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Holiday Happenings in Austin

Traditions the Texas Way

Here’s something to hang your 10-gallon elf hat on: More holiday happenings occur in the Austin area than you can shake a candy cane stick at.

Archer’s compiled this list of some of his favorite holiday to-dos — tree lightings, sound and light shows, art performances, eats, drinks and shopping. Book your stay directly with us and get the best deal around, plus a great night’s rest before your holiday outings begin (and afterward, too).

Archie the Elf hanging around the stairs at Archer Hotel Austin

Holiday Lights

  • 37th Street Lights — “The weirdest lights you will see this holiday season,” plus a stuffed animal petting zoo. Joy to the weird, indeed.
  • Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park — A magical drive-thru event with more than 2 million lights, 90 holiday trees and 70 other holiday displays and tunnels.
  • Zilker Tree Lighting — Standing at 155 feet and with a 120-foot diameter, the Zilker Holiday Tree surrounds a moonlight tower with 39 lit streamers.
  • Downtown Holiday Stroll — Free activities and holiday happenings make this family-friendly monthlong event a safe way to celebrate the season.
  • The Driskell Holiday Tree Lighting — Enjoy a pop-up Veuve Clicquot champagne bar during the tree lighting, then celebrate with holiday cocktails and desserts in the acclaimed hotel bar.
  • Luminations at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center — Most Thursdays through Sundays December 2 – January 30, enjoy the grounds lit with thousands of luminarias, the “light-splashed forts of Fortlandia” and seasonal food and drink.
Austin Trail of Lights

  • Holiday Light Show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters — Soak up the immersive light show while sipping a cuppa joe at a reserved table, or check out the view from the (free) standing-room-only Bavarian Marketplace.
  • Peppermint Parkway — At Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, the Peppermint Parkway drive-thru experience includes dazzling scenes with millions of lights, dancing elves and strolling entertainers.
  • “The Nutcracker” — Ballet Austin’s seasonal favorite features hundreds of dancers interpreting the enchanting story with accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
  • Miracle on 5th Street — This multi-room, multi-level pop-up cocktail bar has a ’Gram-worthy Santa’s Throne, wall-to-wall Christmas décor and cheery social experiences.
  • Hometown Holiday — Round Rock’s downtown basks in the holiday glow. Bring the family for a round of bingo, write a letter to Santa, color ornaments and wander the well-lit streets.
Photo by Chris Ainsworth on Unsplash

Holiday Spirits + Eats

Bigger Austin holiday fun calls for bigger Austin holiday energy sources. These coffee houses, bars and eateries fill that cup up:

  • Wonder Bar — Just down the street from Archer Hotel Austin in Rock Rose, Wonder Bar goes all out with interactive holiday installations unlike any other. Get your camera ready.
  • Lala’s Little Nugget — Christmas in Texas year-round? You bet your sweet boots. Jolly Hour is Monday – Thursday, Bloody Mary Mornin’ is Sunday and Christmas parties include ½ Christmas, Zombie Christmas, Lala’s Anniversary and Lala’s Christmas Bash.
  • Halcyon — This coffee + bar + lounge joint is a great place to chill, hang out, meet with friends — and roast marshmallows to make s’mores while sipping on a chocolate espresso martini.
  • Kitty Cohen’s — Hosting Austin’s first-ever Hanukkah “Get Lit” Pop-up Bar in 2019, the ’70s-inspired Kitty Cohen’s is always on the holiday bar list.
  • Sippin’ Santa — Nickel City Bar serves up plenty of holiday cocktails (classic and new) in themed glassware, with specific glassware sales going to the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good campaign.
Photo by Abigail Schaefer, courtesy of Lala’s Little Nugget

  • Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden — Tasty seasonal menus are best enjoyed on the spacious patio, all decorated with holiday lights.
  • Fluff Meringues & More — This quirky patisserie creates beautiful puffs of holiday fluff that lighten up the more-typical Texas dessert offerings.
  • Easy Tiger — A sleeve of holiday cookies or shareable loaf of German Christmas Stollen — a cross between cake and bread, with Texas pecans and candied orange peel and a powdered sugar coating — is an easy, welcome holiday gift.
  • Sprinkles — Right across the street from Archer Hotel Austin is Sprinkles — a cupcake, cookie and layered cake store. Holiday cupcakes are festive and fabulous.
The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in Domain NORTHSIDE

Nifty Holiday Gifts

Holiday gift-giving takes on a merrier vibe when the sales support local artisans and charities. In Austin, these options do just that; happy shopping:

  • Domain NORTHSIDE — Archer’s walkable neighborhood has a holiday selfie wall, a Merry Grinchmas holiday kickoff event and tree lighting, a decked-out walk-thru photo experience and a Letters to Santa house — for each letter donated, $1 is donated to SAFE Austin.
  • A Christmas Affair — The Junior League of Austin presents the five-day holiday Market Days, plus several in-person and virtual parties and children’s events.
  • Blue Genie Art Bazaar — The Holiday Bazaar features the handmade, unique work of 200+ artists selected from a talent pool of 400+ applicants each year.
  • Lone Star Holiday Market — The Hill Country Galleria hosts this indoor holiday market, with local vendors, unique gifts and gift wrapping, plus live music and holiday libations.
  • Armadillo Christmas Bazaar — The 10-day fine art, shopping destination showcases both local and national award-winning artists, along with live music and two full bars.
Photo courtesy of Blue Genie Holiday Bazaar

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