This will be my first time in Austin for Christmas as we wont be returning to Ireland for the holiday season. As much as I am slightly disappointed we won’t be home for Christmas I’m as equally excited to be spend Christmas stateside…already the anticipation of whats to come is building!
So after asking lots of local friends & colleagues not to mention doing a little research here is the top 10 things to do over the holiday Period!
- I’m told it best to kick-start the Christmas season at the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Holiday Stroll on Saturday, December 1 along Congress Avenue between 9th and 11th streets. Congress avenue is pretty amazing and the Capital Building stands tall…which that alone is impressive on any given day! From 5:00 to 10:00 pm it will be nothing but holiday cheer in downtown Austin, where you re guaranteed a Holiday Sing-Along and the lighting of the downtown tree. Most events over the Christmas here in Austin are free, as is this, event and very family-friendly. I’m told Holiday Stroll has something for everyone including photos with Santa, a petting zoo, live ice sculpture, holiday arts & crafts, a live mural painting, local food trucks, artisan vendors, and more. And as always Austin city is all about the music so there will be a full night of live music with performances by the Austin Children’s Choir, GirlFriend ATX, Shy Beast, and many others. After the annual lighting of the tree at the Holiday Sing-along on December 3, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be on display nightly through January 3, 2017. Catch all the information here http://www.downtownaustin.com/holidaystroll.
- Up next is one I’m really looking forward to, and again its a free event. This is the Austin Trail of lights. With a whooping 40 displays, 2 million lights, Austin’s favorite food trucks, nightly entertainment and holiday activities its known to be the highlight of the holiday season. It runs a total of 15 days and is open to the public. There’s even a 2.5 mile run to kick the event off that’s if your feeling energetic! Kids friendly and definitely one we’re not going to miss this year.
(Pic Flickr by rachinthecity)
- Zilker holiday Tree, again this event is very close to the Trail of lights, on November 25th it is the lightning festival of the Zilker tree. The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs – totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. On the night you can expect live music and entertainment, food and novelties…this is another event that runs throughout the month of December. We went to this the other night and it was fabulous, we booked early and it was so worth it to get in the hour before the large crowds, you could see the displays without being blocked with crowds of people, the rides on the carousel and wheel were less crowded too…it is such a magical experience and the kids will love it.
(Pic Flickr by rachinthecity)
- North Pole Flyer, this is a unique way to visit Santa…visions of my favourite Christmas Movie “The Polar express” comes to mind..Its a 2 hour excursion on a real train featuring a visit 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-the railroad’s own Christmas Story! Santa is known to spend time in each carriage to “check your list twice”, and pose for photographs before handing out a gift to each child to remember this special ride! https://www.austinsteamtrain.org/special-events/north-pole-flyer/
- Winter wonderland held at Circuit of the Americas (Home to Formula 1) Running from the 8th up until 30th of December, this year will feature World Famous Chinese Lantern Festival, a display of illuminated sculptures – each hand-crafted using a tradition that extends back centuries. The lanterns are created using steel frames surrounded by colorful rayon “skins” and illuminated from within by LED lights. I’m informed they will have Texas’ largest outdoor Ice Skating Rink (which could be dangerous :0) ), A Tunnel of Lights, Trips to the top of the North Pole, Carnival Rides, Camel Rides, Singing Trees, a Petting Zoo, oh and most importantly Santa’s Workshop. And being Austin there’s a Live Music Stage! There’s also a Human snow globe which I’m intrigued about and Holiday movies on the lawn…sounds perfect!!! More details http://www.circuitoftheamericas.com/blog/2017/11/14/winter-wonderland-lights-up-cota-all-december
- Would it really be Christmas if there wasn’t a trip to the theater? And what better place to go but to a Ballet performance! From the scrumptious sets and costumes to all of the colorful characters you love, Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker is the longest-running production of the seasonal classic in Texas. Stephen Mills’ take on this timeless tale features a cast of hundreds of dancers, including the charming and talented students from the prestigious Ballet Austin Academy who share the spotlight with our professional company of artists. Celebrate the magic of the holidays by experiencing this sweet treat with your family and friends. Featuring live accompaniment by Austin Symphony Orchestra. It runs from the 8th until the 23rd of December.
