The Holidays are Here – and You Don’t Want to Miss These Central Texas Holiday Festivities
‘Tis the season to get out and explore. Whether you’re hunkering down in the city for the long term, plan to make a leap to suburbia in the new year, or simply want to get a sense of what’s out there, holiday festivities are a great time to get a feel for different communities.
Our advice? Start with some of these must-see holiday events and experiences. Scattered throughout Central Texas, these annual go-to’s attract locals and visitors, giving you a chance to get in the mix. And when you’re done? Grab a quick bite, check out some area shops, or drive through nearby neighborhoods and get a feel for what life could be like if you made a move.
Our Favorite Holiday Festivities in Austin
#1 Mozart’s Annual Light Show
Nov 9 – Jan 6
3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
Every night, rain or shine from November 9th to January 6th (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) the light show will be on display. This immersive experience also features live music performances, a photo booth and bottomless cups of hot chocolates, tea and house-roasted coffee.
#2 Holiday Downtown Stroll
Dec 2 | 5pm – 9pm
Join KUT, KUTX & the Downtown Austin Alliance for the 29th Annual Tree Lighting, Sing-Along and Stroll. This free family-friendly event is on Congress Avenue between 9th and 11th streets. Featuring artisan vendors, food trucks, photos with Santa and more, the Holiday Stroll is the perfect way to kick off your holiday season.
#3 Driskill Grand Lobby Tree Lighting
Dec 1 | 5pm-7pm
Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
See the Driskill Hotel annual tree lighting while enjoying live holiday music. Shop for your holiday cookie tins, Driskill hand poured scented candles, and the iconic 2023 Driskill ornament for your very own tree at home! All proceeds from cookie sales benefit the Statesman Season for Caring program, which help local non-profit organizations. Cheers to the holidays as we join in a toast together with our special guest, Santa-himself!
#4 Austin Ice Rodeo
Nov 18 – Jan 7
Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Skate beneath the stars – and overlooking Lady Bird Lake – at Austin’s premier ice-skating rink and winter experience. Taking place November 18, 2023, through January 7, 2024, Ice Rodeo at Four Seasons Hotel Austin features an outdoor ice rink, outdoor dining cabins, pop-up lounges, immersive holiday décor, extravagant art installations and more.
#5 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Palmer Events Center
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a vibrant and immersive fine art and music festival that has stood the test of time as Austin’s premier destination for high quality art, live music, and artisan gifts for the holiday season.
#6 Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker”
The Long Center
From the twinkling lights, whirling snowflakes, and sparkling beauty of the exquisite sets and costumes comes the heart-warming story of young Clara and her nutcracker. Bringing the magic of the holiday season, the 61st annual production of The Nutcracker remains Austin’s longest-running live production.
Join us as we share this beloved and enduring story, featuring live accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score performed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Experience the enchantment of the holiday season!
Dec 8 – 23
Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX 78704
The most beloved, and longest running holiday tradition of its kind in Texas’ capital city, Austin Trail of Lights powered by H-E-B, welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests from Central Texas and around the world each year for its jubilant displays of lights.
Dec 2 | 6 – 10PM
Crosswater Yacht Club
Boaters decorate their boats with colorful lights and decorations, creating a dazzling display on the water. The Lake Travis light parade is a popular and beloved tradition in the area, drawing locals and visitors alike to enjoy the spectacle. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy the beauty of Lake Travis at night.
Our Favorite Holiday Festivities in the Suburbs
#1 North Pole Flyer Train Ride – Bertram
Advanced Tickets Required | Check for Available Dates
170 S. Gabriel St., Bertram, TX 78605
Departing from the historic 1912 Bertram Depot, this special 2-hour excursion on a real train features a visit (and hugs!) from Santa and Mrs. Claus, all-you-can-drink hot cocoa, and a locally baked holiday cookie. Each car is decorated for the season where passengers enjoy a live reading of the North Pole Flyer book-our railroad’s own Christmas Story! Our professional Santa will spend time in each car to “check your list twice” and pose for photographs before handing out a gift to each child to remember this special ride. Come be a part of the magic!
#2 A Christmas Stroll in Downtown Georgetown
Dec 1 – 2
The 42nd Annual Christmas Stroll is Georgetown’s signature holiday celebration. This free family event features an open air vendor market, live music and dance performances, Saturday morning parade, kids activities and more. Shop local businesses, restaurants and wineries in historic downtown Georgetown!
#3 Christmas on Mercer Street in Dripping Springs
Mercer St., Dripping Springs, TX
Join in for the tree lighting and holiday movie Friday night at dusk in the Triangle. Then join the complete Christmas on Mercer festivities on Saturday, complete with shopping, music and Santa!
#4 Elgin Christmas Tree Farm
120 Natures Way, Elgin, Texas 78621
Choose from pre-cut trees or cut one down yourself. When the tree is loaded, stay for attractions, activities, food and drinks! Free Christmas time activities include: Giant Hay Maze, Crazy Maze, Hay Mountain, Ball Toss, Playground. Wagon rides are available to customers who are cutting their own tree.
#5 Light Up the Lake in Round Rock
Dec 1 | 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Old Settlers Park, Round Rock, TX
BIG & GLOWING holiday cheer is coming to Round Rock for 2 amazing nights in December! Join us for the annual Light Up the Lake, a 2-day holiday festival around the lake and festival area at Old Settlers Park on Fri, December 1st, and Sat, December 2nd.
The event will feature SPECTACULAR giant balloons hovering over Bright Lake, amazing light show, LIVE music, holiday displays, holiday food and refreshments, crafts, family activities, yule log and more!
#6 Tree Lighting & Santa’s Wonderland Cedar Park
Dec 1 | 6:30 – 9pm
Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Pkwy, Cedar Park, TX 78613
lluminated with over 50,000 lights, this event is a shining tradition and family favorite. The 2023 celebration will also recognize the City’s 50th Anniversary.
#7 Liberty Hill Christmas Fest
Dec 9 | Festival: 10-3pm, Parade: 6pm
Downtown Liberty Hill
Guests can shop, eat, and enjoy music during the day, while the kids snow tube, play in real snow, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and so much more!
That same evening, the community gathers along Main Street for the lighted Christmas parade. Floats from the community provide the magic and sparkle, and the families stationed along the street provide the child-like wonder as everyone oohs and aahs as each float passes.
#8 Pfestival of Lights and Christmas Parade
Dec 2 | Market & Festival: 3-7:30pm, Parade 5pm
Downtown Pflugerville, Main Street
Main Street comes alive with the enchantment of the holiday season during the annual Pfestival of Lights. As dusk descends, the street transforms into a dazzling spectacle of color and light.
The air is filled with the joyful sounds of carolers and the laughter of families enjoying the festivities. The highlight is the Christmas parade that winds its way down Main Street with floats adorned with glittering lights and festive decorations.
#9 Walkway Light Up – Marble Falls
Nov 18 – Dec 31
Marble Falls, TX
Marble Falls is the destination for Christmas festivities, from ice skating and tree lighting to market shopping and cocoa sipping. So put on your favorite sweater, gather your loved ones, and join the holiday celebrations in the Hill Country. It will take more than one trip to unwrap all the fun with destinations like the Walkway of Lights in Lakeside Park and events like the Christmas Market on Main.
#10 Trail of Lights at the Emily Ann Theatre – Wimberley
Dec 2 – 26
EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens in Wimberley
The trail runs most days in December and is a walking trail through approximately 8 acres of lighted exhibits. The EmilyAnn’s Trail of Lights is free to attend; however, donations are graciously accepted at several donation stations at the entrance and throughout the grounds.
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