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Winter events happening in and around Austin

Check out winter and holiday-themed events happening in and around Austin in this seasonal guide.


Drive through a candy cane forest and other holiday light displays at Peppermint Parkway.

Photo by ATXtoday

Table of Contents

Get your fuzzy socks and hot cocoa ready, Austin. From light displays to holiday performances and festive parties, winter is just around the corner for the Capital City.

Gather the family and friends and celebrate what makes the holiday season special with this guide featuring 39 winter events happening between December and February.


Other Worlds Film Festival | Thursday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 4 | Times vary | Galaxy Theatres Austin, 6700 Middle Fiskville Rd., Austin | $15+ | Tune in for panels, Q+As, and screenings of shorts and feature-length films at this widely known sci-fi film festival.

Austin Foodie Fest | Sunday, Dec. 11 | 1-9 p.m. | Republic Square, 422 Guadalupe St., Austin | $6 | More than 50 local restaurants and food trucks will serve up bites at this festival also featuring live music, games, contests, and giveaways.

Austin miniFEST | Sunday, Dec. 11 | 5:45 p.m. | Vulcan Gas Co., 410 E. 6th St., Austin | $20+ | Celebrate music and art in this community-centered festival.

Free Week | Thursday, Jan. 5-Saturday, Jan. 7 | Times vary | Multiple locations | Free | This event featuring 100+ free concerts at the city’s hottest venues is celebrating 20 years this year.

Austin MLK Day March, Festival, and Food Drive | Monday, Jan. 16 | 9 a.m. | Multiple locations | Free | Start the day with a community march from the UT campus to the Capitol building, then follow it up with activities at Huston-Tillotson University.

Carnaval Brasileiro | Sunday, Feb. 5 | 8 p.m.-1:45 a.m. | The Concourse Project, 8509 Burleson Rd., Austin | $35 | Get ready for a night of dancing, live music, and costumes at this annual Brazilian-style Mardi Gras celebration.

Jo’s Chili Cook-Off | Date TBD | Time TBD | Jo’s Coffee, 1300 S. Congress Ave., Austin | Price not yet announced | This annual, early February cook-off has previously involved live music in addition to chili tastings.

OUTsider Festival | Wednesday, Feb. 15-Sunday, Feb. 19 | Times vary | Multiple locations | Price not yet announced | This festival of film, music, theater, and visual arts celebrates LGBTQ+ artists and thinkers.

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon | Sunday, Feb. 19 | 7 a.m. | Downtown Austin | $69+ | This race through Austin’s most iconic neighborhoods ends with a concert and festival downtown.

FUSEBASH | Saturday, Feb. 25 | 6-10 p.m. | Distribution Hall, 1500 E. 4th St., Austin | $3,500 for a table | This event benefitting artists, designers, and technicians behind the Fusebox Festival features a night of live music.

ATX Open | Monday, Feb. 27-Sunday, March 5 | Times vary | Westwood Country Club, 3808 W. 35th St., Austin | $20+ | The inaugural tennis event — the first Hologic WTA Tour tournament to take place in the US during the season — will be held in a brand new, 1,500-seat stadium.

Austin Oyster Festival | Date TBD | Time TBD | Republic Square, 422 Guadalupe St., Austin | Price not yet announced | This late February festival serves up oysters in a variety of ways, alongside drinks and live music.

A car driving into the entrance of the Trail of Lights

After two years of being drive-thru only, the Trail of Lights is returning to a walkway.

Photo by @prettyatx

Holiday events

Driskill Grand Lobby Tree Lighting | Thursday, Dec. 1 | 6 p.m. | The Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St., Austin | Free | In addition to the tree lighting ceremony, the historic hotel will offer cocktails and live music.

Blue Genie Art Bazaar | Now-Saturday, Dec. 24 | 10 a.m.-10 p.m. | 6100 Airport Blvd., Austin | Free | Hundreds of locally made items are up for grabs during this annual holiday bazaar. Pro tip: you can also shop online.

German-Texan Heritage Society Christmas Market | Saturday, Dec. 3 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | German Free School, 507 E. 10th St., Austin | $5 | This market decked out with traditional decorations imported from Erzgebirge, Germany will serve up Glühwein and offer kid-friendly activities.

Downtown Holiday Stroll | Saturday, Dec. 3 | 5-10 p.m. | Congress Avenue, Austin | Free | Kick off the “y’alliday” season with this sing-along event, also featuring the Capitol Tree Lighting and performances by local artists.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar | Saturday, Dec. 17-Friday, Dec. 23 | 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. | Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd., Austin | $12+ | The lineup for this annual live music and gift shopping event includes Ray Wylie Hubbard, Tomar and the FCs, and Ruthie Foster.

2022 Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run | Saturday, Dec. 3 | 5:45-10 p.m. | Zilker Park, 2207 Lou Neff Rd., Austin | $35+ | This 2.1 mile race starts at the Zilker Holiday Tree and ends with a finish line festival that includes a dance party, holiday photo ops, carnival rides, food and drink, and a costume contest.

