December is my favorite time of the year in Austin because there are SO many fun things to do – Christmas bars, Christmas lights, igloos, and more. This is the ultimate guide to Austin Christmas lights and more in Central Texas and the Hill Country!
SEE ALSO: 16 Best Bakeries in Austin, Texas
Table of Contents
Mozart’s Christmas Lights Show
Austin’s Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is the spot to be during the holiday season! For more than a decade, they have proudly hosted their annual Christmas Light Show, drawing in thousands of visitors annually. This mesmerizing display of light displays and music creates a magical atmosphere that is awesome for getting into the holiday spirit! The vibrant holiday light displays are skillfully designed and beautifully synchronized with festive holiday tunes that bring joy and excitement to all who visit. Guests can also enjoy warm treats like hot chocolate and cookies to complete their experience. You’ll need to book for this Bavarian Marketplace festive through Showclix.
Dates: 11/10 – 1/6/23
Hours of Operation: November 10, 2022 – January 6, 2023. Open 7 days a week, 7:00 am – 12:00 am
3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Trail of Lights
The Austin Trail of Lights has been a beloved annual holiday event in Austin, Texas, for over 50 years. Every year, the grounds of Zilker Park transform into a stunning celebration with over two million twinkling lights and decorations. Visitors can stroll through illuminated paths, see impressive displays of lighted trees and tunnels, and witness breathtaking sunsets as they enjoy the festive atmosphere. With delicious food, live music performances, and dazzling shows from local artists, the Austin Trail of Lights provides an unforgettable experience for all ages throughout the holiday season.
Hours of Operation: December 8-23, 2022, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
2100 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX, https://austintrailoflights.org/
Zilker Park Christmas Tree
The Zilker Holiday Tree is a beloved holiday tradition in Austin, Texas. Every year since 1967, the tree has lit up downtown Austin with its 155-foot tower of lights. The tree is made up of more than 3,300 multi-colored bulbs and stands near the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail.
The tree lighting ceremony takes place each year on the first Thursday after Thanksgiving. Thousands gather around the lake to take part in this festive occasion, featuring live music and family-friendly activities before the big reveal of the towering structure. Then at precisely 7 p.m., it’s time for the much-anticipated countdown and switch flipping that illuminates the night sky with vibrant hues of reds, greens and blues.
The Zilker Holiday Tree is the perfect place to kick off the holiday season with your loved ones. Additionally, you can take a stroll around Lady Bird Lake and enjoy the beauty of Austin while marveling at this sight that draws people in from across the nation. Not only will it bring you joy and happiness during the holidays, but it will also provide lasting memories for years to come!
Dates: 11/27 – 1/1/23
Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
Join us for an unforgettable evening of holiday cheer! On Saturday, December 3rd at 6 pm, Mamie will embark on a journey from North Texas and be honored as the featured guest at Downtown Alliance’s Holiday Stroll & Sing-Along in Austin. The Rangers of Eisenhower State Park have supplied a grand Christmas tree with twinkling lights that can be admired along 11th and Congress Avenue starting 7pm – so come one, come all to join in singing festive songs together under Capitol grounds’ south lawn. Don’t miss out!
1100 Congress Ave.
Ice Rodeo at Four Seasons
You can ice skate in Austin! The Ice Rodeo at the Four Seasons in Austin is an winter wonderland full of festive cheer. From November 19, 2022 through January 8, 2023, guests will be able to skate beneath the stars and enjoy all sorts of fun activities. There’s an outdoor ice rink, firepits for roasting marshmallows, and cabins where guests can gather and enjoy drinks and food. This is definitely a must-attend event for anyone looking for a winter experience in Austin!
Dates: Nov 19 – Jan 28, 2023
98 San Jacinto Blvd, fourseasons.com/austin/landing-pages/property/ice-rodeo/
Holiday Light Show at Fairmont
This holiday season, travel to the 7th floor of Fairmont Austin to see a scintillating light show! Their cabanas provide the perfect spot to cozy up and take in the spectacle of lights while enjoying a festive food and beverage menu. Whether you’re visiting Austin for vacation or looking for a unique holiday experience, our Holiday Light Show is not to be missed!
