Light displays, virtual concerts and more: 13 things to do in Austin this December and January

Luminations (Courtesy Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)
Luminations (Courtesy Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

Luminations (Courtesy Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

Editor's Note: Some in-person events have been removed from this list following Travis County's move to Stage 5 under COVID-19 risk guidelines.

From the holidays through New Year's Day and beyond, find an event in the Austin area happening in December and January.

Through 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.

Through Dec. 31

The SoCo Stroll

Music Lane and the South Congress Avenue Shopping District have been decorated for the holidays since Black Friday, and nightly holiday-themed activities and live music will take place through Dec. 31. Masks are strongly encouraged at all times. Hours vary. Free. South Congress Avenue between West Johanna Street and East Riverside Drive.

Dec. 31

Streaming concert to support ACL Live

Recording artist Lucinda Williams will be performing a livestreamed show playing Rolling Stones tribute covers to raise funds for independent music venues around the country, including ACL Live in Austin. The Dec. 31 show is the final one in a series Williams put on this year. 7 p.m. $25-$40. 877-534-9849.

Dec. 31

Austin’s All Virtual New Year

Eight local bands perform a virtual New Year’s Eve concert in a presentation hosted by the city of Austin and the Austin Convention Center. The event can be viewed on the city’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as on cable Channel 6 and Viewing times have not yet been posted but will be announced by Dec. 28.

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. 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.

Through 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.

Through 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.

Through Jan. 3


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center presents its winter light event, Luminations, through Jan. 3. Visitors walk a one-way path to view audio and visual art installations through the Texas Arboretum. 6-9 p.m. daily; closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1. Free (ages 4 and under), $10 (ages 5-17), $18 (ages 18 and up) with discounts for members. 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin.

Through Jan. 3

Maywald holiday lights

The Southwest Austin home is decorated each year with holiday lights and displays. Visitors park and walk to the property, which is open nightly through Jan. 3 except when raining. Free, but visitors are asked to make a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 6-10 p.m. 10505 Twilight Vista, Austin.

Jan. 13

The Deer performs virtually

The Long Center launched a free, virtual concert series called “Good Vibes Only” in December, and local indie-folk band The Deer performs in the third installment in a livestreamed show from the Long Center’s Rollins Theater. 7 p.m. Free. 512-474-5664.

Jan. 26

A conversation with printmakers

As part of the PrintAustin art fair, the Blanton Museum of Art facilitates a virtual conversation with professional print artists Annalise Gratovich and Pepe Coronado. Genevra Higginson, curator of an upcoming Blanton printmaking exhibit, will host the discussion. 5 p.m. Free. 512-471-5482.

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.
By Olivia Aldridge

Reporter, Central Austin

Olivia joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in March 2019. She covers public health, business, development and Travis County government. A graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina, Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times.


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