The Ultimate List Of Holiday Activities In Austin (2024 Edition!)

Fa la la! The holidays are here in Austin, and per usual, there are tons of fun things to do this season. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly holiday activities in Austin, cute holiday pop-up bars, or a fun Christmas date idea in Austin, we have it all here. Get your calendar ready…some of these require reservations, so you’ll want to be ready to save the date. And be sure to get your ugly sweaters dusted off and all of your holiday sparkles ready!

The Austin holiday season has changed a lot in the last few years. Certain iconic events are no more (RIP ice skating at Whole Foods), and classics like Mozart’s Lights have gotten SO popular that they now require advanced reservations. So be sure to read through the list and choose your activities in advance, if possible!

Holiday Activities in Austin

Holiday events in Austin are sort of morphing as Austin grows and grows. There were a lot of low-key events that you used to be able to just show up and enjoy, and the now require reservations in advance and often sell out! 

But there are still plenty of fun activities to enjoy during the holidays in Austin. We'll round up a bunch of them for you!

From the old (Armadillo Bazaar) to the new (Peppermint Parkway at Circuit of the Americas), here are all of the best holiday activities in Austin that you should not miss. 

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Holiday Activities In Austin

Trail of Lights

Holiday Activities in Austin

We’ll start with the big one because Trail of Lights is one of the best holiday events to happen in Austin every year! It’s the longest-running event of its kind. Enjoy walking through Zilker park and viewing 2 million holiday lights, sipping on hot cocoa, listening to carols, and enjoying the holiday festivities. 

Trail of Lights is going to be BIGGER and BETTER than ever this year! Expect seasonal programming, including the regular stuff (the preview night with live music, the annual Chuy's Fun Run, H-E-B Grand Opening Night) as well as a bunch of NEW events for 2023! 

We're all pretty excited for that new lighted replica of the UT tower, the plethora of local food trucks that will be on site, aaaand...word on the street is that Kendra Scott will be there December 9-16 for a bedazzling shopping experience at their new Yellow Rose themed tiny house.

Dates: December 8-23, 2023

Cost: Free - $100+, depending on the date. The zip passes and VIP passes are obviously a higher cost. 

Ticket information here

Photo: Austin Trail of Lights

WEBSITE | 2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Ice Rodeo at Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Four Seasons ice skating Austin

Ice skating in Austin? Sure! This holiday season you can head to Ice Rodeo, an outdoor ice rink presented by the Four Seasons that overlooks Ladybird Lake, and enjoy ice skating, fire pits, gourmet s’mores, and festive food and drinks. 

Dates: November 18, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Cost: $40/hr (includes entry, skate rentals, and 60 minutes of skating)

Ticket information here

Photo: Four Seasons

WEBSITE | 98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker

Holiday Activities in Austin

The beloved ballet performance of The Nutcracker returns to the Long Center for its 60th year! The Austin Symphony provides live accompaniment to this iconic Christmas event in Austin. 

Tickets sell out, so be sure to get yours early. 

Dates: December 2-23, 2023

Cost: $15-125

Ticket information here

Photo: Ballet Austin

WEBSITE | 501 W 3rd St, Austin, TX 78701

Peppermint Parkway

Holiday Activities in Austin

Peppermint Parkway emerged in 2020 during the height of the pandemic as a socially-distanced way to spread some holiday cheer, and it has become a favorite holiday event in the Austin community. 

Grab your ticket, load up the car, and drive around the COTA race track, where you can view millions of lights, holiday displays, dancing characters, and more. After you drive the track, enjoy the plaza with music, food, and games. 

Dates: November 24 – December 30, 2023

Cost: TBP

Ticket information here

Photo: Peppermint Parkway

WEBSITE | 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617

Mozart’s Lights

Holiday Events in Austin

Another old-school/iconic Austin holiday tradition, the Christmas lights at Mozart’s Coffee on Lake Austin, are returning to be even bigger and better in 2022. 

Reserve a table (or…book a boat tour this year!), order some hot cocoa, and enjoy the epic light show. This event is best 

Dates: Nov 9, 2023 - Jan 6, 2024

Cost: Free for standing room, $40-60 for a reserved picnic table

Ticket information here

Photo: Mozart’s Coffee

WEBSITE | 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

Luminations at Wildflower Center

Holiday Activities in Austin

A glowing celebration at the Wildflower Center in far South Austin! Inspired by the four elements — earth, air, fire and water — this year's exhibition spans nearly two miles of this Texas Arboretum.

