Austin Trail of Lights – Friday, December 13 – Sunday, December 22, from 7 – 10 p.m. The Trail of Lights winds through 1.25 miles of Zilker Park. For two weeks in December, over 50 custom displays light up the night, bringing Austinites together to celebrate the season. Admission is FREE. Parking in Zilker Park is $15 and must be purchased in advance online. Shuttles are available for $3 per person. View transportation options. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
Alamo Kids’ Camp – Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15. FREE movies for children age 3 and up. Times vary by location. This weekend you can see Hugo (Slaughter Lane), Kung Fu Panda 2 (Alamo Village), Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Alamo Lakeline).
Leer y Crear: Family Story Time - Saturday, December 14 at 10:30 a.m. The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center is proud to offer Leer y Crear, a bilingual story time for families. Hear the story Charro Claus & the Tejas Kid by Xavier Garza and enjoy a themed activity that relates to the book. This program is FREE and all ages are welcome. ESB-MACC, 600 River St, Austin.
Bullock Goes to the Dogs – Saturday, December 14, from noon – 3 p.m. Spend the afternoon at the Bullock Texas State History Museum with Austin’s favorite mammal — the dog! The Lone Star Plaza will be filled with FREE activities celebrating the special relationship between dogs and their owners with games, photo ops, booths, demonstrations, and more. Held in conjunction with the new exhibit, Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time, which highlights the amazing history of mammals through the use of dynamic media displays, animated computer interactives, hands-on activities, touchable fossils, casts and taxidermy specimens. Regular admission applies if you’d like to see the exhibit. Call (512) 936-4649 for details. The Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave., Austin.
Festival of Carols – Saturday, December 14, from 1 – 5 p.m. Enjoy festive music performed by local school choirs, kids activities and refreshments. The festival is FREE to attend and enjoy the music. Some activities and the refreshments may require the purchase of tickets. French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos St, Austin.
Austin Public Library Holiday Open House – Saturday, December 14, from 1 – 3 p.m. Two locations: Pleasant Hill Branch (211 E. William Cannon Dr.) – craft activities for children, refreshments and a visit from Santa (BYO camera); and Manchaca Road Branch (5500 Manchaca Rd.) – crafts, refreshments, music and storytime at 2 p.m.
Tree Lighting at The Triangle – Saturday, December 14, from 4 – 6 p.m. FREE family holiday fun! Local schools will perform. Don’t forget your camera for photos with Santa! The Triangle, 4600 W Guadalupe, Austin.
Luminations – Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. Enjoy lighted gardens, filled with thousands of luminarias and twinkle lights. Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. There will also be children’s activities and numerous musical acts throughout both evenings. Kids can get a hug from Frosty the Snowman and make crafts in the Visitors Gallery. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin.
Snow Day at Hill Country Galleria – Sunday, December 15, from noon- 4 p.m. It snows every weekend in December at the Hill Country Galleria! Toss a snowball, build a snow man, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave.
Children in History: Kirsten Celebrates the Season – Sunday, December 15, from 1 – 4 p.m. Come visit the historic Swedish Cabin and learn about seasonal traditions Kirsten brought from Sweden in the mid-1800’s. Play pioneer party games to celebrate the holidays. Program is FREE with admission to Garden: $2 for resident adults/$3 for non-resident adults; $1 for children 3-12, and seniors 62 and over. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
Bonus Santa sightings:
Breakfast at Santa at The Arboretum – Saturday, December 14, from 9 a.m. – noon. Enjoy breakfast, story time, holiday arts & crafts, face painting, and more! The kids will get quality time with Mr. & Mrs. Claus and get the chance to have their photo taken! The event will be held in the restaurant park area by Brio, Blue Baker, and Estancia Churrascaria. Blue Baker will be providing small breakfast servings while supplies last. The Arboretum, 10000 Research Boulevard, Austin.
Santa’s Workshop – Saturday, December 14, from 10 – 11:30 a.m. HO! HO! HO! Santa’s coming! Bring your family and friends to Pickfair Community Center for this years Santa’s Workshop! FREE hot chocolate, snacks, crafts, and activities. Bring a camera and take a picture with Santa. For additional information, call (512) 974-3914. Pickfair Community Center, 10904 Pickfair Drive, Austin.
Cookies with Santa – Saturday, December 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. Santa is coming to the Pan Am Recreation Center for one last stop before Christmas arrives. Decorate cookies and visit with Santa Claus. Don’t forget to bring your wish list! FREE! Oswaldo A.B. Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center, 2100 East 3rd St., Austin.
Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, December 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. Join Gus Garcia Recreation Center for a special breakfast with Santa where your child will have the opportunity to share their Christmas dreams and wishes with Old Saint Nick himself! Every child will have the chance to have a personal visit with Santa as well as enjoy a pancake breakfast! FREE! Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane, Austin.
Big Frog of South Austin – Saturday, December 14, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Santa will be in the store and you can get one FREE white t-shirt with Santa photo! 5400 Brodie Lane, Suite 235, Austin.
2ND Street District – Saturday, December 14, from 1 – 6 p.m. Head to the 2nd Street District for the “Deck the District” event, where window walkers can enjoy carolers and an appearance by the one and only Santa Claus.
