Top 10 Instagram-Worthy Holiday Photo Ops In Austin
1. Walking in a Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas:
Let millions of Christmas lights illuminate your path (and your selfies) at the annual Winter Wonderland holiday festival at Circuit of the Americas! This place has all the stuff that your winter dreams are made of, including an ice skating rink, human snow globe, singing trees, a petting zoo, and so much more. Winter Wonderland is open 12/8-12/30 from 6PM - 10PM Sundays through Thursdays, and 6PM - 11PM on Fridays and Saturdays.
2. Strolling through the tunnel at Zilker Park’s Trail of Lights:
The Austin Trail of Lights is back once again to light up Zilker Park throughout the month of December with over 40 lights displays and many of Austin's favorite food trucks and artists to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit. Our favorite spot to take selfies is the incredible tunnel at the start of trail that's truly impossible to get a bad photo of (see below for proof). The Trail of Lights grand opening is this Friday, Dec. 8th and runs every day until Dec. 23rd.
3. Enjoying a coffee by the light of Mozart's dazzling wall of decorations:
Every year Mozart's takes Christmas decorating to the next level with an extravagant interactive light display that represents the holidays and the culture of Austin. Come get an overdose of holiday magic, caffeine, and yummy baked goods any evening (except Christmas day) between 6 - 11PM until January 1st.
It was a night full of lights, a bit of music, and a lot of dancing... . We finally made it down to @mozartscoffee like we do every year. There were thousands of lights lighting the terrace with a gorgeous view of the lake. The much anticipated light show consisted of 3 songs that played every 30/60 mins with some of the lights lighting up to the beat of the music. It was nice but nothing like past year productions. If you haven’t been and decide to go, here are some tips: - It gets very very full and there are steps, so ideally don’t bring strollers. - Plan to arrive before 5:15pm if you want an attempt at getting a table. Keep an eye at tables with UT students working there as they are likely to leave before it gets dark. - You can order coffee/pastries there, or to-go from @hulahutaustin or @abelsonthelake and eat here. Customers of the restaurants on the piers are welcome to eat in this terrace. - Weekdays are a bit less crazy than weekends. - Don’t expect a light show like past years. At all.
4. Take a quick shopping break with a larger-than-life Willie Nelson nutcracker and a giant ornament photo frame:
The Domain Northside is all decked out for the holiday season with plenty of photo ops for shoppers to take advantage of during their visit, including a huge photo frame made out of Christmas tree ornaments, and the most Austin-y of all decorations: an animated Willie Nelson nutcracker. Check out the Domain website for a full breakdown of their holiday shopping hours.
5. Cozying up with a cocktail at The Eleanor's Miracle on 5th Street Pop-Up:
Christmas-themed pop-up bar Miracle has finally come down to Austin for the first time, bringing their delicious menu of holiday cocktails and eats to 5th Street's The Eleanor until New Year's Day. See what all the hype is about and get a photo with one of their decadent concotions any evening until 2 AM (excluding any private party bookings on the calendar which you can find here).
6.Getting spooked at House of Torment’s Krampus: A Haunted Christmas:
Yes. This is a very real and very twisted thing you can do. Austin's House of Torment, most known for their Halloween-time haunted house, is now expanding into the holiday horror genre with the twisted Christmas tale of Krampus. Photography is not allowed inside of the haunted house but there will be a photo booth on-site for visitors to get photos with the star of the night, Krampus himself. Catch Krampus: A Haunted Christmas in Austin for two nights only, Dec. 8th & 9th: tickets are still available now!
7. Buying something "Austin" at The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar:
Get in on the Austin holiday tradition and cross out the rest of your shopping list at the annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, at Palmer Events Center! This year's festivities will include over 160 vendors, two full bars, live performances from Dale Watson, Shinyribs, Jackie Venson, and Charley Crockett just to name a few, and plenty of perfect holiday photo ops throughout the venue. More info here!
8. Ice skating as gracefully as possible on the Whole Foods roof:
Every year the rooftop patio of Whole Foods' downtown flagship location is glazed with ice and opened up to the public for daily ice skating sessions! If you can stay standing long enough, snap your selfies on the rink and use the hashtag #skateatthemarket to share your holiday fun. Make sure to double check the Whole Foods website before heading down for a list of ice rink closures.
9. Hanging with friends at Lala's Little Nugget:
Tucked away on Justin Lane right off of Burnet sits Lala's Little Nugget, a little neighborhood bar that's been celebrating Christmas all day every day since they opened their doors in 1972. Yep, that's right, the fully decked halls you see below are permanent fixtures for the beloved Austin staple who keep the Christmas vibes going strong even in the middle of July. And unlike most of the other spots on this list, Lala's stays open on Christmas Eve and even Christmas Day. Come get your photo taken with the infamous leg lamp after you catch A Christmas Story: The Musical!
10. Pet portaits with Santa at Tomlinson's Feed:
Didn't think we'd leave your furry friends out of the mix, did you? Tomlinson's Feed is coming through again this year with Santa portaits for your pets! All proceeds will benefit Lizzy's Animal Hospice, a local non-profit that takes in terminally-ill and elderly pets from kill shelters. This year's Santa portraits are happening at Tomlinson's locations.
Saturday, Dec. 16th, at Tomlinson's Lakeway from 11AM - 1PM, benefitting Lizzy's Animal Hospice.
Sunday, Dec. 17th, at Tomlinson's Anderson Mill from 11AM - 1PM, benefitting Wee Rescue.