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Holiday Events in Austin

An Austin holiday season wouldn’t be complete without great live music performances, a Capitol tree lighting and glowing illuminations that “keep Austin weird.” This holiday season, the city’s cultural arts organizations add to the seasonal landscape with symphonic sing-a-longs, rockin’ plays and a timeless ballet. Historic sites host traditional celebrations and grocery stores convert plazas to ice skating rinks. Contact the Austin Convention & Visitor’s Bureau at (866) GO-AUSTIN for more information. Details are also available at All listed events are subject to change. CHUY'S CHRISTMAS PARADE State Captiol 11th and Congress Austin, TX 78701 November 26, 2016 Time: 11:00 AM Giant balloons, festive holiday floats, marching bands and a special appearance by Santa Claus highlight the parade, which runs from 11th Street and Congress Avenue to Sixth Street at Guadalupe. Families are encouraged to bring extra toys to donate to Operation Blue Santa.
The fairy tale is set to become reality in the lobby of Four Seasons Hotel Austin when the downtown Austin hotel unveils its annual holiday display on November 21, 2016, revealing several whimsical – and completely edible – scenes from classic children’s stories and nursery rhymes. The brainchild of Pastry Chef Courtney Capuchino, the 2016 theme and design will draw inspiration from several recognisable tales, with Hansel and Gretel’s candy-laden house, grandma’s quaint cottage in Little Red Riding Hood and Humpty Dumpty’s ill-fated wall just a few of the ten structures planned for the display. For reservations or more information, call 512-478-4500 or visit Kids and parents build a candy-covered holiday tradition with Gingerbread House workshops, November 25-December 1 at the Austin Children’s Museum at 201 Colorado Street. Real gingerbread, icing, gumdrops and candy canes provide the building blocks for this fun family event. Dates and times vary; more information is available at, or by calling 512-472-2499. The 37th Street Lights twinkle throughout Central Austin during the month of December. Residents rally together and string up lights to create a funky holiday display along 37th Street from Guadalupe Street to Home Lane. The street is open to through traffic, but for the full effect, it's best to park and walk. No specific hours are designated; for more information, visit Experience a traditional German-Texan Christmas Market and visit with St. Niklaus at the annual Christmas Market in the historic German Free School at 507 E. 10th Street on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The German-Texan Heritage Society offers handmade and imported wooden and blown glass German ornaments and other gifts. Enjoy refreshments, live music, German Christmas caroling and a visit from St. Niklaus at 2:30 p.m. More information is available at, or by calling 512-482-0927. Even in Texas, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without ice skating on the Whole Foods Market Ice Rink. Friends and families show off their skills (or hang on to the railing) from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Nov. 29-Jan.9. The rink is open from 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. every day. Tickets are $10 per person for each 45-minute session (same-day purchase only) and include skate rentals. Whole Foods also offers holiday cooking classes and chef demonstrations in the newly opened Culinary Center. Check the website for schedule and details at or call 512-476-1206. The annual State Capitol Tree Lighting and KUT Holiday Stroll takes place on December 3 from 6-7 p.m. Gather around the tree at 11th Street and Congress Avenue in traditional carols. The festivities continue along Congress Avenue with entertainment, and merchants remain open late. The event is free to the public. Details are available at
In yet another Austin tradition, the month-long Zilker Park Trail of Lights festival begins with lighting of the Zilker Christmas Tree on Nov 27. The pedestrian Trail of Lights, featuring live music and Santa visits, transforms a mile-long stretch of Zilker Park, located at 2100 Barton Springs Rd., into a twinkling wonderland from December 10-23. A grand parade kicks off the season on December 10 at 5:30 p.m. Throughout the season, guests can park at Zilker Park for $8, or take the shuttle from the state garages located at 14th and Trinity Streets. Shuttles run from 5:45-10:45 p.m.; a round-trip ticket costs $2. More information is available through the City of Austin Parks & Recreation department at The former home of short story writer O. Henry, located at 409 East 5th St., is decorated for a Victorian Christmas reception and an open house featuring refreshments and live music from 1-3 p.m., December 3. For more information, call 512-472-1903 or visit The Annual Noche de Fiesta Navideña celebrates Mexican Christmas traditions with folk art, flavorful foods and seasonal music at Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Avenue, on December 10-11. For hours and details, call 512-480-9373 or visit The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center glows with soft light from hundreds of luminarias, torches and lanterns during Luminations: A Winter Celebration, December 8-10 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Music lightly resounds as children enjoy storytellers, holiday crafts in the Little House and photos with Frosty the Snowman. Tickets are $9 for adults and $3 for children. More information is available at or by calling 512-292-4100. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar keeps Austin weird with distinctive jewelry, fabrics, handmade goods, blown glass, paintings and prints from local and national artists, December 14-26 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Austin Music Hall at Third and Nueces Streets provides a fun atmosphere for shoppers to browse among the handicrafts while listening to live music from some of Austin’s best musicians. Tickets are $3, weekdays before 7 p.m. and $5, evenings and weekends. For details, call 512-442-1605 or visit Ballet Austin 's The Nutcracker pairs classic dance. 4th Annual Production Presented by the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund The holiday season officially begins with the return of Ballet Austin's The Nutcracker, now celebrating its 54th year. Stephen Mills' seasonal classic, based on a version of the 200-year-old story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, follows Clara's wintry adventures, from her battle with rowdy rodents to her triumphs at the Court of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Enjoy enchanting sets and costumes, animated choreography, and a cast of hundreds, including Ballet Austin's professional company of dancers and the accomplished students of the Ballet Austin Academy. Share this heart-warming tradition with your family and friends! Featuring live accompaniment by Austin Symphony Orchestra. CHOREOGRAPHY: Stephen Mills | MUSIC: Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky Dec. 3-23 | The Long Center or 512-476-2163 Austin Symphony teams up with Chorus Austin to ring in the season with the immortal masterpiece Handel’s Messiah. WHERE: Hyde Park Baptist Church The Austin Symphony once again presents its Christmas tradition, Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by Chorus Austin for you and your family at Hyde Park Baptist Church. This will be the third season that the ASO has brought this performance to Hyde Park. HPBC has great parking and plenty of superb seating. Dec 6. 2016