Most of us families know by now that Santa makes appearances at local malls. But this is Austin, after all. Where can you see the jolly old guy and get a different kind of experience?
North Pole Flyer
Children of all ages enjoy the North Pole Flyer, the Austin Steam Train Association’s own Christmas story! On a two and a half hour excursion with Santa and Mrs. Claus, you’ll hear stories, sip on hot cocoa and munch on the signature Christmas cookie. Each car is decorated for the season and the North Pole Flyer story is read live on board. Click here for more information about this annual event. All cars are pulled by our 1960 Alco diesel locomotive. From November 29th until December 20th, the train departs at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Tickets start at $33/person. Austin Steam Train, 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Ste. C-100, Cedar Park, TX 78613.
Holiday Happy Hour with Santa and Cooper
Get photos with Santa and Cooper (a life-sized Longhorn that is the store mascot, not to be confused with Bevo) on Thursday, December 3 from 4-6pm at the University Co-op. Enjoy performances from the Texas Songhorns, free Tiffs treats, cocktails and ‘nog. Complimentary gift wrapping from the Austin Community Steelband. FREE. University Co-op, 2246 Guadalupe, Austin, TX 78705.
Breakfast With Santa at Torchy’s
Life in the City is hosting a get together at the Torchy’s Taco trailer for food and fun for the kids on Saturday, December 5 from 9-11am. You can also have your photo taken with Santa. FREE. Torchy’s Taco trailer, 1311 S. 1st St., Austin, TX 78704.
Santa in the Garden
On December 5th, 2015 from 10:00am – 3:00pm, The Austin Area Garden Center invites you to skip the long lines at the mall and bring the entire family to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will be plenty of goodies to eat, fun crafts to make and Christmas Story telling all within the beautiful setting of Zilker Botanical Garden. Mom and Dad can do some shopping in the Chrysalis Gift Shop and enjoy 20% off the entire store. Entry included in the price of admission (cash or check only: $1 for children ages 3-12,
$2 for Austin adult residents ages 13-61, $3 for non-resident adults ages 13-61 and $1 for seniors age 62 & over). Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78746.
20th Annual German Christmas Market
The German-Texan Heritage Society offers shoppers hand-made, imported crafts including plenty of Christmas themed decorations such as nutcrackers and ornaments at its annual Christmas Market, taking place this year on Saturday, December 5 from 10am-4pm. 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. FREE. German Free School of Austin, 507 E. 10th St., Austin, TX 78701.
Portraits with Santa at Evergreen Farms Christmas Trees
Capture the wonder of Christmas in your child’s eyes as he or she comes face to face with jolly ole’ Saint Nick on Saturday, December 5 from 11am-2pm. Come walk among the living pines, enjoy the scent of Christmas, and have your child’s photos taken with Santa. While you’re there, pick out your own fresh-cut Christmas tree to take home with you from Evergreen Farms. Packages start at $59. Evergreen Farms, 242 Monkey Rd., Elgin, TX 78621.
Heritage House Museum Christmas Open HouseThe Heritage House Museum Partners and Pflugerville Quilt Guild invite you to the Christmas Open House at the historic Heritage House Museum to tour and purchase quilts and homemade items. Heritage House is decorated for the holidays, and provides a chance for shopping. Bring your camera because Santa Claus will be there for pictures with children on the Heritage House front porch. The house is open December 5-6 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. FREE. Heritage House, 901 Old Austin-Hutto Road in Heritage Park, Pflugerville, TX 78660.
Downtown Holiday Stroll
The annual Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll is a family-friendly event on Saturday, December 5th that celebrates the arrival of the holiday season and the joy it brings. The evening starts at 6:00 p.m. when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season during KUTX 98.9 “Eklektikos” host John Aielli’s Holiday Sing Along. As the clock strikes 7 p.m., the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol tree begins, featuring a programmed light show at the top and bottom of every hour, set to holiday songs of local Austin musicians. From 7 to 9 p.m. you can get photos with Santa in an Airstream trailer while you are there! If you can, please support fellow members of the community by bringing non-perishable food or cash donations to the Capitol Christmas tree for the Capital Area Food Bank. Downtown Austin.
Santa at the Austin Aquarium
Photo taking will be available with our Green Screen technology where we are able to provide you a cool aquarium background to your photo. Santa will be available on December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 from 2pm-4pm and December 4, 11, 12, 18, 19 from 5pm-7pm. (Members only until December 17th.) Austin Aquarium, 13530 N. Hwy 183 #101, Austin, TX, 78750.
Farmer Santa at the HOPE Farmers Market
At the second Holiday Art Market, your kids can visit with Farmer Santa (have your photo taken by Alex Fitch Photography), as well as take yoga/meditation with Juli at noon, and participate in a clothing swap with The Austin Clothes Exchange. Youth sketch comedy on stage with Keepin’ It Weird TV from 11-1 and the Dead Music Capital Band playing holiday songs from 1-3 pm. December 6 from 11am-3pm. HOPE Farmers Market, 412 Comal St.
Milk and Cookies with Santa at Caswell House
Remember when your children saw Santa and the wonder filled their faces? Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to the historic Caswell House on Sunday, December 6th from 2-3pm and from 3:30-4:30pm. The afternoon includes, story time, a craft, sing-a-long carols, and scrumptious cookies with milk. Santa is happy to have his picture taken with your little one. Tickets are $15/child 12 and under and $5/adult. Caswell House, 1404 West Avenue, Austin, TX 78701.
Santa’s Bollywood Party
Celebrate the Holiday Season Bollywood Style with Monsoon Dance on Saturday, December 12th at 5pm. The event will feature a showcase of the latest and greatest Bollywood Dances with the very talented performers from the dance school, plus a special Bollywood presentation by none other than Santa Claus! In addition, there will be a holiday photo booth for the whole family, games and an open dance floor just for kids and their parents. The ticket price ($6.12 each or $16.37 for a family of four) also covers food and beverage (non-alcoholic). Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road, Austin, TX 78754.
Afternoon with Santa at the Driskill Hotel
Meet Santa at an Austin landmark on Sunday, December 13 from 3-6pm and capture photos at this family event while enjoying cookie decorating, crafts and hors d’ourvres. Reservations required and can be make by calling (512) 439-1234. $25 per person, plus tax. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St., Austin, TX 78701.
Skate with Santa at the Barton Creek Resort
Christmas comes to life at the Grand Opening of the Barton Creek Resort’s Holiday Lights & Ice season at 6:30 pm on Friday, December 18 with a special Winter Wonderland on Ice production by Ice Couture, featuring international dancers Kristen Nardozzi and Nick Traxler and Austin’s very own Chaparral Ice skaters. Enjoy a very special opportunity to take the ice with Santa Claus during the first skating session beginning at 7:00 pm until 8:30pm. You an also skate with Santa on the 18th, 19th, 20th and 23rd from 9-10:30pm, on December 19th from 3-4:30pm and 5-6:30pm. The ice rink is open to the public and tickets are available for purchase in the Holiday Shop located in the Canyons Room. Tickets are $25/adult and $20/children 12 and under. Barton Creek Resort & Spa, 8212 Barton Club Drive, Austin, TX 78735.
What’s your favorite place to get your child’s photo taken with Santa?