Mozart’s Annual Light Show Now – January 3 | 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! The 12-minute lights show will happen every night, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Don’t miss out on all the holiday fun! FREE!
Groundwork Music Orchestra Holiday Concert Friday from 6:30-9 p.m. | Central Market, 4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin
This FREE family-focused holiday concert presents the Groundwork Music Orchestra and the students of Groundwork Music Project. Young students from local Austin preschools and elementary schools will get a chance to perform on stage with professional musicians fostering a sense of pride combined with commitment to the collaborative process. The concert will take place on the outdoor patio, next to the playground.
Trail of Life Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 7-9 p.m. | Texas Oaks Baptist Church, 9910 Bilbrook Pl, Austin
Take a hayride through a beautifully lit, live reenactment of several important scenes from the life of Christ, starting in Bethlehem. Hayrides begin every 20-30 minutes. All ages, denominations, and nationalities welcome. FREE!
The Grinch Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. | Potter’s House Christian Church, 13461 Pond Springs Rd, Austin
All are invited to this live adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. Holiday refreshments and an opportunity for pictures with the cast will follow the performance. FREE but toy donations for Austin Police Department’s Operation Blue Santa are encouraged.
Cookies with Santa Saturday from 9-11 a.m. | Oswaldo A. B. Cantu / Pan American Recreation Center, 2100 E 3rd St, Austin Decorate cookies, drink hot cocoa, and meet Santa! Ages 10 and under FREE!
Holiday Storytime at BookPeople Saturday at 11:30 a.m. | BookPeople, 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin
This will be the last Saturday storytime before the big holiday! Come for one of the most classic stories of all time –The Polar Express! Special stickers and maybe a giveaway or two!
Downton Abbey Christmas Musical Saturday from 7-8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – noon | Life In The City, 205 E Monroe St, Austin
Celebrate the season with “A Downton Abbey Christmas,” featuring some of the show’s notable characters. Set in an English manor, the humorous and touching story will be wrapped around classic Christmas music. Featured selections include a vocal jazz arrangement from Pentatonix and “Mary Did You Know.” Whether you’re a fan of the PBS series or not, this FREE show, presented by Life in the City, is sure to warm your heart this Christmas season!
Flying Balalaika Brothers Sunday from 12-3 p.m. | Central Market, 4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin
Enjoy FREE Russian/Texan gypsy music on the outdoor patio!
Dr. Seuss Activity Day December 20 at 2 p.m. | Art for the People Gallery, 1711 South First St, Austin
Enjoy FREE activities for children and grown-ups alike while surrounded by the amazing work of beloved artist and author Dr. Seuss! Dr. Seuss Story Time with Lynnie Goodman, face painting by artist Liberty Lloyd, So you think you know Dr. Seuss? Guided Tour for Grown-Ups, and Dr. Seuss La Hora de los Cuentos En Español. Read our review of the exhibition.
More Free Fun Beyond Austin:
Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops (Round Rock) Through December 24; hours vary | Bass Pro Shops, 200 Bass Pro Drive, Round Rock The first digital 4×6 photo with Santa is FREE! Additional photos available for purchase. See Santa’s schedule here.
Free Photos with Santa at Hill Country Galleria (Bee Cave) Through December 24; hours vary | Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave
Meet Santa and tell him what you want for the holidays! Kids of all ages are welcome; pets are welcome too! Bring your own camera and take fun holiday photos! There is no charge for this event as you will be taking your own photos. No professional photographer on-site. Check here for hours. FREE!
Holiday Model Train Show (Round Rock) Through January 2, Wednesday-Sunday, 12-5 p.m. | 231 E Main St, Round Rock
The trains are coming back to ArtSpace! Last year, more than 7,000 people came to the gallery in downtown Round Rock to see the model train show and the exhibition of local artwork. The train display is designed and operated by the Tinplate Trackers. Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. FREE, but donations will be accepted.
Lost Pines Christmas River of Lights (Bastrop) Through January 1 | Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St., Bastrop
Take in the River of Lights, 120 lighted displays in a variety of seasonal themes lining Bastrop’s scenic Colorado River Walk and enhanced by music. To access this one-half mile promenade, come down the stairs west of the intersection of Main and Pine Streets or select the fully accessible entrance at Fisherman’s Park on Farm Street. The Bastrop Chamber of Commerce and community organizations and individuals generously provide this traditional treat enjoyed by all ages and by visitors and locals alike. FREE!
The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights (Wimberley) Through December 29 at 6 p.m. | Emily Ann Theatre and Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley
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! Read our review here.
Trail of Lights (Buda) December 17-20 from 6-10 p.m. | Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda
A FREE holiday event filled with dazzling lights, entertainment, hot beverages, and more. FREE parking and shuttle from the Cabela’s parking lot. Read our review here.
Christmas Dreams & Snowy Things (Round Rock) December 19 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Chasco Family YMCA, 1812 N. Mays Street, Round Rock Snow is coming to Round Rock! Enjoy a day of wintery fun! FREE!
Snow Days (Bee Cave) December 19 from 12-4 p.m. | Hill Country Galleria, 4000 Galleria Parkway, Bee Cave Toss a snowball, build a snow man, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more. FREE!
Breakfast with Santa at Round Rock Premium Outlets (Round Rock) December 20 from 9-10 a.m. | 4401 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, Round Rock Children are treated to a special Breakfast with Santa, complete with entertainment and crafts! Breakfast is FREE, but photos are not. Photo packages will be available for purchase.
Nearly Free Fun:
Austin Trail of Lights Daily through December 22 from 7-10 p.m. | Zilker Park, Austin
Take a stroll through Zilker Park’s annual holiday trail of lights! General admission is $3 for guests age 12 and up, online or at H-E-B stores. Children 11 and under are FREE every night! Parking passes and shuttle tickets are also available online. (Parking must be purchased in advance as it does sell out.) Read our Austin Trail of Lights Guide.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar Daily through December 24 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd., Austin
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a unique holiday art show, open again for its 15th year. The Bazaar features handmade artwork and gifts from more than 200 local and regional artists, with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish® Foundation. Parking and admission are FREE of charge. Full bar with snacks. Cash and cards accepted.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Daily through December 24 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd, Austin
Hot music, fine art, and cold beer make the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar the place where Austin shops in the giving season. The show is actually two events in one: an art fair and music festival with a vibrant community-driven vibe. Visitors can explore an amazing array of handmade items from 160+ artists while enjoying live local music and sips from a full bar. It all adds up to a fun authentic Austin experience. Food and drink from open to close. Cost: $8 for a single day pass; kids 12 and under are free. Tickets here.
Bazaar Brunch December 20 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Bouldin Creek Cafe, 1900 S 1st St, Austin
Enjoy a lovely brunch and maybe even sip on a mimosa. This event is FREE, family friendly, and dogs are welcome. Support Local Art!
Hard Luck Christmas Market December 20 from 3-7 p.m. | Hard Luck Lounge, 3526 E 7th St, Austin
Do a little last minute Christmas shopping at this FREE, kid and pet-friendly market! Donations to Safeplace are encouraged. If you bring a donation, you will a receive mimosa drink ticket. Here is SafePlace’s Wishlist.