There’s no place quite like Austin, Texas. At AQUILA, we love living in the “Live Music Capital of the World” and exploring all that our incredible city has to offer.
With countless events and local must-do’s, it can be tough keeping track of exactly what’s happening each month. That’s why we’ve pulled together our Austin expertise for this comprehensive month-by-month guide to all the major annual events that take place in Austin.
From New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, there’s something for everyone year round. Events include food and music festivals, races, shopping bazaars and more.
This decades-old tradition continues. Splashing into the 68 degree water of Barton Springs pool (which is usually warmer than the air at this time of year) is a favorite way for Austinites to dive into the new year!
When: January 1, 2018, always on New Year’s Day
Where: Barton Springs Pool
First Thursdays on South Congress begins (All Year)
Make sure to visit the iconic South Congress strip on the first Thursday of every month. Relax and enjoy drink specials, discounts, and live music. Shop until you drop with local vendor pop-up shops and stores open until 10PM. The South Congress Hotel also hosts a live DJ and food trucks.
When: January 4, 2018, continues on the first Thursday of every month
Where: South Congress Avenue
For more about what to do on South Congress, check out our blog post and infographic: An Insider’s Guide to South Congress Avenue.
Known as the “fast half”, the 3M Half Marathon hosts over 7,000 runners and leads them throughout Austin’s greatest sites. The participants run through Austin’s weirdest and most-loved neighborhoods, The University of Texas’ campus, and the Capitol. There is live music and the Longhorn Band as well as plenty of food trucks to enjoy at the finish line!
When: January 21st, 2018
Where: Start line: Capital of Texas Hwy, near the Arboretum; Finish line: Texas State Capitol
Le Garage Sale (Spring & Fall)
Every January and August, hundreds of Austinites line up to get incredible deals on clothes, accessories, home decor and furniture from 80+ local businesses. Top-tier boutiques and local stores bring their signature selection and excess inventory together under one roof. Enjoy bargain hunting while enjoying coffee, cocktails and a high energy atmosphere.
When: January 27-28, 2018, typically the last weekend of January
Where: Palmer Events Center
This is the Superbowl for Austin runners! See the iconic landmarks such as the UT Tower, the “I Love You Mural” and Lady Bird Lake while traversing a number of Austin’s most iconic neighborhoods such as South Congress and Hyde Park.
Cheering crowds encourage the athletes throughout the race, but are especially loud as the runners close in on the finish line in front of the Texas State Capitol on historic Congress Ave. If running’s not your speed, grab some friends, a cup of coffee and a cowbell to join in on the fun.
The Austin Marathon has grown to become the 25th largest marathon in the USA, attracting top endurance athletes from around the globe. But don’t worry, there are plenty of tutu-clad athletes just in it for the story and the unique belt buckle medal!
When: Sunday, February 18th, 2018
Where: Start & Finish Line: Congress Avenue
Uber is often jammed in the morning before the race (some runners reported 30 minute waits!), so allot enough time to to get to the starting line, or ask a friend or family member to take you.
Also, many nearby restaurants give discounts to participants who come in for brunch after the race. Wear your medal with pride and be sure to ask your server if they have any specials!
Whether you like your oysters raw, grilled, roasted or fried, the Austin Oyster Festival has an oyster for you. Various seafood, wine, craft beer and specialty cocktails are also available, which, paired with live Cajun and bluegrass music, makes for a great afternoon.
When: February 24, 2018
Where: The Lawn at Seaholm
Amplify Austin is the annual designated 24-hour community-wide day of online giving. In 2018, Amplify Austin raised more than $10 million for more than 700 local nonprofits.
When: March 1st – 2nd, 2018
This is one of AQUILA’s favorite days of the year. Each year, the company matches employee donations to help amplify each employee’s philanthropic efforts.
The ABC Kite Festival in Zilker Park offers activities for all ages, including the traditional kite flying contest, a fun run and a children’s music concert called Moss Fest.