Santa Visits Microsoft Store in The Domain – Saturday, December 14, from 3 – 9 p.m. Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s making a stop at the Microsoft Store at The Domain! Stop in to for a FREE photo with Santa; all families will receive a print copy to take home and will be emailed a high resolution file via email the following week. This Santa is the “real deal” so if you have been meaning to get an awesome photo come by between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. Microsoft Store at The Domain, 3309 Esperanza Crossing, Ste. 104, Austin.
Abel’s North Pole – Sunday, December 15, from 1 – 6 p.m. Abel’s North Grill and Tap House will host a holiday event for the entire family, with activities for kids including an inflatable slide, bounce house, train rides, cookie decorating, and photos with Santa! Complimentary wine tasting for the adults and food and drink specials throughout the day. Admission is FREE with an unwrapped gift to support Gateway Church and their Giving Tree Project. Abel’s North Grill & Tap House, 4001 West Parmer Ln, Austin.
Bonus fun in the ‘burbs:
Holidays at Heritage Park (Pflugerville) – Friday, December 13, from 6 – 9 p.m. Revisit Christmas Days from the past. Holidays at Heritage Park offers choirs, hot chocolate and cookies, children’s arts and crafts, a hay ride and FREE pictures with Santa. Bring the family and start a new holiday tradition! Heritage Park, 901 Old Austin Hutto Rd, Pflugerville.
Polar Express on the Plaza (Round Rock) – Friday, December 13 at 6 p.m. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and bundle up for a FREE movie on the Plaza. Prete Main Street Plaza, 221 E. Main St., Round Rock.
Christmas Dreams & Snowy Things (Round Rock) – Saturday, December 14, from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. It will be snowing at the Boles Family Sports Complex (on North Mays Street) in Round Rock on Saturday! This FREE event will not only feature snow-filled activities, but also Giant Slides, Paintball, Tango Tower & Zip Line, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Blue Santa Donation Station, Train Rides, Interactive Holiday Booths (including decorating your own stockings, Santa hats and cookies / writing letters to Santa), Inflatables and Rides, Concessions, Live Music (with choirs from eight area elementary schools) and appearances by Santa himself! Admission is FREE and so is parking. Boles Family Sports Complex, 107 E Old Bowman Rd, Round Rock.
Budafest (Buda) – Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 14, from 10 a.m. to dusk (about 5:30 p.m.). Enjoy over 125 craft vendors, a parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, a full carnival at the city park, live music, Santa, and more! FREE entry to grounds. Parking in City Park will be available for a small fee. Main St & San Antonio St, Buda.
Santa at The Depot (Temple) – Saturday, December 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Santa arrives at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum by express train at 10 a.m. and will be available to hear the wish lists of all kids, whether they’ve been naughty or nice. To make sure the elves get the message, stop inside and send a telegraph to the North Pole. Enjoy sweets and warm goodies while you take a break to listen to the reading of The Night Before Christmas, and other performances by the Schade Tree Band, Kid Biz, and the Texas Country Gentlemen. This year the museum is pleased to announce its participation in the Temple Police Department’s Blue Santa program. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy, book or stuffed animal to place under the tree in the lobby. Gifts will be delivered to underprivileged children within the City of Temple who may not get the chance to have any presents under the tree this year. Santa at the Depot is a FREE event and admission is FREE to the museum all day. The museum is located in the Santa Fe Depot at 315 West Avenue B in downtown Temple.
Smudge Studios Holiday Bazaar – Saturday, December 14, from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Handmade gifts from local artists. FREE admission and parking. Enjoy shopping while sipping on some wine or bubbly. 500 West 38th Street, Austin.
Austin Flea – Saturday, December 14 at Red’s Porch (3508 S. Lamar) and Sunday, December 15 at Scholtz Beer Garten (1607 San Jacinto Blvd), from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. The Flea features all local handmade items and vintage wares from some of Austin’s most amazing and talented vendors. Find one-of-a-kind gifts for The Holidays or any occasion including jewelry, glasswork, clothing, artwork, paper goods, textiles and so much more! There will also be Flea Bags with vendor surprises for the first 20 folks through the doors each day (one per family please). Entrance to the event is FREE and open to all ages!
Etsy ATX Holiday Market – Sunday, December 15 at 10 a.m. Etsy ATX Holiday Market is a group of local artisans who create fine art, fine art photography, handmade jewelry, paper goods, woodworking, vintage, housewares, clothing and accessories, bath and beauty supplies, hand sculpted ceramics and pottery, yarnworks, knitting and crochet, woodworking, sculpture, toys, and Austin geekery! Get a taste of the Austin area of artisans who also also sell on Etsy.com. Holiday Inn Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar - Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., until Christmas Eve. All items at the bazaar have been handmade by local and regional artists that are selected through a rigorous jury process. The bazaar features the work of more than 130 artists that offer a wide variety of imaginative and beautiful gifts. You can expect to find paintings, photography, prints, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, accessories, glassworks, ceramics, and more. FREE admission and FREE parking! The Marchesa Hall & Theatre at Lincoln Village, 6226 Middle Fiskville Road.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Picture-2.png[/author_image] [author_info]Heidi Gollub loves exploring Austin and beyond with her 5 kids. For more local adventures for families, visit FreeFuninAustin.com. [/author_info] [/author]