100+ Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Central Texas 2018

We’ve got the mother lode of all holiday events posts right here, so get ready! Here are more than 100 ways for you to celebrate the holidays in Central Texas. Some of these holiday events and activities are free and some are not, so please check each listing for details. So bundle up (or not, depending on the day), grab your favorite elf, and enjoy the holidays in the Austin area.

Photo by Casey Chapman Ross, courtesy of Trail of Lights.

Holiday Extravaganzas

Sights and Sounds of Christmas (San Marcos)
November 28 – December 1 and December 5 – 8 | from 5 to 11 p.m. | 401 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos
Here you’ll find popular carnival rides for all ages, a variety of delicious festival food, live performances, and even a visit from Santa Claus. Also enjoy the Town of Bethlehem, pony rides, reindeer games, a petting zoo, and more! All events take place amidst a sea of beautiful Christmas lights spread throughout the park. Sights & Sounds has something for everyone to help celebrate the holiday season! Nightly admission is $5; kids 12 and under are free. Photos with Santa are free! Bring your own camera.

Christmas Stroll (Georgetown)
November 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.December 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. | Downtown Georgetown
Parade, shopping, photos with Santa, dessert with the Grinch, outdoor movie, Bethlehem Village, live performances, Home Depot workshops, food, climb and slide, and

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
November 23-December 30 (not all days) | from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. all other days | Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin
Admission: $16 (children 5 and under FREE). The 2nd annual Winter Wonderland will transport guests of all ages to a world of wonder, offering a completely new, immersive and captivating experience that includes the Chinese Lantern Festival. The world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival will brighten up guests’ holiday season by allowing them to experience the wonders of illumination and travel through a extraordinary cultural experience. Traditionally held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, this colorful and lively Chinese celebration includes interactive entertainment, immersing guests with the culture, music, arts and life of authentic China.

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, guests will get to experience the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Texas as well as festive favorites like the Tunnel of LightsSinging TreesSanta’s Workshop, and the Petting Zoo. Families can continue enjoying the festival with additional holiday happenings including the Vendor VillageCOTA Express Train RidesSanta Portraits, Camel Rides, and much more.

Old Town Christmas Festival (Leander)
December 1 | from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. | 100 N. Brushy Street, Leander
Free!

Christmas Family Night (Round Rock)
December 7 | 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Main St., Round Rock
During Christmas Family Night, Main Street is decorated with small wooden houses which host various games and activities. The event kicks off with a welcome from Mayor Craig Morgan, followed by the illumination of the all NEW Hometown Holiday lights. Then Santa makes his grand entrance. This free event includes activities for the entire family including live music, dancers, candle making, game booths, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and more. Children should bring their “wish lists” for Santa Claus and parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras for pictures with Santa. Plus, enjoy free hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, and other refreshments, activities and snacks.

Downtown Christmas Fair (Hutto)
December 8 | from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Downtown Hutto
Join us for the 6th annual Downtown Christmas Fair featuring over 125 artisan and craft vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, and SNOW! Downtown Hutto Stores & Restaurants will be open and have Christmas Fair specials throughout the day. The Children’s Area wristband will be $5 pre-sale or $10 at the gate and includes all activities; snow, snow slide, bouncy houses, train, and ferris wheel. Tickets can be purchased here. There will also be free photos with Santa inside of The Hutto Area Chamber (122 East Street).

 

Holiday Lights Displays

https://www.facebook.com/austintrailoflights/photos/a.395360093864137.90466.287902324609915/1251220081611463/?type=3&theater

Austin Trail of Lights

Santa’s Ranch (New Braunfels)
November 2 – December 30 | 6 to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday | 9561 I-35 North, New Braunfels
You’ll be awestruck by over 1.5 million, custom made lights all put up to help you experience the magic of the Christmas season. $28 + tax per car.

Santa’s Wonderland (College Station)
November 9 – December 30 | times vary | 18898 State Highway 6 S, College Station
Santa’s Wonderland operates every evening, including all major holidays. Hours of operation vary. Please check their website for specific time. Prices vary depending on tour selection. Children ages 2 and under admitted free.