Swing into spring and join thousands of Austinites at Zilker Park for a free, all-day event filled with kite making and flying.
Originally founded as a kite contest in 1929, this annual kite festival was designed to spur creativity in Austin children and is now one of the country’s longest running festival of its kind. The ABC Kite Fest is one of Austin’s most beloved, family-friendly traditions.
When: March 4th, 2018, typically the first Sunday in March
Where: Zilker Park
Even if you don’t bring a kite, this festival is the perfect excuse to pack a picnic and enjoy the sunshine with friends or family.
SXSW is a world-renown film, interactive technology and music festival that takes over downtown Austin for 10 days. It attracts hundreds of thousands of creative and curious minds alike. The overall festival is actually divided into three main micro festivals, SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, SXSW Music.
Exhibitors from around the world give a glimpse of the future at the Trade Show and Technology Exhibition Hall while speakers provide insight on a wide variety of trends and topics in numerous TED Talk style sessions. Explore sessions that dive into brands & marketing, design, code & programming, government, health & wellness,intelligent future, style and workplace.
The Film Festival celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent from both behind and in front of the camera. Featuring dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts, and more, the festival has become known for the high caliber, diverse films presented, and for its enthusiastic audiences.
Each year the SXSW Music Festival hosts a curated mix of artists performing in bars, clubs, parks, churches, hotels, and more. Hundreds of up-and-coming music artists play at venues all over the downtown district from early afternoon late into each night. Not limited in genre or regional focus, audiences can enjoy a variety of musical styles.
When: March 9-18, 2018
Where: Downtown Austin
Outside the event, hundreds of unofficial events, parties and networking goes on throughout the week. If you get an invite – go! These are great opportunities to connect, see the local side of Austin, and have fun.
Also, with so many people downtown, rideshares can be hard to come by or may have a surge fee. If you’re a local, it may make more sense to drive yourself – the parking garages near the convention center often have open parking spots if you get there in the morning.
Austin hosts one of the Top 10 Pro Rodeos every March. Top-ranking athletes in bareback riding, steer wrestling, roping and mutton-bustin’ compete nightly for the championship.
Following the the rodeo events each night is a concert from chart topping country artists (and more). 2018 performers include Dwight Yoakam, Josh Turner, and the Beach Boys. Come early to partake in the fairgrounds, the livestock show, a petting zoo, pony rides and much more for the whole family.
When: March 10-24th, 2018
Where: Travis County Expo Center
If you’re headed out with a large group, it can be a time and money save to rent a bus because parking can be tricky/expensive!
And be sure to use the opportunity to wear your cowboy boots or other closed toed shoes, as much of the fare ground is dirt.
One of the most prestigious PGA Tour tournaments in the world, Dell Match Play is where you can find many of golf’s brightest stars on one course. After previously being held in San Francisco and Arizona, the tournament made the move to Austin in 2016 and plans to remain at the Austin Country Club through at least 2019. The Dell Match Play is a unique experience – with Lake Austin as the backdrop, the weekend attracts golf lovers and socialites alike.
When: March 21 – 25, 2018
Where: Austin Country Club (4408 Long Champ Drive)
Getting a rideshare at the end of the day is hard to come by. For easy access to and from, coordinate a ride with a friend or family member beforehand or recruit a group to rent a shuttle.
Horseshoe Bay Resort’s annual Balloon Festival is a treat for the whole family! The festival brings over 20 beautiful hot air balloons, plus local Hill Country wine vendors, live music and entertainers for a weekend full of fun. There are additional activities for resort club members and guests, including an Easter egg hunt on Easter morning.
When: March 31st-April 1st, 2018, usually falls on Easter weekend
Where: Horseshoe Bay Resort (45 minutes west of Austin)
Great Easter weekend for the family! While the kids play, adults can enjoy the VIP party and lunch tickets.
Round Rock Express Season (continues through September)
The Round Rock Express is Austin’s premier baseball team. As an affiliate of the Texas Rangers and founded by none other than Nolan Ryan and family, this team is primed for Texas lovers and locals alike.