101 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
South Pole at Hotel Van Zandt
The igloos are back at Hotel Van Zandt with all the holiday cocktails.
37th Street Lights
The 37th Street Lights is an event unlike any other. Every year at the beginning of December, this residential street in Austin lights up with thousands of Christmas decorations and creative displays. From multi-colored lighted arches to giant inflatable snowmen, the 37th Street Lights create a magical atmosphere that brings families and friends together to celebrate the holiday season. The lights and decorations provide a unique visual experience you won’t want to miss! Join them each year as they light up this particular street in celebration. It’s sure to be a night packed with happy memories! So grab your family and friends and visit the 37th Street Lights for an unforgettable holiday experience!
Hours of Operation: Lights are on every night from December 9 until New Year. They’re on from sunset-10 pm daily.
507 W 37th St, Austin, TX 78705, https://thirtyseventhstreetlights.github.io/
Downtown Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting
The Downtown Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting is an annual event that provides a memorable holiday atmosphere for all who attend. Thousands of people come to the stroll every year to enjoy live music, caroling, delicious food, and unique shopping experiences throughout downtown Austin.
The event’s highlight is the tree lighting ceremony in Republic Square Park, featuring speeches from local leaders and beautiful light displays. It’s a magnificent way to get into the holiday spirit and experience all Austin offers during this special time of year! Join Downtown Austin Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting starting this December 3 for a memorable evening you won’t soon forget.
515 Congress Ave, Suite 2150, downtownaustin.com/what-we-do/signature-events/holiday-stroll/
Domain Northside Holiday Display
Come to Domain Northside and experience the holiday season like you’ve never done before! From Sunday, November 20 to December 25, Domain Northside is hosting a magical Holiday Tree Light Show that will light up the night sky. Here, you’ll find a stunning 30′ tall Christmas tree adorned with over 30,000 lights that are synchronized to your favorite holiday tunes. This breathtaking display will be held every hour on the hour (weather permitting) throughout the entire event duration, so don’t miss out on this festive experience! Come join Domain Northside and celebrate the holidays with friends and family! It’s sure to put you in the holiday spirit!
The Tree Light Show Schedule is as follows:
- Official Tree Lighting: November 19 at 5:30 pm
- Saturdays 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Sundays 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
- Monday through Friday 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
11821 Rock Rose Ave, domainnorthside.com/events/domain-northside-holiday-tree-light-show
Bastrop River of Lights
Bastrop River of Lights is a spectacular holiday event held each year featuring millions of lights, with many different displays and activities to enjoy. Visitors can stroll through the illuminated walkways, participate in live music performances, visit Santa’s Workshop and even go on a hayride. The Bastrop River of Lights offers something for everyone, providing an unforgettable experience that will put you right into the Christmas spirit! From its awe-inspiring light shows to its festive decorations and lively atmosphere, there’s no better way to celebrate the Christmas season than at Bastrop River of Lights. Come join us for a truly magical time!
Dates: November 25, 2022 – January 2, 2023
Recurrence: Recurring daily
Time: Ending: 10:00 pm
Fisherman’s Park, Farm Street, Bastrop, TX 78602 visitbastrop.com
Holiday Arts Market at Hill Country Galleria
Hill Country Galleria is hosting a Holiday Arts Market from November 26 through December 24! A one-stop shop for all your holiday shopping needs, this market features an abundance of unique gifts and artisans selling handmade jewelry, home goods, artwork, and more. With festive lights and decorations illuminating the Central Plaza in the evenings and family-friendly activities throughout the day, Hill Country Galleria’s Holiday Arts Market is the perfect place to find those special gifts for everyone on your list or pick up something special for yourself. Not only that, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to support local businesses by shopping small! Whether you’re looking to add some sparkle to your holiday decor or find that perfect one-of-a-kind gift, come visit Hill Country Galleria’s Holiday Arts Market and enjoy a memorable shopping experience. Admission is free, so come on down and start checking off your holiday list!
