Published December 09, 2020
This season, the holidays are re-imagined with social distance and sanitization in mind, but still Austin came to play with a full winter activity lineup. From dazzling drive thrus, chocolate bomb blossoms, and decked out bars, here’s our list of must-do’s for the end of 2020.
Note: To ensure safe and social distant exploring, please check with each venue to see if they are open before crossing off your bucket list. Updates to city-wide COVID guidelines and restrictions can be found here.
Drive-Ins are making a national comeback—but Blue Starlite did it first. Self-described as the world’s “one and only mini urban boutique drive-in movie theater,” each of its venues accepts a very limited number of cars at a time, and focuses on childhood favorites, classics, and indie films to create a nostalgic “campfire” vibe. (Plus, they’ll be hosting a Lite Show this year!)
Where: 2015 E M. Franklin Ave, Austin, TX 78723 (Middle of the city location)
This year, hop in your car for a cruise through Austin’s favorite electric wonderland. The Trail of Lights will provide a route of 2 million glittering lights illuminating the park, 90 lighted holiday trees and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels.
When: November 29 - January 3
Where: Zilker Park: 2100 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX 78704
Support Ballet Austin and see the incredible holiday performance from the comfort of home this year.
When: December 12th - January 1st
The gorgeously festive pop-up bar is back for 2020—this time with socially distant dine-in service. Make a reservation to enjoy a Christmapolitan or a Snowball Old Fashioned with friends among stunning walls of holiday decor.
When: November 20th - December 27th
Where: 307 W 5th Street Austin, TX 78701
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is ready to host its holiday season with new sanitization requirements and distanced seating. There’s the usual delicious combo of beers and pizza served while you watch a movie—but we recommend kicking it up a notch with a “Secret Santa” Cinema Ticket, which includes a santa hat filled with holiday treats and other surprises.
Where: 6 locations in Austin.
We don’t know what's more exciting—the thought of watching Cocoa Bomb Blossoms melt into chocolaty goodness in our mugs, or the fact Mozart’s was able to bring back a socially distant version of their incredible light show. Don’t miss reserving a lakeside table.
Where: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin, TX 78703
When: November 11, 2020 - January 6, 2021
The holidays look different this year for Central Texas families affected by COVID-19. Contribute your time, food or money to help our neighbors stay nourished this holiday season.
Where: 6500 Metropolis Drive Austin, TX 78744
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a fixture of the Austin holiday shopping season. The market features unique work from over 200 local & regional artists, all for sale by representatives of the Bazaar to create a signature low-pressure sales environment. And this year, it's available through an online shop or an in-person, masked and socially distant experience.
When: Storefront opening Nov. 13th - December 24th
Where: Blue Genie Art Bazaar 6100 Airport Blvd Austin, TX 78752
If you’re seeking the perfect holiday treat for your kiddos—Peppermint Parkway has you covered with an all-new drive-thru experience with millions of lights, dazzling scenes and dancing elves at Circuit of The Americas.
When: November 27th — January 3rd
Lumination is going to keep on glowing in 2020! Experience thousands of lanterns and lights illuminating your way through the Texas Arboretum to view the decorated oaks and the light-splashed forts of Fortlandia. And, enjoy a special seasonal menu of take-along foods from Wildflower Café.
When: Nov. 27 – Jan. 3, 6 PM – 9 PM.
Where: 4801 La Crosse Ave. Austin, TX 78739
The Driskill has hosted beautiful, signature holiday traditions since its opening in 1886. While their tree lighting on Dec. 1st has become virtual, they’re still able to provide their delightful Victorian holiday teas with reservations.
Where: 604 Brazos St, Austin TX 78701