The winter holidays are upon us, which means decorating, parties, family get-togethers and, of course, that gift list. Austin prides itself on its weirdness — with that in mind, here are some uniquely Austin spots to do your holiday shopping and have a bit of fun too.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
This is the only juried holiday gift and art bazaar in town, and this year Blue Genie has a new 11,000-square-foot location in North Central Austin, just steps from the Highland Metro Rail station. This allows plenty of space for booths from more than 200 regional artisans, offering everything from paintings, photography, and prints to sculptures, jewelry, clothing, glassworks, and more. The opening night celebration on November 25 will feature free drinks and snacks, plus music by DJ Zetroc and free collectible totes.
November 25-December 24, 10 am to 10 pm (except December 24, when it closes at 6 pm). 6100 Airport Blvd. Free.
Renegade Craft Fair
One of Austin's newest holiday markets, Renegade is a celebration of DIY spirit and independent makers. The carefully curated fair showcases the very best of modern craft and design. Indie artisan works, hands-on workshops, food and drink, and plenty of holiday spirit are part of the celebration.
November 26-27, 11 am to 6 pm. 1100 E. Fifth St. Free.
Hotel Ella Holiday Trunk Show
Hotel Ella is hosting a holiday trunk show that will highlight unique gifts and pop-up shops throughout the historic mansion. Participating brands include Thirds, Kendra Scott, Eloi, Sunroom, Bell and Bird, Viva Day Spa, The Candy Jar, Charmed Root, All Things Kids, and more. Attendees receive a complimentary glass of champagne and takeaway gift with their ticket. You're also invited to sip on festive drink specials on the hotel's veranda or enjoy chair massages offered by Viva Day Spa.
November 27, 2-6 pm. Tickets are $15 and include valet parking.
Pop-up Holiday Market by Arthouse Austin
Hosted by one of the city's most popular creative cultural centers, this fun and festive shopping experience is a place where local vendors sell one-of-a-kind gifts at reasonable prices. Food and drink is available for purchase, and Santa will be taking photos with children.
December 3, 11 am to 5 pm. 11505 Anderson Mill Rd. Free, but reservations are required.
German Christmas Market
Put on by the German-Texan Heritage Society, this old-fashioned holiday market harkens back to European traditions. There will be imported crafts for sale from the Erzgebirge region of Germany, plus German Christmas music, Frank artisan sausages, Glühwein (hot spiced wine), coffee, gingerbread cookies, and plenty of German-style baked goods.
December 5, 10 am to 4 pm. 507 E. 10th St. Free.
South First Sip & Shop
Down in always hip South Austin, the businesses along South First Street are hosting a First Wednesday holiday sip and shop. This is a unique chance to shop in the businesses along the street, which will all be open late for the event. Participating businesses include Art for the People Gallery, Bloomers and Frocks, Flashback Vintage, Mana Culture, Jack & Lola, and more.
December 7, 6-8 pm. Free.
Maker's Market at Austin's Trail of Lights
The Trail of Lights officially opens to the public on December 10, but during the annual Night Lights Preview Party, attendees will have the opportunity to shop at Maker's Market curated by Edible Austin. Besides the market, your Night Lights ticket also includes small bites from some of Austin's favorite restaurants, complimentary Ferris wheel and carousel rides, a classic car show, and live music from Shinyribs and Greyhounds — not to mention the first look at the spectacular holiday light displays.
December 9, 6-10 pm. Zilker Park. Tickets are $75 each.
Cherrywood Art Fair
This neighborhood event is a two-day showcase of local artists, food, and kids' activities. Live music is also performed all day long, and performers include Suzanna Choffel and School of Rock. It's also the longest-running nonprofit art fair in Austin, now in its 15th year.
December 10-11, 10 am to 5 pm. 3808 Maplewood Ave. Free.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, in its 41st year, is the granddaddy of seasonal shopping events in Austin. The 11-day event combines artists offering totally unique, handcrafted items with local live music acts and two fully-stocked bars, making it one of the best parties around. With more than 160 carefully curated artists, shoppers can find all kinds of handmade pieces, upscale arts, heirloom items, and even inexpensive stocking stuffers. At least three bands play each day, from emerging stars to Grammy Award winners. This year Dale Watson, Carolyn Wonderland, Ruthie Foster, and Asleep at the Wheel are among the performers.
December 14-24, 10 am to 10 pm. Palmer Events Center. Admission is $8/day for ages 13 and up; season passes are available for $60.
Other local holiday markets:
Hyde Park Holiday Market is an outdoor event featuring handmade, sustainable, and quality items by local makers and businesses. Here you can find jewelry, soaps, clothing, bags, accessories, apothecary goods, and more. December 3, 11 am to 4 pm. 4301 Guadalupe St. Free.
The Creative Ladies Holiday Bazaar showcases local designers and artists who are selling unique jewelry, art, leather goods, woodworking, and children's clothing. December 3, 4-8 pm. 606 Terrell Hill Dr. Free.
Holiday Art Market at HOPE Farmers Market has all the regular Sunday vendors, plus additional seasonal vendors for holiday shopping. There will also be lots of activities, such as a photo booth, chair massages, free yoga, imagination playground, ornament making, face painting, and story time. Plus, the Austin Steam Train will roll in at 12:30 pm for rides. December 11, 11 am to 3 pm. 412 Comal St. Free.