‘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
2207 Lou Neff Rd, Austin
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
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
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
4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin
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
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
6100 Airport Blvd, Austin
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
305 Buena Vista Dr, Marble Falls
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
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
713 Congress Ave, 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
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
1830 Simond Ave, Austin
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
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
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
All Austin Emergency Center locations
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.