Christmas is a magical time of year. The nip in the air and the twinkling lights make for great excuses to cuddle up with that special someone, and Austin has plenty of perfect settings for your Christmastime date.
So, bundle up and brave the chilly weather (if we actually get any) to find yourself at one of these perfect Christmas date spots.
9.) Take A Hill Country Lights Tour
“Just 45 minutes southwest of Austin is Wimberley – an artsy Hill Country town that boasts the slogan, ‘Keep Wimberley Weirder.’ Wimberley hosts a Trail of Lights all their own, located at the EmilyAnn Theater and Gardens, and, while well- worth the trip, there is no need to go to the trail to get a dose of holiday spirit – the whole town is adorned with lights and Christmas décor, and is the perfect place to find some unique, last minute gifts.” –Shea Carley
And once you’re back in Austin, stop by one of the cafes offering Austin’s best hot chocolate to complete your holiday date.
8.) Watch The Nutcracker by Ballet Austin
Ballet Austin’s annual run of The Nutcracker is always a delight during the holiday season, so make sure you get your tickets before the final performance at The Long Center, typically on December 23. This is perhaps the most famous ballet ever, and the cast includes local dancers. Get out and see some of your fellow Austinites put on the show!
7.) Play Some Free Golf at Austin Municipal Courses
While city offices will be closed on Christmas, Barton Springs Pool and all city golf courses will be open (just not staffed). That means all you have to do is wait your turn at the first tee, and you can play for free. With Lions Municipal Golf Course possibly closing in a few years, all you golfing couples need to take advantage of it before it is destroyed and becomes a big mixed-use development. If your partner is the golfing sort, this is a good bit of fun!
6.) Enjoy Hot chocolate and a light show at Mozart’s
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is a great place to share hot drinks and conversation, but at Christmastime, the lights shimmering off of Lake Austin, the chill in the air, and the warmth of the beverages combine for a great dating atmosphere. Better yet, at the top of every hour they have a 12-minute light show that will definitely amp up your Christmas spirit. Catch the show before it ends the first week of January.
5.) Watch an Austin Christmas classic Starring Willie Nelson
You have your house decorated for Christmas and after all the shopping and parties, all you want to do is stay at home. So crash on your couch and play a Christmas classic like “Angels Sing,” a holiday movie filmed in Austin featuring Willie Nelson (check out the trailer above). Get it from Amazon Prime (on DVD and streaming) for only a few dollars.
4.) Go Ice skating at Whole Foods Downtown
When you think about an Austin Christmas, ice skating is probably one of the last things on your mind, but Whole Foods is changing that. They have an outdoor ice skating rink set up at their flagship store on Lamar Boulevard. Skating is only $10 per person, and the rink is open through.
3.) Walk The Trail of Lights at Zilker Park
No Austin Christmas list is complete without at least a mention of the Trail of Lights. The crown jewel of the Trail is the 155-foot tree that is really just strings of lights suspended from a central structure. But it is so much more than the sum of its parts. Children and adults alike spin themselves dizzy under the lights and in the meantime make lifelong memories with friends and family. The 1.25-mile trail has live music, food trucks and rides, so there is fun for all ages!
2.) Savor Christmas Eve dinner at The Bonneville
The Bonneville offers up dishes in the New American style, but for Christmas Eve they’re mixing it up with a French-Canadian menu in honor of Chef Jenn Costello’s homeland. Make your reservations to enjoy dishes like cretons, tourtiere, poutine, butter tarts, frisee au lardons, tarte a l’onion, and salmon rillettes. Sounds like some mighty fine, north-of-the-border food, eh?
1.) Catch Dale Watson’s Christmas show at The Continental Club
For those unfamiliar with the Austin music scene, Dale Watson is the tattooed musician from the AT&T Gigapower commercials. But to Austinites, he’s the local country singer who you can find at The Continental Club each Monday night and at other venues around town other nights of the week. He’s playing his annual Christmas show again this year, so to close out your Christmas in the most Austin way possible, head down to The Continental Club on Christmas night to watch Dale Watson perform.
Feature photo courtesy Austin Trails of Lights