Welcome to the first weekend in December! Enjoy free admission to the Wildflower Center, free family fun at the Bullock Museum, carols at the Capitol, board games at Neill-Cochran House Museum, and more!
Weekend Top 10 Free Events in Austin:
- Free Admission to the Wildflower Center – Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Stroll through the beautiful winter gardens, enjoy book signings, demos, food sampling, artists and artisans, and more. FREE! Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin.
- Kids Workshop: Gingerbread Man Candy Dish (RSVP) – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. You and your child can create a beautiful Gingerbread Candy Dish. Once the candy holder is built, your child can decorate it with stickers. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a pin while supplies last. Reserve your child’s FREE spot here. Your local Home Depot.
- Breakfast with Santa – Saturday from 9-11:00 a.m. Enjoy a light breakfast, sing-along songs, and crafts. Don’t forget to bring your camera for photos with Santa. FREE! Dittmar Rec Center, 1009 W Dittmar Rd, Austin.
- Holiday Celebration – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Featuring a performance by the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s brass ensemble at noon. FREE! Montopolis Rec Center, 1200 Montopolis Dr, Austin.
- Flu-A-Palooza – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The purpose of this event is to provide flu shots and health screenings for the whole family, legal information, music, food, entertainment, giveaways, and many other resources to the community. Operation Blue Santa will be on site for a photo opportunity and to accept toy donations. Everything is FREE! KIPP Austin, 5107 S IH 35, Ste A, Austin.
- Christmas in the Community Concert: Strings – Saturday at Noon. The Austin Symphony is bringing free music to all Austinites this holiday season. Christmas in the Community is a series of ten concerts held throughout the city featuring different ensembles of the orchestra playing familiar holiday music. FREE! Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin.
- Elf Academy – Saturday from 3-5:00 p.m. Don’t miss this family celebration of the holidays and all-things-elf. Enjoy face painters, games with prizes, photo opportunities, an elf ID station, giveaways, letters to Santa, balloon twisting, entertainment, and more. FREE! Domain II 3220 Amy Donovan Plaza, Austin.
- Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll – Saturday from 6-9:00 p.m. Start the holidays off right in downtown Austin. The evening starts when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season. As the clock strikes 7:00 p.m., the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol tree begins, featuring a programmed light show at the top and bottom of every hour, set to holiday songs of local Austin musicians. From 7-9:00 p.m. Congress Avenue will be abuzz with holiday cheer during the Downtown Stroll. Hear live music and enjoy fun family-friendly activities while shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums will be open late and feature special activities and offers. FREE but non-perishable food donations for the Central Texas Food Bank are requested. Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave, Austin.
- H-E-B Free First Sunday at the Bullock Museum: Celebrate – Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. Bring the whole family for an afternoon of activities demonstrating the diversity of Texas’s celebrations. Explore the Story of Texas through three floors of exhibitions that showcase artifacts from around the state. Special family programs from 12-3:00 p.m. combine art creation, exploration stations, and gallery activities. FREE! Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N Congress Ave, Austin.
- Sunday Funday: The History of the Board Game – Sunday from 1-4:00 p.m. Take a break from your 21st century entertainments and have fun like a 19th century Austinite. There will be a veritable house-full of games from the ancient and simple to the modern and familiar. Have a board game you absolutely love (but are ok with sharing with other players)? Bring it along and make some new friends. FREE! Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St, Austin.
Bonus Nearly Free Fun:
- Santa in the Garden ($1-3) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Skip the lines at the mall and bring the family to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this special event. Plus, enjoy tasty treats and fun crafts. Get 20% off the entire Chrysalis Gift Shop during the event. FREE with garden admission: $1 child & senior citizen, $2 adult Austin resident, $3 nonresident. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
- Blue Genie Art Bazaar – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. This annual 4-week holiday shopping event features handmade artwork, jewelry and gifts from more than 200 regional artists. In addition to shopping, there will be special events and activities throughout the show. Celebrating 16 years in Austin, BGAB is a family-friendly experience where shoppers can browse in a hassle-free environment with centralized checkout. Refreshments and bar available. Parking and admission are FREE! Blue Genie Art Bazaar, 6100 Airport Blvd, Austin.