(Pic Ballet Austin)
- Zach Theater based here in Austin are reknowned for their shows and they have not one but three shows running over the Christmas Holiday period, The traditional “A Christmas Carol” (Nov 21 to Dec 30th) Its Austin’s most rockin’ holiday tradition and it returns to make merry with new music and surprises to get the party started. ZACH’s inspired adaptation of the Dickens’ classic is a musical sleigh ride through rhythm and time, infusing the traditional Victorian story with a score that spans all genres and eras. Motown meets the Ho-Ho-Holidays in this family-friendly spectacular, creating an infectious spirit that has everyone dancing in the aisles. Celebrate the season with the loving Cratchit family and three soulful ghosts as they take Ebenezer Scrooge on a joyride to rediscover his heart and love for human kindness. This is for all the family from ages 6 and up… they also have a show for younger kids from 3 years and up called “Holiday Heros” which is more fun with Holiday sing alongs. This runs from the 8th until the 15th of December at 11am and runs just 45mins with no intervals (so the time is more suited for the smallies). Another for the bit of adult humor, they have The Santaland diaries (ages 12 and up) running from 5th until the 30th of December, apparently ever-irreverent and cynical Crumpet is back! The outlandish tale of a Macy’s elf merrily jingles to life in the intimate Whisenhunt at ZACH Theatre. In this holiday cult-classic, Crumpet sarcastically expounds on the talent it takes to juggle tinsel, tearful tots, and not-so-sober Santa’s during what is hailed as the most wonderful time of the year. 75 minutes of rollicking (and not so politically-correct) fun, this laugh-‘til-you-spill-your-cocktail evening will delight adult elves who like it more naughty than nice! It runs from the 5th til the 30th of December and you’ll find all details of the shows here https://tickets.zachtheatre.org/single/EventListing.aspx
- Mozarts Holiday Light Show, Mozart’s is one of the best coffee shops in Austin, mostly because they have a phenomenal location on Lake Austin and a great outdoor deck. It’s one of the best places in town to see some spectacular holiday lights. Each year they take Christmas lights to the extreme with an extravagant display. They decorate the deck with over 1 million LED lights and set up a show to everyones favorite holiday tunes. Admission is free and there is no assigned seating, so you can bring the whole crew and enjoy! They have a light show at the top of each hour starting at 6 p.m. Runs from November until end of December http://mozartscoffee.com/christmas-lights-show/ We did this the other night and it was fabulous..the display happens every 15mins so not too much crowds and the coffee is to die for!! Free admission and free parking across from the coffee shop!! Win win!
- Georgetown’s Annual Christmas Stroll. The historic downtown Georgetown, Texas which is just a suburb of Austin hosts its 38th Annual Stroll (This town alone on any given day is beautiful) The festivities begin from Friday 30th November until Dec 1st with a christmas parade, santa visit and ice skating. They will also have a swing carousel and the younger ones can tackle a candyland obstacle course!!! What the Georgetown annual christmas stroll is most famous for is the re enactment of life 2000 years ago in Bethlehem Villlage and they have a live manager on display!! You can find all the details here http://www.downtowngeorgetownassociationtx.org/Christmas-Stroll—Guests.html
- The Thinkery Gingerbread Workshops, the tinkery is Austins Children museum, its an amazing place to take kids, we go there almost always once a month, this year they are hosting Gingerbread workshops, Creative families build with fresh gingerbread and sweet treats in a fun and festive atmosphere you can find more information on this here https://thinkeryaustin.org/gingerbread
Plenty to see and do over the holiday period, to get you into the Christmas spirit!
So far we ‘re ticking of the boxes slowly but surely 🙂