Full Market Hours Schedule Below:
- Friday, 11/26 12 pm-8 pm
- Saturday, 11/27 12 pm-8 pm
- Thursday, 12/02 4 pm-8 pm
- Friday, 12/03 4 pm-8 pm
- Saturday, 12/04 12 pm-8 pm
- Thursday, 12/09 4 pm-8 pm
- Friday, 12/10 4 pm-8 pm
- Saturday, 12/11 12 pm-8 pm
- Thursday, 12/16 4 pm-8 pm
- Friday, 12/17 4 pm-8 pm
- Saturday, 12/18 12 pm-8 pm
- Thursday, 12/23 4 pm-8 pm
- Friday, 12/24 10 am-4 pm
12700 Hill Country Blvd. Suite T-100, Bee Cave, TX 78738 hillcountrygalleria.com
Holiday Window Walk in the 2nd Street District
The 2nd Street District is home to the annual Holiday Window Walk. This festive event takes place each year in November and December when the storefronts of various businesses are transformed into decorative holiday scenes. Visitors come from all over to marvel at the unique window displays created by professional Texas artists, featuring themes such as winter wonderlands, Santa’s workshop, and Christmas trees. It’s a fantastic way to get into the season’s spirit and experience some holiday cheer! Holiday Window Walk’s atmosphere is like no other, from shopping in participating stores such as Bonobos and Luxe Apothecary to enjoying delicious local food and drinks. So if you’re looking for an exceptional holiday experience, visit the 2nd Street District in Austin this season! You won’t be disappointed.
Holiday Window Walk starts November 25 this year.
214 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78701 2ndstreetdistrict.com
Light Up the Lake – City of Round Rock
Light Up the Lake – City of Round Rock is an unusual magical holiday event that will bring out your inner child. Featuring giant balloons hovering over Bright Lake and an incredible light show, this two-day festival from December 2 to 3rd promises hours of entertainment for all ages. With live music, holiday displays, festive food and drinks, craft activities, a yule log, and more – you won’t want to miss out on the unique experience of Light Up the Lake! It’s an excellent opportunity for families to create lasting memories together while enjoying all the City of Round Rock’s festivities. So come this season and bask in the big & glowing holiday cheer! It’ll be a festival that you won’t forget. See you there!
December 2, 6:00 pm December 3, 9:30 pm
Old Settlers Park, Round Rock, TX roundrocktexas.gov
Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels
Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels, Austin, is a spectacular holiday display that will put you in the Christmas spirit! This incredible light exhibit features over one mile of winding country roads adorned with hundreds of thousands of amazing, twinkling lights, festive animated displays, and festive decorations. As you drive through this magical wonderland, enjoy homemade hot cocoa and kettle corn while listening to classic holiday tunes. Santa’s Ranch truly offers something special for everyone, making it one of the best holiday events in Texas. Come explore Santa’s Ranch and experience all the cheer and joy the season has to offer!
November 11 2022-January 1 2023
Sun-Thurs 6 pm-10 pm
Fri-Sat 6 pm-11 pm
9561 I-35 North, New Braunfels, TX 78130 santasranch.net
Lights Spectacular – Johnson City
The Lights Spectacular in Johnson City, is an event that celebrates the holiday season in a truly extraordinary way. With over a million lights illuminating the night sky and enough festive cheer to put even Santa Claus to shame, this annual event has become one of the most beloved holiday attractions in Texas. Lights schedule starts November 25, 2022, through January 8, 2023. Locals and visitors flock to Johnson City every year to experience the spectacular array of glittering lights and decorations. Whether you’re looking for something fun and one-of-a-kind activity to do with your family or simply want some classic Christmas cheer, visiting the Lights Spectacular is sure to create lasting memories that will last through the entire year! Come experience Johnson City this winter as we light up the town with cheer and joy like never before. It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!
