Holiday markets, strolls, tree lightings and Trail of Lights: 18 events in the Austin area in November and December

Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Many holiday events in the Austin area will look a little different this year as organizers work to adhere to social distancing requirements. Here are 18 events to check out the Austin area in November and December.

Holiday markets, strolls, tree lightings and Trail of Lights: 18 events in the Austin area in November and December

Through November 30

Reuse Gallery Fundraiser

Austin Creative Reuse, a gallery featuring art created with repurposed materials, launches its online gallery with a fundraiser that splits proceeds between the gallery and creators. Austin Creative Reuse’s goal is to “educate the community about how to reduce, resume and create in responsible and fun ways.” 512-375-3041.

Through Jan. 1

Armadillo Art Concierge

The annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is held virtually this year, offering an online shopping guide of works from local artists, crafters and vendors.

Through Jan. 31


The event features hideouts along nature trails. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free (with park admission). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin. 512-232-0100.

Nov. 13-Dec. 24

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

The annual winter exhibition offers local art and artisan items for sale. COVID-19 safety restrictions will be enforced at the shop. Online shopping options, including delivery, pickup and personal shoppers, are also available. A free ticketed reservation is required to attend.

10 a.m.-10 p.m., closes at 6 p.m. Dec. 24. 6100 Airport Blvd., Austin. 512-222-7303.

Nov. 26

Thundercloud Turkey Trot

Participants run or walk the 5-mile race or 1-mile fun run anywhere and report their times online in the virtual race. All proceeds benefit Caritas of Austin. $12 (kids), $25 (adults).

Nov. 27-Jan. 3

Peppermint Parkway

Circuit of The Americas provides a new drive-thru experience along 1 mile of its course. The Peppermint Parkway will include light sculptures, a Santa Claus display, elves, and a drive-up concession stand.

6-10 p.m. (weekdays), 6-11 p.m. (weekends and all of Christmas week). $35 and up. 9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd., Austin.

Nov. 27-Jan. 3

Johnson City Lights Spectacular

Johnson City will host its 31st annual light display across the city’s downtown and town square. Some aspects of the annual festival including the opening day parade will be canceled due to COVID-19, but guests can tour the city and light displays with social distancing measures enforced. Lights are on nightly beginning at dusk. Free. 201 S. Ave. F, Johnson City.

Nov. 27-Dec. 24

Santa Land at the Hill Country Galleria

Explore a decorated Santa Land display and meet Santa Claus for a photo opportunity at the Hill Country Galleria. Free; online reservations are required and can be made at Professional photography available for $40-$50. Times vary from Nov. 27-Dec. 24. 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave.

Nov. 28-Dec. 31

Downtown Holiday Stroll

The 26th annual event continues this year throughout the month downtown with music, shopping, holiday window displays and more. The 45-foot holiday tree will return in front of the Texas Capitol at 11th Street and Congress Avenue. Free. Various times and locations.

Nov. 28

The Loud House Tour

Nutty Brown Amphitheatre presents a hip-hop concert, featuring Baby Bash, Paul Wall, Kirko Bangz, Kid Frost, Low G and Rasheed. Tables and groups of attendees will be spread six feet apart, and there will be sanitation before and after each show. 6 p.m. $30-$125. 12225 W. Hwy. 290, Austin.

Nov. 29

Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Held virtually this year, the annual lighting of the Zilker Holiday Tree will be streamed on the Austin Parks and Recreation YouTube page, Facebook and local Channel 6. The tree itself will be lit at Zilker Park each night Nov. 29-Jan. 1 and can be seen from vehicles at the drive-thru Trail of Lights or from afar. 6 p.m. Free.

Nov. 29-Jan. 3

Trail of Lights

Austin’s holiday light display is open nightly for vehicles by online reservation, but will close on certain nights for private events. 7 p.m. $25-$35 (general admission). Zilker Park, 2207 Lou Neff Road, Austin.

Dec. 1

Giving Tuesday

The nonprofit I Live Here I Give Here is organizing its fourth-annual Giving Tuesday campaign, a virtual fundraising effort to help fill the financial needs of local nonprofits before the holiday season, and to help provide relief to organizations struggling during the pandemic. A list of participating nonprofits can be found online. 512-717-6672.

December 4-6

Capital City Black Film Festival

The virtual movie festival showcases works produced by Black filmmakers from across the world, aiming to provide an opportunity for emerging Black artists to showcase their work in Austin. Schedule and times not yet determined. $55. 512-301-4141.

Dec. 5

Christmas on Mercer

The 16th annual holiday festival to promote local Dripping Springs businesses returns with COVID-19 safety restrictions in place. Festival activities include trackless train rides and pony rides, holiday music and a mailbox to send Santa Claus Christmas letters. A tree lighting is scheduled for right before dusk. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free (admission). Mercer Street, downtown Dripping Springs.

Dec. 7

Conspiraire Christmas

Austin-based virtuoso choir Conspiraire will hold its annual Christmas show Dec. 7, featuring “everyday songs with seasonal favorites” directed by Craig Hella Johnson. The virtual show will be streamed on the choir’s website, and Conspiraire’s 2020-21 season will also stream live online. 7:30 p.m. Free. 512-476-5775.

Dec. 10-Jan. 3

Pop A Rockin’ Holiday Concert

The Zach Theatre presents outdoor performances at the People's Plaza of holiday songs and pop hits. The shows will feature outdoor heaters, hot chocolate and more. Performance times vary. $25 and up. 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin.512-476-0594.

Dec. 12-13

Pfall Pfest Craft Show

Pflugerville’s annual Pfall Pfest Craft Show will be double the fun in 2020 with a two-day craft fair Dec. 12-13. Get a head start on some holiday shopping, with handcrafted items including jewelry, decor, paintings, candles, baked goods and more. Free. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., (Dec. 12), 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Dec. 13). Stone Hill Town Center, 18700 Limestone Commercial Dr., Ste. 600, Pflugerville.

Editor's Note: This post was updated Nov. 23 at 2:26 p.m. to reflect Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's winter hours.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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