With Halloween now behind us (even though we can still eke out a few more weeks of sneaking our kids’ candy), it’s time to look ahead to the holiday season and all the fun happenings in our area during the month of November. Whether it’s your first Thanksgiving with family in town, the first year you will be in Austin for winter break or whether you are on a mission to make it to more events, we’ll have you covered the last two months of the year with a special events post at the start of each month. So, grab your calendar, select your favorites, and buckle your seat belts, because it’s going to be a fun, wild ride!
WurstFest (New Braunfels) – Friday, November 7 – Sunday, November 16
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.
WurstFest is a unique celebration rich in German culture and full of Texas fun. During the 10-day festival, you’ll find a variety of entertainment, food and fun on the Wurstfest Grounds in Landa Park and many special events throughout New Braunfels and Comal County. Your admission charge includes access to all entertainment and access to public areas. Children 12 and under are always admitted free. Admission is free on opening day, November 7, until 7:00 p.m. and you can download a buy one, get one free coupon online for the first weekend.
Mueller Fall Fest – Saturday, November 8
Bring the kids for games, prizes, treats and much more. All are welcome. This free event includes a petting zoo, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating, a cake walk, a temporary tattoo booth, and more and runs from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Free.
Veterans Day Parade – Tuesday, November 11
The 61st Annual Veterans Day Parade to honor our nation’s members of the armed services will begin at the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at 9:30 a.m., after a flyover, and continue to the Capitol building. The Del Valle High School Band will perform, and the Memorial Ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. on the south steps of the Capitol. This year, we will honor the sacrifice and service of our Veterans of the Gulf Wars with a tribute to all World War II Veterans, on this 70th anniversary of D-Day. Free.
Follow the Elves – Wednesday, November 12 – Saturday, December 13
Experience Shoemaker & the Elves like you’ve never seen it before! Watch online and follow the elves to libraries around Austin library branches this winter for a four-part series of video episodes, along with related stories and crafts! Enjoy a new multimedia experience each week as the story unfolds. Attend the grand finale to watch the entire movie and craft your heart out. This show is recommended for children ages 4 and up. Free.
Movies in the Park: The Dark Knight –
Thursday, November 13 Postponed due to weather.
Movies in the Park is a series of free films brought to you by the Austin Parks Foundation (APF), and presented by the #1 movie theater in America, the Alamo Drafthouse. Each year, APF and the Drafthouse bring you totally free movies right in downtown Austin at Republic Square Park. Austin residents and visitors bring their blanket or lawn chairs (and often a picnic dinner!) for a fun and relaxing evening under the beautiful Austin night sky. The Dark Knight will begin at 6:30 p.m. Free.
24th Annual Fossil Fest (Round Rock) – Saturday, November 15 – Sunday, November 16
Have the opportunity to interact one on one with a UT scientist, science educators and Paleontology Society of America members through hands-on learning and demos, question and answer sessions and fossil identification at the Old Settler’s Heritage Association. Attend mini-workshops to learn how plants and animals fossilize and to create a make and take craft. Fully explore exhibits, displays and activities with a “Paleo Passport”, hear a guest speaker and learn more about Ice Age Texas. Show runs from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. both days. $3/adult, $2/child (6-12 years old) and children under 6 are free.
East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) – Saturday, November 15 – Sunday, November 16 and Saturday, November 22 – Sunday, November 23
EAST is a free, annual, self-guided art event occurring over two weekends in November, providing the public with an opportunity to meet the makers: the local artists and artisans who leave a lasting imprint on Austin’s vibrant, dynamic culture. Tour-goers are invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists’ tools, techniques, and inspirations, and explore unique exhibition spaces and local businesses. Happenings are also free, occurring on the weekends of the tour with varying hours. Select Events happen on both of the tour weekends, as well as during the weekdays/nights in between and may cost money to attend.
8th Annual Tree Lighting & Santa’s Arrival (Bee Cave) – Thursday, November 20
The Hill Country Galleria’s 8th Annual Tree Lighting kicks off at 6:00 p.m. in the amphitheater. Enjoy a free holiday concert by The Vintage 15, face painting and holiday carolers. Santa will arrive at 7:00 p.m. escorted by the Lake Travis High School Cavalettes. The lighting of the holiday tree will take place afterwards, followed by a fireworks show. Annaka Chesnut from the CW will be on hand to help welcome Santa. Free.
Thanksgiving Community Dinner at Givens Recreation Center – Thursday, November 20
Receive a free Thanksgiving meal, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Walk-ins accepted.
The Domain’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting – Sunday, November 23
(The event date has changed from Saturday due to rain in the forecast.)
The Domain will kick off the holiday season with the lighting of its 40-foot Christmas tree, featuring 6,000 twinkling lights, 400 ornaments and five-foot star topper, during the 8th Annual Lighting of The Great Tree. The 30-minute tree-lighting show will feature dynamic musical performances, culminating with the lighting of the tree by Santa himself at 6:00 p.m. Starting at noon in the Domain II, guests can enjoy free holiday entertainment, performances by area schools, special in-store events, craft activities, face painting, caricature drawings, balloon twisting stations and more. Free.
