12 holiday attractions in and around San Marcos, Buda and Kyle

The city of Kyle is hosting events at the newly-renovated Mary Kyle Hartson Park in downtown. (Courtesy City of Kyle)
The city of Kyle is hosting events at the newly-renovated Mary Kyle Hartson Park in downtown. (Courtesy City of Kyle)

The city of Kyle is hosting events at the newly-renovated Mary Kyle Hartson Park in downtown. (Courtesy City of Kyle)

Through Dec. 25 | Kyle’s 25 days of Christmas

Leading up to Christmas, the parks and recreation department with the city of Kyle is hosting events at the newly renovated Mary Kyle Hartson Park in downtown. Attractions will include food vendors and themed days such as Music Mondays, that will feature holiday music and local vendors, and Taco Tuesdays. Throughout the week, Bailey Christian Studios will be onsite to take professional photos of children's visits with Santa Claus. Holiday lights will be on display the whole month of December in the park for the community to enjoy. Mond.-Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission. Photos Dec. 15-18, 22 and 23, $30-$100. Mary Kyle Hartson Square Park, 101 S. Burleson St., Kyle. www.cityof kyle.com/recreation/december-events

Dec. 16-19 | Walk among holiday displays

The 13th annual Buda Trail of Lights returns for foot traffic after being a drive-thru only experience in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Held at the Historic Stagecoach Park, the event features holiday light displays created by local businesses, organizations and other groups. The displays will be voted on and the three displays with the most votes will be awarded signs from the city. Lighting will be provided along sidewalks and walking paths, and Santa will be onsite to visit with children. 6-10 p.m. Free (admission). Stagecoach Park, 880 Main St., Buda. www.ci.buda.tx.us/525/trail-of-lights

Through Dec. 24 | Cabela’s Winter Wonderland


Visit Santa’s Wonderland at the Cabela’s location in Buda. Experience the wonderland, toy shop and aquariums at the store while waiting to get a free photo with Santa. Those who wish to get a photo with Santa must make a reservation online. By appointment only. Free. Cabela’s, 15570 I-35, Buda. www.cabelas.com/shop/en/santas-wonderland

Through Jan. 10 | Take a stroll through the forest

Around the gazebo in downtown Buda, the Festival of Trees will take place into the new year as a way to bring the community together. The event is free, but donations are welcome and will benefit the small businesses of Buda. Residents who purchase a spot along the greenbelt can decorate their tree to take part in the forest for the community to enjoy. Each tree will feature a plaque with the names of those who decorated the tree. Free. Open daily to the public. Downtown Greenbelt, 319 Main St., Buda. www.downtownbudatx.com/festival-of-trees11

Through 12 | A Mermaid Christmas

Join the Mermaid Society of Texas for their third annual Merry Mermaid Market at their gift shop and gallery at Wonder World Park. There will be holiday music, wine and hot chocolate available while shopping from a selection of artisan vendors. There will also be special train rides and cave tours through the park. 5-9 p.m. Free (admission). Wonder World Park, 1000 Prospect St., San Marcos. 512-825-2819. www.mermaidsocietysmtx.com

Dec.18-19 | Drive into a holiday movie

Doc’s Drive-in theatre is hosting its third annual Holiday Marketplace full of holiday activities for the whole family, such as ornament decorating and photos with Santa. Local vendors and live music will be on site all day followed by holiday movie showings of “Elf”, “Arthur Christmas”, “A Christmas Story” and “The Holiday” at 6 p.m. Free admission to the market from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Movie tickets free (ages 3 and under), $6 (ages 4-11), $12 (driver and ages 12+). 1540 Satterwhite Road,Buda. 512-960-4460. www.docsdriveintheatre.com

Dec. 22 | Warm up with some hot cocoa

Bring your own mug or purchase a commemorative mug to make your own hot chocolate at the Cocoa Jingle in downtown Buda. Take a stroll on Main Street, head into shops for samples of hot cocoa and stick around for the pajama contest at 5 p.m. 3-6 p.m. Free. Downtown Buda. 512-523-1075. www.downtownbudatx.com/events

Jan.1 | Splash into the new year

The city of Kyle and the parks and recreation department are hosting the 18th annual Polar Bear Splash, kicking off the new year with some hot chocolate and a dive into the James Adkins Pool. Community members can watch the event for free. Regular registration is open until Dec. 31. Late registration on Jan. 1 will be an extra $5. 10 a.m. $20. 1100 W. Center St., Kyle. 512-262-3939. www.cityofkyle.com/recreation/polar-bear-splash-2022

Worth the trip

Through Jan. 2 | Drive through holiday lights


Visit Santa’s Ranch to drive through over a mile of light exhibits, animated Christmas displays and more. Hot chocolate, kettle corn and other snacks will be available. 6-10 p.m. (Sun.-Thu.), 6-11 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.). $35 (per vehicle), $75 (per vehicle for a season pass). 9561 N. I-35, New Braunfels. 830-743-1293. www.santasranch.net

Through Dec. 31 | See lights at Zilker Park

Experience the holiday magic from the comfort of a car at the annual Austin Trail of Lights. This is the second year the event will take place in a drive-thru format. Attendees can tune into the trail of lights radio station to listen to holiday music while driving past millions of lights. 5:45-10:45 p.m. daily. Closed Dec. 24, 25, 28, 29. $30-$65 (depending on time of attendance). 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin. www.austintrailoflights.org

Through Jan. 30 (Thu.-Sun.) | Light up the trail

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is hosting its winter light event, Luminations. Attendees can walk through trails and gardens lit up by luminarias. Reservations are recommended due to limited capacity. 6-9 p.m. daily. Closed Dec. 24, 25, 31, Jan. 1. Free (ages 0-4), $10 (members ages 5-17), $15 (nonmembers ages 5-17), $20 (members age 18 and older), $25 (nonmembers age 18 and older). 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin. 512-232-0100. www.wildflower.org

Through Dec. 23 (weekends) | See Christmas at the Caverns

The Natural Bridge Caverns celebrates Christmas with a trail of lights, an outdoor maze, live music and caroling. 4:30-9 p.m. $14.99-$21.99 (depending on attraction and time of attendance). 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, San Antonio. 210-651-6101. www.naturalbridgecaverns.com
By Zara Flores
Zara joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in August 2021. Prior to CI, she interned at Picket Fence Media in Southern California and graduated from Cal State Fullerton where she was assistant news editor for the Daily Titan and copy editor for Tusk Magazine. Zara covers education, business, government and more for Buda, Kyle and San Marcos.