Austenites definitely get into the holiday spirit, even though the weather can be warm and there is no snow on the ground. There are tons of new things to do each year, and there are many comprehensive lists online. However, there are some holiday traditions that are practically rites of passage for a new Austin resident. These are the events that have been happening for years, yet can't be missed. Some of them are quirky, and all of them are fun. Check out some of our favorite Austin holiday traditions!
1. Visit 37th street to look at the holiday Christmas lights. Seeing this street's spectacle is unique, awe-inspiring, and a required holiday activity. The tradition started over twenty years ago with one festive neighbor, and as the years have gone by more and more people caught on and joined in the fun. Nowadays, the houses on 37th Street (right off Guadalupe Street near Campus) are absolutely covered in lights, which is a welcome change with so few people participating in lighting their homes now adays. So, grab your family and come check out this very Austin ritual.
2. Zilker’s Trail of Lights. This one should be a given, the Trail of Lights held annually in Zilker Park is a must-do for any Austenite. Spin underneath the spiral Christmas Tree or sample some of the amazing hot chocolate sold nearby. With over 1.25 miles of lights, sculptures, live music, food trailers, and even a ferris wheel, this one can’t be missed. It runs the 10th – 23rd of December, and notable nights include UT Night on the 11th the 16th! For more information and nightly scheduling click here.
3. Decorate a cedar tree on Loop 360. For years people, have been decorating trees on the side of Loop 360 with ornaments, garland, and strange objects. This is not an organized group or organization, but individuals with exceptional amounts of holiday cheer. Anyone can participate and add to the creation which expands every year. Groups of families and friends gather on the roadside to create memories and take pictures. Please remember: the reason this tradition remains legal is that folks go and un-decorate their trees afterward. Don’t decorate unless you’re willing to clean it up!
4. Shop the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Each year the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar provides a unique shopping experience for those people on your list who prefer artisan crafts. December 14 – 24th over 150 vendors set up to peddle their fine art and handmade wares alongside delicious food trucks and even beer vendors. If you aren’t into handmade gifts, come for the live music. They have an incredible lineup of Austin favorites which include Dale Watson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shinyribs, Terri Hendrix, Ruthie Foster, Quiet Company, Asleep at the Wheel and many, many more. See their full lineup of vendors, artists, and musicians here.
5. Pick out a real Texas Christmas Tree. The Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association is an organization of over 120 Texas farmers that grow, sell, and promote Texas-grown Christmas trees. Some of the farms offer special events like field trips and train rides. Take the whole family out to a tree farm and create memories by selecting and chopping down your own tree!