Walkway of Lights (Marble Falls)
November 16 – December 26 | 6 to 10 p.m. | Lakeside Park, Buena Vista, Marble Falls
Walkway of Lights will be open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m., weather permitting. Celebrate the holidays with over two million lights, photos with Santa, and so much more! Make the Walkway of Lights your new family tradition, and experience the magic year after year! Admission is always free, yet donations are much appreciated! Don’t forget, concessions and Santa photos are fundraisers for local non-profit organizations.

Mozart’s Annual Light Show
November 16 – January 1 (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) | 6 to 11 p.m. |
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin
The 9th Annual Joyous Mozart’s Christmas Light Show is here and better than ever! This year is an on-going experience with over one million LED lights, a giant coffee mug, and more. New this year is the Cobalt Blue Piano that will be played by pianist all season long. They also have a German Market in the parking lot serving warm treats as you walk in. Whether you’ve been before or not, this is the year to add the Mozart’s Light Show to your calendar!

https://www.facebook.com/MozartsCoffeeRoasters/photos/a.467620551681.252563.181499436681/10153913517361682/?type=3&theater

Mozart’s Holiday Lights Display

Holiday Tree Lighting
November 17 | 4 to 7 p.m. | The Arboretum at Great Hills, 10000 Research Blvd, Austin
Kick-off the holiday season with our 2nd Annual Tree Ligting Celebration! Try festive holiday treats like hot cocoa and smores, enjoy face painting and balloon art, arts & crafts, music and dancing with our live DJ and more! Free!

Nature In Lights (Fort Hood)
November 17 – January 7 | 5:30 to 11 p.m. | Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area; directions here
A Fort Hood holiday tradition: five-and-a-half mile holiday lights attraction at BLORA your entire family can enjoy. Open Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas! $15 per car.

Lights of Tejas (Giddings)
November 23 and 24, then select nights through December 29 | 5:30 to 10 p.m. |  Tejas, 1038 Private Road 2191, Giddings
A Christ-centered Christmas celebration with food, activities, crafts, and overnight packages $9 admission. Kids 2 and under are free.

2018 PEC Holiday Lights
November 23 – January 1 | times vary | Pedernales Electric Co-op, 201 South Avenue F, Johnson City
In a tradition more than 25 years old, the headquarters and surrounding oak trees will be illuminated with more than 1.2 Million LED lights throughout the holiday season. The lights will turn on Friday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. and will shine from 6 to 11:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and until midnight, Friday through Sunday, through Jan. 6.

Lights Spectacular (Johnson City)
November 23 – January 6 | times vary | Johnson City
The twinkliest town in the hill country celebrates its 29th annual Lights Spectacular.  See the schedule of special events. Free!

Annual Lighting of the Square (Georgetown)
November 23 | 5:30 p.m. | Georgetown Square, 710 S. Main Street, Georgetown
Experience the magic as they kick-off the holiday season with the annual Lighting of the Square, traditionally held at 5:30 p.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving! Sing along with the Austin Carolers to your favorite holiday tunes! Join Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross as we help Santa countdown and flip on the holiday lights on The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas! The downtown shops will be open late, so plan to get in some unique holiday shopping. This is a free event. Also, stop by The Williamson Museum and let the children make a free craft! You can have your photo taken with Santa inside the courthouse from 6:30 to 8 p.m. (photo fee proceeds benefit Brown Santa Program).

Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival
November 23 | from 6 to 9 p.m. |  Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd, Austin
Free! The fun starts at 6:00 pm in the Hill Country Galleria’s outdoor Central Plaza with children’s activities like face painting & flash tattoos. Enjoy a holiday program where you can see Santa, help us light the holiday tree & enjoy live music by Echosmith! Emceed by Mix 94.7.

Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park (Llano)
November 23 – December 31 | from 6 to 9 p.m. | Badu Park, Llano
Free! The Lighted Christmas Park will be open every night 6 to 9 p.m. Sipping hot chocolate, strolling along the Llano River enjoying all of the displays that light up Badu Park. It’s a great place to celebrate the season with family and  friends. Santa Claus will be in the park ever Friday and Saturday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. starting November 23 until December 22, 2018.

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
November 23 – 25, 29 – December 2, 6 – 9, and 13 – 30 | from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. all other days | Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin
The 2nd annual Winter Wonderland will transport guests of all ages to a world of wonder, offering a completely new, immersive and captivating experience that includes the Chinese Lantern Festival. Admission: $16 (children 5 and under FREE).

