Winter weather doesn’t come all that often to the Austin area, but when it does, it certainly makes an impact! Instead of looking at a cold front as a reason you don’t get to sit on a patio and drink margaritas, look at it as an opportunity. How often do you get to pull out ALL of your best winter accessories or have an excuse to not leave the house? Here are a few tips to help keep you safe, warm, and sane during an Austin winter.
First, the boring stuff.
Bad weather can require a bit of prep, and it’s best to get it out of the way before things get too too cold and everyone else is trying to do the same.
Wrap your pipes and let your faucets drip: When the temps drop, it’s a good idea to keep those pipes warm so they don’t burst.
Bring in your plants: Your beautiful, trendy succulent garden that you’ve tended to and Instagrammed throughout the year may be able to handle a lot of things, but it, and the rest of your plants, need to be moved inside.
Bring in your pets: This one is a no-brainer. It is Austin, after all, where dogs are welcomed at happy hour and have their own social media accounts.
Stock up on the essentials before it’s too late: And by essentials we mean tortillas, a whole lotta Lone Star, and whatever barbecue you can live off of for a few days.
Now for the fun stuff
Netflix and unchill: A cold snap doesn’t have to mean a boring weekend at home. Use the time to catch up on some movies and TV shows filmed in and around Austin. If you’re looking to laugh you’ll want to go for a Mike Judge binge session, starting with Office Space. For a nostalgic weekend, you can never go wrong with Dazed and Confused. Looking for a scare? The Faculty is always a cheesy horror favorite. And if you just want to zone out with some TV, “Friday Night Lights” will always be Texas, forever.
Download all of the apps: Just in case you forget something or if you have an insane craving that just can’t be ignored, be ready to call upon the magical delivery angels for help. Favor, Eat 24, Postmates, and Instacart will bring you food from restaurants, the grocery store, or even liquor stores, depending on the app. Just remember that you must pay for getting to stay inside with your heater blasting; be sure to tip very generously!!
Bean up: Grab a bag of locally roasted coffee from some of Austin’s best roasters like Cuvee Coffee or Third Coast Roasting Company. Did you know there are more than 20 Austin coffee roasters? Check out our full list of favorites on Austin.com. Just search “coffee roasters” to find “These Austin Roasters Can Hook You Up With Amazing Local Coffee Beans.”
Overdose on chocolate: If you like a little sweet with your morning jolt, there are plenty of delicious mocha creators around Austin. You can find our list of favorites – “Love Coffee and Chocolate? These are the 15 Best Hot Mocha Lattes in Austin” – on Austin.com by searching “best mocha.” Of course, not everyone loves coffee, so we’ve also made a list of the best hot cocoa and where to find it. Just search “best hot cocoa” to find “Happy Chocoholidays: Where to Get the Best Hot Cocoa in Austin.”
Update your wardrobe: Austin has a lot of great local boutiques and vintage stores, perfect for stocking up on coats, jeans, close-toed shoes, and all other sorts of winter wear. Search “local clothing” on Austin.com for our “Austin Fashion Is H-O-T! Here Are The Best Local Clothing Stores” list.
Get Out and Enjoy the Season
Of course, winter weather doesn’t have to mean frost and black ice — there are lots of wonderful winter activities that we should welcome with open, bundled arms. Here are some of our very favorite winter events and activities to try when the weather cools off.
Trail of Lights: The holidays just aren’t the holiday in Austin without a visit to the Trail of Lights. With more than two million light bulbs filling displays that take 15,00 man hours to assemble, this special event is a favorite amongst Central Texans. So much so that more than 40,000 people visit it each year (making it the second most visited event in Austin).
Ice skating: No, you won’t find a bunch of frozen ponds for a Norman Rockwell-esque Instagram photo, but a few local places try to recreate the magic through artificial means. Chaparral Ice offers ice skating year-round, Whole Foods hosts a rink on its plaza, Winter Wonderland at COTA has a rink, and Eisbahn in Fredericksburg makes for a nice road trip. Other locations offer ice skating, as well — be sure to search “ice skating” on Free Fun in Austin for more.
Austin Steam Train’s North Pole Flyer: This special train ride is a favorite for the holidays. The two hour round trip train ride features specially decorated train cars, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a locally baked holiday cookie, and all-you-can-drink hot cocoa. There’s also a special story time, photo time with Santa, and a gift for each child. Tickets are a bit pricey, but they almost always sell out, so you’ll want to get them early!
Winter Wonderland at COTA: Though a fairly new experience for Austinites, Circuit of the Americas’ Winter Wonderland has a little bit of everything for winter lovers. This magical world of holiday amusement is illuminated by millions of lights that surround an ice skating rink, human snow globe, petting zoo, camel rides, singing trees, shops, food, movies on the lawn, Santa’s workshop, and more!