Johnson City, TX, 78636 johnsoncitytexas.info
Buda Trail of Lights
The Buda Trail of Lights is a spectacular event that will fill your heart with holiday cheer. From the stunning displays to the festive music, this trail of lights promises an unforgettable experience for all ages. The event consists of more than 500 sparkling and illuminated displays spread out across Historic Stagecoach Park. There are also many activities like craft vendors, carnival rides, food trucks, and visits from Santa himself! It’s also an excellent opportunity to make memories with your family and friends. Whether you’re taking pictures in front of twinkling festive displays or enjoying snacks together under a canopy of stars, this is an experience you won’t soon forget. Experience the magic of Christmas at the Buda Trail of Lights!
Trail of Lights 2022 event schedule:
Senior Night – Thursday, December 8, from 6–9 pm.
Friday, December 9 through Sunday, December 11, from 6–10 pm.
Friday, December 16 through Wednesday, December 21, from 6–10 pm.
405. E Loop Street, Building 100, Buda, TX 78610 budatx.gov
Christmas on Mercer in Dripping Springs
Experience the magic of Christmas on Mercer in Dripping Springs, just outside of Austin. Enjoy a weekend full of holiday cheer and festivities at this festive event. On December 2, enjoy the tree lighting ceremony followed by a movie night under the stars. Then on December 3, celebrate with an array of family-friendly activities, including arts & crafts, food vendors, live music, and more! Come join Dripping Springs for an experience that’s sure to fill your heart with joy this Christmas season! Mercer in Dripping Springs is the superb place to get into the festive spirit and spread some holiday cheer – so don’t miss out on all of the happiness!
December 3, 2022 / 10 am to 5 pm
Downtown Dripping Springs, TX cityofdrippingsprings.com
Pfestival of Lights and Christmas Parade
The Pfestival of Lights and Christmas Parade is a popular event held annually just 20 minutes of Austin in the lovely, Pflugerville town. It brings together families to enjoy the festive atmosphere and get into the holiday spirit. The parade features a range of floats, marching bands, street performers, fireworks displays, and more. It’s also a great opportunity for local businesses to showcase their offerings and help spread some cheer throughout the community. This family-friendly event is free to attend and open to everyone who wants to take part in this special celebration of holiday spirit! Come join this annual festival of lights and Christmas Parade on December 3, 2022 for the 4 p.m. parade, following the tree lighting, and of course an appearance from Santa!
Peppermint Parkway Peppermint Parkway is a holiday extravaganza like no other! Experience a drive-thru holiday spectacular with a mile of dazzling light displays, dancing characters, and an interactive Holiday Plaza. From November 25 through December 30 come and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas while creating memories that will last a lifetime. At Peppermint Parkway there are countless attractions to enjoy! Take a ride on the Santa Express, a thrilling rollercoaster that takes you around giant Christmas trees and reindeer. Visit the Winter Wonderland, where you can explore icy slides and mazes of twinkling holiday lights. Wander through our interactive Holiday Plaza, filled with carnival games, live entertainment, delectable festive treats, and more. Enjoy an enchanting light tunnel that creates a dazzling display of holiday images as it passes by. Plus there are plenty of photo opportunities to capture the special memories made at this magical event. Hours of Operation: Opening Day (Friday 11/25): 12:00 pm-9:00 pm Saturdays & Sundays: 12:00 pm-9:00 pm 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX, https://peppermintparkway.com
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Blue Genie Art Bazaar (BGAB), an Austin holiday shopping tradition, runs November 18 through December 24 at the Blue Genie headquarters, 6100 Airport Boulevard. This year’s bazaar features the work of more than 200 regional artists — no entry fee and a centralized checkout make for an easy shopping experience. BGAB is open from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily with the exception of Christmas Eve when it closes at 6 p.m. There is also a snack bar with full bar offerings; hours vary daily.