It’s a Wonderful Lost Pines Christmas Lighting Party (Bastrop)
November 24  | from 6 to 9 p.m. | Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St., Bastrop
Join at dusk in Fisherman’s Park as Downtown Bastrop lights up the holiday season! Bring the kiddos to visit with Santa, enjoy hot cocoa and watch in wonder as the 2018 Lost Pines Christmas and River of Lights comes to life. Bring your blankets and stay on to enjoy the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the outdoor big screen.

Bastrop River of Lights (Bastrop)
November 24 – December 31 (weekends only) | from 6 to 9 p.m. | Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St., Bastrop
Free! Bastrop River of Lights walking trail is located in Fisherman’s Park and continues all the way down the Lower Colorado River to Ferry Park, about a half mile.

The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights (Wimberley)
November 24 – December 28 | 6 p.m. | Emily Ann Theatre and Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley
There is no charge for admission but donations are greatly appreciated as this is one of the biggest fundraisers for the year! Donation boxes are available at the entrance and around the Trail of Lights.

Zilker Tree Lighting
November 25 | 5:30 p.m. |  Zilker Park, Austin
Following lighting the tree will be on display nightly from 6 p.m. Midnight until December 31. Free!

Driskill Hotel Tree Lighting
November 27 | 6 p.m. | The Driskill, 604 Brazos Street, Austin
Kick off a season of merriment and good cheer at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, with the annual lighting of The Driskill tree accompanied by the beautiful sounds of holiday music and caroling.

Hotel Granduca Tree Lighting
November 29 | from 6 to 7:30 p.m. | Hotel Granduca, 320 S Capital of Texas Hwy
All are welcome to gather in the hotel courtyard to enjoy a FREE night of cheer with a visit from Santa and complimentary treats, including Italian mulled wine, hot chocolate, cookies, and classic Italian appetizers. Last year’s tree lighting drew nearly 400 people and this year’s event is shaping up to be even bigger and better. RSVP here.

Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias (San Antonio)
November 30 – December 2, 7-9  & 14 – 16 | at Dusk | River Walk, San Antonio
Experience the holiday serenity of the River Walk as you stroll along the lush banks of the San Antonio River guided by more than 2,000 Luminarias at night. This century’s old tradition begins at dusk.

Christmas Tree Lighting (Hutto)
November 30 | from 5:30 to 8 p.m. | Downtown Hutto, 401 W. Front St., Hutto
Free! Gather on East Street for holiday crafts hosted by local churches and civic organizations, as well as other festive holiday entertainment for all to enjoy! Count down the Tree Lighting with friends and family and a surprise guest dressed in red (ho, ho, ho!).

Christmas on Mercer Street (Dripping Springs)
December 1 | from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  | Mercer Street, Dripping Springs
A special holiday festival with arts and crafts booths, children’s games and activities, live family entertainment, local food vendors, and of course, SANTA! Tree lighting is at dusk.

Gruene Town Lighting (Gruene)
December 1 | from 5 to 6:30 p.m. | Check here for directions
Watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the Holidays. They’ll be celebrating with live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Free!

38th Annual BudaFest (Buda)
December 1 | 6:30 to 8 p.m. | Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda
Lighted holiday parade with downtown lighting ceremony and so much more. Click here for all activities. Free!

Mueller Tower Lighting
December 4 | from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. | John Gaines Park, 2708 Sorin St., Austin
This family friendly event features music, treats, a photo booth, and more! Free.

Austin Trail of Lights
December 10 – 23 | from 7 to 10 p.m. |  Zilker Park, Austin
General admission is $3 for guests age 12 and up. Get more info on dates, times, and events here.

Christmas Towne (Round Rock)
December 13 – 23 | Times Vary | 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock
Free! (tickets for carnival available for purchase)

 

Holiday Parades

https://www.facebook.com/chuysparade/photos/a.665628046876392.1073741825.665627676876429/665628060209724/?type=3&theater

Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade

Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony (San Antonio)
November 23 | from 6 to 9 p.m. | River Walk, San Antonio
The theme for the 2018 parade is “Christmas in San Antonio.” Each float will depict a traditional way San Antonians celebrate Christmas.  Tickets are $15-40. Children under 2 are free.

Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade
November 24 | 11 a.m. | State Capitol at 11th and Congress, Austin
Giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, famous children’s characters, spectacular marching bands, cool classic cars, and Santa. Free!

