As we head into the week of Thanksgiving, it’s not too early to start planning for all the fun stuff that hits Austin every holiday season. From shopping and strolling to caroling and dancing, we’ve got ways to bring out your holiday spirit right here.
November 23 – December 24, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
For unique holiday gifts made by local Austin artists, there’s no better shopping than Blue Genie. This juried show has jewelry, candles, fine art, accessories, t-shirts, and crazy quirky things you won’t find anywhere else.
Saturday, November 28 @ 11 a.m.
Often just called the Blue Santa parade, this annual event starts at the Capitol and moves south along Congress. Expect giant balloons, bands, festive floats, and of course, Santa. Bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to the Operation Blue Santa program.
Saturday, December 1 @ 5 p.m.
With a caroling sing-a-long hosted by Austin legends John Aielli and Elizabeth McQueen as well as performances by live bands, this event celebrates the start of the season and the lighting of the giant tree in front of the Capitol. You’ll find Santa, a petting zoo, live ice sculpture, holiday arts & crafts, a live mural painting, local food trucks and artisan vendors.
December 10 – 23
Billed as Austin’s “largest holiday tradition,” the Trail of Lights takes over Zilker Park with more than 40 displays and live music nightly. Check out the website for details on the Fun Run night, movie nights and UT night.
All the specific dates aren’t available as we go to press, but Shalom Austin is known for offering a bounty of Hanukkah events and celebrations throughout the holidays, including dinners, plays, giving opportunities and more.
December 7 – 23
This marks the 56th year of the annual production, with hundreds of dancers wearing beautiful costumes and amazing sets that make it really feel like the holidays. Put on your finest and choose a performance that features your favorite local celebrity playing Mother Ginger—past Mother Gingers have included Ann Richards, Robert Rodriguez and Kinky Friedman.