Holiday Events In Austin That Are Family-Friendly (2021 Edition)

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holiday events in Austin

‘Tis the season! Austin has plenty of holiday events for 2021 to keep the whole family in the holiday spirit! Book early if you can – Christmas events in Austin sell out fast. I’ll share all of classic holiday events in Austin, as well as a few new fun ones that are just getting started.   

As the year comes to an end and you look for family-friendly Christmas events to squeeze into your December, keep in mind that lots of the events you used to be able to randomly show up to now require advanced reservations. Plan ahead! I’m booking our Kennedy family traditions early this year to have first pick of dates before things get too full. 

Holiday Events in Austin (2021)

Trail of Lights

NOV 27 – Dec 31

COST: $35-45/car

2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin

Looking for holiday activities in Austin Texas? Visit SoMuchLife.com to create your own Austin Texas Christmas check list!

Trail of Lights is Austin’s largest holiday tradition, and it’s going to be a drive-thru again this year! This is one of my favorite Austin Christmas activities. Drive through Zilker Park’s festive display of 2 million lights as you tune into the radio for themed holiday music while sipping on some hot cocoa.

There are different ticket prices depending on the time you want to visit, including General Admission and a special Dash Pash available for each night. Check out the website for all the details

Mozart's christmas lights show 2021

DATES: Nov 11 – Jan 6

COST: Free, or $20-30

3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin

Christmas events in Austin

The lights at Mozart’s Coffee has become one of the most popular holiday events in Austin. During the holidays, they decorate the deck with 1 million Christmas lights and folks show up every single day to watch the light show. Just like last year, reservations are required in 2021 to enforce social distancing.

You can reserve a table for $20-30, or you can reserve a free spot at the Bavarian Marketplace (near the entrance of the lights) for standing room. They have all sorts of festive snacks and drinks, and it’s such a fun night. Reserve a table and make it an event with a group of friends!

Peppermint Parkway At Circuit of The Americas

DATES: Nov 26-Dec 26

COST: TBA

9201 COTA Blvd, Austin

This Austin holiday event at Circuit of the Americas is returning for 2021! Peppermint Parkway is a one mile driving attraction where visitors can enjoy a lap around the race track and millions of lights coordinated with holiday-themed music. Additional events like a kiddie amusements park and food trucks, too!

BALLET AUSTIN'S "THE NUTCRACKER

DEC 4 – Dec 23

COST: STARTS AT $29

After being virtual last year, the The iconic Nutrcracker performance by Ballet Austin is back in 2021 its 59th year…in-person and live! 

Tickets to this Christmas ballet sell out quickly, so go ahead and secure the dates you want nice and early if you’re interested in visiting the Long Center and watching The Nutcracker. 

Zilker Tree Lighting

DATE: TBD

COST: FREE

4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin

Things to do in Austin during Christmas season - here's the ultimate checklist!

The Zilker Tree Lighting Ceremony is an Austin holiday tradition that kicks off the Christmas season! The iconic moontower is turned into a Holiday tree that stands 155 feet tall and is made up of 3,309 lights. The top of the tree is decked with a 10 foot star. This Tree Lighting Ceremony has a sweet, small-town feel to it. You’ll hear a band play holiday favorites, a children’s choir sing carols, and there’s popcorn and funnel cakes for sale. The tree lighting is the grand finale at the end of the event. 

Downtown Austin Holiday Stroll

DATES: Dec 4, 2021

COST: FREE

Downtown Austin

holiday events in Austin

This fun, festive holiday stroll through downtown Austin includes pop-up events, window displays, holiday shopping, and the Downtown Austin 45-foot Christmas tree.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

DATES: Nov 19 – Dec 24

COST: FREE

6100 Airport Blvd, Austin

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

If you want to shop for holiday gifts in one place, plan to visit the Blue Genie Art Bazaar in 2021. This pop-up art store is a staple in the Austin holiday scene! If you’re looking for totally unique Christmas gifts, this is the place to get them. If you can’t make it to this art bazaar, here are a bunch of my favorite Austin boutiques.