Lighted Christmas Parade (Lockhart)
November 30 | 7 p.m. | Downtown Square, Lockhart
Dickens Christmas lighted parade is Free!

2017 LT Lighted Water Parade
December 1 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Crosswater Yacht Club, 1505 Hurst Creek Rd., Austin
Parade viewing is free but you can bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Travis County Sheriff’s Brown Santa Program inside the marine center.

Pfestival of Lights and Christmas Parade (Pflugerville)
December 1 | 4 to 7 p.m. | Railroad Avenue and Main Street, Downtown Pflugerville
Starting at 5 p.m.:Christmas Parade – Parade route here. 5:45 p.m. (approx.):Santa arrives on Main Street to light the tree and take photos From 4 to  7 p.m.: Pfree holiday concert, refreshments and pfamily pfun on Main Street.

Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting (Leander)
December 1 | 6 p.m. | City Hall, 200 West Willis Street, Leander
Free! Check out the schedule of events here.

Lost Pines Christmas Lighted Christmas Parade (Bastrop)
December 9 | from 8 to 8:30 p.m. | Historic Main Street, Bastrop
Bastrop’s fanciful, fantastic, fun—and even famous—annual Lost Pines Christmas Parade will light up the night skies as it makes its way down Main Street on Saturday, December 8. Free!

Santa Sightings

https://www.facebook.com/austintrailoflights/photos/a.395360093864137.90466.287902324609915/1215268358539969/?type=3&theater

Santa and Mrs. Claus at Austin Trail of Lights

Santa Photos at The Domain
November 9 – December 24 | hours vary | 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin
Reserve a fast pass and skip the line by purchasing photo packages ahead of time.

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops (Round Rock)
November 10 – December 24 | hours vary | Bass Pro Shops, 200 Bass Pro Drive, Round Rock
Free! Free printed photo, crafts, games, and activities. Just get a Bass Pass for your time slot — but be careful, they go quickly each day!

Photos with Santa
November 24 – December 24 every Saturday and Sunday | from 1 to 5 p.m. | Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd, Austin
The free, interactive installation will offer several photo ops and selfie spots throughout. While it’s free of charge to enter the Wonderland and visit Santa, this year we will have a professional photo team on-site to capture memories with Santa, with photo package options for purchase so guests can leave with a timeless keepsake in hand.

Visit Santa at Little Land
November 24 & 25 | from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. | Little Land Play Gym, 13776 US HWY 183 Ste 107
Save the date! Santa will be back at Little Land, Saturday and Sunday – November 24-25, 2018! Admission includes family photos with Santa, holiday activities, mimosas for those 21+ and SNOW falling every hour. Booking is now open! Reserve your spot soon, space will fill up!

Meet & Greet With Santa
November 25 – December 24 | hours | Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd, Austin
Free! Bring your own camera.

Teddy Bear Teas
November 25, December 2, 9, 16 | Four Seasons Austin,  98 San Jacinto Blvd
Guests of all ages are invited to this Four Seasons Austin tradition, featuring tea service, holiday caroling and a fireside reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Santa himself. Those attending are asked to bring a new, unwrapped teddy bear, which will be donated to Dell Children’s Hospital. Seating in the ballroom at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

North Pole Flyer (Cedar Park)
November 25 – December 17 on Saturdays and Sundays | times vary | 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Ste C-100, Cedar Park
$38-43 per ticket.

Sights and Sounds of Christmas (San Marcos)
November 28 – December 1 and December 5 – 8 | from 5 to 11 p.m. | 401 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos
Here you’ll find popular carnival rides for all ages, a variety of delicious festival food, live performances, and even a visit from Santa Claus. Also enjoy the Town of Bethlehem, pony rides, reindeer games, a petting zoo, and more! All events take place amidst a sea of beautiful Christmas lights spread throughout the park. Sights & Sounds has something for everyone to help celebrate the holiday season! Nightly admission is $5; kids 12 and under are free. Photos with Santa are free! Bring your own camera.

Hotel Granduca Tree Lighting
November 29 | from 6 to 7:30 p.m. | Hotel Granduca, 320 S Capital of Texas Hwy
All are welcome to gather in the hotel courtyard to enjoy a FREE night of cheer with a visit from Santa and complimentary treats, including Italian mulled wine, hot chocolate, cookies, and classic Italian appetizers. Last year’s tree lighting drew nearly 400 people and this year’s event is shaping up to be even bigger and better. RSVP here.

