Top Picks to Kick off the Holidays

With your kids, friends or your sweetheart, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season in Austin. From light shows to gingerbread house displays, you’ll be feeling the spirit this year in Austin. Here are our top picks for holiday cheer:


Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

$7 adults, Free for kids 12 and under

Find that special something at one of the hundreds of artisan gift booths and enjoy live music while you shop at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar .

WIN TICKETS TO THE BAZAAR! We are giving away 6 tickets to the event! Tag @citygrammag and a friend in a holiday-themed Instagram post with hashtag #armadillochristmasbazaar for your chance to win a ticket for you and that friend! You have until Dec. 15 to enter!

• December 16-24
• Palmer Events Center

Elf Quote-Along at Alamo Draft House

Various Showtimes and locations

“You’re not a cotton-headed ninny muggin. You’re just special.” Believe it this year with the greatest holiday quote-along of the season. Join Buddy the Elf at the Alamo Draft House for an evening of laughter and holiday cheer. See website for showtimes.


Mozart’s Christmas Light Show



Listen to Transiberian Orchestra

If you are looking for a good excuse for a snuggle, Mozart’s annual light show is it. Its a good place to make a noncommittal Christmas activity with your family, meaning, you don’t have to make a whole night of it and parking isn’t a chore. The 15 minute light spectacular, synced to Transiberian Orchestra tunes, runs from 6pm-midnight every evening, with a show starting at the top of every hour. Its a small activity to bring the joyful spirit of the season to your children. Don’t forget your blanket and a flask of good bourbon for your fresh roasted coffee.

• 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.


Four Seasons Gingerbread Houses 


Free hot cider and cookies are attached to this winter wonder. This year’s Four Season’s Gingerbread Village theme is Candyland, and we couldn’t be more excited. You’ll be in awe at the talented pastry chefs’ grandiose creations on display in the beautifully decorated lobby of Austin’s luxury hotel. Be sure to check out the Teddy Bear Teas at TRIO while you plan your visit.

• November 25 through December 31
• 98 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin 78701-4039


Trail of Lights 50th Anniversary

Free weekdays-$3 weekends

If you haven’t taken your family and friends to the Trail of Lights yet, you can’t call yourself an Austinite. The trail begins near the mega tree in Zilker Park, and winds through a child-like fantasy land of Christmas characters, animated stories and even dinosaurs. There are food trailer pit stops along the trail where your kids can fuel up on treats like hot chocolate, kettle corn and Amy’s Ice Cream. This year they celebrate their 50th anniversary of the trail, which can be seen from many a view in Austin, the best being from within it. The tree was lit on the last day of November, there is a fun run through the trail on Saturday Dec. 6. and the family light trail opens to the public Sunday, Dec. 7.

• Open nightly, Dec. 7-21 7pm-10pm
• Zilker Park


Willis’ Unofficial Holiday Yard and Cheer


Since 1998, Clarksville homeowner Willis has spread holiday cheer in his own special way. He sits on his over-the-top, twinkle-lit porch every evening in December, offering passersby a happy holiday and a basket of candy canes. On December 13, the real spectacle commences when he fills his yard with elaborate ornaments, music and community. Stop by and say hi after a cozy romantic happy hour at Josephine, Jefferey’s or Cipollina. He’s just around the corner; you know you’ve arrived when you see the splendor of light and his old Lincoln out front.

• Open nightly
• 1611 12th St., Clarksville, Austin

Photo credits: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Bo Duncan, Four Seasons


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