I drove to Marble Falls, Texas with my family over the weekend for a little holiday cheer! The city of Marble Falls is doing a precious celebratory 44 Days and Nights Of Holiday Events (see the full events calendar here) with family-friendly Christmas activities like ice skating, cookie decorating, holiday concerts, a downton sip and shop, and of course the popular Marble Falls Walkway of Lights. This was actually my first time visiting Marble Falls, so I made my little list of places I wanted to check out, loaded up the fam, and drove west.
How far is Marble Falls from Austin? If you’re starting near downtown Austin, it’s 48 miles and will take you just about one hour to drive there. It’s a great distance for a day trip (or weekend getaway.) Marble Falls has that quaint, small town feel that’s perfect for a weekend of Christmas activities.
Nate and I hoped that Milo would take his nap in the car during the drive out to Marble Falls, but no such luck. (I’m still new to this parenthood game, so a lot of it is trial and error…) We turned on white noise in the car, but he just chatted the whole way. (“Mommy, I see stop light! Stop sign? Stop light!” was his little voice for most of the ride.) We got to Marble Falls ready for an afternoon of eating and shopping. There are so many cute things to do in Marble Falls, even in the winter, so I’ll definitely have to go back and explore some more.
But for this trip, we started off at Bear King Brewing Co., a new(ish) brew pub just two blocks away from Main Street. They have a great big covered patio with picnic tables, and it’s all fenced in so it’s a great place for little ones. This is definitely a family-friendly restaurant in Marble Falls! Nate and I both got a flight of their beers (they had a marshmallow milk stout on tap – so festive) and shared some poutine to snack on.
The main downtown portion of Marble Falls is a few little blocks on Main Street. There’s street parking there, and the sidewalks are wide enough for strolling. It’s really a charming place. There are lots of little shops with the typical small town souvenirs you might expect hand towels embroidered with funny phrases, and collectible pez candy dispensers. There are several ice cream shops so you can lick a big waffle cone of Blue Bell while you wander, and several home goods stores with decor and such.
The little corner boutique called Smartie Pantz is full of clothing (lots of cute stuff for kiddos in there) and little gift ideas. Main Street in Marble Falls is a fun place to do some holiday shopping, if you’re in the mood.
We grabbed an afternoon meal at Texas Elite Meat on Main Street. It’s a meat market and a grill, so Nate got some oxtails from the freezer section (I’m excited to see what he cooks with those soon!) and I ordered some burgers and sandwiches for lunch. Tip: get those parmesan truffle fries!
They grind the finest Wagyu meat for their burger patties, and all of their beef comes from cattle that are raised naturally in nearby Texas farms. It’s a family-run store that is kind and hospitable and has delicious food.
While we were in there, a sweet older man saw Milo (my 2-year-old) and put a 5 dollar bill on the table and told me “I think this young man deserves an ice cream cone.”
So we walked next door to the little candy shop after eating our lunch.
Divide and conquer! Nate took Milo to another brewery (Double Horn) while I shopped around the Main Street area with Dayton. By the way, there are three breweries within Marble Falls city limits (Bear King and Double Horn are both in the middle of town, and Save The World is just a short drive away.) And there are multiple other breweries in nearby towns.
Probably the most popular thing to do in Marble Falls is stop by Bluebonnet Cafe. They’ve been operating since 1929 and are known for their pies. Since it’s a world-famous small town cafe, I assumed it would be really cute on the inside (like a Luke’s Diner feel Gilmore Girls.) But it’s more like a school cafeteria with laminate flooring and bright fluorescent lights. Haha. But the food is so tasty, and they’re clearly doing very well! Try their all-day breakfast menu or some of their other yummy comfort food (chicken and dumplings or enchiladas or chicken fried steak.) And then get PIE!!!
I got 4 slices, and even with that many it was hard to narrow down my choices. I ended up tasting the pecan, cherry, coconut cream (my favorite), and german chocolate. They have a giant case of whole pies right by the entrance to provide some extra temptation to get a whole Bluebonnet Cafe pie to bring home.
Since Marble Falls is right on the Colorado River, there are a few parks by the water. Johnson Park has a little pond with ducks and a really great playground. We parked there for a while and let Milo run around and he had the best time.
Haha…I wonder how many playgrounds I’ll visit during family travels in the next few years?
And next to Johnson Park is Lakeside Park. This is where the Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls happens. It’s a free nightly Christmas event that happens on the waterfront, so you see the lights twinkle off the water. It’s a short walk (maybe a ¼ mile?) on the pavement. I wasn’t sure if it would be on the grass/dirt at all, so I put Dayton in the carrier and left the stoller behind, but you could totally bring a stroller along.
Milo LOVED it. He was so excited to walk through the “blue tunnel!” at the entrance and we had a hard time getting him past that part to the rest of the lights. He would wander around and point and comment on the lights, and then sometimes he would just sit down and take it all in. It’s definitely a kid-friendly Christmas event that we’ll repeat many times in the future.
Marble Falls is so much fun! I love that they’re doing 44 days and nights of Christmas events. Go check out their PDF guide of all the festivities if you need to add a little bit of holiday cheer into the season.
My family followed this agenda to a T tonight and it was wonderful! What a perfect half day trip from Austin. I’m hoping to take my in-laws to the Johnson City lights before Christmas. Do you know of any good recommendations for family-friendly restaurants (similar to Bear King) in Johnson City?