Christmas Stroll (Georgetown)
November 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.December 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. | Downtown Georgetown
Parade, shopping, photos with Santa, dessert with the Grinch, outdoor movie, Bethlehem Village, live performances, Home Depot workshops, food, climb and slide, and more!

Santa on the Terrace
December 1 | 9 a.m. | The Long Center, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin
Santa is coming to town a little early this year—don’t miss your chance to see him! Join us on the H-E-B Terrace with friends and family to celebrate the season, and get a FREE picture with Santa in front of the best downtown view in Austin. Enjoy holiday treats and activities the whole family as we welcome our bearded friend from the North Pole.

Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa’s Workshop (Cedar Park)
December 1 | from 6:30-9 p.m. | Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Parkway, Cedar Park
The Tree Lighting and Santa’s Workshop will feature live music, carriage rides, games & prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa (bring your own camera), and arts & crafts projects. Admission is FREE.

Old Town Christmas Festival (Leander)
December 1 | from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. | 100 N. Brushy Street, Leander
Free!

Santa in the Garden
December 1 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin
Join us at Austin Area Garden Center for Santa in the Garden 2018. Skip the lines at the mall and bring the family to meet Santa & Mrs. Claus. Shop in our Chrysalis Gift Shop & enjoy 20% off during the event. Bring your own camera to capture this special event! Tasty treats & fun crafts.

Holiday in the Park and Craft Fair  (Round Rock)
December 1  | from 12 to 3 p.m. | Cat Hollow Park, 8600 O’Connor Dr., Round Rock
Free! Bring your camera to take pics.

Sundays with Santa
December 2, 9, 16, and 23 | from 2 to 4 p.m. | The Arboretum at Great Hills, 10000 Research Blvd, Austin
Santa will be visiting from The North Pole every Sunday afternoon in December until Christmas! Don’t miss your chance to get your photo taken and tell him all of your holiday wishes. He’ll be sitting in front of the big tree next to Lamps Plus. Free!

Christmas Family Night (Round Rock)
December 7 | 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Main St., Round Rock
During Christmas Family Night, Main Street is decorated with small wooden houses which host various games and activities. The event kicks off with a welcome from Mayor Craig Morgan, followed by the illumination of the all NEW Hometown Holiday lights. Then Santa makes his grand entrance. This free event includes activities for the entire family including live music, dancers, candle making, game booths, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and more. Children should bring their “wish lists” for Santa Claus and parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras for pictures with Santa. Plus, enjoy free hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, and other refreshments, activities and snacks.

Breakfast with Santa at Dittmar Recreation Center
December 8 | from 9 to 11 a.m. |  Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Rd, Austin
Free! The weather may be chilly outside, but the weather is always warm & welcoming at Dittmar Recreation Center! Come Hang out with us for a light breakfast, with sing-a-long songs, crafts and don’t forget to bring your cameras for pictures with Santa.

Breakfast with Santa at Gus Garcia Recreation Center
December 8 | from 9 to 11 a.m. | Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Ln., Austin
Free!

Swim with Santa (Georgetown)
December 14 | 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. | Georgetown Recreation Center Indoor Pool, 1003 N Austin Ave., Georgetown
Dive into the holiday season with Santa at the Georgetown Recreation Center Indoor Pool. Grab your suits and your camera and bring the entire family for a chance to swim with the big man himself! Hot chocolate and candy canes will be provided.

The Carver’s Santa Special
December 15 | at 1 p.m. | George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St
Free photo with Santa!

 

Ice Skating in Central Texas

https://www.facebook.com/OmniBartonCreek/photos/a.97998711115.98924.96980666115/10153866766501116/?type=3&theater

Omni Barton Creek Skating Rink

Chaparral Ice
Open daily |  hours vary  |  Northcross Mall, 2525 W Anderson Ln, Austin
Admission is $10 and skate rental is $5 for children and adults. Kids 5 years of age and under skate for only $5 on Saturday and Sunday, including skate rental.  Kids 5 and under skate FREE during Monday-Friday afternoon public sessions with paid admission (excluding holidays).

