Your Guide to the Austin Holiday Season

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Put some jolly in your jingle, because it’s officially the holiday season. 

We don’t get white Christmases very often, it’s true. Instead, we get over a month of indoor and outdoor celebrations that we can enjoy without frostbite. And that’s certainly a win in our book!

Use this handy Holiday Guide to plan a season’s worth of festivities for your family and friends. 

City Lights for December Nights

There’s nothing more festive than a holiday light display! We have several major displays here in Austin, plus plenty of mini-displays at local businesses. 

Peppermint Parkway at COTA

Cruise down the racetrack at Circuit of the Americas during the Peppermint Parkway, a mile-long light and entertainment display. You can also get out and walk the Peppermint Plaza to catch live performances and get a cup of cocoa. 

November 26 – December 26, 2021 

Get tickets

Austin Trail of Lights

For the second year, Austin’s Trail of Lights at Zilker Park will be a drive-thru event for safety. Listen to holiday music on Trail of Lights Radio while you goggle at over 2 million twinkle lights.

Fun fact: If you moved to Austin after 1998, you might not know that the Trail of Lights was a drive-thru event for many years! It only became a walkable event in the late 1990s. Everything old really does come around again.

November 27 – December 30, 2021

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Mozart’s Christmas Light Show

Get out of the car and into the thick of holiday festivities with Mozart’s Christmas Light Show. Reserve a table or standing room at this coffee shop on Lake Austin Boulevard to enjoy their annual light and music display.

November 11, 2021 – January 6, 2022

Make a reservation

Luminations at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Luminations at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center brings a touch of nature to the local light shows. The gardens and trees will be aglow with thousands of luminarias to highlight the wildflower center for the season. 

December 2, 2021 – January 10, 2022

Get tickets

Do Your Holiday Shopping

Skip the mall and the online shopping. Instead, check out these beloved local markets where you can pick up unique gifts made by Austin-based artisans. 

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar combines great art and live music for a fun shopping experience. This year, the Christmas Bazaar will be outside at the Palmer Events Center. 

December 17 – 19, 2021

Get tickets

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

Got someone hard to shop for on your list? Check out the Blue Genie Art Bazaar to find something for everyone. Self-care treats, clothing, art, jewelry, home decor, toys, and so much more are all available here, offered by local makers. 

November 19 – December 24, 2021

Learn more

Austin Holiday Mini Market

Austin Mini Market is a pop-up event highlighting woman-owned brands and products. Shop from over 65 vendors and enjoy free drinks at this one-day-only holiday market. 

December 5, 2021

Get tickets

Grown-Up Fun

If your winter wonderland requires fewer candy canes and more cocktails, here’s where you should be this holiday season. 

Lala’s Little Nugget

It’s Christmas every day at Lala’s Little Nugget. This festive bar is decked out in its holiday best year-round.  

Miracle on 5th Street

This pop-up bar located at the Eleanor features multiple bars bedecked in festive finery. Try one of their holiday-themed cocktails while you catch snippets of your favorite Christmas movies in the background.

November 19 – December 28, 2021

Nickel City (aka Sippin’ Santa)

Laid-back neighborhood spot Nickel City becomes Sippin’ Santa again this year, serving tiki-themed holiday drinks like the Parrot in a Pear Tree and the Yule Shoot Your Eye Out shot. 

December 2021

Kitty Cohen’s Hanukkah Pop-Up

Drop by 70s Palm Springs-inspired bar Kitty Cohen’s for Hanukkah-themed drinks like the Oy Fashioned. Some event proceeds will go to support Shalom Austin, a local Jewish community center.

November 28 – December 30, 2021

Take in a Show

It’s holiday performance time! Beautiful classics will bring back fond memories, while new productions can help the season stay fresh.

The Nutcracker 

Austin Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker sees hundreds of performers dancing to Tchaikovsky’s famous score. Accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

December 4 – 23, 2021

Get tickets

Handel’s Messiah

The Austin Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Austin will be performing Handel’s epic Messiah at the Riverbend Center. 

December 7, 2021

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A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre

The ZACH Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol is no stuffy period piece. It’s a family-friendly musical version that breathes new life into a classic story.

November 24, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Get tickets

Elf! The Musical at Georgetown Palace Theater

The adventures of Buddy the Elf take the stage with plenty of new songs. After all, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” 

November 26 – December 30, 2021

Get tickets

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

This totally reimagined version of The Nutcracker brings hip hop, breakdance, tumbling, and more to the stage at Bass Concert Hall. You’ve definitely never seen a Nutcracker like this. 

November 23, 2021

Get tickets

Get Out of Town

Looking for a light show outside the city limits? Take a day trip to any of these nearby towns for festive lights and a small-town vibe.