Holiday to-do list: Seasonal lights, events and activities to enjoy in the Southwest Austin area in 2019

The Austin Trail of Lights returns this December. (Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights)
The Austin Trail of Lights returns this December. (Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights)

The Austin Trail of Lights returns this December. (Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights)

Image description
Succulent Wreath class (Courtesy Articulture Designs)
The 2019 holiday season is here, and so is your guide to events and places to visit in and around the Austin area.

Nov. 23-Dec. 24: Hill Country Galleria Holiday Village

The Hill Country Galleria hosts its annual holiday village. Guests can shop for custom gifts, listen to carolers, enjoy mulled cider and visit Santa Claus, who arrives on the village’s opening day. Families can have their photos taken with Santa beginning Nov. 24. Times vary. Thu.-Sun. Free. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. 512-263-0001. www.hillcountrygalleria.com

Nov. 29-Jan. 5, 2020: Johnson City Lights Spectacular

The annual event transforms sections of downtown Johnson City into a family-friendly event with light displays and different activities and entertainment daily. Evenings from Nov. 19-Jan. 5. Free. Parking available near the decorated Blanco County Courthouse and Pedernales Electric Cooperative buildings in Johnson City. 512-577-4833. www.lightsspectacular.com


Dec. 1: Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Celebrate the annual lighting of the Zilker Tree, composed of 3,309 25-watt bulbs. The event will include performances by the Austin Wind Ensemble and the Barton Hills Choir. Toy donations to the Austin Police Department’s Operation Blue Santa will be accepted. 5:30 p.m. Free. Zilker Metropolitan Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin. www.austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

Dec. 4: All the Jingle Ladies

The Boutiques of Historic Dripping Springs invites “all the jingle ladies” for a night of “bow-tiquing,” featuring themed cocktails and special deals. Tickets come with a free wine glass. 5-9 p.m. $10. Around Mercer Street and Old Fitzhugh Road, Dripping Springs. www.facebook.com/shopdrippingsprings

Dec. 7: A Very Doggy Christmas

Work & Woof Co-working hosts a holiday event featuring “activities, fun, drinks and pictures with Santa.” Humans and dogs are invited. Noon-4 p.m. Free. 4930 S. Congress Ave., Bldg. A, Austin. 512-460-1488. www.workandwoofatx.com

Dec. 7: Christkindlmarkt

Christkindlmarkt is a German-inspired, open-air Christmas market featuring German music, singing and dancing; vendors selling Christmas wares; and food, drinks and craft beer. According to the event’s website, Christkindlmarkt is intended to “commemorate and promote the German heritage” of New Braunfels. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free. Bavarian Halle at Schlitterbahn Resort, 212 W. Austin St., New Braunfels. 830-542-2020. www.christkindlmarktnbtx.org

Dec. 7: Christmas on Mercer Street

The city of Dripping Springs holds its annual Christmas on Mercer Street holiday festival, featuring arts and crafts booths; family games, activities and entertainment; and food. Santa will make an appearance, and a tree lighting will take place at Veterans Memorial Park in the triangle between East Mercer Street, RR 12 and Hwy. 290 at 6:15 p.m. 10 a.m. Free. www.facebook.com/christmasonmercerstreet

Dec. 8: Caring Santa

Caring Santa gives a meet and greet especially for special needs kids. Professional photo packages will be available for purchase. 9-10:30 a.m. Barton Creek Square Mall, 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin. 512-327-7040. www.simon.com/mall/barton-creek-square

Dec. 8: Kris Kringle Market

Meet Santa and listen to carols at 12 Fox Beer Co.’s holiday event. Enjoy crafts, games and a pop-up market featuring local vendors. Admission is granted with the donation of a toy or five food items to the Hays. Co. Brown Santa Food & Toy Drive. Noon-7 p.m. 4700 W. Fitzhugh Road, Dripping Springs. 512-626-4458. www.12foxbeer.com

Dec. 8: Holiday mini market

The South Congress Hotel will host vendors from across the globe offering products geared towards mother-child duos. Moms can stop by the Mother’s Lounge for feeding, nursing and changing. Cocktails, coffee and food will also be available. Begins 10 a.m. Free. 1603 S. Congress Ave., Austin. 512-920-6405. www.southcongresshotel.com

Dec. 10: Austin Trail of Lights Grand Opening

The 55th annual Austin Trail of Lights begins with a ceremonial “flipping of the switch” by the winner of an essay contest for Austin ISD elementary school students. Throughout the season, live music acts will perform at the trail, and various special events will occur. 7-10 p.m. Free. Zilker Metropolitan Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin. www.austintrailoflights.org

Dec. 13: Christmas Shopping at Caliterra

Vendors will gather at the Caliterra residential community to sell handmade holiday gifts for the community’s second annual event. 5-9 p.m. Free. The Hall in Caliterra, 505 Wynnpage Drive, Dripping Springs

512-751-7309. www.caliterraliving.com

Dec. 13-24: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar•

The annual bazaar is a multiday holiday shopping extravaganza with offerings from local and touring artists. Additionally, a live music lineup will feature 36 different acts. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. $8-$50. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin. 512-447-1605. www.armadillobazaar.com

Dec. 14: Succulent wreath class

Articulture Designs will provide materials and instruction for participants to build their own succulent wreaths in time for the holidays. Wine, beer and other beverages will also be provided. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $95. Articulture Designs, 6405 Menchaca Road, Austin. 512-762-5228. www.articulturedesigns.com

Dec. 14: Bed & Breakfast Christmas Tour

Seven Hill Country bed and breakfasts will open for holiday tours. Proceeds benefit the Hill Country Senior Center. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $25. Hill Country Senior Center, 1310 Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs. www.facebook.com/events/573267076775942

Dec. 14: A Pioneer Christmas

Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead’s free holiday event features old-fashioned ornament crafting, Christmas story time and a photo-op with Santa by the facility’s covered wagon. Noon-2 p.m. Free. 570 Founders Park Road, Dripping Springs. 512-858-2030. www.drpoundfarmstead.org

Dec. 15: Austin Holiday Princess Ball

Dream Parties hosts a holiday-themed princess party, with an opportunity for kids to meet Disney princesses. The event includes photo-ops, games, dancing and more. 9 a.m.-6:15 p.m. $25-$40. Austin Marriott South, 4415 S. I-35, Austin. www.facebook.com/events/313920182848786

Dec. 15: Holiday at the Hive

South Austin coworking, coffee and child care space The Hive hosts a local holiday shopping bazaar, along with a visit from Santa and live children’s music. 4-8 p.m. Free. The Hive, 10542 Menchaca Road, Austin. 512-212-1091. www.hiveaustin.com

Dec. 31: A Very Austin NYE

View New Year’s Eve fireworks from the rooftop of Austin Central Library, along with live music, food from local restaurants and an open bar. Begins 7 p.m. $225-$250. 710 W. Cesar Chavez St., Austin. www.library.austintexas.gov

Dec. 31: Rockin’ in the New Year

Downtown Austin’s Driskill Hotel hosts a swing dancing celebration to bring in 2020. Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers provide live music. 10:30 p.m. 604 Brazos St., Austin. www.driskillhotel.com

Dec. 31: Alt-NYE Celebration

Peacefully enter the new year at Kadampa Meditation Center with the Buddhist practice of Avalokiteshvara. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $15. 1918 Bissel Lane, Austin. 512-916-4444. www.meditationinaustin.org/alternative-new-years-eve-2019
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.


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