Each year, regardless of the southern climate, Austin turns into a real winter wonderland with gingerbread houses and lots of holiday fun for the whole family.
This city is known as a destination for music enthusiasts and party folks throughout the year, but Christmas in Austin brings many added special activities.
If you’re looking for an enchanting place in Texas to spend your vacations, know that Christmas in Austin is definitely one of the best in the state! The spectacular lights, holiday melodies, and activities are just several of the things that make Christmas the most fantastic time of the year.
Continue reading for the Austin event and things to do for Christmas.
Trail of Lights
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704
In the center of Austin, 2 million lights and more than 70 other lighted displays come to life at Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is among the city’s longest-running yearly traditions and has earned several awards through the years.
This year’s event will be drive-through only, but that doesn’t make it any less stunning. Trail of Lights runs nightly until December 31st starting at 5:45 pm, tickets are needed for this event, and many nights sell out, so get your tickets today. austintrailoflights.org
Trail of Lights Fun Run
This yearly Trail of Lights Fun Run will be a little different; instead of weaving through Zilker Park, participants will be taking part in a virtual run. That means you have till December 31st to complete a 3-mile walk, jog, or run anywhere in the city. Registration is still required, and runners will get a commemorative long-sleeve Fun Run t-shirt, a swag bag, and a few other items. austintrailoflights.org/2021-fun-run
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Palmer Events Center
8701 Leo St.
Austin, TX 78745
Bringing together a number of the finest shopping and live music of the season, the Armadillo Bazaar is a genuine Austin Christmas classic. Guests can browse rows upon rows of cozy, decked-out stalls to get the best-customized items to gift to family and friends while jamming to local musicians all the way. This Christmas is open daily from 10 am – 5:30 pm from December 17 – 19, 2021, at Palmer Events Center. Tickets are available for purchase in advance or at the door, free admission for children 12 and younger. armadillobazaar.com
Watch LUMINATIONS At Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave.
While the Trail of Lights will be a drive-thru event this season, Luminations is a wonderful option if you’d like to take a stroll through some festive lights. Luminations within the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a beautiful holiday celebration that happens right after dusk. You and your family can appreciate the natural wonder of winter in their beautiful Texas Arboretum. This yearly event showcases thousands of luminarias, holiday food and drink, and the light-splashed forts of Fortlandia. The actual Wildflower Center is lit up with tons of luminaries. The event runs December 2nd – January 30th, 2022, Thursday – Sunday from 6 pm – 9 pm, with Thursdays reserved for members. Tickets are needed, so book your time slot today. wildflower.org/luminations
Witness Mozart’s 2021 Christmas Light Show
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703
This year’s light show is bigger, better, and brighter than ever! The previous year brought us the COVID Cautious Christmas Light Show where they guaranteed all their visitors had appropriate social distancing through getting reserved tables ahead of time. This was a break from their regular “festival” format of: “come one, come all … anytime”. They received fantastic feedback on that format – so, the reserved tables are back again for the 2021 Mozart’s Light Show!
For Reserved Tickets, you can pick your day, your time, and your table spot to delight in ATX’s most popular holiday tradition. As this format sells out, they’ve made the best of both worlds with the comeback of their festival-style Bavarian marketplace. This standing-room-only arrangement will accommodate their “come one, come all … anytime” visitors through General Admission tickets which may also be booked ahead of time or at the Show. These tickets are their free treat to the local community and are situated in the elevated parking lot straight up their stairs from their deck on top of all the reserved tables. mozartscoffee.com
Celebrate Texas Christmas at Santa’s Ranch
9561 I-35 North
New Braunfels, TX 78130
A 50-foot Christmas tree, 1.5 million lights, and a range of animated displays and drive-through tunnels are just a couple of of the highlights to spot while you roll down the country roads at Santa’s Ranch. Stop at the concession stand and fill up on roasted pecans, fresh kettle corn, and homemade hot cocoa to keep you warm on the ride. Open Thursday – Sunday until January 2, 2022, from 6 pm-10 pm and 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are available at the gate or online. santasranch.net
Peppermint Parkway At Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas
9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd.
Austin, TX, 78617
Peppermint Parkway is returning for a 2021 celebration with a one-mile driving attraction where guests can enjoy a lap around the race track and an incredible number of lights coordinated with holiday-themed songs. Head over to Peperment Plaza for a kiddie amusements park, food trucks, COTA Karting, write your letter to Santa, and even see the big guy himself performing at North Pole Palooza throughout the night. Experience this fantastic event daily till December 26; tickets are available online with two different time slots. peppermintparkway.com
Watch Ballet Austin’s THE NUTCRACKER
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 W Riverside Dr.
Austin, TX 78704
Bring the magic of the holiday season to life. Ballet Austin’s yearly production of THE NUTCRACKER is Austin’s favorite holiday tradition! Hundreds of dancers perform Stephen Mills’ sensational choreography to Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s magical score with live accompaniment from Austin Symphony Orchestra. Share this unique treat with your family and enjoy the season with Ballet Austin. Enjoy The Nutcracker December 4 – 23th with day and evening showtimes. balletaustin.org/performances/thenutcracker/
Enjoy the Holiday Zilker Tree
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78746
No Christmas in Austin would be complete without a visit to the famous Zilker Tree! Towering a massive 155 feet over the joggers and loungers of Zilker Park, this favorite Christmas tree is lit at the end of November to signal that the holiday season has officially started! But it’s more than just flashy decor. The Zilker Tree is, in fact, a remodeled moonlight tower, a revolutionary type of street light that helped locals to stay safe on trips after the sun had set. During the holiday seasons, 39 strings of colorful lighting expand from all sides of the tower. The tree appears to be like yet another magnificent skyscraper making up the cityscape when observed from afar. Enjoy the tree nightly now until January 1, 2022, from 6 – 10 pm.
Thinkery Gingerbread House Kits
December means Gingerbread season, and at the Thinkery, that means it’s time to order your Gingerbread kits. The Thinkery has teamed up with Lady Quackenbush’s Cakery once again to create fantastic take-home gingerbread kits. Kits are available for all skill levels; preorder today or stop by and see what is available. thinkeryaustin.org/special/gingerbread-workshops/
Downtown Austin Holiday Stroll
On Saturday, December 4 at 6: 00 pm, kick off the holiday season with the yearly Holiday Sing-Along and downtown tree lighting. The event is free and open to the public, and complimentary souvenir songbooks will be available to guests while supplies last. And instead of just a single night, this year’s Downtown Holiday Stroll will be a month-long of special events with lots of free activities and holiday events for the whole family to explore downtown while staying safe. Enjoy movie nights in the park, The famous Austin Bike Zoo Parde, sidewalk sales, and much more. Get a complete list of events online. downtownholidaystroll.com
A Christmas Carol
The Topfer at ZACH
202 S Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
After two years, Austin’s most popular holiday tradition is back, along with all-new music and surprises to ring in the season. ZACH’s singular adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a musical sleigh journey through rhythm and time, infusing the classic Victorian story with a score covering all genres and eras. Enjoy the holiday with the loving Cratchit family and the three soulful ghosts while they take Ebenezer Scrooge on a joyride to find his heart and love for human benevolence. A Christmas Carol is running now until January 2, Wednesday – Sunday, with day and evening showtimes on Saturday and Sunday. tickets.zachtheatre.org/overview/12385