From a distance: Christmas in Austin, Texas, has plenty to do — from your home or car
As we are realizing the holidays this year are going to be different, cities like Austin, Texas, are using some creativity and helping families find new ways to celebrate and, just maybe, make some holiday traditions.
Texans and visitors will find this capital city is boosting holiday spirit with COVID-19 safety precautions in mind.
The city is doing holidays Texas-style — bigger and better — with holiday light displays, online bazaar shopping, outdoor walks and more.
New this year is Peppermint Parkway, a drive-through experience Nov. 27 through Jan. 3 at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas race track. This one-mile colorful drive has synchronized lights keeping time with favorite holiday music. Go in the comfort of your favorite PJs with family and friends.
The trip allows for light seekers to stay in the car and follow Pepper and Mint as they race to deliver their letters to Santa. Enjoy the trip with dancing elves, entertainers, a 60-foot spiral light tree, lighted sculptures of holiday icons and Santa. Hot cocoa and treats will be available from drive-up concession stands. Tickets are on sale at circuitoftheamericas.com/peppermint.
Take a stroll at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as the gardens light up during “Luminations,” Nov. 27 through Jan. 3. The one-way walk allows for social distancing and plenty of space to explore. Because of limited space the lights will be on for five weeks to allow everyone to have an opportunity to view the colorful creations. Your path through the Texas Arboretum will include audio and visual art installations, an open-air illuminated tunnel and more. The Wildflower Café will be open for carry out. Visit wildflower.org/event/luminations/2020-11-27 for tickets, information on hours and more.
The 56th Annual Trail of Lights will be held as a drive-through event at downtown’s Zilker Park from Nov. 28 through Jan. 3. Visit austintrailoflights.org for information on pricing, tickets and hours. The event is being extended by two weeks this year to give everyone a chance to see the sparkle and dazzle.
It is time to reserve your place at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters on Lake Austin for the “COVID Cautious Christmas Light Show,” which most likely will be sold out. This Austin tradition, now through Jan. 6, is in its 11th year. Tables are being reserved in one-hour time slots between 6 and 11 p.m. for the dazzling show. Face masks will be required. Visit tickettailor.com/events/mozartscoffee/405847 to reserve your place.
Holiday traditions go virtual
For many families going to see “The Nutcracker” is a family holiday tradition. This year, Ballet Austin is bringing the longstanding classical ballet into the safety of your homes from Dec. 12 to Jan. 1. Visit balletaustin.org/performances/thenutcracker for ticket information.
The approximately 200 artists and makers at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar will be selling, for the first time, virtually. The bazaar is in its 45th year of providing interesting finds for special holiday gifts. The organizers have launched the Armadillo Art Concierge, allowing for customers to shop and browse from the artists using curated searches or personal shopper services. As a customer, you have the opportunity to interact with artists and makers online at artconcierge.armadillobazaar.com. The event runs from Dec. 15 to 24.
Event details are continually changing due to COVID and more are being added. Visit austintexas.org/events/ or austintexas.org/austin-insider-blog for updates. For those visiting Austin, austintexas.org has info on places to stay and eat.
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