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The holidays are officially here. Whether you’re wanting to get the best Christmas card photo with the fam or have the most joyful Instagram, we’ve put together the best list for that photo-worthy opportunity.
While many of these events and photo ops are free others do have a fee. Please check the locale and event sites for complete details.
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.
Flower Vault Holiday Backgrounds at the Domain
Through December 31st | Weekends | 3306 Esperanza Crossing
If you’re planning on shopping at The Domain this holiday season, make sure to reserve a time to snap some photos at this colorful installation. With nine limited-edition holiday backgrounds featuring candy canes, garland galore, life-sized nutcrackers, floral holiday trees, a seven-foot teddy bear, you will definitely get that Instagram-worthy photo. With the purchase of a $20 ticket, guests can share the space with one another for one hour. Kids under 10 are free with a parent and fur babies are $10!
Four Seasons Hotel Gingerbread Village
Through December 25 | Daily | 98 San Jacinto Boulevard
Head to the Four Seasons for a one-of-a-kind Christmas display that every member of your family will love. Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Pallagi-Naim designed and created a gingerbread village featuring Austin cityscape. The display will even feature Austin institutions like the Capitol, Franklin Barbecue, Barton Springs Pool, Torchy’s Tacos, and Lady Bird Lake. The display is totally free and open to locals and guests!
The Driskill Hotel
Through December 25 | Nightly | 604 Brazos Street
Pop into The Driskill Hotel for an iconic Austin photo opportunity. This historic hotel located in central downtown features a stunning, floor to ceiling Christmas tree!
Through December 25 | Nightly | 320 South Capital of Texas Highway
Check out the lobby and courtyard of this luxurious hotel for some great Christmas photos. The new Houston-based hotel has a beautiful giant Christmas and has not spared on any lights. With Hotel Granduca being a short drive from downtown Austin, it’s easily accessible!
The Domain Light Shows & Carolers
Through December 25 | Nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. and Weekends from 2 to 9 p.m. | 11410 Century Oaks Terrace
Not only does The Domain have tons of great shopping for the holidays, but they go all out on their decor. There’s 10 minute nightly light shows in between Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillards with more than 82,000 lights. Or, visit the Century Oaks Park or the lawn to hear Christmas carolers on the weekends in December. Lastly, the lawn at The Domain will have free holiday crafts and story time for kids on December 7, 14, and 21.
Mozart’s Christmas Light Show
Through January 5 | Light show runs daily from 6 to 11 p.m. | Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Boulevard
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters takes Christmas lights to the next level every year. With the coffee house and bakery sitting right on the water, this is definitely one of the more photo-worthy opportunities for Austin original pics. Admission is free and there’s no reserved seating on their patio so we recommend getting there early if you want a seat underneath the lights!
Kendra Scott Flagship
Through December 25 | Daily | 1701 South Congress Avenue
Kendra Scott jewelry will satisfy any jewelry fan on your gift list! This Austin-based jewelry store opened their doors in 2010 have have totally taken over the market. So while you’re hitting all the local shops on South Congress, take the kiddos to the Kendra Scott store to snap a photo in front of their adorable pink Christmas tree mural.
Christmas Family Night 2019
December 6 | at 6:30 p.m. | Intersection of Mays and Main Street, Round Rock
The city of Round Rock is bringing back their annual Family Night with Mayor Morgan and Santa! This free event features games and activities, followed by the illumination of the Hometown Holiday lights and Round Rock water Tower. Kids should bring their Wish List to share with Santa as parents can take photos. Plus, enjoy free hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, and other refreshments, activities and snacks. Afterwards, you and your family can be apart of a silent disco featuring Freeze Frame ATX starting at 7 p.m.
Holiday in the Park & Craft Fair
December 7 | from 12 to 3 p.m. | Cat Hollow Park, 8600 O’Connor Drive, Round Rock, TX
There’s fun for the entire family at this holiday event and craft fair. This free event features live music, activities for the kids like meeting Santa and Rudolph, food vendors, and local artisans. Take the kids on a horse-drawn carriage ride or over to the petting zoo!
