25+ FREE “Don’t Miss” Events: January 2018

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to get out and experience Austin this year! There’s always something fun to do here, and we’ve rounded up the best FREE events coming up in January, so this will be the easiest-to-keep resolution you’ve ever made!

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Photo by Flickr user jrandallc, Creative Commons licensed.

First Day Hikes
January 1 | multiple times | Texas State Parks
Kick off the new year outdoors on a FREE First Day Hike! Participating state parks include LBJ State Park, Enchanted Rock, Lockhart State Park, Bastrop State Park, and McKinney Falls State Park. Please note that while the hikes are FREE, regular park admission applies.

Black Eyed Pea Run
January 1 | at 8:30 a.m. | Rogue Running, 410 Pressler St, Austin
The Black Eyed Pea Run is an Austin tradition, and as always, it is FREE and open to everyone. We will have 3, 5, 7, and 10-mile route options to choose from, each with a map and water stops provided along the way. When you finish, grab a dish of black eyed peas and a mimosa, then stick around awhile. This is a great chance to hang and connect with much of Austin running community!

Barton Springs Polar Bear Splash
January 1 | from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Park, Austin
It’s the annual Polar Bear Splash at Barton Springs Pool on New Year’s Day! Admission to the pool is FREE all day, starting at 5:00 a.m. Save Our Springs will set up at 9:00 a.m. with our commemorative shirts for sale, and free coffee and donuts! Everything is first come, first serve, (and they will run out fast). So get there early, bring your friends and family to enjoy the inviting 68 degree water, and ring in the new year with the rejuvenating power of Barton Springs. FREE! 

Pfreeze Pflop (Pflugerville)
January 1 | at 10 a.m. | Scott Mentzer Pool, 901 Old Austin Hutto Rd, Pflugerville
Are you brave enough to slide into the pfrigid water at Scott Mentzer Pool to kick off your new year? The event lasts until the last brave soul goes down the slide! Pfirst 50 people will receive a pfree t-shirt. No, the pool isn’t heated. Admission is FREE with donation of a canned food item to benefit local food banks.

Polar Bear Splash (Kyle)
January 1 | at 1 p.m. | Kyle Pool, Gregg-Clarke Park, 1100 W Center St, Kyle
Take part in the Kyle tradition and make a splash at the Kyle Pool. FREE! Light snacks and drinks available.

Mozart’s Annual Light Show
January 1-2 | from 6 to 11 p.m. |
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin
Starting 6 p.m. each evening, and replaying at the top of every hour until closing (last show at 11 p.m.), enjoy dazzling lights set to music!  FREE!

The Peterson Brothers Band at Continental Club
Mondays in January | at 6:30 p.m. | The Continental Club, 1315 S Congress Ave
Blues, Funk & Soul Monday at The Continental Club with the talented Peterson Brothers Band, it’s FREE, fun and early!!

Community Cinema: Doctor Strange + A Live Magic Show!
Friday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. | Community First! Village, 9301 Hog Eye Rd
Grab chairs and a blanket, bring family and friends, and enjoy a special screening of Doctor Strange, preceded by a special live magic show from Dr. John “MadMan” Maverick. Come as early as 6:30 p.m. to explore Community First! Village, pick your spot, and enjoy your favorite movie snacks. Burgers, Hot dogs, milkshakes, popcorn, candy and drinks will be available for purchase (cash and cards accepted). Concession sales and tips help Community First! friends who will be serving you to earn a modest living income. Plus, stop by the Community Market to check out all the beautiful art and handcrafted products that Community First! residents make in the various micro-enterprise programs at the Village. Movie begins at approximately 7:30 p.m. Reserve your FREE tickets here. A donation of $5 is greatly appreciated.

Free First Sunday at the Bullock Museum: Music
January 7 | from 12 to 5 p.m. | Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave., Austin
Enjoy FREE exhibit admission all day during Free First Sundays, held the first Sunday of every month, and family activities from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. At January’s Free First Sunday, celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday and learn more about music!

