There’s always free fun to be had in Austin and today we’ve got Free Fun in Austin expert Heidi Gollub here to tell us all about her recommended free holiday happenings in Austin. This December, take a quick family road trip north for a whole lot of free, festive, family fun!
1. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
Daily through January 4 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), from 6 p.m. to midnight
If you’re looking for an easy way to get in a holly jolly mood, try sipping a specialty hot chocolate on Lake Austin while watching a FREE musical holiday lights show! Mozart’s Coffee Roasters offers a 15-minute light show set to music, including kid favorite, “What Does the Fox Say?” that repeats at the top of each hour. Shows start at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m., and midnight. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
2. Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Holiday Stroll
Saturday, December 6, from 6-9 p.m.
Austin’s annual Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll is a FREE, family-friendly event that spreads the joy of the season from the Capitol on down Congress Avenue. Head to the south steps of the Capitol at 6 p.m. to sing festive songs with John Aielli, host of the radio show “Eklektikos.” At 7 p.m., count down to the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree, which will be followed by a programmed musical light show that repeats at the top and bottom of every hour. From 7 to 9 p.m., join the Downtown Stroll along Congress Avenue to enjoy photos with Santa, live music, a special holiday farmers’ market, and more. See the schedule here. Donations of nonperishable food (or cash) for the Capital Area Food Bank will be collected at the Capitol Christmas tree. Texas State Capitol & Congress Avenue (parking info here).
3. Snow Days
Saturday, December 6, Sunday, December 14 and Saturday, December 20, from noon–4 p.m.
Enjoy a FREE family fun day with real snow at the Hill Country Galleria! Toss a snowball, build a snowman, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more from 12-4 p.m. every day that it snows. Rain or shine. Hill Country Galleria, on the street between the Amphitheater and the Bee Cave Public Library, Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave.
4. Zilker Trail of Lights
Sunday, December 7 – Sunday, December 21, from 7-10 p.m.
Celebrate the 50th year of Austin’s Trail of Lights! Bundle up the kids and take them on a walking tour of holiday lights in Zilker Park. Be sure to check the Insider’s Guide for answers to FAQs. Admission is FREE Monday–Thursday and every day for kids under 12; admission is $3 Friday, Saturday & Sunday for ages 12 and up. With the purchase of a ZiP Pass, visitors can enter the trail early, at 6:15 p.m. Zilker Park (shuttle and parking info here).
5. Austin’s New Year
Wednesday, December 31, from 5-10 p.m.
Austin’s New Year (ANY) is a FREE, and alcohol-free, event for Austin families. Head downtown to ring in the new year with a celebration of art, film, live music, and fireworks! Butler Park, 1000 Barton Springs Road.
For many more holiday events coming up this month, be sure to check out Free Fun in Austin’s 50 “Don’t Miss” December Events!
Heidi Gollub spends her days exploring Austin and beyond with five kids in tow. She writes about their adventures on her website, Free Fun in Austin.