When: April 2nd, 2018, with games continuing through September
Where: Dell Diamond
Fashion X Austin is the largest week of fashion events in the state of Texas and the 4th largest fashion week concept in the United States. Fashion X features events hosted by boutiques, retailers, salons, spas and gallery spaces around town. With most events free and open to the public, you are able to party hop across Austin and while visiting trunk shows, mini runway events, designer showcases and more.
When: April 6-7th 2018
Where: Vault Space
The Statesman Capitol 10K is the largest 10K race in Texas and one of the top 10 in the nation. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a beginner, the Cap10K is a rite of spring in Austin since 1978. Costumes are welcome, so come participate in your favorite superhero get-up with family and friends!
When: April 8th, 2018
Where: Start line: Congress Ave; Finish line and festival: Vic Mathias Shores
It is always fun to participate in the costume contest with family or friends- tutus are always a big hit!
Unplugged at the Grove (continues through September)
For 25 years KGSR has hosted Unplugged at the Grove with free live music every Thursday evening at the iconic Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road. Make this your weekly summer ritual! With 23 consecutive weeks of the best live music, food, and fun you’ll experience under the warm skies of Austin, you can’t go wrong.
Did we mention there is no cover charge? All ages are welcome to attend, and 21+ can enjoy drink specials.
When: April 12, 2018, continues most Thursdays through September
Where: Shady Grove (1624 Barton Springs Rd)
Get there early and bring a blanket or lawn chairs so you can get a spot on the lawn. It fills up fast, especially when there is a well-known musician playing. Rideshare or carpool because parking can be tough!
There’s something for everyone at the Bluebonnet Festival! The festival is held in Burnet, Texas (just 75 minutes outside of Austin) and is known as the “most exciting small-town festival in Texas”.
The annual Bluebonnet Festival features live music, a parade, a 5K and 10K Fun Run, pet parade, demolition derby, car show, gunfighters old town shootout, duck derby, bike decorating contest, weiner dog race, wildflower show, arts and crafts, and more (if you can believe it!)
When: April 13-15 2018, always the second weekend of April
Where: Burnet, TX
The Austin Reggae Festival is the event for the Reggae or world-infused music lover. While showing your support for the genre, you can also help raise funds for the Capital Area Food Bank, visit artisan vendors and purchase unique gifts. This Reggae-filled event promises to inspire guests with uplifting music that serves to teach a message of community support and peace.
When: April 20-22, 2018
Where: Auditorium Shores
Circuit of the Americas (COTA) hosts the only North American round of the world’s premier motorcycle racing championship, drawing many of the world’s best motorcyclists to Texas. Austin’s keen love for motorcycles coupled with COTA’s cutting edge racing facility ensures that audiences can expect a fun-filled weekend of world class two-wheeled excitement alongside an incredible schedule of off-track entertainment.
When: April 20-22, 2018
Where: Circuit of the Americas (9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd)
If you are sensitive to loud noises, bring earplugs; the motorcycles can be loud as they fly by.
With award-winning actor and local Matthew McConaughey, ACM award-winning recording artist Jack Ingram, and ESPN analyst and University of Texas coaching legend Mack Brown, this two-day non-profit gala and concert series raises millions each year for youth organizations. Some of the fun events include a golf tournament, a fashion show hosted by Camila Alves McConaughey, and a concert with an unmatched line-up.
When: April 25-26, 2019
Where: ACL Live at Moody Theater
The annual three-day Austin Food + Wine Festival features a wide array of creations from nationally acclaimed chefs to local favorites. All weekend, you can indulge in a schedule of hands-on grilling demos, up-close tastings with top chefs and sommeliers, and more, while listening to live music in the park.
When: April 27-29, 2018
Where: Auditorium Shores at Town Lake
The grilling demos are the best part of the weekend! 200 fired-up grills with skirt steaks, NY strips, filets and crispy broccolini make any line worth the wait.
