Weird & Wonderful Things to Do in Austin Around the Holidays

With its breakfast tacos and Airstream trailer boutiques, Austin is one of Rach’s favorite cities and a fun and funky place for holiday cheer. She fell in love with it when she first visited 17 years ago. So we asked her bud Bob Schneider (below), a local singer-songwriter who hosts a holiday show every year with his Moonlight Orchestra at Austin’s Moody Theater, to give us his picks for where to go for a merry Tex-mas.
By Rachael Ray Every Day ,

Photography by Andrew Flieller

Photography by Monica R.F. Payne; Lettering by Erik Marinovich

Deck the Bars at Lala’s Little Nugget 

It’s Christmas every day at this iconic dive (above), which has resided at a strip mall since 1972. Ownership changed hands in 2015, but the holiday decor remains: strewn tinsel, mirrored ornaments, and a tricked-out tree. Grab a glass of their popular Bloody Mary (above, left) and raise a toast to St. Nick, who can be found on the rooftop.

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Go House Hunting at Gingerbread Village at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin 

The annual gingerbread-house extravaganza returns to the Four Seasons lobby this year with a Monopoly twist: Ten houses will be displayed on a table modeled on the game board. Visitors can win a $200 gift certificate from the hotel, so do not pass go!

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Stay On Track at the North Pole Flyer

There’s hardly anything my two-year-old likes better than trains. Back for its 10th year, this jolly two-hour ride hosted by the Austin Steam Train Association includes a live reading of a holiday story, all-you-can-drink hot cocoa, and quality time with fellow passengers Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Photography by Jennifer M. Ramos

Have An Arty Holiday at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar 

I’m a last-minute shopper, so I love this hybrid art fair and music festival (running from December 14 to 24 at the Palmer Events Center) because you can always find something one of a kind. Buy jewelry, ceramics, and photo prints, then kick back with live performances from local bands.

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Get Lit at the Austin Trail of Lights 

Born in 1965 as the low-key Yule Fest, this has grown into one of Austin’s largest events. There are more than 2 million lights and umpteen festivities from December 9 to 23. It’s a real treat watching your kids’ eyes fill with wonder when you’re walking around there. Get in on the action early on December 2 with the Fun Run, which culminates in a Finish Line Festival complete with food trucks, free beer, a yoga tent, and a costume contest. 

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