Community Cinema: Sleepless in Seattle
Friday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m. | Community First! Village, 9301 Hog Eye Rd
Grab chairs and a blanket, bring family and friends, and enjoy a special screening of Sleepless in Seattle. Come as early as 6:30 p.m. to explore Community First! Village, pick your spot, and enjoy your favorite movie snacks. Burgers, Hot dogs, milkshakes, popcorn, candy and drinks will be available for purchase (cash and cards accepted). Concession sales and tips help Community First! friends who will be serving you to earn a modest living income. Plus, stop by the Community Market to check out all the beautiful art and handcrafted products that Community First! residents make in the various micro-enterprise programs at the Village. Movie begins at approximately 7:30 p.m. Reserve your FREE tickets here. A donation of $5 is greatly appreciated.

Coffee with a Cop
Sat., January 13 | from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. | Bennu Coffee, 2001 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Austin PD is proud to announce the first 2018 weekend edition of Coffee with a Cop! If you live or work in Central East Austin, join APD District Reps for coffee. Bring the kids and meet your local neighborhood officers, ask questions or discuss safety concerns at our next community engagement event. Event is FREE!

The BIG Preschool Roundup (Cedar Park)
January 13 | from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. | High Hopes Sports Center, 1800 Clover Lane, Cedar Park
MOMS Club® of Cedar Park presents its 2nd Annual Preschool Fair, The BIG Preschool Roundup. This annual event is your one-stop shop for “All Things Preschool”! Come connect with a variety of childcare facilities, extra-curricular activity groups, and family-friendly businesses from Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock that offer programs, products, and services for children 6 and under. Families receive FREE admission to discover “All Things Preschool”!

Second Saturdays are for Families: Hit the Road
January 13 | from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria, 3809 West 35th St., Austin
Every second Saturday of the month, The Contemporary Austin offers hands-on art-making workshops at Laguna Gloria, inspired by the exhibitions on view. See family-friendly performances, meet local artists, and make art to take home. Recommended for ages 2–11. This month: Terry Allen’s Road Angel just got a brand new playlist! Come make your own cardboard art car inspired by the auto-themed work of art, then pull up to the drive-in movie theater to enjoy a special screening of the Kid Flix Mix from the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

When I Grow Up Festival
January 14 | from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd, Austin
Does your kid ever wonder what it would be like to tap dance on stage, teach in a classroom, or launch into space? Come to this Festival! Your kids can plant a seed with a farmer, try a pirouette with a ballerina, listen to a heartbeat with a doctor, cook with a chef, learn about artistic and entertainment fields through children’s musicians, storytimes, dance, yoga, and enjoy other exciting performances throughout the day. Guests who register prior to the event will receive a Swag Bag filled with coupons and goodies! One per family while supplies last. FREE!

Umlauf Family Day
January 14 | from 12 to 4 p.m. | 605 Robert E. Lee Road, Austin
Family Days offer special, hands-on programs designed for families with children, ages four to ten years old. Families have the opportunity to explore the UMLAUF while engaging in creative activities. Listen to stories, do yoga in the garden, watch sculpture demos, enjoy live music and more. FREE and open to the public.

Free Day of Fitness and Pilates at Ballet Austin
January 14 | from 1 to 4:30 p.m. | Ballet Austin, 501 W 3rd St, Austin
Every day is a good day to make healthy choices, but January is the perfect time to renew and revive your health and fitness goals. Make plans to attend Ballet Austin’s annual GET FIT event and kick off the new year celebrating motivated and ready to both begin and maintain a healthier life. Sample a FREE variety of fitness and conditioning classes, try the Pilates reformer, learn more about living healthy, visit with local health and wellness experts in our exhibit area, sample healthy foods, hear presentations from experts in the field, and have fun! Healthy living is meant to be enjoyed! See the schedule.