Since the mid-1960s, Eeyore’s Birthday Party has been a beloved Austin tradition that celebrates the birthday of Eeyore from the treasured Winnie the Pooh books. This free festival acts as a fundraiser benefiting local non-profit groups and features live music, drumming circles and games for the whole family. Costumes are encouraged, and contests offer prizes for the wackiest and most whimsical ensembles.
When: April 28, 2018, usually the last Saturday of April
Where: Pease District Park
Events are more child-friendly towards the beginning of the day!
Pecan Street Festival (Spring & Fall)
The Pecan Street Festival is one of the largest, and longest-running, arts/crafts and music festivals in the nation. Like Austin itself, the Pecan Street Festival is eclectic. Some come to buy art, others come for the food or the music, but they all come to take part in a tradition that is 100% Austin.
When: May 5th-6th, 2018, always the first Saturday and Sunday in May
Where: Sixth Street Historic District
Blues on the Green (continues through August)
An Austin summer tradition, Blues on the Green is a music series at Zilker Park. Each show starts at 8pm and pairs two Austin artists together for a crowd-pleasing show on the lawn. What started as a celebration of the blues has evolved into a diverse showcase for Austin-based artists of a variety of genres, from country and rock to singer-songwriters, large Latin music ensembles and yes, good ol’ fashioned blues.
When: May 23rd, 2018, continues June 13th, July 18th, and August 8th.
Where: Zilker Park
Get a group together, bring a cooler with snack and refreshments, and set up a picnic blanket to enjoy the show. Dogs and children encouraged! There are also various food vendors set up.
Year after year, The Republic Of Texas Biker Rally bring motorcycle enthusiasts to Austin to see some of the best motorcycle acts and attractions in the country. ROT Rally has something for every motorcycle lover to enjoy! This year will feature a night parade and party, a MotoRide, wrestling, bike giveaways, hundreds of vendors, and three nights of incredible music like ZZ Top, Shooter Jennings and the Dirty River Boys.
When: June 7-10th, 2018
Where: Travis County Expo Center
This can be one of the busiest weekends of the year in downtown Austin. Be sure to plan ahead if you’re headed into the central downtown area.
This run is a 5k course along the streets bordering Lady Bird Lake. All 21+ runners are greeted at the finish line with a margarita! There is also a post-race party with a catered dinner from Maudie’s Tex-Mex (this costs extra to attend).
When: June 7, 2018
Where: Start & Finish Line: Seaholm Power Plant
The run usually starts around 8pm so plan on eating dinner after (or something light before). The margaritas at the end are small but taste delicious!
Formerly known as the Keep Austin Weird Fest & 5K, this is the slowest 5K on the planet! Slip into your weirdest costume, slap on your favorite light up running shoes, and throw your timer into Lady Bird Lake! This is an afternoon full of groovy music, refreshing beverages, delicious food, engaging vendors, adorable armadillos and even a Willie Nelson hair braiding station. The Fun Stop 5k is essentially a walk-through festival with drink stations, slip n’ slides, local bands, and much more. It is sure to be your favorite “race” of the year!
When: June 23rd, 2018
Where: Riverside Drive in front of the Long Center
Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks is an Austin tradition. Free fireworks, a live performance with great food and drinks, and a variety of local arts & crafts vendors make this a one-stop July 4th family must!
When: July 4th, 2018
Where: Vic Mathias Shores
Bring your own chair or blanket. Parking can be tough, but nearby TxDOT parking lots are free for the holiday.
Join Willie Nelson and friends to celebrate the 4th of July by gathering together for his annual 4th of July Picnic. For the fourth year in a row, the event will be held at the Circuit of the Americas speedway just south of Austin, and will include many Austin favorites and Nelson family members in the lineup, as well as other special guests.
When: July 4th, 2018
Where: Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of the Americas
If you live in Austin, you know that 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under Congress bridge at dusk every day. This festival celebrates this uniquely Austin natural phenomenon with three stages worth of live music, more than 75 arts & crafts vendors, delicious food and drinks, fun children’s activities, a bat costume contest and other bat activities.
