It’s your last chance to make 2017 a year to remember! You and your family can make friends with a miniature horse, “let it go” at the library, take your karaoke skills to the next level, catch an outdoor movie, attend a Kwanzaa celebration, choose one of several ways to welcome the new year, and more! Plus, don’t miss your last chances to check out Mozart’s Light Show or the Holiday Model Train Show! Send 2017 out in FREE fun style!
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.
Weekend Top 10 FREE Events: December 29-31, 2017
- Miniature Horses at the Library
Friday, Dec. 29 | at 10:30 a.m. | Lake Travis Community Library, 1938 Lohmans Crossing
Northwind Farm will bring gentle and patient miniature therapy horses to visit the library! Come pet and groom one of these adorable miniature horses. FREE!
- Frozen Sing-a-Long
Friday, Dec. 29 | at 2:30 p.m. | APL – Cepeda Branch, 651 N Pleasant Valley Rd
Join the library for a fun winter film and “let it go!” Costumes are encouraged, and all ages are welcome. FREE and open to the public. Call (512) 974-7372 for more information and to confirm.
- Kwanzaa Celebration of Ujamaa with Elizabeth Kahura
Friday, Dec. 29 | at 6:30 p.m. | George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center, 1165 Angelina St
The George Washington Carver Museum is hosting a Kwanzaa celebration! Kwanzaa, a seven-day holiday, reaffirms community-focused significant values to African cultures. Each day features a different principle that promotes community growth and well-being. Elizabeth Kahura, proprietor of the African Safari Program, will conduct the celebration that focuses on the principle of Ujamaa, “cooperative economics,” which is recognized on the fourth day of Kwanzaa. FREE!
- Friday Family Movies @ Ski Shores Cafe
Friday, December 29 | at 5:30 p.m. | Ski Shores Cafe, 2905 Pearce Rd
Bring the clan and head over to Ski Shores Cafe for Friday Family Movie nights! The film will start at dusk and you can have FREE s’mores by the fire! What better way to celebrate the end of your work week than an evening by the lake with loved ones, movies, food and beverages? This week: RV. **Note: Ski Shores will be open on days when it is above 60 degrees and dry (closed otherwise).
- Mozart’s Christmas Light Show
Fri-Sun, Dec. 29-31 | from 6 to 10 p.m. | Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Thousands of dazzling lights have been sculpted into giant iconic objects, custom-made in Greece, that evoke Austin’s culture and the Christmas season, including a dozen guitars, the State Capitol, and a tree filled with presents, plus, an audio-activated wall of lights. Thousands of other lights will be imaginatively strung in the trees, facades, and rooflines. All will be placed around Mozart’s lakeside deck. For refreshment, Mozart’s acclaimed coffee and hot chocolate can be purchased inside the coffee house and at kiosks outdoors. Special holiday goodies from Mozart’s bakery will also be available. High Points of the Show/Timing: The exhilarating high points of the show, super light-ups and live choral singing, will be spaced throughout the entire evening. Families can relax and arrive at any time to get their over-the-top dose of Christmas magic. Show is FREE!
- Bring the Sing Karaoke
Saturday, Dec. 30 | at 1 p.m. | Barrel O’ Fun, 1911 Aldrich St, Ste 120
Calling all future Bellas and their embarrassing parents! Come for a free all-ages karaoke party! You take over the Barrel O’ Fun for onstage karaoke with a full catalog of songs. There will be props to take it to the next level and onstage challenges for the very brave of heart. If you’ve dreamed of being in Pitch Perfect or killing it at the school talent show, this party is for you. Kids 13 and under must be accompanied by a parent but teens are welcome to come solo. FREE event!
- Noon Year’s Eve Party
Sunday, Dec. 31 | at 11 a.m. | Lake Travis Community Library, 1938 Lohmans Crossing
Can’t stay awake for the midnight hour? Celebrate the new year at noon! You can make hats and noise makers starting at 11am, children’s musician Joe McDermott will perform at 11:30am, then snack on goodies and toast to the 12 o’clock hour! FREE!
- Noon Year’s Eve @ Laura’s Library
Sunday, Dec. 31 | at 11 a.m. | Laura Bush Community Library, 9411 Bee Cave Rd
Ring in the Noon Year with Westbank Libraries and Staci Gray! There will be music, dancing, bubbles, and lots of fun–everything you need to lead in the New Year right with one of your favorite musicians. There will even be a countdown to 12 (noon)! Recommended for ages 3 & up. FREE!
- Austin’s New Year
Sunday, Dec. 31 | from 3 to 10 p.m. | Auditorium Shores, 800 W Riverside Dr
This annual extravaganza takes place on Auditorium Shores on New Year’s Eve. The alcohol-free, family-friendly event celebrates the diversity and creativity of the city with visual art installations, festive performances, live music on three stages, and a fireworks finale. FREE!
- New Years Eve Midnight Hike
Sunday, Dec. 31 | at 11 p.m. | McKinney Falls State Park, 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy
Ring in the New Year with at the Lower Falls. Guests cannot set any fireworks off but, you CAN bring some fun “night lights” of sorts, to ring in the New Year. Dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes and bring a blanket or chair. You will do an Awesome Night Hike then settle out on the limestone to watch the fireworks. FREE with park admission ($6 for adults, 12 and under FREE).
Bonus Nearly FREE Fun:
- Noon Years Eve @ Pinballz ($10)
Sunday, December 31 | from 10:30 a.m. to noon | Pinballz Lakecreek, 13729 Research Blvd
Parent and kids, 10 and under, join us for our Noon Year’s Eve event complete with a make-and-take crafting experience, snacks, $5 in gameplay, and a 12 PM prize-filled balloon drop! $10 entry per child in advance, $15 per child on day of the event. 10:30 – 12:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased in advance.
- New Year’s Eve Family Barrel Bash ($5)
Sunday, December 31 | from noon to 3 p.m. | Barrel O’Fun, 1911 Aldrich St
Ring in 2018 Barrel O’ Fun style! Come for an afternoon of karaoke, dancing, crafting and general merry-making to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This event is family-friendly and appropriate for all ages. Your ticket includes a party hat, noise maker and an apple juice for the group toast. Start the festivities at 12pm and party till 3pm with an (early) New Year’s Eve apple juice toast at 2:30pm. Barrel O’ Fun will have full food and drink service throughout the event, so you can order lunch and snacks if you’d like. Everyone is encouraged to wear their party best. The event does require a ticket, but you may come and go as you’d like. Tickets can be purchased here.
Bonus FREE Fun Near Austin:
- 5th Annual Holiday Model Train Show – FINAL WEEKEND! (Round Rock)
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 29-31 | hours vary | ArtSpace, 231 E Main St, Round Rock
Visit a dynamic train display replete with a Harry Potter scene, a 1950s city with a trolley weaving through its downtown that is filled with vintage cars, a farm, amusement park, mountain range where Boy Scouts are on an outing, an old train depot, and even a water tower, just like Round Rock! For a donation to the Tinplate Trackers, you can be a “junior engineer” and operate the train controls, many of which have different speeds and audio components (bells, engineer’s commands, etc). Additionally, raffle tickets are available for purchase to enter to win a Thomas the Train set. To add an interactive component for children and families, they are also offering “ArtSpace Activity Booklets,” containing the ever popular scavenger hunt. FREE!
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