Holiday Happenings in Austin
Updated October 2022
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).
- 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 Driskill Holiday Tree Lighting — December 1, enjoy the tree lighting ceremony with cocktails and live music in the acclaimed hotel bar.
- “Field of Light” exhibit at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center — Through December 31, enjoy British artist Bruce Munro’s “Field of Light” immersive exhibition that explores the intersection of art, technology and nature.
- Holiday Light Show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters — Soak up the immersive light show while sipping a cuppa joe at a reserved table, check out the view from the (free) standing-room-only Bavarian Marketplace and kick up your heels on the silent-disco dance floor.
- 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. Enjoy concerts in the plaza and more-intimate acoustic music in the parklets.
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.
- Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden — Tasty seasonal menus are best enjoyed on the spacious patio, all decorated with holiday lights.
- Easy Tiger — Served hot, fresh baked daily, no preservatives: Dip these perfect pretzels in something salty, savory or sweet (all de-lish). For a fresh twist, throw a holiday pretzel party (two days’ advance notice, please).
- Sprinkles — Right across the street from Archer Hotel Austin is Sprinkles — a cupcake, cookie and layered cake store. Holiday cupcakes are festive and fabulous.
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 nearly 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.