When: August 18th, 2018
Where: Congress Ave Bridge
Each year, more than 15,000 people return to Fiesta Gardens to try hundreds of different types of hot sauce during this one-day event. With more than 350 varieties of hot sauce represented, you can expect to feel the burn. Beyond the sauce, the festival also features plenty of food and live music.
The festival is free to the public, but make sure to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. As the primary charity for the event, the Hot Sauce Festival has been able to serve more than 40,000 meals from these donations alone!
When: 2018 Dates are TBD, 2017 date was August 20
Where: Fiesta Gardens (2101 Jesse E Segovia Street)
Take the morning to walk or bike the trail around Lady Bird Lake and end at Fiesta Gardens for the afternoon!
Around thirty vendors of all shapes and sizes – local restaurants, top chefs, home-cooks, and neighbors will all go head-to-head in four categories – Meaty, Spicy, Veggie and Wild Card. Over the years, the variety of queso offered at The Quesoff has been nothing short of extraordinary from queso ice cream to tandoori queso and everything in between. This is must-do for all queso lovers!
When: 2018 Dates are TBD, 2017 date was August 26th
Where: Mohawk Austin (912 Red River Street)
Texas Football Season (continues through November)
Longhorn fan or not, there is nothing like a UT tailgate and an exciting three hours in DKR Stadium. Join 100,000 fans in a sea of burnt-orange to cheer on the city of Austin’s most beloved team.Tailgating and barbecuing begins bright and early on game day on San Jacinto Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive, right next to one of America’s largest collegiate stadiums. If you’re just going to witness the height of tradition that is Texas football and jump on the Longhorn bandwagon for the day, we won’t tell! Just make sure to yell “Hook ‘Em Horns!” once or twice.
When: First game is away on September 1, 2018, first home game is September 8, 2018.
Where: Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® is the most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer in the world. The 5K raises significant funds and awareness for breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease. People of all ages and fitness levels, from walkers to elite runners, are welcome. Joining a race is just one of the ways you can get involved and be a part of the Komen family – grab a few friends and fundraise for a cause!
When: September 20th, 2018
Where: Austin American Statesman (305 South Congress Ave)
Local Insight: It is fun to make a team, either with family and friends or coworkers. If you fundraise enough money, your team can have it’s own tent in the Race Village and gain access to the VIP tent with free goodies and swag. It’s also fun to make team t-shirts. Wear pink (tutus are encouraged) and have fun while supporting an important cause!
To see why Komen is especially close to AQUILA’s heart, read our blog post AQUILA Website Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Pecan Street Festival (Spring & Fall)
This is same wonderful Pecan Street Festival as the one offered in the spring. If you miss the first one, you aren’t out of luck! You have a second chance to enjoy the festival each September.
Come see local artists, find fresh food and listen to great music on Austin’s historic 6th Street. It is one of the largest, longest-running arts and craft music festivals in the U.S!
When: September 22-23rd, 2018
Where: Sixth Street Historic District
Texas Stars Hockey Season (continues through April)
A member of the American Hockey League and a primary affiliate of the Dallas Stars NHL team, the Texas Stars regularly move players to NHL teams across the country. The players are good, the beer and ice are cold, and the games are a lot of fun.
When: October 6th, 2018, with games continuing through April 22nd
Where: HEB Center
ACL is an annual music festival held in Austin on two consecutive three-day weekends in October. The festival brings the Austin slogan “live music capital of the world” to life on eight stages throughout Zilker Park. The festival is a great weekend to enjoy all that Austin has to offer with family and friends while listening to 140+ of your favorite famous and up-and-coming artists.
When: October 5-7 and October 12-14, 2018, typically the first two weekends of October
Where: Zilker Park
Arrange for a rideshare or friend to drop you off at Austin High School and walk over the walking bridge underneath Mopac. Uber and Lyft partner with ACL, but rates can be raised substantially.