4th Annual Holiday Window Walk – Sunday, November 23 – Saturday, December 6
Local businesses in the 2ND Street District (2SD) are spreading holiday cheer throughout the district by transforming 15 storefront windows into elaborate art installations, created by local students, for the 4th Annual Holiday Window Walk. The 2SD Holiday Window Walk is an annual competition open to theatrical design students from St. Edward’s University and Texas State University, where 2SD businesses let their storefront windows become the students’ canvases for an opportunity to win collegiate scholarships. With this year’s theme taken from lyrics of holiday songs and Christmas carols and lines from classic holiday stories and films, shoppers will have the opportunity to see various creative and innovative window designs.
Austin Empty Bowl Project – Sunday, November 23
Potters from all over Central Texas donate bowls of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Then, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, friends and families come together from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 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 Meals on Wheels and More’s Meals for Kids, and the Capital Area Food Bank to help sponsor the Kids Cafe Program. Kids Cafe provides a safe, nurturing place where children receive a hot, nutritious dinner, as well as help with homework. T-shirts are available for purchase and you can also bid on bowls made or signed by celebrities. The event is quite popular so you’ll need to arrive early if you’d like to participate.
H-E-B Feast of Sharing – Tuesday, November 25
The annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing holiday dinner, takes place from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center. In addition to a holiday meal you can enjoy music, arts and crafts, and kids activities – even an appearance by Santa himself. Free.
Turkey Trot – Thursday, November 27
ThunderCloud Subs, held its first Turkey Trot in 1991. The ThunderCloud Sub Turkey Trot has since become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition for many Austin families and individuals who want to do something healthy and helpful before the big meal. One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to Caritas of Austin—a nonprofit organization that provides housing, employment, education, and food services to more than 20,000 homeless, working poor, and documented refugees in Travis County. The Turkey Trot, which takes place at the Long Center, features a five-mile run, one-mile walk and a Kids K. Registration starts at $8.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar – Friday, November 28 – Wednesday, December 24
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a fixture of the Austin holiday shopping season. It will be open again for its 14th year at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre. The Bazaar features unique work from over 200 local and regional artists, with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish®. Parking and admission are always free.
25th Annual Lights Spectacular Hill Country Style (Johnson City) – Friday, November 28
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style. Proclaimed as “the Centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail” by Southern Living magazine with a courthouse that “shines brighter than the star of Bethlehem”. The entire town is bathed in lights with 100,000 lights twinkling on the Blanco County Courthouse while Pedernales Electric Coop’s Headquarters on Ave F boasts a lighted forest of over 1 million lights. The official lighting of the Blanco County Courthouse will begin at 6:30 p.m. Don’t miss the Chuck Wagon Food Court next to the Johnson City Bank. Fireworks will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the official lighting of the Blanco County Courthouse. Live band music will continue throughout the evening festivities. Free hayrides, sponsored by the Antique Tractor Club, will operate until approximately 10 p.m. (loading in front of Texas 290 Diner – weather permitting). Carriage rides will be available. Free.
The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights (Wimberley) – Saturday, November 29 – Wednesday, December 31
Stroll a walking path with more than 100 lighted exhibits created by local businesses, churches, organizations and families. Roast a marshmallow at the Yule Log and listen to live entertainment on most nights.The trail will be open from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Free.
Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade – Saturday, November 29
This parade starts at 11:00 a.m. at the Texas Capitol and moves south on Congress, all the way to Cesar Chavez, ending just north of the bridge. The hour-long procession features giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, marching bands, cool classic cars and Santa! At a designated time towards the end of the parade, Santa’s Helpers will line the parade route and help spectators donate new, unwrapped toys to Operation Blue Santa, which brings Christmas magic to children under 15 years old that otherwise might not receive any gifts. Free.
Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting – Sunday, November 30
The Zilker Tree has been lighting the Austin skies during the holiday season since 1967. The tree, which is located in Zilker Park, will be lit for the first time by the winners of a city-wide tree coloring contest. The ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m. and features local entertainment, food, novelties and live music. (Please bring cash if you’d like to patronize the vendors.) Performers include the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble and the Barton Hills Choir. Free.
Reindeer Run (Round Rock) – Sunday, November 30
Join the 4th Annual Reindeer Run 5k and Family Fun Run through the Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour in Old Settlers Park. This is the only opportunity to walk or run through this amazing holiday lights display! The Reindeer Run benefits Round Rock’s Play for All Abilities Park. Registration is free (with parent or guardian) for children age 9 and under. Adults may register for $25-$30 and their registration includes a t-shirt. Register online.
A recovering workaholic, Nicole Basham now spends her time rediscovering Austin through her 8-year-old son’s eyes. A soccer-playing mom, Nicole also enjoys tickling too close to bedtime, taking in some live music and being silly. You can also find her writing at LiveMom, Savvy Source for Parents and CultureMap.