Holiday-Themed Disney Play Date
December 7 | from 12 to 3 p.m. | Round Rock Premium Outlets, 4401 North Interstate Highway 35, Round Rock, TX, Disney Store Outlet Entrance
Activities featuring Disney characters with a holiday theme are definitely going to get your kids excited. This event will feature activities inspired by Disney characters Fancy Nancy, Muppet Babies, Puppy Dog Pals, T.O.T.S., and Vampirina. The first 100 guests receive an Exclusive Character Card and everyone can enjoy balloon art and face painting! Plenty of great photo opportunities with a holiday-themed photo booth for everyone!
Breakfast with the Grinch benefitting Partnerships for Children
December 7 | from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.| The Venue ATX, 516 East 6th Street
Have breakfast with the holiday-loathing character himself, the Grinch! Breakfast is complete with face painting, Whoville hair, holiday craft stations, pictures with the Grinch, and more. Tickets are $15 for ages 3 and up, benefits Partnerships for Children!
Jingle Bell Jamboree
December 7 | from 3 to 5 p.m. | The Domain, Century Oaks Terrace between Starbucks and Kendra Scott
Bring your families to this merry holiday event at The Domain! Enjoy live music from Joe McDermott and Koo Koo Kanga Roo while partaking in face painting, balloon artists, holiday-themed crafts, photo booths, and more.
Santa Brunch at TLC
December 7 | from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. | TLC Austin, 1100 South Lamar Boulevard
Take the kids to brunch at TLC Austin and enjoy brunch and a prime rib bar, hot cocoa bar, and cookie decorating. For an additional cost, take a photo with Santa!
Family Fun with Santa at Butler Pitch & Putt
December 8 | from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | 201 Lee Barton Drive
Santa is swinging through Butler Pitch and Putt for a free, family-friendly event! Enjoy free family play, contests, giveaways, and free gear for kids. make sure to reserve your time slot to take a free photo with Santa on the green!
Austin Trail of Lights
December 10 to 23 | from 7 to 10 p.m.| Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road
Back for it’s 55th year (wow!), this huge walkable lights display in Zilker Park is the perfect way to get everyone in the family to enjoy some holiday cheer. From music, to food, to family fun, Austin Trail of Lights has something for everyone of every age. Featuring 2 million lights, with 60 light displays, Austin Trail of Lights is able to offer free nights in addition to their ticketed nights. Check out their calendar here to see what’s going on each night at Zilker.
The North Pole Flyer Train Ride
Saturdays and Sundays through December 15 | Times Vary | Austin Steam Train Association, 401 East Whitestone Boulevard, Cedar Park
Hop aboard the North Pole Flyer for this Polar Express-inspired train ride! As you depart, a Story Teller Elf joins you to read you the story of the North Pole Flyer. On 2-hour train ride, expect visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, in tow with hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. Balloon artists, coloring books, and Christmas sing-alongs will be had, plus pajamas are encouraged. Rides are scheduled throughout the day and tickets must be purchased in advance, ranging from $50 to $60.
Sleigh: an Immersive Holiday Inspired Holiday Experience
December 14 and 15 | from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Victoria’s Tea House and Garden, 1518 East Palm Valley Road, Round Rock
Get the coolest holiday photos this year in five immersive holiday-inspired rooms including Cozy Cottage, Candy Cane Dreams, Rainbow Village, Pink Prancer, and Silent forNite. While enjoying this one-of-a-kind experience, you can shop local vendors to get a head start on your holiday list. Adults are $20, kids 18 and under are $15, and kids 2 and under are free. Reservation includes a 90 minute time slot.
Looking for more holiday fun?
Check out these posts:
- Holiday Markets, Art Bazaars, And Fairs In Austin 2019
- Ring In The Season With These Austin Area Holiday Parades
- Holiday Lights Displays in Central Texas
- 15 Perfect Ways to Have a Very Merry Christmas in Austin