They have food available to purchase, as well as a full bar with wine, beer, and cocktails. 

Dates: Nov 24 2023 - Jan 6 2024

Cost: $18 for children 3-12, $28 adults 13+, free for children 2 and under

Ticket information here

Photo: Wildflower Center

WEBSITE | 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739

Igloos at Hotel Van Zandt

hotel van zandt igloos

The Lodge at Hotel Van Zandt is one of the cutest holiday activities in Austin! You and a few friends can step into your own private igloo on the rooftop lounge at Hotel Van Zandt and enjoy an evening of catered bites and sips, your own record player of holiday tunes, and games! Each igloo gets its own dedicated server.

Dates: Dec 1 - 30, 2023

Cost: $100 reservation fee + $200 food and drink minimum per igloo

Ticket information here

Photo: Mozart’s Coffee

WEBSITE | 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

Zilker Tree Lighting

Holiday Activities in Austin

This is a sweet, low-key, and FREE holiday event in Austin for the family. The Zilker “tree” is one of the historic moon towers in Austin, and every holiday season, Austin strings light off the sides of it so it looks like a Christmas tree. 

And every November, there’s a tree lighting ceremony. It feels like a small-town event, with a little kids choir performing, a band playing Christmas carols, and a countdown to the tree lighting at the end of the event. It’s one of the free activities in Austin, but there’s carnival food and drink available to purchase.

Date: Sunday, November 26, 2023

Cost: free

Event information here

WEBSITE | 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746

Handel’s Messiah

Holiday Activities in Austin

Enjoy Handel’s Messiah, the oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frederick Handel, performed by Chorus Austin and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. 

Date: December 5 at 8 pm

Cost: $15-60

Ticket information here

Photo: Austin Symphony

WEBSITE | 4214 North Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin, TX 78746

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

Holiday Activities in Austin

When it’s time to do some local holiday shopping in Austin, the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is the place to go. Local vendors sell everything from candles to socks, ornaments to homemade soaps, and (of course) lots of local art to hang in your home. 

If you want something unique for yourself or a loved one, be sure to plan an afternoon of shopping at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar. 

Dates:Nov 17 - Dec 24, 2023

Cost: free entry

Event information here

WEBSITE | 6100 Airport Blvd ste b, Austin, TX 78752

Illumaverse

Illumaverse is a brand new holiday activity in Austin for 2023! It's an immersive art experience in east Austin that features 6,000 square feet of installations built by local artists.

Perfect for families, date night, or just a fun and unique experience with your friends, Illumaverse is designed to transport you to another world where the traditional holidays have been given a cosmic makeover.

Dates: Weekends (Fri-Sun) only! December 8-30

Fridays: 6 pm - 11 pm

Saturdays: 11 am - 11 pm

Sundays: 1 pm - 10 pm

Cost: $25 adults 13+, $15 children 4-14, free for children 3 & under

WEBSITE | 2008 Alexander Ave, Austin, TX 78722

Downtown Austin Holiday Stroll

Holiday Activities in Austin

This is a very sweet, relaxed, FREE annual holiday event in Austin. Every year, thousands of Austinites gather in downtown Austin to sing carols, listen to live music, and view the downtown Austin tree lighting (right in front of the Texas State Capitol.) 

Date: December 2, 2023, from 5-9 pm

Cost: free

Event information here

A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre

Things To Do In Austin With Kids

The longest-running independent theater in Texas presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol again in 2022! It’s a family-friendly holiday activity in Austin that’s sure to light up the Christmas spirit. 

Dates: November 17 - December 31, 2023

Cost: $60-160, depending on date and seat selection

Ticket Information here

Photo: ZACH Theatre

WEBSITE | 202 South Lamar, Austin, TX

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Holiday Activities in Austin

If you're searching for the best holiday activities in Austin for SHOPPING, this. is. it. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is one of Austin’s longest-running art and music festivals, and it’s the perfect place to get some last-minute holiday shopping done. 