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
November 23-December 30 (not all days) | from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. all other days | Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin
Admission: $16 (children 5 and under FREE). The 2nd annual Winter Wonderland will transport guests of all ages to a world of wonder, offering a completely new, immersive and captivating experience that includes the Chinese Lantern Festival. The world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival will brighten up guests’ holiday season by allowing them to experience the wonders of illumination and travel through a extraordinary cultural experience. Traditionally held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, this colorful and lively Chinese celebration includes interactive entertainment, immersing guests with the culture, music, arts and life of authentic China.

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, guests will get to experience the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Texas as well as festive favorites like the Tunnel of LightsSinging TreesSanta’s Workshop, and the Petting Zoo. Families can continue enjoying the festival with additional holiday happenings including the Vendor VillageCOTA Express Train RidesSanta Portraits, Camel Rides, and much more.

Ice Skating on the Whole Foods Plaza
open daily November 24 – January 15 (some closures) | from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Whole Foods, Plaza Rooftop, 525 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin
$10, includes skates. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are always open to the public, but please check the website or call Lamar Guest Services at (512) 476-1206 during the week to confirm public skating hours on weekdays. They are hosting several private parties throughout the month of December during which the skating rink will be closed. Every Friday throughout the ice rink season, the skating soundtrack is curated by KUTX for the KUTX Music Fridays series – don’t miss out!

Sights & Sounds of Christmas Ice Skating Rink (San Marcos)
November 28 – December 1 & December 5 – 8 | from 5 to 11 p.m. | San Marcos Plaza Park, 401 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos
The rink is located across the river at the basketball courts just behind the Town of Bethlehem. Ice skating sessions each run 20 minutes. Cost: $5 per session (5 tokens). This is in addition to nightly admission to Sights and Sounds, which is $5 for adults; free for kids 12 and under.

Eisbahn (Fredericksburg)
November 29 – January 5  |  126 W Main St, Fredericksburg
$15. Includes skates.

Snow Fun

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
November 23-December 30 (not all days) | from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. all other days | Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin
Admission: $16 (children 5 and under FREE). The 2nd annual Winter Wonderland will transport guests of all ages to a world of wonder, offering a completely new, immersive and captivating experience that includes the Chinese Lantern Festival. The world-renowned Chinese Lantern Festival will brighten up guests’ holiday season by allowing them to experience the wonders of illumination and travel through a extraordinary cultural experience. Traditionally held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, this colorful and lively Chinese celebration includes interactive entertainment, immersing guests with the culture, music, arts and life of authentic China.

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, guests will get to experience the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Texas as well as festive favorites like the Tunnel of LightsSinging TreesSanta’s Workshop, and the Petting Zoo. Families can continue enjoying the festival with additional holiday happenings including the Vendor VillageCOTA Express Train RidesSanta Portraits, Camel Rides, and much more.

Visit Santa at Little Land
November 24 & 25 | from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. | Little Land Play Gym, 13776 US HWY 183 Ste 107
Save the date! Santa will be back at Little Land, Saturday and Sunday – November 24-25, 2018! Admission includes family photos with Santa, holiday activities, mimosas for those 21+ and SNOW falling every hour. Booking is now open! Reserve your spot soon, space will fill up!

Snow Day (Bastrop)
December 8 | from 12 to 9 p.m. | Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St., Bastrop
Free!

Downtown Christmas Fair (Hutto)
December 8 | from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Downtown Hutto
Join us for the 6th annual Downtown Christmas Fair featuring over 125 artisan and craft vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, and SNOW! Downtown Hutto Stores & Restaurants will be open and have Christmas Fair specials throughout the day. The Children’s Area wristband will be $5 pre-sale or $10 at the gate and includes all activities; snow, snow slide, bouncy houses, train, and ferris wheel. Tickets can be purchased here. There will also be free photos with Santa inside of The Hutto Area Chamber (122 East Street).

https://www.facebook.com/downtownhutto/photos/a.145682772176718.37698.116117458466583/1208611665883818/?type=3&theater

Hutto’s Downtown Christmas Fair

Living Nativity Scenes

Sights and Sounds of Christmas (San Marcos)
November 28 – December 1 and December 5 – 8 | from 5 to 11 p.m. | 401 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos
Here you’ll find popular carnival rides for all ages, a variety of delicious festival food, live performances, and even a visit from Santa Claus. Also enjoy the Town of Bethlehem, pony rides, reindeer games, a petting zoo, and more! All events take place amidst a sea of beautiful Christmas lights spread throughout the park. Sights & Sounds has something for everyone to help celebrate the holiday season! Nightly admission is $5; kids 12 and under are free.

