The countdown to Christmas is on! There’s a ton of holly, jolly fun for you to enjoy this week. Check it out!


Trail of Lights
Daily at 7 p.m. (through Sunday, Dec. 21)
The 50th year of this Austin holiday tradition in Zilker Park includes amazing light displays and so much more. With new features such as a Candy Land room with treat-making demos, Santa’s Workshop with kids crafts and photo booths, and a super fun ferris wheel, this is an event that Austinites won’t want to miss. The Trail is open Monday – Thursday for free and Friday-Sunday nights for $3 per person ages 12 and up. Check out our Insider Tips for more info.

Zilker Holiday Tree
Daily from 6 p.m. – 12 midnight (through Dec. 31)
Munch on warm kettle corn, enjoy music and get dizzy under those fabulous lights. The Zilker Holiday Tree is an Austin favorite. Free, but bring cash if you wish to purchase treats from food vendors on site.


Mozarts Coffee Roasters Christmas Light Show
Daily starting at 6 p.m. (through January 4, 2015)
Shows start at 6:00 p.m. and are every hour on the hour until midnight. The choreographed show pairs lights and popular music and lasts fifteen minutes. Free!

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Daily from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Wednesday, Dec. 24)
Enjoy a fun shopping experience with a very Austin vibe at the Palmer Events Center. You’ll find a beautiful assortment of fine art and crafts, a great music lineup, delicious food (and cold beer, too). Admission is $7, and kids 12 and under are free!


Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (through Dec. 24)
Check out this bazaar at Marchesa Hall & Theatre for handmade items by more than 130 local and regional artists. The bazaar is a fun and family-friendly event. FREE admission & parking!.

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker
Thu, Dec. 18 – 7:30 p.m.

Fri, Dec. 19 – 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Dec. 20 – 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Dec. 21 – 2 p.m.
Mon, Dec. 22 – 2 p.m.
Tue, Dec. 23 – 2 p.m.
An army of mischievous mice, a bevy of bon-bons, a sprinkle of sparkling snowflakes, and one jovial Mother Ginger … plus the Austin Symphony Orchestra! Enjoy Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker at the Long Center. Tickets start at $15.


Nutcracker Tea Party
Thursday, Dec. 18, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Head to Toybrary to learn a special Nutcracker dance, make a mouse craft, have tea and tea sandwiches, and more! All are welcome to dress up as Nutcracker characters, including mice, ballerinas, and soldiers. $10 per child.

6th Annual Posada
Thursday, Dec. 18,  6-8 p.m. 
All are invited to El Centro De Familia for evening performance of Ballet Folklorico, Teatro, Mariachi! Festivities also include arts & crafts, piñatas, hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa!


Storytime with Santa
Friday, Dec. 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Come out to Northwest Recreation Center for Story Time with Santa! Wear your favorite pajamas and enjoy a snack of milk and cookies while listening to a winter classic. Don’t forget your camera to take pictures with Santa. This event is designed for walking toddlers to children 5 years of age. Fee: $2.50 per child.

Holiday Celebration at the Library
Friday, Dec. 19, 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Head to the North Village Branch of the Austin Public Library for a special seasonal story time, fun wintertime crafts, live music throughout the day, snacks and beverages to fill and warm your tummy, and a sing-a-long screening of Frozen for the young and young at heart alike. Please feel free to attend in festive attire or costume. There may even be sightings of the Jolly Old Elf Himself, Santa Claus! Free! For more information please call 512-974-7400.

Santa on Horseback
Friday, Dec. 19 from 4-7 p.m.
For a Santa visit with true Texas flair, you’re going to want to stop into Texas National Outfitters in SoCo to meet Santa on a horse. Children of all ages can pose for a free photo with Austin’s Cowboy Sam (a.k.a. “the 6th Street Cowboy”) dressed as Santa. Free.


Kids of the Magi
Saturday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 21, 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.
The Scottish Rite Theatre is bringing a new production to Austin area families this holiday season based on O. Henry’s classic story, The Gift of the Magi. A story of friendship and giving comes to life on stage in a play geared towards families with elementary-age kids. Tickets are available online here and at the door one hour before showtime. Tickets costs $8 for children ages 12 and under, and $13 for ages 13 and up.

Holiday Heroes
Saturday, December 20 at 10 a.m.
Now in its 15th at ZACH Theatre, this fun holiday sing-along will get you into the holiday spirit with Ernie and Rufus. Celebrate the season with singing, laughter and holiday cheer for all. Tickets start at $20.

Santa’s Workshop
Saturday, Dec. 20 & Sunday, Dec. 21, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Take the kids to Millie & Mox Children’s Boutique kids to chat with Santa in a delightful Christmas setting and take a photo. Plus, each child will get a special gift from Santa to take home. $10 per photo. (Santa’s Workshop will also be open on Monday and Tuesday!)


Snow Days at Hill Country Galleria
Saturday, Dec. 20, 12 – 4 p.m.
It snows every weekend in December before Christmas at the Hill Country Galleria! Toss a snowball, build a snow man, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more from noon-4 p.m. Rain or shine. FREE!

— Farmer Santa at HOPE Farmers’ Market
Sunday, Dec. 21, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Visit the Farmers’ Market at Plaza Saltillo to meet Farmer Santa, listen to music, and play with toys from Toybrary.

Winter Solstice Lantern Parade
Sunday, Dec. 21. 6 p.m.
The Minor Mishap Marching Band is hosting a child friendly Parade of Light on the Ladybird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Everyone is invited to make lanterns to bring to the parade and carry their own light with them in a beautiful procession.

Want more? Be sure to check out our full list of Christmas Lights in Austin.