Updated December 2021
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. Several Austin bars, restaurants, and hotels are here for you with festive cocktails, snacks, and sparkling lights to lift your holiday spirits.
This year’s list includes some of the most popular over-decorated pop-up bars and resaturants including the Miracle On 5th St, located downtown at the Eleanor as well as east Austin’s most popular bar, Nickel City, with it’s tiki-Christmas spinoff, Sippin’ Santa. The list also includes several popular hotel pop-ups like South Poll at Hotel Van Zandt, and Snow Much Fun at the Edge Rooftop at JW Marriott.
Wearing a mask between sips isn’t required but highly recommended. Don’t forget to tip your bartender and server!
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. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, reservations are required and can be made online HERE.
South Pole Celebration
Among the most coveted seasonal favorites is the return of the Rooftop Igloos on the fourth-floor outdoor pool deck at Geraldine’s. The igloos, which provide a cozy, intimate dining experience for parties of up to six guests, will make their 2021 debut on December 3 and will be available through the week of Valentine’s Day. Advance reservations are required and can be made in advance for select dates on Eventbrite, as the igloos have become one of the most popular features of the hotel’s holiday programming.
Tis the season for Christmas decorations of festive cocktails! Join East Austin Hotel for its yearly holiday pop-up. This year, treat yo’Elf with their Gnome for the Holidays decor at Sixth and Waller. Cozy up inside with s’mores for two and holiday libations at Sixth and Waller, or snuggle up while holiday movies play on the rooftop patio at The Upside.
While everyone will have to keep their distance this year, that hasn’t stopped us from showing off our holiday spirit with our most treasured Driskill Hotel Tradition. Driskill invites you to join them from the comfort & safety of your home as we celebrate a season with the annual lighting of their stunning, 15-foot lobby tree!
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa announces the S’mores with Santa holiday experience for resort guests and local residents. S’mores with Santa will take place every Friday and Saturday leading into Christmas. The holiday activity will include a special appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by complimentary s’mores and hot cocoa. S’mores with Santa is available for overnight guests, and $10 for local residents who purchase a ticket by visiting https://www.resortpass.com/hotels/hyatt-regency-hill-country-resort-spa. Parking will be validated for local guests.
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 Street will don a different, but still as equally decadent look as a seated dine-in service in a socially-distanced, safe, and sanitary venue. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are strongly encouraged and the maximum party size is 10 people. For parties over 10 people and longer than 2 hours, an event form must be filled out through the Miracle on 5th Street website. Miracle To-Go Cocktails are available for pick-up at the Ski Lodge located next to the entrance each day starting at 4pm. Guests can place their orders using the form on the Miracle on 5th Street To-Go website.
East 11th Street’s favorite bar will once again throw up the lights and festive decore to create Sippin’ Santa, a slight tiki spinoff of Miracle on 5th.
Holiday cocktails, laughter, & amazing company. What more can you ask for? Visit Red Dragon ATX to see their new Holiday themed pop up bar, open Thursday – Sunday nights 9 PM – 2 AM. Face mask and social distancing guidelines apply! (Photo: Red Dragon ATX – Facebook)
Scholz Garten is inviting Austinites to Jingle Jam, a safe and festive night out to celebrate the holiday season! On December 11 get dressed up in your ugliest holiday sweater, enjoy live music from the Jingleberries, sip warm drinks, and indulge in a turkey dinner. Guests can give back to the community by participating in the Toys for Tots initiative. Bring a new and unwrapped toy to Scholz for donation and receive a $5 gift card to Scholz as a thank you! Additionally, Scholz is offering everyone who purchases a $25 gift card for a loved one, a $5 gift card for themselves in return.
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.
Kitty Cohen’s will be taken over by “Get Lit”, a concept dreamed up in 2019 by Kitty Cohen’s owners Josh Brownfield and Jeremy Murray. “I love all the holiday pop-up bars this time of season and I thought Hanukkah deserves one as well.” Brownfield said. “In the spirit of Kitty Cohen’s this Hanukkah pop-up will be all about fun.” The pop-up will start Dec 8th this year and will run till the end of the month.
Christmas Lights Show
For locals and visitors alike, a highlight of Austin’s Christmas season is the spectacular annual light show at Mozart’s on Lake Austin Boulevard, where for eleven years awestruck crowds have gathered at the city’s favorite lakeside city bakery and global coffee shop.
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 to January, this festive display will offer Austinites a unique, family-friendly way to get into the spirit of the holidays!
2nd Street District
Celebrate the holidays by strolling through Austin’s 2ND St District and checking out their 11th annual “Holiday Window Walk” where local college art students decorate the windows of your faorite small businesses for their chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarships! Vote for your favorite window to be entered to win a $500 gift card to one of the businesses in the district of your choice!
The one-of-a-kind outdoor entertainment, recreation and arts venue located in Dripping Springs, Texas, invites visitors to experience a winter wonderland in Dripping Springs. There will be seasonal activities ranging from a limited-time ice skating rink to “Dreamland’s Lights & Delights,” their first-ever holiday light display. The events are great for adults and kids alike to enjoy outdoor activities during the cooler weather in the Texas Hill Country and get in the holiday spirit. And beginning December 1, “Dreamland’s Lights & Delights” will brighten up the property with dazzling holiday lights. Visitors can check out nearly half a million tree lights and as many as 20 large holiday displays situated throughout Dreamland.
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. Movie tickets will be regularly priced.