At the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, more than 200 artists are represented. They sell all sorts of one-of-a-kind items like jewelry, clothing, ceramics, photography, and more.

Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls

DATES: Nov 19 – Jan 1

COST: FREE

305 Buena Vista Dr, Marble Falls

Marble Falls Christmas

Walk and gaze at over 2 million Christmas lights reflected off of Lake Marble Falls. 

This longstanding holiday tradition just outside of Austin is returning for its 31st year. Every night (for 44 nights in a row!) from 6-10 pm, you can experience the sparkly holiday magic in Marble Falls.

christmas on Mercer Street

DEC 4 2021

COST: FREE

381 Mercer Street, Dripping Springs

If you’re a Dripping Springs resident, this is the event for you! It’s a day full of arts and crafts, photo ops, and holiday cheer, ending with a virtual tree lighting ceremony. 

Holiday Movies at the Paramount

DATES: Nov 30 – Dec 31

COST: $11-$100+

713 Congress Ave, Austin

holiday events in Austin

The Paramount Theatre in Downtown Austin has a whole line-up of holiday shows for their 2021 season! For a lower price point, you can watch classic Christmas films in this iconic Austin theater. Reserve tickets to holiday movies like Elf, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, and more!

They also offer live shows, like Bob Schneider’s NYE concert, or the Austin Chamber Music Charlie Brown event. 

A Christmas Carol at the Zach

DATES: Nov 24 – Jan 2

COST: $25-95

202 S Lamar Blvd

ZACH Theatre’s version of A Christmas Carol is back for 2021! They’re promising all-new music and surprises this year. It’s a family-friendly event that’s an iconic Austin holiday tradition. 

Gingerbread House Building from The Thinkery

DEC 3 – DEC 31

COST: $20-30

1830 Simond Ave, Austin

Austin Christmas Events

In years past the Gingerbread Workshops have been at the Thinkery Children’s Museum, but they’re going to be doing things differently this year! Austin’s favorite children’s museum, The Thinkery, is offering at-home, tot-friendly gingerbread house kits. Order your kit online and bring it home for your little ones to decorate.

Purchase the Cookie People kit if you’re decorating with someone aged 0-4, or get the Gingerbread House kit for ages 4+. It includes fun links, like a video inside Quack’s kitchen, and tips from a pro decorator. 

Alamo Drafthouse Holiday Movie Screenings

DATES: Nov/Dec

COST: $15-20

Various locations

Alamo Drafthouse Holiday

Alamo Drathouse has all sorts of fun holiday screenings for 2021! Check out the viewing party for “Elf,” which includes hilarious props and “singing out loud of all to hear.” Or attend the brunch screening of “The Holiday” with classic brunch cocktails. 

Check the website to see all of the movie options and details. 

Luminations At Wildflower Center

DATES: Dec 2 – Jan 30

COST: $10-25

4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin

 

While the Trail of Lights is going to be a drive-thru event this year, Luminations is a beautiful option if you’d like to walk through the lights. Luminations at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a beautiful holiday event that happens after dusk. The Wildflower Center is lit up with thousands of luminaries. There’s food and drink, and the entire thing is fun and festive and cozy!  

Children 0-4 are free, and the event is reserved for members only on Thursdays. 

Letter To Santa at Austin Emergency Center

DATES: Dec 1-15

COST: Free

All Austin Emergency Center locations

 

Holiday events in Austin

Drop a letter to Santa at any Austin Emergency Center, and he’ll write back! Their special mailboxes will be at each ER starting on Wednesday, December 1. 


Psst: looking for some local boutique stores in Austin? Click here. And if you’re looking for more Austin gift ideas, here’s my local Austin gift guide. It’s provides inspiration to support small businesses this holiday season!

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