15 Holiday Events in Austin | We may not have snowy white winters or cozy fireplace weather during Austin’s holiday season, but that doesn’t stop us from having festive traditions. There are so many ways to get in the holiday spirit that are unique to Austin, from lights shows to shopping bazaars to performances. Many require tickets, so reserve your spot now to make the season extra magical.

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Here are our favorite holiday events and traditions that celebrate the holiday season in Austin.

Trail of Lights

Nov. 27 – Dec. 31

Cruise through over 2 million lights at the 57th annual holiday display, which began in 1965 as Yule Fest. It was a drive-through experience until 1998; they went back to their roots in 2020 and it will remain a drive-through this year.

Mozart’s Light Show Holiday Events

Nov. 11 – Jan. 6

Now in its 11th year, the annual event at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is a unique Austin tradition. Take in a festive and musical light show while eating treats and drinking cocoa on the patio, surrounded by Lake Austin.

Zilker Tree Lighting

date TBA

Watch the Zilker Holiday Tree, first lit on Dec. 10, 1967, come to life as its 3,309 bulbs are illuminated at the official ceremony.

Luminations at the Wildflower Center

Dec. 2 – Jan. 30 (Thursdays through Sundays)

Enjoy Austin nature and holiday magic at the annual Luminations event at the Wildflower Center. Walk through thousands of luminaries and lit-up oak trees, swing on a glowing ring-swing, or check out an immersive light maze while enjoying festive refreshments.

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 4 – 23

The 59th annual production of the beloved ballet is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit. Arrive early to the show to experience family-friendly fun like behind-the-scenes talks, interactive discovery area and exhibits, photo stations, and warm cookies and cocoa.

ZACH Theatre’s A Christmas Carol

Nov. 24 – Jan. 2

This favorite holiday tradition returns after an absence in 2020. ZACH’s energetic adaptation infuses the classic story with original music of all genres, including pop, country, gospel, and traditional holiday tunes.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar Holiday Events

Nov. 19 – Dec. 24

The first bazaar was held in 2000, and today the event features unique, handmade products from more than 200 carefully chosen artists. It’s the best place to find a local gift for those hard-to-buy-for friends.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Dec. 17 – 19

This holiday event has a 40-year history in Austin and is being held outside this year at the Palmer Events Center. The 3-day bazaar features art from award-winning artists, live music performances, and a full bar.

Holiday Film Series at The Paramount

dates TBA

Every year the Paramount, Austin’s historic theatre founded in 1915, presents a holiday film series featuring classics like White Christmas, Elf, and A Christmas Story. You can also catch a live performance of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas on Dec. 12.

Downtown Holiday Stroll

Dec. 4 – 24

The stroll returns for its 27th year with free activities all month long. Check out window displays, the downtown tree, holiday shopping, and appearances from Santa Claus.

Santa on the Terrace

Nov. 27

Santa is back on the Long Center Terrace for Austin’s favorite holiday photo tradition. Get a free family photo with Santa in his socially-distant sleigh with our city’s skyline in the background, and enjoy the “Texas ice-skating roller rink.”

North Pole Flyer Train Ride

Nov. 27 – Dec. 19

This 2-hour ride departs from the historic Bertram Depot and includes a visit and special gift from Santa himself! Passengers also enjoy hot chocolate and listen to the story of the North Pole Flyer, read by an elf.

Gingerbread Village at the Four Seasons

Nov. 29 – Dec. 28

The village, open to the public, features 11 edible houses, from Santa’s Workshop to an Elf Dormitory to a Town Square with a live countdown to Christmas. Afterwards, you can get a s’mores kit (available Thursday through Saturday night starting Nov. 26) and roast marshmallows around one of the hotel’s cozy firepits.

Take-Home Gingerbread Kits from the Thinkery

Pre-order starting Nov. 15

Making gingerbread houses at the Thinkery is an Austin tradition, and this year the children’s museum has partnered with Lady Quackenbush’s Cakery to create gingerbread kits you can take home. There are three different kits for different age groups.

Operation Blue Santa

Since 1972, Austin Police Operation Blue Santa has provided needy families with toys and food for the holiday season. You can support the service by donating money or toys, adopting a family (adoptions open on Nov. 15), volunteering at the warehouse, or hosting a donation event.


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