Happy Thanksgiving from the whole Free Fun Gang! We are thankful for you!
We have been sharing a tremendous amount of holiday events lately, and updating our posts as new information comes in. Two things we want to make sure you are aware of when planning your Thanksgiving weekend fun: Mozart’s will be closed on Thanksgiving so there will be no lights show on Thursday, and the EmilyAnn Theatre Trail of Lights in Wimberley kicks off on Saturday (not Friday). As always, we encourage you to double check details on the event websites before heading out, as schedules sometimes change.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!
Weekend Top 10 Free Events:
- Blue Genie Art Bazaar – Friday, November 28 – Wednesday, December 24, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a fixture of the Austin holiday shopping season. The Bazaar features unique work from more than 200 local and regional artists, with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish®. Parking and admission are always FREE of charge. Marchesa Hall & Theatre at Lincoln Village, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd., Austin.
- Mozart’s Light Show – Friday, November 28 – Sunday, January 4, from 6 p.m. – midnight. The 15-minute light show will start at 6 p.m. and then repeat every hour on the hour until midnight. The FREE light show will be bigger and better than all past years! Hot beverages will be available for purchase. Check the Facebook page for updates. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin.
- Home Depot Kids Workshop: Give and Save Bank – Saturday, November 29, from 9 a.m. – noon. Head to a Home Depot near you to build a Give and Save Bank at this FREE hands-on workshop designed for children ages 5 – 12. Home Depot Kids Workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills, tool safety and instill a sense of pride and accomplishment. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, and a Workshop Apron. One workshop kit and apron per child, while supplies last.
- Babes in Toyland – Saturday, November 29 at 9:50 a.m. This FREE screening will be in 35mm with FREE toys for everyone courtesy of Toy Joy. Tickets are available at the box office on the day of the show, and seating is first come, first served. No children under the age of 3 will be admitted. Families with loud children will be asked to leave. Check the website before heading out as showtimes are subject to change. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin.
- Steve for the Holidays Show – Saturday, November 29 at 10 a.m. Steve Scott, the improvising poodle, and the cast of What’s the Story Steve? are back with a holiday show, Saturday mornings through December 27. Improvised, interactive stories of celebration, presents, familial love, presents, travel and presents will grace the stage of ColdTowne Theater throughout this season. Be sure to arrive early as seating is very limited. FREE, but donations are encouraged! ColdTowne Theater, 4803 Airport Blvd., Austin.
- Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade – Saturday, November 29, starts at 11 a.m. The parade starts at 11 a.m. at the Capitol and moves south on Congress, all the way to Cesar Chavez, ending just north of the bridge. The hour-long procession features giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, marching bands, cool classic cars and Santa! Be sure to bring along a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa during the parade. FREE! Congress Avenue, Austin.
- Renegade Craft Fair’s Austin Holiday Market – Saturday, November 29 and Sunday, November 30, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. This FREE-to-attend event will feature a curated selection of today’s finest independent Makers along with workshops, food and drinks, music, and more. Give the gift of handmade this holiday season and support Small Business Saturday. Shoppers will find an array of outstanding handmade goods at the Fair, ranging from holiday inspired stationery and gift wrap, unique and one-of-a-kind jewelry, children’s toys, apparel and shoes, to natural healthy and beauty products, repurposed lighting and furniture, housewares and more. Preview this year’s line up of 100+ talented makers, food and drink, and workshops here. Admission is FREE. Parking at Palmer Events Center is $7. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin.
- ATX Artisans Holiday Market – Sunday, November 30, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Shop local on Sunday at the Holiday Inn Midtown. You will find beautiful handcrafted goods at the 2nd annual ATX Artisans Holiday Market. ATX Artisans (formerly Easy ATX) is a collective of independent artists and craft makers dedicated to making handmade quality goods, including art, jewelry, paper goods, bath and beauty supplies, toys, clothing, holiday decor, pottery, paper goods and lots more! Click here for a list of vendors. Admission is FREE! Holiday Inn Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin.
- Matthew Hinsley Classical Guitar Recital – Sunday, November 30 at 2 p.m., to hear classical guitarist Matthew Hinsley perform a 45-minute guitar recital at the Faulk Central Library. Dr. Hinsley, best known as Executive Director of Austin Classical Guitar, will perform a range of beautiful selections from Europe and the Americas from the past 300 years. This family-friendly event is FREE and open to the public. Proper concert etiquette is encouraged. Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St, Austin.
- Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting – Sunday, November 30 at 6 p.m. The Zilker Tree has been lighting the Austin skies during the holiday season since 1967. (Read about the history of the tree here.) The tree, which is located in Zilker Park, will be lit for the first time this year by the winners of a citywide coloring contest. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and features local entertainment, food, novelties and live music. (Please bring cash if you’d like to patronize the vendors.) Performers include the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble and the Barton Hills Choir. After November 30, the tree will be on display nightly from approximately 5:30 p.m. until midnight. FREE! Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin.
Both of these events are weather permitting and come with the caution that lines will be long (and even waiting in line does not guarantee that your child will get a turn on Santa’s lap).
- Santa on the Terrace – Friday, November 28, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bring the kids for a FREE photo with Santa and Buddy overlooking the best view in Austin! Santa Claus (and Buddy the Elf) are coming to the Long Center! The photos with Santa are first-come, first-served, so get there early! Sip delicious hot chocolate, enjoy some of Austin’s most delicious food trucks (Hands off My Funnel Cake, The Baker’s Rack, and Gigi’s Cupcakes), and kick off the holiday season. The Long Center, 701 W Riverside, Austin.
- Free photos with Santa at Hill Country Galleria (Bee Cave) – Friday, November 28 – December 24, hours vary. Meet Santa and tell him what you want for the holidays! Kids of all ages are welcome, pets are welcome too! Bring your own camera and take fun holiday photos! Photos with Santa are FREE as you will be using your own camera (no professional photographer on-site). Hill Country Galleria (under the Tree, next to Barnes & Noble), 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave.
- Central Texas Holiday Light Displays
- Holiday Bazaars, Markets and Craft Shows
- Where to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
- Where to Find Snow and Ice Skating in Austin
- Where to Take Out of Town Guests This Holiday Season
- Free Train Display in Round Rock
- 5 Ways to Put the Giving in Thanksgiving
- Shop Local Holidays: 2014 Gift Guide
- Free Date Nights in Austin
- … and even more on our Free Fun Calendar!