A travel guide to holiday fun in Austin
Calling all Texans: If you're looking for a weekend getaway with plenty of holiday fun, Austin is ready to welcome you with open arms.
- Just to clarify, don't move here.
What to do: Chill out. Austin is low-key over the holidays. If you wanted to visit big tourist attractions, you should have headed to D.C.
Where to stay: Downtown or the South Congress area will keep you near lots of shops, food, music and more, but every neighborhood has its own unique flair.
- Stay in Austin's oldest operating hotel, The Driskill, which is decorated for the holidays each year and includes a 16-foot tree in the lobby. Rates start around $270 per night.
- On a budget or bringing a big group? Go for a short-term rental like this townhome in Barton Hills, which still keeps you close to all the action.
How to spend your time: It's December, so you'll probably want to pass on every tourist's bucket list spot — the iconic Barton Springs Pool — but there's plenty of other things to do that will keep you warm while seeing the city.
- Stroll through the annual Trail of Lights in Zilker Park until Dec. 23. Get your general admission tickets online.
- You're in the live music capital of the world, baby! Dance at the Continental Club on Dec. 25 during Dale Watson's annual Christmas show.
- Watch the sunset at Mount Bonnell, one of the highest points in Austin, or dodge the peacocks at Mayfield Park.
- Catch a performance of "A Christmas Carol" at ZACH Theatre through December.
Fuel up: Not to brag, but Austin is home to some of the best barbecue and Tex Mex in the state.
- Get your tamale fix at one of our wonderful Tex Mex joints like Polvos or Tamale House East.
- Nothing says happy holidays in Texas like a big ol' slice of brisket. There's Franklin Barbecue — of course — or skip the long line and head to la Barbecue or Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ.
- Obviously go to P. Terry's for the burger, but make sure you get a gingerbread milkshake — only available this month.
Holiday sips: There's also a wide variety of holiday bars for the 21-and-up crowd. We're extra proud of Donn’s Depot, which gives you a slice of old Austin, or grab a Christmas-inspired drink at year-round Christmas bar Lala's Little Nugget.
Finding lights: You'll find lights all over Austin — from the Capitol to Zilker Park and pop-up bars.
- Pro tip: Check out lights on 37th Street, off Guadalupe, where neighboring bungalows aim to outdo one another with whimsical Christmas setups.
The bottom line: Whether you're traveling with kids, trying to save money or looking for a hipster night out with spiffy cocktails, Austin has you covered.
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