Danielle Houtkooper, our Experience Manager, tells us the best places to get in the holiday spirit around Austin!

A Night on the Town

Photo courtesy of Visit Austin/Lala’s

Miracle on 5th Street at The Eleanor – Relax in this explosion of Christmas cheer! Grab a Christmas themed cocktail in this bar lined wall to wall with Christmas decor. We countdown the days until this fun and festive pop up returns. Be sure to get your tickets early so you don’t miss out. Have a group larger than 10? Make a reservation for guaranteed seating!


Lala’s Little Nugget – Here it’s Christmas all year round! Originally founded in 1972, Lala’s has been a staple of the Austin bar scene, enduring all the changes the city has undergone. The halls are decked with Christmas decor, and there’s even a newly formed patio to expand the cheer. Check out the elves dancing above the bar when the restroom doors are opened and closed, throw down on one of the pool tables with a new friend, and countdown to Christmas with one of the friendliest staff in town. Lala’s is connected to Brooklyn Pie Co, so come hungry!


A Drag Queen Christmas – Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race will revel in this Christmas themed drag show! Hosted by season 11’s Miss Congeniality, Nina West, and Season 9 contestant and Season 4 All-Star winner Trinity the Tuck, this night of big personalities and even bigger hair is not to be missed. A Drag Queen Christmas is happening at ACL Live on Wednesday December 14th. Meet and greet tickets and VIP tickets are still available, but going fast!


Tinseltown at Wanderlust Wine Co – Our good friends over at Wanderlust Wine Co are putting on the incredible Christmas pop up, Tinseltown! Spend the holidays with Wanderlust at their I-35 and 6th street location. The all-encompassing Christmas-themed pop-up will be fulfilling all your festive wishes. Expect Santa, elves, presents, and more. Tickets include the price of admission and a drink upon arrival. There’s even dedicated family friendly time if you can’t get a babysitter. Christmas for all!


A Die Hard Christmas at Little Drinks Lounge – Nestled into the Davis on SoCo apartments, Little Drinks is the little sister bar to Drinks Lounge on Cesar Chavez. If you’re looking for a cute divey bar to relax in, you’ve found it. The perfect place to celebrate a low-key Christmas, Little Drinks is decked out in Die Hard themed Christmas decorations. Sip on Die Hard themed cocktails, enjoy the curated beer list, and take a picture with a cutout of John McClane himself. 


Sippin’ Santa at Nickel City – Santa started sippin’ a little early this year, and Nickel City’s Christmas pop up is now live! Check out the Tiki inspired Christmas themed bar located in East Austin. The Tiki drinks come in great themed glasses you can purchase, and if you’re lucky you can catch the bartenders lighting drinks on fire with some Tiki flare. Regular bar service is first come first serve, but if you have groups of 6-12 it’s best to make a reservation. 


Get Lit at Kitty Cohens – Representation is important, and Kitty Cohens is here to deliver! Enjoy “Get Lit” the Hanukkah pop up happening at Kitty Cohens now throughout the Hanukkah season. Shiny blue and white streamers hang on the walls, blow up dreidels and menorahs line the patio, and a themed cocktail menu will get you in the mood with the Oy Fashioned, Bubbe’s Hot Buttered Whiskey, and more. A portion of proceeds from the drink specials benefit the Jewish Community Center, drink for a cause!


Family Time

Photo courtesy of Visit Austin/The Southern Influence

North Pole Flyer – Departing from the historic Bertram train depot, the North Pole Flyer is a two hour train ride full of magic. Fill up on hot chocolate and Christmas cookies while Santa makes his way through the cabin to say hi to all the kids on board. Santa not only poses for pictures, but gives out small gifts to everyone aboard! The North Pole Flyer is running every weekend through December 18th. 


Holiday Movie Party at Alamo Drafthouse – Cozy up in Alamo Drafthouse’s comfy chairs and get ready for a movie party! All Alamo movie parties include props, quoting along, dancing along and more. Check out your favorite holiday movies including Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Gremlins, Die Hard, Love Actually and more! 


Mozart’s Light Show – One of Austin’s most famous holiday themed attractions, the light show at Mozart’s is not to be missed. Mozart’s is located on Lady Bird lake, and it’s a great place to bring the whole family. This year check out a brand new dance floor and silent disco to get you up on your feet and moving. Most of the tables at Mozart’s are standing room only, so get your tickets now if you would like to be seated. Want to get the most out of your visit? Add food and drink to your ticket at check out and enjoy fresh hot cocoa and cookies!  


Trail of Lights – The Trail of Lights is a cherished Austin experience. Now in its 58th year, this longest running holiday tradition is a great one to enjoy with the whole family. The Trail now features more than 2 million lights illuminating the park, 90 lighted holiday trees and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. Be sure to check out their special events like the Fun Run and the Night Lights preview party. General admission tickets are just $5, but remember to purchase either a parking pass or shuttle pass before you arrive.


Santa’s Ranch – Out in picturesque New Braunfels is Santa’s Ranch, a vibrant ranch full of lights! You’ll wind through Texas back roads and see animated Christmas displays sprinkled in through a full light show. Pull into the concession stand before you head out for delicious kettle corn and hot chocolate. Tickets are available on site, and Santa’s Ranch runs through January 1st. 



Photo courtesy of Visit Austin

Blue Genie Art Bazaar – The market for makers, Blue Genie has it all. ​​Established in 2001, the Bazaar features the handmade, unique work of over 200 artists, who are selected from a talented pool of more than 400 applicants each year. You’ll find everything from fine art to body care, clothing to home decor. You can shop in store, or online for extra convenience. 


Armadillo Christmas Bazaar – The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is celebrating nearly five decades of holiday shopping in Austin. They are known for our curated collection of art, gifts and live music in a festive, family friendly, entertaining atmosphere. Featuring 200 touring and local artists, you can learn more about the pieces in the Bazaar from the makers themselves. Love live music? You can catch a variety of musical acts on stage throughout the market. 


Lonestar Holiday Farmer’s Market – Sunday December 11th and December 18th you can catch the Lonestar Holiday Farmer’s Market at the Hill Country Galleria. You can get unique gifts, see some live music, and check out local wineries and breweries all in one convenient location. 


There’s so much fun to be had this holiday season! Looking for the perfect gift? Consider an experience with Austin Detours. You can gift your loved one fun this year! Email us at howdy@austindetours.com for a gift card to Austin Detours today.


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