Christmas on Mercer Street | Saturday, Dec. 3 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Downtown Dripping Springs | Free | Stock up on arts, crafts, and food from local vendors at this event, which also includes children’s activities.

The Christmas tree lit up in the Driskill lobby

Celebrate the holidays at the historic downtown Driskill hotel.

Photo by ATXtoday

Light displays

Peppermint Parkway | Now-Friday, Dec. 30 | 6:30-9 p.m. | Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin | $40+ per car | This drive-thru light display ends at Peppermint Plaza, which includes a holiday market, zipline, COTA Karting, a kissing booth, and carnival rides.

Zilker Holiday Tree | Now-Sunday, Jan. 1 | 6-10 p.m. | Free | This 155-ft tree is made up of 3,309 lights.

Mozart’s Annual Light Show | Now-Friday, Jan. 6 | Times vary | Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin | Free+ | This holiday tradition includes a Bavarian-style marketplace, holiday treats, and a new addition: a dance floor with a silent disco.

Round Rock Light Up the Lake | Friday, Dec. 2-Saturday, Dec. 3 | 6-9:30 p.m. | Old Settlers Park, 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock | Free | Take in a light show featuring giant balloons over Bright Lake and enjoy holiday foods, crafts, and activities.

Pfestival of Lights | Saturday, Dec. 3 | 3 p.m. | Downtown Pflugerville | Free | This event includes a parade and tree lighting.

Trail of Lights | Thursday, Dec. 8-Friday, Dec. 23 | 6-10 p.m. | Zilker Park, 2207 Lou Neff Rd., Austin | $5+ | Austin’s signature light display is returning to a walking trail after two years of drive thru only. Pro tip: check out the event calendar for themed and free nights.

Holiday performances

“A Christmas Carol” | Now-Saturday, Dec. 31 | Times vary | ZACH Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin | $40+ | Charles Dickens’ classic comes to life on stage.

A Sherlock Holmes Christmas | Now-Sunday, Dec. 18 | 8-10 p.m. | Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr., Austin | $10+ | Throw it back to the Victorian era this Christmas with this Sherlock Holmes story.

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker” | Saturday, Dec. 3-Friday, Dec. 23 | Times vary | The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr., Austin | $38+ | Ballet Austin is celebrating 60 years of its “Nutcracker” performance.

“Handel’s Messiah” | Tuesday, Dec. 6 | 8 p.m. | Riverbend Centre, 4214 N. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin | $15+ | The Austin Symphony’s annual performance will be accompanied by Chorus Austin.

Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” The Musical | Tuesday, Dec. 6-Sunday, Dec. 11 | Times vary | Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Dr., Austin | $30+ | Catch beloved characters such as the Grinch and Max the Dog in this stage performance.

Ventana Ballet’s “The Watchmaker’s Song” | Thursday, Dec. 8-Saturday, Dec. 17 | Times vary | Neill-Cochran House Museum | 2310 San Gabriel St., Austin | $36+ | This jazzy retelling of “The Nutcracker” features flamenco, tap, Argentinian tango, and Egyptian belly dancing.

”Elf” in Concert | Thursday, Dec. 15 | 8 p.m. | The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr., Austin | $19+ | The beloved story of Buddy the Elf will be broadcast on the big screen in accompaniment with a live performance of the score.

The Illusionists - Magic of the Holidays | Sunday, Dec. 18 | 7 p.m. | Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Dr., Austin | $39.50+ | This magic showcase is holiday-themed for all ages.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Austin’s New Year | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 6 p.m. | Auditorium Shores, 900 W. Riverside Dr., Austin | Free | Catch the city’s official New Year’s Eve celebration.

Speakeasy’s Legendary New Year’s Eve Bash | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 8 p.m. | Speakeasy, 412 Congress Ave., Austin | $49+ | This downtown bar has been hosting New Year’s Eve celebrations since 1997 — expect DJ sets, bottle service, and party favors.

2023 Austin New Year’s Eve Party - Gatsby’s House | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 9 p.m. | Hilton Austin Hotel, 500 E. 4th St., Austin | $135+ | This luxe event includes live DJ sets, drinks, complimentary party favors, and casino games.

The 7th Annual Goblin King’s New Years Eve Ball | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 9 p.m. | Elysium, 705 Red River St., Austin | $23+ | Dance and drink all night at this “Labyrinth”-inspired mystical event.

The Capitol Countdown at The Belmont | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 10 p.m. | The Belmont, 305 W. 6th St., Austin | $50+ | This New Year’s Eve event features three full-service bars, a heated courtyard, and a dance floor.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at Pete’s Piano Bar | Saturday, Dec. 31 | 7 p.m. | Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar, 421 E. 6th St., Austin | $20+ | Piano players will perform ‘til 2023 at this party.

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