Go Ice Skating on the Plaza
With the lack of freezing weather in Austin, it’s nearly impossible to find a frozen pond or lake to enjoy a pleasant holiday skate. Thankfully, Whole Foods in downtown Austin hosts a rooftop ice skating rink called Ice Skating on the Plaza, complete with Christmas music and hot cocoa. The rink opens on November 29th and stays open until the new year.
Whole Foods Market, 525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 476 1206
Watch the Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a proper tree lighting ceremony, and Austin’s Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place this year on November 27th. Watch the 155-foot tree adorned with around 3,300 lights and a ten-foot star light up the night. This year is the 50th annual tree lighting – the first one took place on December 10, 1967. There will also be live music, food, and hot drinks.
See the Trail of Lights
One of the most popular celebrations Austin hosts during the holidays is the Trail of Lights. This community celebration features around two million lights in over 40 displays, which vary each year, providing the community with new feelings of enchantment. There’s also a free Ferris wheel, carousal, and car show. It does get crowded, so consider parking at a shuttle stop or arriving early in the day.
Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
Head to an actual Christmas tree farm and cut down your own tree. There are various places to go throughout Austin, but one of the more popular spots is Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. On top of picking and cutting down your own tree, there are homemade wreaths, hayrides, animals, a maze, and a playground. Their tasty sausage is also available on weekends, and don’t forget to recycle your tree when the holidays are over.
Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Natures Way, Elgin, TX, USA, +1 512 281 5016
Watch the Tree Lighting at The Texas Capitol
Another tree lighting takes place on December 3rd in front of The Texas Capitol. The entire street is alive with lights, Christmas carols, food, and shops. The sing-alongs start at 6:00 pm, and the actual lighting of the tree takes place at 7:00 pm, followed by a very merry downtown stroll.
See a Christmas Show
One of the most entertaining activities to enjoy during the holidays is going to see a Christmas show. Austin’s Zach Theatre is putting on a couple of classic and fun holiday performances: showing now through December 27th is the classic A Christmas Carol, and The Nutcracker is on through December 23rd. They will also present The Santaland Diaries through December 27th; the play is a hilarious take on one man’s account of his days as a Macy’s Christmas elf.
Zach Theatre, 1510 Toomey Rd, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 476 0541