How To Spend The Holidays In Austin With Kids
Are you planning to spend time in Austin with your little ones this holiday season? Well, celebrating holiday events in Austin is always super fun, and Christmas 2022 has some good stuff lined up. Austin always has tons of things to see and do to make your entire family feel festive.
If you haven’t made your holiday bucket list this year, here are 13 fun and kid-friendly activities that will light up your holiday!
From singing your favorite Christmas carols, attending Christmas festivals, and taking pictures with Santa to watching trails of lights in different areas in and around Austin, you’ll definitely feel the spirit of Christmas with your little ones! Just make sure to confirm the opening and closing times of some attractions, as they may change over time.
How To Spend The Holidays In Austin With Kids
1. Christmas on Mercer Street
Date: December 3, 2022 (10 AM - 5 PM)
Fee: no admission cost, food available for purchase
Christmas on Mercer is one of Dripping Springs' most popular annual events every holiday season featuring arts and crafts, live music, and plenty of activities for children of all ages. This year, locals and visitors will once again see the downtown area turned into a winter wonderland full of sparkling lights, holiday shopping, and Christmas cheer.
2. Trail of Lights (Austin)
Dates: December 8–23, 2022
Fee: General Admission: $0 - $5 depending on the night and includes event access.
ZIP pass: $20-$25, family/small group
Platinum pass: $90 - $320, depending on your group size.
The Trail of Lights is a long-running annual holiday tradition in Zilker Park, and nearly everyone who’s lived in Austin for more than a year or two has attended. This year is the 58th annual celebration, and hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to come to cherish this special event in the city of Austin.
It’s a special Christmas activity for kids because of the classic holiday characters, the “wow” factor from millions of lights, and the yummy food you can purchase along the path. Rumor has it that Teddy V’s Cookies will be there this year…
Photo Credit: Andrew N, Yelp
3. Field of Light at Ladybird Wildflower Center
Dates: September 9, 2022 - December 30, 2022 (6:15 PM - 9:30 PM)
Fee: VIP: $80
General admission: $41
Kids ages 4-10: starting at $20
This is a wonderful Austin event for kids during the Christmas season! Field of Light is composed of 28,000 stemmed spheres that are softly illuminated by solar-powered fiber optics on 16 acres in the Arboretum at the Ladybird Wildflower Center.
Walk near the lights and take in the absolute awe of the illuminated field. There are concessions available for purchase, including beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as some food options. The light exhibit is going to continue through the end of December 2022.
Photo Credit: Katie B, Yelp
4. Light Up The Lake in Round Rock
Date: December 2, 2022 (6 PM) – December 3, 2022 (9:30 PM)
Light Up The Lake in Round Rock is a 2-day annual celebration in the Old Settlers Park. Kids of all ages (aka adults, too!) enjoy this fun, a festive event near Austin. Light Up The Lake includes a light show with giant balloons over the lake, live music, festive holiday displays, food and drinks, crafts, and other fun family activities.
Photo Credit: Tammy O, Yelp
5. Follow The Star at Good Shepherd Lutheran
Dates: December 1-3, 2022
Fee: No charge
Located at Good Shepherd Luthern Church in Cedar Park, Follow The Star (FTS) is a live outdoor show that features 10 real-life settings of how Christ lived his life. Load up the kids in the car and drive through (or stroll through if your little ones prefer to walk) to watch the scenes unfold. More than 75,000 people have viewed this event, and Follow The Star has become a tradition in central Texas.
Photo Credit: Scott Y, Yelp
6. Photos With Santa at The Domain
Fee: $39.99-49.99, depending on the photo package you select
Book your photo session with Santa! The Domain offers a cute photo opp, as well as a package of professional photos that you get to keep forever.
7. Christmas Stroll in Georgetown
Dates: December 2, 2022 (5 PM - 9 PM), December 3, 2022 (10 AM - 8 PM)
The lively downtown square area in Georgetown will host the 35th annual Christmas Stroll, hosted by The Downtown Georgetown Association. It’s a must-try holiday experience for kids! The annual event includes a parade, live music, arts and crafts booths, dance performances, theater, and more kid’s activities.
8. Peppermint Parkway at Circuit of the Americas
Dates: November 25, 2022 – December 30, 2022
Fee: Starting at $35
Parkway Admission - $40
Polar Express Fast pass - $80
Candy Cane Cruise - $65
The Sweetest Deal - $95
Have you been to this one yet? Peppermint Parkway is a drive-through holiday spectacular that features a mile of holiday displays, a trail of lights, live performances of characters, and a plaza full of food and amusement park rides. It started as a pandemic activity in 2020 for social distancing, but it became such an instant hit among Austinites that it’s here to stay.
Other than driving, there are plenty of other fun activities to do at Peppermint Parkway. One of the best family-friendly Christmas activities in Austin!
Photo Credit: Phuong P, Yelp
9. Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls
Dates: November 18, 2022 - December 31, 2022 (6 PM - 10 PM)
Drive about an hour west of Austin to the adorable town of Marble Falls for this fun holiday event! More than 130 sculptures in Lakeside Park are illuminated by two million lights.
The walk will only take you about 20-30 minutes, but Marble Falls host other holiday events nearly every single day during the Christmas season. Check out their website for more details.
Photo Credit: Jeremy T, Yelp
10. Winter Carnival at Bethany Lutheran United Methodist Church
Date: December 10, 2022 (4-8 PM)
Fee: (not stated)
This sweet event is a great toddler Christmas activity in Austin. This south Austin church will have snow (yep!), ice skating, a jump house, ride a reindeer, hot cocoa, and more.
11. Annual Trail of Lights in Buda
Dates: Senior Night - December 8, 2022 (6 PM - 9 PM)
December 9, 2022 - December 11, 2022 (6 PM - 10 PM)
December 16, 2022 - December 21, 2022 (6 PM - 10 PM)
Visit the Historic Stagecoach Park this holiday season for festive vibes, sparkling lights, and delicious holiday treats. Throughout the month of December, you can bring your kids for a stroll in the park to see sparkling lights and lit exhibits. Aside from visiting Santa, visitors can enjoy food, entertainment, and all sorts of magical holiday splendor.
12. Ice Skating Rink in Downtown Marble Falls
Dates: November 18, 2022 - December 31, 2022 (5 PM - 10 PM, depending on the weather)
Fee: Pre-sale tickets are $10, and day-of tickets are $12
Bring the kids to enjoy some outdoor ice skating this holiday season! The Winter Ice Skating Rink is located in the quaint, picturesque Downtown Marble Falls. (Psst: you can also tour the Walkway of Lights, get some shopping done at cute Christmas shops, and dine at a neighborhood restaurant.
13. Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Dates: November 18, 2022 - December 24, 2022
Daily 10 AM - 10 PM), Dec. 24 (10 AM - 6 PM)
Fee: Free admission; purchase what you like
While the younger kiddos might not appreciate Christmas shopping, your older children probably have a few holiday gifts to purchase. The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a market with locally-made crafts, gifts, and original art. It’s great to start teaching your young ones to support small businesses.
Admission is free, and you’re welcome to wander around and “window” shop at the art booths. But there’s a lot of cool stuff here!
Photo Credit: Amanda S, Yelp
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