Bethlehem Village (Georgetown)
November 30 & December 1 | from 5 to 9 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Main Street between 8th and 9th, Georgetown

This event is part of the free Christmas Stroll.

Main Street Bethlehem (Burnet)
December 7-9 and 14-16 | from 6 to 9 p.m. | t
wo blocks east of the town square, 300 E Washington St., Burnet
Admission is free; donations are accepted.

Follow The Star (Cedar Park)
December 6 – 8 | from 6:30-9 p.m. | Good Shepherd Lutheran Church | 700 W Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park
Admission is free, but please bring a donation of nonperishable food items to help those in need.

https://www.facebook.com/FollowTheStarTexas/photos/a.300168746768584.68929.259218654196927/300168803435245/?type=3&theater

Follow the Star Living Nativity

Live Nativity Celebration
December 7 & 8 | from 6 to 8 p.m. | Bethany United Methodist Church, 10010 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin
Free!

A Night in Bethlehem (Kyle)
December 14-16 | from 6 to 8:30 p.m. | Fellowship Church at Plum Creek, 160 Grace St, Kyle
Free!

Christmas Luminary (Pflugerville)
December 8 and 9 | from 6:30-8:30 p.m. | 500 Immanuel Rd, Pflugerville
Free!

Holiday Music

Christmas in the Community with Austin Symphony Orchestra
December 1-20 | times vary | various Austin locations
The Austin Symphony is once again bringing free music to all Austinites this holiday season. “Christmas in the Community” is a series of concerts held throughout the city of Austin featuring different ensembles of the orchestra playing familiar holiday music. The program kicks off on December 1st at the Macy’s at Barton Creek Mall and concludes December 20th with big band music by members of the orchestra at Central Public Library. All dates, times, and locations are listed below.

Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll
December 1 | from 5 to 10 p.m. | Congress Ave., from 9th – 11th, Downtown Austin
Kickstart your holiday season at the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Holiday Stroll on Saturday, December 1 along Congress Avenue between 9th and 11th streets. Join us from 5:00 to 10:00 pm for a night of holiday cheer in downtown Austin, including the annual KUT Austin & KUTX 98.9 Holiday Sing-Along and the lighting of the downtown tree. A FREE, family-friendly event, Holiday Stroll has something for everyone including photos with Santa, a petting zoo, live ice sculpture, holiday arts & crafts, a live mural painting, local food trucks, artisan vendors, and more. Plus, enjoy a full night of live music with performances by the Austin Children’s ChoirGirlFriend ATXShy Beast, and many others yet to be announced.

Handel’s “Messiah”
December 4-5 | 8 p.m. | Austin Symphony at Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway / Emmaus Catholic Church, 1718 Lohmans Crossing, Lakeway 
Tickets are $15-60.

Ian Moore’s Family Christmas
December 7 | 8 p.m. | Stateside at Paramount Theatre, 719 Congress Ave., Austin
Ian Moore returns to the State Theatre for the his 2nd annual Family Christmas show. Rare songs and special guests will be in store. Tickets $22-$28.

WILCO Symphony Concert 
December 8, 14, and 15 | 7:30 p.m. | Fort Hood, Cedar Park, and Avery Ranch
Free! Click here for directions to each location.

Young Voices of Austin Presents Moments of Wonder
December 9 | 4 p.m. | Stateside at Paramount Theatre, 719 Congress Ave., Austin
You are invited to join Young Voices of Austin for their winter concert Moments of Wonder. The performance will showcase musical selections that bring many corners of the world together, encompassing our own community, into one beautiful concert hall. Be ready to enjoy familiar holiday music, as well as music that you’ll walk out humming for the first time in your life. These choristers’ voices will guide you into moments of wonder and reflection.  Tickets $10-$100.

Conspirare Christmas
December 10 | 7:30 p.m. | The Long Center, 701 W Riverside Dr
Awaken your soul with the legendary Conspirare Christmasconcert. This enchanted musical journey reinvents the traditional holiday concert with an eloquent collage of musical genres curated by Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson. This year beloved Austin Blues artist Ruthie Foster and Grammy award-winning Singer/Songwriter Matt Alber take the stage with Grammy award-winning Conspirare. Tickets starting at $20.

