Best Family Friendly Holiday Events in Austin
We might not have snow in Central Texas, but Austin has plenty of family friendly holiday events around town that will get you into to the Christmas Spirit.
Circuit of the Americas
December 8 – December 30
Head down the road from your Easton Park home to the Circuit of Americas for its first year of Winter Wonderland. Walk the .8 mile Circuit of Lights and enjoy thousands of lights, a skating rink, a Human Snow Globe, Singing Trees, a petting zoo, camel rides, food and movies on the lawn. Admission is $16. Children 5 years old or less are free. Bring a book to donate to the Pizza Hut BOOKIT! Program and receive a complimentary ride on the COTA Express.
Gingerbread Village at the Four Seasons
Four Seasons Austin
November 21 – December 25
If you are in downtown Austin stop by the Four Season’s lobby to check out a Monopoly-themed Gingerbread village. The Monopoly board is topped with10 edible gingerbread houses depicting Austin businesses and sights celebrating a milestone anniversary. Favorites include Zilker Park and Esther’s Follies, Austin’s premiere park and legendary vaudeville show marking 100 years and 40 years, respectively, in 2017. The village is available for viewing 24/7 until Christmas Day. For complimentary hot apple cider, Christmas cookies, a chance to meet the pastry chef and take photos with Santa, check out their Holiday Open House on December 4 and 5 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Zilker Trail of Lights
December 9 – December 23
Can you really call yourself an Austinite if you have not grabbed hands with a loved one, looked up and spun around under the tree lights at the end of the Zilker Trail of Lights until you felt like you were going to puke? Austin’s largest holiday tradition attracts 400,000 people each year. Stroll through the trail with a hot chocolate in hand and enjoy the 40 displays, two million lights, nightly entertainment from Austin musicians, dance troupe and choirs, and food from 20 of Austin’s favorite food destinations. Admission is free during this year’s grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 9. The trail will remain open until December 23 with general admission gates open at 7 p.m. Children less than 12-years-old are free. Free general admission will be granted seven of the 14 event nights. For a complete schedule of this year’s events click here.
North Pole Flyer
Austin Steam Train Association
November 25 – December 9
All aboard this special two-hour excursion on a train to the North Pole. Enjoy all-you-can-drink hot coco, freshly baked holiday cookies, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and a live reading of the North Pole Flyer own Christmas Story by the storyteller elf. Santa strolls through each specially decorated railroad car talking with families, posing for photos and passing out gifts to each child.
Ice Skating on the Plaza
Whole Foods Downtown
November 24 – January 15
Every year Whole Foods on the corner of Lamar Boulevard and 5th Street turns its rooftop plaza into an ice skating rink. Be one of the 16,000 skaters that spends an afternoon slipping and sliding around the outdoor ice rink. The entry fee is $10, which includes skate rentals, and the rink is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday. Hot chocolate, coffee, beer and snacks will be available for purchase.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Palmer Event Center
December 14 – 24
Shop, drink and be merry at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. The 11-day shopping bonanza features more than 170 national and local award-winning artists, live music, two full bars and Korean BBQ from Chi’Lantro or Neapolitan style pizza from Southside Pizza.
Not only can you complete your Christmas shopping in one afternoon, but you can also listen to some of Austin’s best musicians. Dale Watson, Shinyribs, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Marcia Ball, Asleep at the Wheel and more are all scheduled to play this year. One day passes are $8 and season passes are $60.