Dec 8, 2022 - Things to Do

A travel guide to holiday fun in Austin

The Capitol Christmas tree display during Austin's annual holiday stroll. Photo courtesy of Downtown Austin Alliance

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.

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.

The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park, an annual holiday tradition in Austin. Photo: Kimberly Brotherman/Getty

Fuel up: Not to brag, but Austin is home to some of the best barbecue and Tex Mex in the state.

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.

Frozen eggnog at Kitty Cohen's during their annual Hanukkah pop-up bar experience. Photo courtesy of Kitty Cohen's

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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