Join the Mueller community for the 13th Annual Tower Lighting Ceremony! The Reagan High School Drumline will provide entertainment for the entire family. Free coffee and snacks will be available while supplies last! Food trucks will be on-site with food for purchase during the event. FREE!
When: Tuesday & Wednesday, December 4 & 5, 8 p.m.
Where: Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway, Austin & Emmaus Catholic Church, 1718 Lohmans Crossing Rd, Lakeway
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 and a new location, Emmaus Catholic 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!
When: Thursday through Sunday, December 6-9, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Blvd, Austin
Luminations, our naturally magical winter event, is back! We’re lighting up the gardens with thousands of luminarias and bringing plentiful performances, music and festive fun to make this a tradition to remember. This year’s Luminations will feature unique performances from Austin aerial dance group Blue Lapis Light. This enchanting site work, “Oneness of Being,” has been choreographed specifically for the Wildflower Center. Come experience illuminated dancers diving and dangling above the naturally beautiful setting of the Savanna Meadow. There will be two performances each evening. $15 per person, ages 4 and under free. $10 for members.
When: Friday, December 7, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Where: Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Pkwy, Cedar Park
The Tree Lighting and Santa’s Workshop will feature live music, carriage rides, games & prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa (bring your own camera), and arts & crafts projects. Admission is FREE!
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 7-23; 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 56th 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!
When: Friday & Saturday, December 7 & 8, 7-9:30 p.m.
Where: Hancock Recreation Center, 811 E. 41st Street, Austin
Families can take part in fun family walk around the trails of thousands of luminaries on and around Hancock. Enjoy hot chocolate, holiday activities, and more. FREE!
When: Saturday, December 8, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: The Contemporary Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St, Austin
The kids will have the opportunity to build a Gingerbread Villa at this event! Be the art-chitect of your very own candy home! They are whipping up edible houses like you’ve never seen before, inspired by the architecture of the Driscoll Villa at Laguna Gloria. FREE with registration.
When: Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Downtown Hutto, 401 W. Front St, Hutto
This festive event features over 125 artisan and craft vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, and SNOW! Downtown Hutto Stores & Restaurants will be open and have Christmas Fair specials throughout the day. The Children’s Area wristband will be $5 pre-sale or $10 at the gate and includes all activities; snow, snow slide, bouncy houses, train, and ferris wheel. There will also be photos with Santa. FREE Parking is available at Hutto High School with shuttle pick-up & drop off right to the event.
When: Saturdays, December 8, 15, 22 & 29, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Blanton Museum of Art, Congress Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Austin
Get creative and construct a simple yarn ornament, inspired by our community collaboration project, Mindful Weaving, taking place in our Meredith Lounge located on the second floor of our museum. This event is included in the price of admission. Free for members and UT students, faculty, and staff. Parking is $4; bring your ticket with you to the museum.
When: December 8 & 9, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Maplewood Elementary School, 381/2 St. & Maplewood, Austin
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!
When: December 10-23, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Zilker Park, Barton Springs Road, Austin
Walk through a festive display of over 2 million lights on 40 displays while enjoying Austin’s favorite food trucks, nightly entertainment and holiday activities sure to create treasured memories. After you walk the trail, head over for the required spin under the Zilker Tree! $3 Entry fee except on select Free Admission nights. Check the calendar for event information.
When: Tuesday, December 11 & Wednesday, December 12; check schedule for time
Where: Alamo Drafthouse (Slaughter Lane, Mueller and Lakeline locations)
If you’ve always dreamed of living it up during the holiday season in little Kevin McCallister style then, AHHHHHH!, this is the event for you! It’s the next best thing to rigging up your house with booby traps for bumbling burglars. Plus it’s a whole lot safer and waaaaayy more tasty. Bring the whole family (or don’t) and join us as we devour the John Hughes/Chris Columbus classic where you can buy all “lovely cheese pizza” you want. We’ll even make it easier for you with special 2-for-1 pricing on our pies at these shows. Nope, you don’t even have to share one bit. Suck it, Buzz!
When: Thursday, December 13 – Sunday, December 23, various times
Where: Old Settlers Association and the Dell Diamond Parking lot, 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Christmas Towne features amazing light displays including a walking tunnel of lights, full-scale carnival rides, holiday refreshments and more.
When: December 13-24, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is an 12 day fine art, shopping destination featuring national and local award-winning artists, with live music and two full bars in a festive, lively atmosphere.
When: Sunday, December 16, 1-3 p.m.
Where: The Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St, Austin
Join The Driskill in celebrating the season by giving back. In collaboration with the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring, The Driskill is hosting its Fourth annual holiday cookie swap as a nod to its history of hotel-saving bake sales! Join us and curate your holiday cookie collection from the best bakers in Austin. Pre-order your cookie tin, then join us to peruse the baked goods and fill your festive tin while sipping on celebratory bubbles and delighting in the seasonal sounds of The Austin Carolers. Cost: $50 per tin.
When: Sunday, December 16, 2:30 p.m. (a short version for children), 5:30 p.m. (children and families)
Where: Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th Street, Austin
Each December in Austin a wonderful community of artists come together to create the magic of Wassail: a Solstice Christmas Family Celebration. Each year’s Wassail features a different culture, and this year we are celebrating Spain! It’s a family-friendly variety show of clowns, magic, music, puppets and plays!
When: Wednesday, December 19, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Where: The Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave., Austin
Sure, there are many great cinematic adaptations of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday story, but only one of them features Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Cratchits, Fozzie Bear as the festive “Fozziwig” and The Great Gonzo as Dickens himself. As you might imagine, Michael Caine’s Scrooge isn’t happy about being surrounded by all these Muppets, at least until he gets a heavy dose of the holiday spirit. A seasonal classic for the whole family! $12 per ticket.
When: Thursday, December 20, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Where: Blanton Museum of Art, Congress Ave & Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Austin
Don’t miss our annual one-of-a-kind Holiday Extravaganza with special guests Nakia and The Invincible Czars for what has become a “must see” for Austin music lovers. This concert features some expected favorites while also reaching out to those for whom the holidays are difficult, offering hope in the form of poignant anthems and seasonal sing-a-longs. Museum admission is always free on Thursdays.
When: Wednesday, December 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin
Minor Mishap’s Winter Solstice Lantern Parade has become an annual celebration of light, community, music, creativity and booty shakin’. Each year, we gather together on the longest night of the year, with lanterns in hand. Together, we make a collective art-piece, a swirl of beauty: of all our lanterns together in one place, under the night sky. Minor Mishap Marching Band – a 25-piece brass band – will provide the soundtrack. FREE! RSVP is required: https://goo.gl/forms/IDKkS06xGuWpNqqk2 The beauty of this event depends on YOU! Make lanterns! It’s easy and fun! Please, flashlight and flameless lanterns only. No flames allowed, ok?
When: Friday, December 21, noon
Where: Texas State Capitol Building, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin
2018 is the 45th anniversary for TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events, which are presented throughout the world. Watch a special tuba concert on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol Building. FREE!