If you’re more of a laid-back music fester,, bring a blanket and/or chairs to sit a little further back from the stage. (But note, each stage has a “no-chair” zone, so you can only bring your chair so close to the stage.) If you’re with a group, bring a flag so that it’s easy to find each other if people separate.
America’s only premier Formula 1 racing facility, Circuit of the Americas is the United State’s version of the most notable race tracks around the world. Circuit of the Americas is well-known for being the essential destination in Austin for both sports and live music. This year’s musical acts are Britney Spears and Bruno Mars.
Get ready for three days of non-stop racing- if you don’t have a need for speed now, a weekend at Formula 1 will most definitely give you a change of heart. No ticket into the track? No problem, you can still have fun at the free F1 Fan Fest in downtown Austin with live music, vintage cars, and plenty of racing activities.
When: October 19-21, 2018
Where: Circuit of the Americas Track
Shuttles run to and from the track from both a north and south location. No matter how you get to the track, know that you’ve got a decent sized walk ahead of you to get from the drop off and parking areas to the track itself.
The Film Festival & Conference was the first event of its kind to take the lead in bringing professional and amateur screenwriters together to discuss the creative possibilities of writing for film and television. The conference brings producers, agents and screenwriters together to foster the sale of screenplays.
Over 180 films, Q&A’s, indie breakouts, narrative and documentary competitions and hundreds of parties will mark this year’s event. The nightly parties are an excellent wind-down from our jam-packed days of panels, roundtables and film screenings. These casual gatherings offer the opportunity to mingle, meet, and conspire with other writers. If you are an avid movie watcher and want the scoop on potential upcoming projects, this film festival and conference are right up your alley!
When: October 25-November 1st, 2018
Where: The Driskill Hotel
Austin Spurs Basketball Season (continues through April)
As 2017-2018 NBA G League Champions, the Austin Spurs aren’t your average minor league basketball team. Since 2007, the Austin Spurs have been fighting to make their mark on the national stage and have made the city proud.
When: November 3rd, 2018 with games running through mid-April
Where: HEB Center in Cedar Park (2100 Avenue of the Stars)
Austin’s annual studio tour includes almost 500 studios, galleries and exhibition spaces on the east side of I-35. It’s a great way to stretch your legs (walking or biking is encouraged) and an even better way to build your appreciation for local Austin art.
When: November 10-11 & 17-18th, 2018
Where: Various locations across East Austin
Take a bike and stop at the numerous restaurant, bars and breweries all around the East Side in between visiting studios! Visit the tour’s website for recommended routes.
For tips on where to eat and drink in East Austin, check Our Ultimate Guide to East Austin
All aboard! A real train takes you on a trip to the “North Pole”. With a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, all-you-can-drink hot cocoa and a locally baked holiday cookie, you’ll mistake the 2-hour ride for a trip to the tundra. Each car is decorated for the season and Santa spends time in each car to “check your list twice”, and pose for photographs before handing out a gift to each child to remember this special ride.
When: 2018 TBD, 2017 dates were November 17th-December 9th
Where: Austin Steam Train (401 E Whitestone Blvd C-100 in The Depot Shopping Center)
Book before late October or you’ll run the risk of the train being sold out!
A Christmas Affair hosts 200 vendors in a themed environment, features children’s events, a private shopping brunch, and a visit from Santa himself! This is the largest fundraiser for The Junior League of Austin, an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The money from this four-day shopping experience allows The Junior League to further their mission and help feed 1,400 children suffering from food insecurity each week during the school year.
When: 2018 Dates TBD, typically the week before the week of Thanksgiving
Where: Palmer Events Center
Go with a friend and plan to spend an afternoon here. There are bars and concessions set up so you can grab a glass of wine or a snack while you shop. With over 200 vendors, it can take awhile to see it all.
The ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many Austin families and individuals who want to do something healthy before indulging in a big Thanksgiving meal. It is now known as Texas’ largest five-mile run, growing from just 600 participants in 1991 to nearly 20,000 in 2016.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to Caritas of Austin—a non-profit organization that provides housing, employment, education, and food services to more than 20,000 homeless, working poor, and documented refugees in Travis County.
