Austin offers plenty of places to get in the holiday spirit

The winter holidays are a magical time of year for most people; a time when many businesses, cities and other organizations host special events to celebrate. Whether your interest is in parades and magnificent light displays; the performing arts; shopping; or outdoor excursions such as skating or riding an old-fashioned steam train with Santa – or a mixture of these – our holiday list for special attractions, festivities and events in Austin is sure to offer something for everyone. The city is hopping with events and festivals all year round, but winter holidays are a favorite time for many, and the time to find so much going on around our city. And when it comes to those parades and light displays, Austin does it in true big Texas style. From the romantic to family-friendly, get your calendars ready because we have your 10 Best list of Austin's top holiday attractions.



Hot music, fine art, and cold beer make the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar the place where Austin shops in the giving season. The show is actually two events in one: an art fair and music festival with a vibrant community-driven vibe. Visitors can...  Read More



The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a unique holiday art show returning for its 15th year this Nov. 27th – Dec. 24th at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre. The Bazaar features handmade artwork & gifts from over 200 local & regional artists –...  Read More



Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa invites merrymakers to start the holiday season with festive fun the whole family can enjoy. With the resort's Eighth Annual Gingerbread Competition and Sixth Annual Holiday Lights & Ice, families will be...  Read More



The Hill Country Galleria comes alive during the winter holidays, with a calendar of events for everyone. There are Meet and Greets with Santa every day through Christmas, as well as Holiday Sing-A-Longs, Gingerbread House workshops and...  Read More



Luminations at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a magical place. Thousands of luminaries and twinkling lights turn the center into a holiday wonderland during this Austin holiday tradition. Held on Saturday and Sunday, December 12...  Read More



The Austin Steam Train has long been a fun thing to do with kids – but just wait until they experience the North Pole Flyer! This two-and-a-half hour excursion features Santa and Mrs. Claus, storytelling, hot cocoa and a signature Christmas...  Read More



The Long Center for the Performing Arts hosts the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker, each year. Performed by Ballet Austin, The Nutcracker is the longest-running production of the seasonal classic in Texas. Stephen Mills' take on this...  Read More

South Austin


If you love the performing arts, ZACH Theatre is the perfect place to spend some of your holiday season. For 2015, the hilarious, long-running Santaland Diaries is back, playing through December 27. Martin Burke stars as the ever-irreverent elf...  Read More



This annual parade will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2015. Starting at 11 am at the State Capitol and marching down Congress Avenue, the Chuy's Giving to Children Christmas Parade collects toys for Operation Blue Santa. Bring a toy to give...  Read More



The Austin Trail of Lights, powered by H-E-B, puts on its magnificent display by utilizing more than two million lights. More than 400,000 people visit the 50-plus displays and exhibits, and the event is made possible with the help of a thousand...  Read More


Meet Shelley Seale

Shelley Seale is a freelance journalist and author in Austin who has written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian and Texas Monthly, among others. She loves yoga, indie movies,...  More About Shelley