The holidays are here, and we've rounded up the quintessential ways to celebrate in Austin. From the Trail of Lights to ice skating, these activities are guaranteed to bring even more cheer to the holiday season.
Shop and stroll the 2nd Street District
The 2nd Street District is celebrating the holidays with December in the District, featuring fun entertainment all month long. Swing by for the first holiday Sip and Stroll with Austin Cocktails on December 8, or experience 3Ten at ACL Live's transformation into the Santa Lounge. Stunning displays created by local college students fill the windows of several stores in the area, making shopping extra festive.
Through January 1
Go ice skating on the plaza
Thanks to Whole Foods Market downtown, we can glide around an ice rink and pretend like we're somewhere with real seasons. Admission is just $10 per person.
Through January 7
Sing along with Jacoby's
Get the festive fuzzy feels at Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile's second annual Festivus celebration and tree lighting. Before the tree is lit, listen to UT Elementary students sing Christmas carols and enjoy complimentary snacks. The mercantile will be selling ornaments decorated by children, proceeds of which will go back to the school.
Bar crawl in your ugly sweater
Bust out the tacky Christmas sweaters and head to Dirty Sixth for a funky bar crawl. Your ticket includes quite a few perks: a koozie, wristband for drink specials and no cover charges, and sweet giveaways at the bars you're crawling.
Walk the Trail of Lights
Nothing is more iconic than the Trail of Lights in Austin. The stretch of lights winding through Zilker Park is perfect for families, friends, and dates. A few events decorate the Trail of Lights calendar, too, like a night for University of Texas students, faculty, and staff and Heroes Night honoring local veterans and active military.
Watch the holiday lights float by on Lake Austin
Boats decorated with lights will gather on Lake Austin, creating their own Boat Trail of Lights. No boat? No problem. A hike up the 360 bridge provides a wonderful view of the boats (and a great view in general).
Celebrate the winter solstice
Farm-to-table restaurant Eden East is honoring the shortest day of the year with a Winter Solstice Farm Party. Tickets include unlimited snacks prepared by chef/owner Sonya Cote, Deep Eddy cocktails, hot chocolate, a cozy fire, and live music. A few local vendors will also be onsite for last-minute shopping.
Take in the scene on 37th Street
The residents of 37th Street are famous for going all out with Christmas decorations: lights on the houses, lights in the trees, lights everywhere. This mesmerizing display makes for a great evening outing. Park nearby, and walk along 37th Street at Guadalupe Street.
Catch a holiday flick at Alamo Drafthouse
Can you quote Elf like you wrote it yourself? You know it’s the most wonderful time of the year when Alamo Drafthouse begins showing holiday movies. From Elf to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to Home Alone, the Drafthouse encourages the audiences to quote, sing, and watch along.
Cozy up for Mozart's light show
Of course the holiday display at Mozart's Coffee Roasters makes this list. The choreographed light show lasts about 15 minutes and runs every hour on the hour from 6 pm to midnight. Grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa and enjoy the show.