- Handmade for the Holidays – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Make a huge dent in your holiday shopping while supporting local mompreneurs. This annual craft fair features local mom-owned shops with 100% handmade goods, covering everything from baby to grandparents. Find accessories and apparel, holiday and home decor, jewelry, and much more. There will also be holiday photo mini sessions, kids’ craft projects, and plenty of snacks from local bakers. Admission is FREE! Imagine That – Art Space, 2110 B White Horse Trail, Austin.
- Austin IBIZ Districts Holiday Shop Hop – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Locally owned businesses in the IBIZ Districts offer sales, specials, holiday treats of food and drink, and all the local flavor that makes Austin, Austin. Visit AustinIBIZ.com for maps of each district.
- Alternative Gift Market – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Shop for ethical, fair trade, and socially conscious Christmas presents. There will be all types of products from scarves and t-shirts to jewelry and art. Don’t miss this opportunity to have the gifts you give this Christmas tell a story. Admission is FREE! University United Methodist Church, 2409 Guadalupe St, Austin.
- The Allies Market – Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Shop responsibly this holiday season, while supporting local, socially conscious vendors that give back to some great causes and spread awareness about fair trade practices. With art, jewelry, music, clothing, toys, cosmetics, and paper goods, this free event is the perfect venue for all holiday needs. Fair Market, 1100 E 5th St, Austin.
More Events Beyond Austin:
- Holiday Model Train Show (Round Rock) – Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5:00 p.m. The Tinplate Trackers will be back at ArtSpace for their 4th annual Holiday Model Train show. The trains will be running Wednesday through Sunday each week. FREE! ArtSpace, 231 E Main St, Round Rock.
- Christmas Stroll (Georgetown) – Friday from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. The Magic of the Stroll is real and will bring memories on this 36th Annual Celebration. The Georgetown Square will be transformed into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It’s a magical setting of a multitude of trees outlined with twinkling white lights, old fashioned lamp poles, Santa in the Christmas tree farm waiting to hear from both naughty and nice. It’s the place to journey back in time as you wonder through Bethlehem Village. You can also find the Grinch and his characters in Whoo-Village. FREE! Downtown Georgetown.
- Star Party (Cedar Park) – Friday at 8:00 p.m. Star gaze on a state-of-the art computer guided telescope. View through the telescope, take telescope assisted photos with your smartphone, and learn major stars and constellation positions along with the planets and moons. Learn how to read a star map, and much more. Weather permitting. FREE! Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220, Toro Grande Dr, Cedar Park.
- Christmas on Mercer Street (Dripping Springs) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. This special holiday festival features arts and crafts booths, children’s games and activities, live family entertainment, local food vendors, and Santa. Admission is FREE! Mercer St, Dripping Springs.
- Old Town Christmas Festival (Leander) – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Old Town Leander comes alive to spread Christmas joy throughout the community. This event includes the Leander in Lights Parade, a carousel, free activities for the kids, free pictures with Santa, local school performances and entertainment, food court, local vendors, and more. View the full event schedule here. FREE! Old Town Leander, 100 N Brushy St, Leander.
- Vintage Christmas (Pflugerville) – Saturday and Sunday from 1-5:00 p.m. Take a tour of the museum and enjoy the display of old fashioned toys donated by Toy Time and community donors. Bring your camera for a picture with Santa. FREE! Heritage House Museum, 901 Old Austin Hutto Rd, Pflugerville.
- Snow Day (Bastrop) – Saturday from 1-7:00 p.m. Delight in the wonder of winter with two snow slides, two snow play areas, hot chocolate, holiday activities, and more. At 5:30 p.m., get in the holiday spirit with roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, and the movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas. FREE! Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St, Bastrop.
- Fountainwood Observatory Public Night (Georgetown) – Saturday from 8-10:30 p.m. On hand to guide viewing will be S.U. Physics Department faculty and talented observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club. For weather-related updates call 512-863-1242. FREE! Southwestern University, 1001 E University Ave, Georgetown.