The BGAB online shop, open year-round, offers in-store pick up November 18 – December 24. Online orders can also be shipped anywhere in the U.S. The BGAB Personal Shopper service returns this year, allowing customers to contact the “genies” via the BGAB website and work with a personal shopper from the comfort of home.
Founded in 2001 by four artists at Blue Genie Art Industries, the Bazaar has grown from a small, eclectic East Austin pop-up to an annual holiday shopping event featuring the work of hundreds of regional artisans.
Miracle on 5th
Christmas is coming to Austin in a big way this year with the opening of Miracle on 5th, a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar! This bar is decked out for a holiday festival with everything you could want, multiple bars, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit! Order one of their delicious Christmas cocktails crafted by our amazing staff, take a profile picture in Santa’s Chair, and connect with friends and family in the most festive holiday bar in town! It’s Christmas cheer like you’ve never seen it before. So make sure to check out Miracle on 5th Street when you’re in Austin this holiday season!
Dates: November 17th – December 27th, 2022
The Eleanor 307 W 5th Street, miracleon5thst.com
Looking for a festive spot to enjoy some holiday cocktails this season? Look no further than Gibson Wonderland at Gibson Street Bar! This Christmas-themed bar is decked out with all the trimmings, from light-up decorations to a cozy fireplace. Enjoy festive drinks or warm up with a boozy hot chocolate or apple cider. Gibson Wonderland is the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit! And if you’re in Austin, be sure to swing by and check it out for yourself!
Hours: Monday – Thursday 4 PM- 2 AM & Friday – Sunday 2 PM – 2 AM
1109 South Lamar, gibsonstreetbar.com
Sippin’ Santa at Nickel City
If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to get into the holiday spirit, look no further than Sippin’ Santa at Nickel City in East Austin! This tiki-themed spin-off of the classic Christmas character is sure to put a smile on your face. The cocktail menu features Kris Kringle Coladas, Sippin’ Santa’s, Holiday on Ice’s, and a few other options to keep you in the holiday spirit. And if you’re looking for something to nibble on, they’ve got you covered there too with a selection of holiday-themed appetizers. So whether you’re looking for a place to gather with friends or simply want to enjoy a few festive drinks, Sippin’ Santa at Nickel City is the perfect spot!
1133 E 11th St, Austin, TX
Après Ski at W Hotel
For a limited time, the W Hotel Austin is transformed into a ski lodge, complete with apres-ski-themed drinks and snacks. cozy up by the fire with a cocktail in hand, and transport yourself to the Alps without ever leaving Austin. And if you’re feeling daring, try your hand at the W Austin shot ski. With so many fun and festive activities on offer, the W Hotel’s Secret Bar is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays this year.
200 Lavaca St
Lala’s Little Nugget
Did you know there’s a year round Christmas Bar in Austin? Lala’s Little Nugget is a strip-mall tavern that was founded in 1972. The decorations are up all year-round, so you can get into the holiday spirit no matter what time of year it is. Their old-school jukebox is sure to get you in the dancing mood, and their cash-only policy means you can focus on having a good time without worrying about your wallet. So next time you’re looking for a unique and fun night out, be sure to check out Lala’s Little Nugget!
2207 Justin Ln, lalasaustintexas.com
Donn’s Depot is a piano bar like no other, with live music, two dance floors, and intriguing decor all set in old rail cars and a former depot. Experience the joy of Christmas starting December 1st, with our festive Holiday Menu and elves spreading holiday cheer!
1600 W 5th St, donnsdepot.com
Other holiday events in Austin
Barton Springs – The Polar Bear Plunge 1/1/23
Jumping into the 68 degree waters of Barton Springs on the first day of the year is a tradition like no other – and everyone’s invited! Dress in your favorite polar-inspired outfit and enjoy the music, food, and drinks while you gear up to make your plunge or join the fun run. You’ll be sure to leave with an unforgettable experience and fond memories that will last all year long!