Weekend Top 10 FREE Events: November 23-25, 2018

Thanksgiving weekend is here, and there are so many great things to do in and around the ATX. Here are the top 10 FREE Austin events happening this weekend.


The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Free Fun in Austin calendar is only for live digital events at this time.

Weekend Top 10 is brought to you by the ZACH Theatre’s inspired adaptation of the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Austin’s most rockin’ holiday tradition returns to make merry with new music, infusing the traditional Victorian story with a score that spans all genres and eras. Performed in the Topfer Theatre, this production is best suited for adults and children 6 and up. A Christmas Carol runs from November 21 through December 30, 2018. In addition, there will be an ASL Interpreted, Audio Described, and Open Captioned showing on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 and a Post-Show Discussion the same night. Get more info and reserve tickets here.

Weekend Top 10 FREE Austin Events: November 23-25, 2018

  1. Ice Skating on the Whole Foods Plaza ($10)
    Friday through Sunday, November 23-25 | from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Whole Foods, Plaza Rooftop, 525 N. Lamar Blvd.
    $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.
  2. Santa on the Terrace
    Friday, November 23 | at 10 a.m. | Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr.
    Santa on the Terrace is weather permitting (fingers crossed!). Pictures will take place from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis—being in line is no guarantee of getting your picture taken, so plan to arrive early to be sure you get that favorite picture of Santa with the kids! (Santa has a lot of prep work to do, after all…). No tickets needed for this FREE event.
  3. Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s (Round Rock and Buda)
    Friday through Sunday, November 23-25 | from 5 to 8 p.m. | Bass Pro Shops Round Rock and Cabela’s Buda
    Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops in Round Rock and arrives at Cabela’s in Buda for the first time-ever in  Families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering FREE 4×6 studio-quality photos with Santa and free family holiday activities, including fun crafts and games. Guests can reserve their free visit and photo with Santa using the free Bass Pass system. Visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot located at the entrance of Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s to pick up a time-stamped pass. In addition, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores are designated toy drop-off stations for Toys for Tots. Families that bring a new toy to donate Saturday and Sunday, November 24-25, will receive a FREE premium photo package valued at $20.
  4. Santa Arrival and Tree Lighting Ceremony
    Friday, November 23 | from 6 to 9 p.m.  | Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd.
    Join Hill Country Galleria for the annual Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival event on Black Friday, November 23. For Black Friday, the Galleria will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Guests may shop for Black Friday specials at various retailers throughout the day and then join for the special event. Camp Gladiator will be hosting a free post-Thanksgiving workout in the Central Plaza at 9 a.m. for patrons that would like to get to the Galleria early. The fun starts at 6 p.m. in the outdoor Central Plaza where families can see Santa, help light the holiday tree and enjoy live music by Echosmith starting at 7 p.m.
  5. Mozart’s Annual Light Show
    Friday through Sunday, November 23-25 | from 6 to 11 p.m. |
    Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
    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!
  6. Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
    Friday through Sunday, November 23-25 | from 6 to 11 p.m. | 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.
  7. 30th Annual Chuy’s “Children Giving to Children” Parade
    Saturday, November 24 | from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. | 1100 Congress Ave.
    This special Austin event will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., traveling down Congress from the Texas State Capitol to Cesar Chavez and featuring giant inflatable balloons, festive floats, famous children’s characters, marching bands, classic cars, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, Santa and 30 Elvis impersonators in honor of the parade’s 30 years. Being a parade that celebrates the joy of giving, all spectators are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to donate during the parade procession—helping Chuy’s reach its goal of collecting 30,000 toys for Austin kids in need this holiday season. Operation Blue Santa will then provide toys and holiday meals to local children and their families who might not otherwise have them.
  8. Lost Pines Christmas (Bastrop)
    Saturday, November 24 | at dusk |  Downtown Bastrop
    Celebrate the holiday season in Historic Downtown Bastrop. From an old-fashioned Main Street Christmas to a dazzling night-time holiday parade, food and wine events, and activities for the entire family, you’ll love how Bastrop shares the season during this month-long holiday event. Downtown merchants offer extended shopping hours throughout the holiday season. Kick off the holiday season at a Lighting Party on Nov. 24. Come out to Fisherman’s Park at dusk to visit Santa, enjoy hot cocoa and enjoy the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the outdoor big screen. For a full schedule of events visit www.lostpineschristmas.com.
  9. Bring the Sing Family Karaoke
    Sunday, November 25 | from 1 to 4 p.m. | Barrel O’ Fun, 1911 Aldrich St., Suite 120
    Calling all future Bellas and their embarrassing parents! Join for a free all-ages karaoke party on the last Sunday of every month. We’ll take over the Barrel O’ Fun for onstage karaoke with our full catalog of songs. We’ll have 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!
  10. Zilker Tree Lighting
    Sunday, November 25 | 5:30 p.m. |  Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
    Following lighting the tree will be on display nightly from 6 p.m. Midnight until December 31. Free!

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About the Author

Dani Dudek
Dani Dudek is an Emmy-winning marketer who has been active professionally in the entertainment industry for two decades. She has mastered the art of celebrity spotting across the country, but does so best in Austin, where she runs the website ATXGossip.com. With a special eye for even the most minor of celebs, she is basically Shazam and IMDB together in human form.
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