It takes place at the Palmer Events Center, where you can enjoy 40,000-sq-ft of pop-up shopping, holiday music, cocktails, and pizza. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or you just want to grow your own art collection, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a must-try Christmas activity in Austin.

Dates:December 15, 2023 to December 23, 2023

Cost: $12 one day ticket, $60 season ticket, kids under 12 is free

Ticket Information here

Photo: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

WEBSITE | 8701 Leo St, Austin, TX 78745

Miracle on 5th Street Pop-up Bar

Miracle on 5th Street

Every year The Eleanor is transformed into a winter wonderland pop-up cocktail bar, and every year it’s absolutely packed every single night! Austin LOVES this holiday event. 

This year you need to purchase a General Admission ticket ($10) to get in, and drinks are an additional cost. 

Dates: November 16, 2023 - December 28, 2023

Cost: $10 for GA and it goes up from there. You can even splurge on a $400 "more the merrier" group reservation

Ticket Information here

WEBSITE | 307 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78701

Omni Barton Creek Resort holiday events

Holiday Events in Austin

{Reserved for hotel guests only.} If you want a little holiday staycation in Austin, The Omni Barton Creek has a whole bunch of fun holiday events this season, like a “snow” flurry by their very own outdoor Christmas tree, caroling and cocktails, and a holiday cinema viewing, complete with private cabana rentals with charcuterie and beverages.

Dates: daily in December

Cost: varies

Event information here

Photo: Omni Barton Creek

WEBSITE | 8212 Barton Club Dr, Austin, TX 78735

Holiday Cheer at the Paramount

Holiday Activities in Austin

Watch one of your favorite holiday movies in the decked-out halls of the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. They show a bunch of classics like Love Actually, Elf, Home Alone 2, It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.

Dates: December 1 - December 17, 2023

Cost: $11

Ticket Information here

WEBSITE | 713 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701

Alamo Drafthouse Holiday Movie Parties

Austin Activities For Babies

This one is a great holiday activity in Austin for kids! The holiday movie parties at Alamo Drafthouse feature holiday film favorites like The Grinch, Little Women, and It’s a Wonderful Life. 

They have props for you to wave around, themed menu options, and you’re encouraged to sing along or quote alone with your favorite lines. It’s a fun way to bring holiday movies up to the next level! 

Dates: all of December 2023

Cost: standard Alamo movie ticket prices

Ticket Information here

Photo: Alamo Drafthouse

WEBSITE | 14028 US-183 Hwy Building F, Austin, TX 78717

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm

There’s nothing that says “Christmas” like heading out to the country to pick out your own Christmas tree from a farm. The family-owned Elgin Christmas Tree Farm has been a local favorite since 1984. 

Head out to Bastrop to choose your own live Christmas tree to bring home. They also have freshly made wreaths available for purchase.

Dates: November 18 - Dec 10, 2023 (Weekends and Weekdays schedule)

Cost: Free entry, pay per tree

More information here

WEBSITE | 120 Natures Way, Elgin, TX 78621

German-Texas Christmas Market

Over 3,000 visitors attend this one-day event in Austin! The German Free School transforms into an annual German village each year. Attend food, festivities, and shopping. 

Date: November 25th, 2023 and November 29th, 2023, from 11 am - 4 pm for members only, and the PUBLIC MARKET will be on Sunday, December 2 from 10 am - 5 pm

Cost: $5 entry

Event information here

WEBSITE | 507 E 10th St, Austin, TX 78701

The Driskill Tree Lighting

15 Free Things To Do In Austin This Christmas

While the tree lighting ceremony is fun to attend, you should honestly stop by the beautiful Driskill hotel lobby to see the stunning 16-ft Christmas tree and sip on a cocktail at any time of the year. 

Date: December 1, 2023, 6pm-7pm

Cost: free

Ticket Information here

WEBSITE | 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701

Holiday Events at Other Towns Near Austin

There are plenty of other fun holiday events in town around Austin! Here are a few worth noting: 

Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls |WEBSITE|

Buda Trail of Lights |WEBSITE|

Georgetown Christmas Stroll |WEBSITE|

Light Up The Lake in Round Rock |WEBSITE|

Lago Vista Trail of Lights |WEBSITE|

San Marcos Sights and Sounds of Christmas |WEBSITE|

Photos with Santa in Kyle City Square |WEBSITE|

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