The holidays are a special time for drinking and eating our way around Austin with friends and family and for creating memories that will last a lifetime.  Round up your crew and experience the season at some of hottest bars, hotels and restaurants as they transform into an enchanting holiday wonderland sprinkled with twinkling lights and festive décor.


Stella San Jac Holiday Gingerbread House

Stella San Jac at The Westin Austin Downtown

Stella San Jac invites you to witness the grand opening of its Life-size Gingerbread Dining Room on Thursday, November 21 (tomorrow).  The giant gingerbread house is an extension of the restaurant, Stella San Jac, and will serve a special holiday menu. This year, the theme of the house is centered around ‘Christmas Vacation,’ so here’s hoping uninvited family don’t show! Bonus? A portion of the proceeds from the space is donated in full to Back on My Feet Austin, making it easier than ever to give back during the holiday season.


JW Marriott Holiday

JW Marriott Austin

JW’s Edge rooftop will host the Snow Much Fun On Congress which happens Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm – 10pm, open to the public.  There is snowfall on the hour starting at 7pm, festive lights, a snow globe, live holiday themed music and holiday cocktails.


Up On the Rooftop - Eastside Hotel

East Austin Hotel

Tis the season for Christmas decorations of festive cocktails! Check out East Austin Hotel’s The Upside rooftop bar & lounge, now transformed into the Up On the Rooftop holiday bar. Specialty cocktails include Down the Chimney, a spicy, smoky hot chocolate with Aztec hot cocoa & Vida Mezcal; Sugar Rum Fairy, a hot buttered rum with El Dorado 12 Year Rum, butter, cinnamon, clove & allspice; White Christmas Milk Punch; and Santa Claws, you know, a classic White Claw with a festive straw.


Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree

Driskill Hotel

On Tuesday, December 3rd, the Driskill Hotel will host their annual tree lighting ceremony, while guests sip on a  glass of bubbly and enjoy festive music in their Grand Lobby.  Be among the first to get your photo in front of their stunning 15′ Christmas tree.  On December 15th, celebrate the season of giving back with the annual Cookies For Caring charitable holiday cookie swap, benefiting the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring program.  Curate your holiday cookie collection from the best bakers in Austin.  Pre-order a cookie tin, then peruse the baked goods and fill your festive tin while sipping on celebratory bubbles and delighting in the seasonal sounds of your favorite holiday music.


w hotel

W Austin

Santa Lounge & Market

On Saturday, December 7, visitors are invited to celebrate the holidays with 2ND Street District at Santa Lounge & Market at W Hotel Austin.  From 1 to 5 p.m. guests can enjoy taking printed photos with Santa, holiday carols from local groups and solo artists while sipping holiday cocktails, browsing the local holiday pop-up shops, and giving back to Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin.

A Krampus Carol

The Secret Bar at W Austin will be all done up and decked out for Xmas this year for their Krampus themed Xmas – “A Krampus Carol”. Decked out as “Santa’s Workshop”, the Secret Bar will have cocktail specials and a decadent Hot Chocolate Bar (with options to spike) with the décor to go along. Keep a look out – Krampus might just have some tricks up his sleeves.  The W Austin will host this pop-up theme from starting December 12th – 25th, from 5pm – 2am.



Lala’s Little Nugget

Get your jingle bells on, get in the holiday spirit and head over to Lala’s Little Nugget on for the ultimate Christmas party at Austin’s favorite Christmas bar. Bring your ho ho ho’s and wear your ugly Christmas sweater for an ugly sweater contest. Lala’s is a year round Christmas themed bar decked out with holiday décor 365 days a year – perfect for anyone who wants to start celebrating early (or never stop celebrating at all!)


Miracle on 5th

Believe in the magic of Miracle on 5th Street! Santa’s got a brand-new bag with enough boozy Christmas cheer to keep you merry, bright, and buzzed for the whole holiday season.  Guests can enjoy more of Miracle this year with extended hours as the pop-up will open at 2 p.m. daily, and at 12 p.m. from Thursday, December 19 through Christmas Day. In addition to decked out halls and even more over-the-top winter wonder, this year brings the miraculous addition of a worldwide “Ugly Sweater” party at participating Miracle outposts on Monday, December 2nd.   All Miracle on 5th Street guests brave enough to don their tackiest, ugliest holiday sweater receive a shot of complimentary Christmas cheer upon arrival.  On Monday, December 9th, Austinites can sing out their holiday spirit during a special evening of Christmas Karaoke.


Gibson Street Bar Christmas

Gibson Street Bar

Known for its elaborate décor and holiday themed month long takeovers, Gibson Street Bar will transform into Gibson Wonderland for the entire month of December.  This year, Christmas is taking over at Gibson Street Bar for the second annual Gibson Wonderland. The “Christmas Takeover” includes signature winter cocktails and festive decorations that will leave you and your fellow elves feeling warm and toasty all December long.



DuMonts Down Low

DuMonts Down Low will be having a “Very Merry Down Low Christmas” all of December.  DuMonts holiday takeover will have holiday décor and will offer a special month long holiday themed cocktail menu.


Restaurants and Cafes


The Mozart’s Joyous Light Show is back for the 10th year in a row!  Celebrate the season with magical lights, delicious hot chocolate, tasty treats, and a wonderful time for the whole family.  Open every day except Christmas Day and is open Christmas Eve until 10pm.


Lucky Robot Holiday

Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen

Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen will be celebrating the holidays this year with a holiday-themed pop up installation, featuring over 2,200 origami cranes and Christmas trees suspended from the ceiling, along with hand-strung lights and ornaments. Slated to run from November 13, 2019 to January 10, 2020, this festive display will offer Austinites a unique, family-friendly way to get into the spirit of the holidays! 


Fonda San Miguel

Fonda San Miguel

Every year Fonda San Miguel turns into a holiday wonderland, decorating the  restaurant in elaborate decor, winter garlands, Christmas trees and dazzling white lights. No other Austin restaurant transforms diners with their distinctive cuisine, its colorful history and the influence it has had on Mexican restaurants across the country.



EVO | The Polar Express Flashback Pajama Party

This screening of the beloved book-to-film adaptation from childhood invites guests to  show up to EVO in their coziest pajamas. Classic hot chocolate will be offered for $5 at all locations and peppermint, vanilla and white chocolate flavors will be available for $7 at the Starplex location. At Schertz, Kyle, Creekside and The SPOT at San Marcos, spiked options will also be available from behind the bar for $7 featuring a shot of peppermint Schnapps, chocolate liqueur, or vanilla vodka to really warm up. The Polar Express movie will take place on Sunday, November 17 and Wednesday, November 20 at all EVO locations with showtimes at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Movie tickets will be regularly priced.




This holiday season, Geraldine’s is treating Austin to some TexMas hospitality—South Pole-style.  From December 17-21 starting at 6 p.m., the restaurant perched on the fourth floor of Hotel Vandt will have a holiday pop-up complete with a snow machine, cozy igloo lounges on the pool deck with views of downtown Austin, an artisan market, holiday-themed cocktail menu, appearance by Southern Santa, and of course, the return of Geraldine’s annual Motown Christmas performance. 

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About The Author

Hayden Walker
Executive Editor | Co-Publisher

Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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