Free Admission to the LBJ Presidential Library
January 15 | from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | LBJ Library, 2313 Red River St., Austin
Enjoy FREE admission for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

MLK March and Festival
January 15 | at 9 a.m. | The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E 23rd St, Austin
The Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus. The march will continue to the south steps of the State Capitol for a short program and marchers will continue on to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where exciting activities are planned. All businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals are invited to march and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. The MLK Community Festival kicks off as soon the march arrives on location and will last until 3 p.m.; it will include all types of vendors and local musical artists to make this year’s celebration the best ever! For questions and information, please contact Carol Wright at (512) 657-3064. This year, marchers are asked to help by donating can goods or non-perishable food items, which will be donated to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Third Thursdays at the Blanton
January 18 | from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin
Every third Thursday, the Blanton has a FREE themed event that features extended hours, multiple programs including Yoga in the Galleries, tours, and other offerings. See the schedule. Thursdays are always FREE at The Blanton.

KIPP Austin Carnival for All
January 20 | from 11 a.m.to 2 p.m. | KIPP Obras and KIPP Leadership Schools, 5107 I-35 South, Ste A
FREE KIPP Austin Public Schools Carnival for KIPP students and non-KIPP students. KIPP students that bring a non-KIPP student get a raffle ticket. All non-KIPP students get a raffle ticket! There will be bouncy houses, a ball pit, petting zoo, video game truck, BEVO the mascot, and FREE lunch!

20th Annual Camp Fair
January 20 | from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Palmer Events Center,  900 Barton Springs Rd., Austin
This is a FREE event showcasing local and out-of-area spring and summer day and overnight camps for kids ages 4 to 18! Bring the entire family to learn about camp opportunities and to have some fun. We’ll have entertainment and drawings throughout the day for free camp stays. Come learn about various options for summer camp and enter chance to win one of many camps being given away that day!

Community Cinema: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
January 26 at 6:30 p.m. | Community First! Village, 9301 Hog Eye Rd
Grab chairs and a blanket, bring family and friends, and enjoy a special screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Come as early as 6:30 p.m. to explore Community First! Village, pick your spot, and enjoy your favorite movie snacks. Burgers, Hot dogs, milkshakes, popcorn, candy and drinks will be available for purchase (cash and cards accepted). Concession sales and tips help Community First! friends who will be serving you to earn a modest living income. Plus, stop by the Community Market to check out all the beautiful art and handcrafted products that Community First! residents make in the various micro-enterprise programs at the Village. Movie begins at approximately 7:30 p.m. Reserve your FREE tickets here. A donation of $5 is greatly appreciated.

Free Day of Dance
January 27 | times vary | Locations vary
Over 100 FREE dance classes offered throughout the Austin area in Country, Swing, Salsa, Ballroom, Tango and more! Visit FreeDayofDance.com for the schedule of all classes. The schedule will be posted at the end of December. If a class requires any pre-registration, it will be noted on the schedule. Otherwise, show up 10-15 minutes early for the classes you’d like to take.

For Women For Life (Cedar Park)
January 27 | from 9 to 11 a.m. | Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Cedar Park
910 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park

For Women For Life® is a FREE ​​women’s health and wellness event offering education on healthy living, screenings, physician panels and more. Join us this year and don’t forget to bring the important women in your life with you! Health and wellness booths are come and go throughout the event. A healthy cooking demonstration will also be ongoing featuring healthy brunch items. Screenings will be offered throughout event and will include blood pressure, body fat/BMI assessment, posture analysis, grip strength, vision and more. FREE! Register now!

Texas Wildlife Day
January 27 | from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St
Celebrate everything feathered, furred, smooth and scaled at Texas Memorial Museum! FREE admission and FREE family-friendly activities hosted by UT Austin scientists, TMM science educators, Austin Bat Refuge and three local chapters of Texas Master Naturalists. Museum exhibits open 9 am to 5 pm and the activities run from 10 am until 4 pm.

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About the Author

Jaelyn Penner
Jaelyn was born and raised in Kansas, but she got to Texas as soon as she could! After a few years of youthful fun in Dallas, Jaelyn decided to make her passion her career and headed to west Texas to make it happen. There, she honed her musical chops while studying Commercial Music, and then headed straight for Austin to help keep it weird. Once here, she unexpectedly found her soul mate, and loves that her husband and two boys are now her biggest fans! Besides being a musician, Jaelyn also works as a corporate event planner, is a self-proclaimed “celebratory expert” and a long-time foodie. She doesn’t feel complete unless she is keeping up with all the cool stuff Austin has to offer.