- November 23, 2016

Need to Get Off the Couch? There’s Plenty to Do This Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s a four day weekend for most people, and that means spending some quality time with yourself and others in between escapes to the refrigerator to load up on leftovers. There are lots of events to choose from this weekend, whether you want to avoid the in-laws on Thanksgiving Day, get your holiday activities started a little early, or get most of your shopping out of the way.

Thanksgiving Day Activities

Wipe the food coma off of your face, put on a stretchy pair of pants, and get out of the house for a little while.

Run with the Turkey Trotters

Online registration for Thundercloud Sub’s annual Turkey Trot is still open until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, so if you’re looking to participate in this fun and family-friendly 5K, get on it (you can also register in person the morning of the event, but you’ll likely be waiting in line). If you don’t want to run, it’s always a good time to watch and cheer at this event that begins at the Long Center and stretches through downtown.


Volunteer With Operation Turkey

There’s still time to volunteer to sign up and do some good for your community on Thanksgiving morning. Last year Operation Turkey served more than 30,000 meals to the homeless and less fortunate in 10 cities, including Austin. This year their goal is to serve 40,000 meals in 12 cities. Help them meet that goal by volunteering tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. — and bring the whole family! You can sign up and get more information here.


Adopt a New Family Member

Thanks to the Zappos-sponsored Home for the Pawlidayz adoption event, adoption fees for new pet parents will be waived from November 25-28. Austin Animal Center and Austin Pets Alive! Are both participating in the event that spans the weekend from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Just visit their websites or facilities to get the adoption process started, and you’ll have a new friend home for the holidays.


Do Some Drinking at W Austin’s Friendsgiving

The popular Living Room Bar at W Austin is making the “biggest drinking night of the year” –the nights before Thanksgiving — a little more fun for you and all of your re-united high school pals with all-night happy hour and a “Friendsgiving” celebration starting at 7 with beats by DJ Diggy Dutch.

#OptOutside with Austin Parks Foundation and REI

Thanksgiving Day is typically full of Tryptophan naps and overindulgence in both food and booze, followed by a day filled with insane shopping ventures that will shock your system. This year, instead of participating in the madness that is Black Friday, maybe try walking off some of that Thanksgiving dinner by getting outside on Friday. Learn more here.


Start the Holidays off Right

Once Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially socially acceptable to really get into the holiday spirit. Now is the time to start planning those fun holiday outings and grabbing your tree. And sure, you could spend your Black Friday shopping, but why not spend the day enjoying yourself instead of fighting crowds.

Visit Santa on the Terrace at the Long Center

This Black Friday, Santa is coming to town and spreading some holiday cheer! Head to the City Terrace at the Long Center and take some time out of the busiest holiday of the year to celebrate the season. Bring the kids for a FREE photo with Santa overlooking the best view in Austin! Enjoy some holiday treats with all sorts of entertainment. Activities will be planned for the whole family, so bring everyone.

Go Ice Skating at Whole Foods 

This fun holiday tradition kicks off on November 27 — it’s #15 on our list of 15 Perfect Ways to Have a Very Merry Christmas in Austin.

Attend the Zilker Tree Lighting Ceremony and Go Pick out Your Christmas Tree!

Ooh and ahh over the incredible lights at the tree lighting ceremony on November 27 — it’s #12 on our list of 15 Perfect Ways to Have a Very Merry Christmas in Austin. You can also get your own tree to take home by grabbing one at many of the local Christmas tree farms (see #8 on the list for more info).  


Head to the Mozart’s Holiday Light Show

This light spectacular is already underway, and goes great with a nice mocha. Learn more on our list of 15 Perfect Ways to Have a Very Merry Christmas in Austin (it’s #10).

Ride the North Pole Flyer

This is one heck of a holiday adventure, and seats don’t last long. Grab your tickets for this magical journey, #1 on our list of 15 Perfect Ways to Have a Very Merry Christmas in Austin.


See a Show

You can also spend your weekend taking in some live music and/or theater. Annie kicks off this weekend at the Long Center, and A Christmas Carol is happening over at ZACH Scott Theater. For music options, big names like Bob Schneider and Ms. Lauryn Hill have shows this weekend.


Shop til You Drop

Of course, if you just HAVE to shop after Thanksgiving, you won’t want to miss these Austin events.

Craft Fairs

There are more craft fairs, offering up handmade local wares, than we can count on all of our fingers and toes. Buy local at some of these great events.

Shop Local..With a Little Help

If you plan to shop local this holiday season (and you definitely should) the Locally Austin website and app make that super simple to do. Learn more about how to find local businesses under almost every category here.

City Wide Garage Sale

If you’re looking for quirky, Austiny items for you holiday shopping list, the City Wide Garage Sale is always a great place to start.

Come see us in Bastrop this weekend, October 29-30! Sat 9-5 Sun 11-4. #citywidegaragesale #vintagehalloween #skulls

A post shared by City-Wide Garage Sale (@citywidegaragesale) on


Adopt a Less-Fortunate Child or Family and Do Some Shopping for Them

From Angel Trees to Blue Santa to adopting whole families, there is plenty you can do to help your community (and get miles on your credit card) this holiday season (#6).

Get Those Gifts Wrapped…and Help Some Pugs

Of course, all those gifts need to get wrapped. If you don’t feel like doing so yourself, get some volunteers to do it for you — and for FREE! Of course, those volunteers are out there to support pugs who need to find good homes, so donations are welcomed and encouraged. Visit the Pug Rescue of Austin website for all wrapping dates (and volunteer wrapping opportunities) starting on Black Friday.


Grab a Free Drink at Baby Greens

Austin salad spot Baby Greens recently reopened on Anderson Ln., and this Black Friday they hope to help you with your shopping by offering up an energy boost. They’re offering up a free regular BT (a refreshing combination of iced green tea, blueberries, honey, and just a pinch of baby spinach that’s packed with antioxidants) with any order of one of their salads or wraps.