“We Need a Little Christmas” Winter Concert with Austin Handbell Ensemble
December 13, 15, 17, 18 times vary by location | times vary | locations vary
Tickets are $5-10.

Bruce and Kelly’s Annual Holiday Show
December 15 | 8 p.m. | Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave., Austin
Tickets $30-53.

TUBACHRISTMAS
December 21 | Noon  | Texas State Capitol Building (South Steps), 1100 Congress Ave, Austin
2018 is the 45th anniversary for TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events which are presented throughout the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 by Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. Free!

Holiday Theater

A Christmas Carol
November 21 – December 30 | 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | Topfer Theatre at Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin
Tickets $60-$170.

The Santaland Diaries
December 5-30 | various times | Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin
Tickets $48.

The Nutcracker
December 7 – 23 | 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. |  The Long Center, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin
Tickets $35 and up.

Holiday Heroes
December 8 and 15 | 11 a.m. | Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin
Tickets $24 for adults, $18 for youth.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
December 8 | 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. | Stateside at the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave., Austin
Tickets $22-37.

Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Tap Nutcracker
December 13 – 23 | 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. | The Long Center, 701 W Riverside Dr, Austin
Tickets from $39.

Gingerbread Houses

White Christmas Gingerbread Village
November 20 – December 25 | open 24 hours | Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin
Featuring 11 traditional meets modern houses named after some of Austin’s historic neighborhoods, the 2018 gingerbread village will boast a “White Christmas” theme. The 100 percent edible village will be centered around a house that resembles the architecture of City Hall. Scheduled to debut on Tuesday, November 20, the free holiday activity will be open 24 hours a day through December 25.

Gingerbread Workshops
December 1 – 23 | various times | Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave, Austin
During Thinkery’s Gingerbread Workshops, creative families use fresh gingerbread and sweet treats to build gingerbread houses in a fun and festive atmosphere. Build one house together as a group or let each family member create their own gingerbread masterpiece! From tots to teens and all ages in-between, you’ll find a workshop that’s right for your family!  Each Gingerbread House Kit includes all the supplies you’ll need—fresh gingerbread from La Mexicana Bakery, an assortment of candies and plenty of icing. After the workshop, participants are welcome to explore Thinkery while their house dries in the Gingerbread Village

$5 Member Adult or Child Workshop Fee, $12 Non-Member Adult or Child Workshop Fee, $20 per Gingerbread House Kit (every group must purchase at least one house).

Other Holiday Fun

Paramount Holiday Films
November 11, 16, 19 | 7 p.m. | Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave
Miracle on 34th St, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Muppet Christmas Carol

Thinkery’s Gingerbread Fun Run
November 17 | from 9:30 a.m. to noon | Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
Get ready to run, run as fast as you can, Austin. Kick off the holiday season with a special Gingerbread Fun Run for kids—it’s almost 1K! Your task: Go as fast as you can while chasing Thinkery’s festive Gingerbread Man around Mueller Lake Park across from Thinkery. Enjoy seasonal hands-on activities for the entire family before and after the run in Mueller Park—and inside the museum, of course! Thinkery is teaming up with Variety – the Children’s Charity of Texas to ensure this Fun Run is open and accessible to kids of all abilities. The mostly paved and mostly flat route around Mueller Lake is wheelchair- and walker-accessible, with one unpaved 30-foot section covered in decomposed granite.

Fun Run will continue rain or shine. Candy Cane Runner (ages 2–18 years old) – 1 Child Runner Registration Member: $20; Non-Member: $25; Adults – Accompanying Registration* FREE – Limit of ONE accompanying adult per registered child runners; Ages 0–23 months in strollers – Accompanying Registration* FREE.

Teddy Bear Teas
November 25, December 2, 9, 16 | Four Seasons Austin,  98 San Jacinto Blvd
Guests of all ages are invited to this Four Seasons Austin tradition, featuring tea service, holiday caroling and a fireside reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Santa himself. Those attending are asked to bring a new, unwrapped teddy bear, which will be donated to Dell Children’s Hospital. Seating in the ballroom at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

 

Still looking for more holiday events? Check back, we’ll update this list as more events come our way!

Looking for Holiday Bazaars? Click here for our massive list.


Featured Photo by Casey Chapman Ross, courtesy of Trail of Lights.

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