Your decorations have been out for weeks. Family is in town and holiday stress may be running high, but fortunately there are still unique Christmas Eve activities and events in Austin that can complement mounting anticipation for tomorrow.
In fact, for those who only have Christmas Eve and Christmas day off work, today may present the perfect time to participate in holiday activities you haven’t had time for yet.
On Christmas Eve, Austin offers experiences not typically available any other time of year. You can re-learn how to ice skate, drive slowly past houses decked out with spectacular light shows and browse impressive local gift and art shows.
Mr. Littlefield’s Eccentric Lights Delight
This is truly the time of year when certain people shine (forgive the pun). The forethought, dedication and patience that go into maintaining a light display for the public’s benefit is incredible, and it is possible that no one does this better than Mr. Littlefield. Since 1999, he has nurtured the healthy growth of his holiday light collection!
Mr. Littlefield’s commitment makes an immediate impression, and your awe will only grow as you begin to notice the fake snow flying above a snowman and a parade of Santa Claus figures singing, dancing and revving motorcycles.
The best part about all of this is Mr. Littlefield himself, who is often outside offering candy canes and best wishes to passing pedestrians and drivers. Every night, he moves his incredible collection inside. And every day he brings it back out for Austin holiday lovers’ enjoyment.
Other notable light displays a bit further north include the historic mansions on Niles Road, one of which was built in 1853 and features massive trees draped in lights looking like glorious, overgrown chandeliers. Merely minutes away, a Dr. Seuss display boasts a roof covered entirely in white lights on Wathen Street. This neighborhood is a prime browsing area because many other homes have joined in the festivities.
- Mr. Littlefield: 1611 West 12th Street
- Dr. Seuss: 1403 Wathen Avenue
- Woodlawn Mansion: 1606 Niles Road
Rooftop Ice Skating
Austin’s most centrally located ice skating option may surprise you: Whole Foods. The 6th Street location constructed an ice rink on its roof for another year, inviting city folk in our southern climate to experience the delight of gliding across ice. The rink is closed on Christmas day, but open 11 AM-6 PM today for $10/person.
Chaparrel Ice is another location further north where you may enjoy ice skating on Christmas Eve. Although open all year—yes, people in Austin can ice skate in the summer—this locally owned professional rink is offering public skating from 11 AM-5 PM today. The Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa also has an ice rink with a holiday light display and other festivities. Although pricier, proceeds benefit Make A Wish Central & South Texas.
- Whole Foods: 525 N Lamar Blvd; $10/person
- Chaparral Ice: 2525 West Anderson Lane; $6/person + $4/skate rental
- Barton Creek Omni Resort & Spa: 8212 Barton Club Drive; $25 adult/$20 child
Bazaar Austin Tradition
Okay, it’s the day before Christmas, but we all know someone who hasn’t finished buying presents. Fortunately, both the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and Blue Genie Art Bazaar are still open today. Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, a tradition now in its 39th season, has a $10 cover, but this does include live music performances. Check the schedule to plan your visit around musical acts that fit your preference.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar is in its 14th year and offers free access to unique gifts for your last minute scramble. The selection here is more affordable and geared towards gifts you would normally buy for friends and family, like quirky origami earrings and tote bags printed with canine faces.
Armadillo does have accessible tents with toys, artisan soap and even 6th Street’s Wild About Music store has a spot, but the selection trends toward the high-art end of the spectrum.
At either venue, there is food and drink to partake in, caffeinated or spiked per preference.
- Armadillo Christmas Bazaar: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road; parking on site $7
- Blue Genie Art Bazaar: 6226 Middle Fiskville Road
This town does not shut down on Christmas Eve. Go out and seize the enjoyment Austin has to offer before it’s too late! After all, Christmas comes but once a year.
@erinmayyyy wants to know:
Any other last minute Christmas Eve events and activities in Austin you recommend?