When: November 23, 2018, always Thanksgiving Day
Where: Start & Finish Line: The Long Center for the Performing Arts
There is a free party at The Long Center before and afterwards with live music, water bottles and light food (bananas, oranges, bagels and cookies). Some runners dress up as turkeys, pilgrims or other Thanksgiving-themed costumes.
You’re not an Austinite if you haven’t ice skated on the roof of the Whole Foods flagship store downtown. It has quickly become one of Austin’s most anticipated events of the holiday season!
When: November 24th-Jan 15, 2018
Where: Whole Foods Flagship Store (525 N Lamar Boulevard)
The ice is better earlier in the season, so try to make it out in late November or early December.
The annual Zilker Tree lighting starts the holiday season off in Zilker Park. This is a local Austin family tradition. The Zilker Tree is the largest man made holiday tree, built around a historic Austin moontower. The lights extend 155 feet into the air and it is a popular spot for older Austinities to relive memories while children make new ones. Food vendors and other merchants will operate at the tree throughout the month of December. The tree lighting is usually towards the end of November and stays lit throughout December.
When: 2018 dates TBD, 2017 date was November 26th
Where: Zilker Park
Austin’s favorite holiday tradition returns with all of the colorful characters from your childhood. Ballet Austin’s annual production of the world’s best-known ballet features hundreds of dancers, gorgeous sets and costumes while the Austin Symphony Orchestra plays magical music you’ll have stuck in your head for weeks. It’s the perfect way for family and friends to celebrate the season together!
When: 2018 TBD, 2017 dates were December 8-23
Where: The Long Center
Since 1965 when it was then just a small gathering named “Yule Fest”, the Trail of Lights has lifted Austinites’ spirits and signaled the beginning of the holiday season. In the last 52 years, the Trail of Lights has grown to feature over 40 displays, 2 million lights and countless fun holiday activities. It is one of the three largest events in Austin, and receives national attention without losing its local charm.
When: 2018 Dates TBD, typically December 10th-23rd
Where: Zilker Park
Admission is free for the first week ($3 after the first week). A movie is usually held on the Zilker Park lawn on the last free admission night.
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a 12-day fine art, shopping extravaganza featuring national and local award-winning artists, live music, and two bars in a festive, lively atmosphere at the Palmer Events Center. Shop, drink and be merry!
When: December 13-24, 2018, typically the 12 days leading up to Christmas day
Where: Palmer Events Center
The Circuit of the Americas track celebrates the holidays! With millions of lights illuminating a magical world of Formula 1 and holiday amusement, there is something for everyone at this Winter Wonderland. Attractions include a tunnel of lights, skating rink, human snow globe, singing trees, a petting zoo, camel rides, Santa’s workshop, carnival rides, hot air balloon floats, movies on the lawn, great food and holiday shopping. Winter Wonderland is adding to the excitement with activations that will stretch around the Circuit’s lawn area at Turn 19.
When: 2018 date TBD, 2017 dates were December 8-30th
Where: Circuit of the Americas
Bob Schneider, a beloved Austin musician, takes the historic Paramount stage to celebrate the new year. With countless hits and a few Austin Music Awards under his belt, these holiday plans are a local music lover’s ideal New Year’s Eve.
When: December 31, 2018, always New Year’s Eve
Where: Paramount Theatre
Whether these events are something you go to every year or some you’ve never heard of, it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone in Austin all year round.
Be sure to bookmark this guide and download the infographic for easy reference all year long.
To learn more about Austin, check out these guides to popular Austin neighborhoods:
- The Domain in Austin, Texas: A Hot Spot for Retail, Restaurants and Entertainment [Infographic]
- An Insider’s Guide to South Congress Avenue in Austin [Infographic]
- The Best of Downtown Austin, Texas (CBD): What to do, Where to Eat and What’s Under Construction [Infographic]