The Austin Holiday Guide: Top 5 Spots to Get Festive for Christmas

The halls are decked and the stockings are hung with care around Austin signifying it’s officially the most wonderful time of the year! Now that the weather is hot chocolate worthy, it’s time to get in the Christmas spirit. I absolutely love this city for its unique ways of celebrating the holidays. With many years of putting on my favorite Christmas light necklace to celebrate in this wonderful city, I want to share with you some of my favorite spots to get festive.

5. Miracle on 5th St.

If you are 21 and up and looking for a boozy Christmas celebration, Miracle on 5th St. is the place to be! This Christmas-themed pop-up bar at The Eleanor came to town last year and did not disappoint. From colorful Christmas decor down to cocktails inspired by our favorite Christmas movies – this place has it all. Festive wear is highly encouraged when visiting! Pro elf tip – arrive EARLY. The line can get very long but I promise it is worth the wait.



4. Winter Wonderland at COTA

This year will be the second annual Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas and they are making it brighter than ever! New additions this year are the Chinese Lantern Festival and biggest ice skating rink in Texas. My favorite part of the Winter Wonderland last year was experiencing the “snow” and visiting with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Pro elf tip – this event involves a lot of walking so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.




3. Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker

This year is the 56th annual production of Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker. The production is held at the Long Center – which decorates the columns overlooking downtown with festive red candy cane stripes – and will run from December 3-23. A favorite tradition that makes Ballet Austin’s production so unique as they feature local celebrities and leaders in the special role of Mother Ginger each show. This year they will be featuring Kendra Scott and Vince Young! It is a great production for all ages! You can buy your tickets on Ballet Austin’s website. Pro elf tip – Order your intermission concessions before the show starts to avoid long lines. They will have them waiting for you when you walk out for intermission!


2. Mozart’s Light Show

Mozart’s annual light show is one of the most beloved traditions for Austinites. The coffee shop on the lake is decorated with over 1 million lights and includes custom light designs you will see no where else. This year Mozart’s will feature an ongoing experience from 6-11 p.m. daily through Jan. 2. A new addition to the display this year is a cobalt blue piano that will be played by local pianists. Pro elf tip – Order their amazing Mexican vanilla hot chocolate before taking a seat and enjoying the lights!

1. Austin Trail of Lights

Our favorite holiday tradition at Zilker Media is going to the Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights began in 1965 and is now known as Austin’s largest community celebration and features more than 40 displays, 2 million lights and a ferris wheel. Be sure to check out the Austin Trail of Lights calendar to view the themed nights and special activities such as the Fun Run.

Pro elf tip – Don’t forget to stop and get a picture under the Zilker Holiday Tree! It is the biggest man-made tree, built upon one of Austin’s historic moontowers – a true Zilker Media favorite.


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