We all know about the big city holiday events that always sell out in Austin, but did you know that Austin is surrounded by adorable small towns that are also bringing that holiday cheer? Here’s a list of the magical little towns that are just a short sleigh ride away and are bound to make your Hallmark Christmas dreams a reality.
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Round Rock is just 20 miles north of downtown Austin and offers up that “Christmas Time at the Square” vibe. Don’t get me wrong, the city is a far cry from the small western town that was once under the grip of Sam Bass and his group of outlaws. Round Rock is one of Austin’s fastest-growing suburbs but they’ve managed to keep their cute downtown storefronts and Christmas cheer. There’s also the “Christmas Towne” event which is held in the parking lot of the Round Rock Express and features a tunnel of lights, carnival rides and some holiday cheer. It runs Dec 13-15 and 19-29 and kicks off at 5pm. Click here for more info.
Georgetown is just 10 miles up the road from Round Rock and has the cutest little downtown square. The courthouse is surrounded by adorable mom-and-pop shops that all do it up for the holidays. I can’t guarantee that you won’t leave there with something covered in rhinestones and possibly a hand-painted wine glass that says “Mama’s Sippy Cup” or something along those lines. You will, however, leave with a greater appreciation for that Texas hospitality and some extra holiday cheer.
This one a little bit longer of a drive but highly worth it. It takes about an hour and a half to get to Fredericksburg from downtown Austin, but the drive is worth it on its own. The town is an old German settlement that still has that Bavarian holiday cheer. You’ll find all sorts of cute gifts for your friends and family while sipping some local Hill Country wine. (Yes, Fredericksburg allows open containers). The main street is surrounded by amazing wine bars and German restaurants that are locally owned. They also do Christmas big out there, with a Marktplatz every night, and even have a skating rink. Click here for more information.
Lockhart is about 30 miles southeast of Downtown Austin and is the perfect Christmas town for those who want some holiday cheer with a side of BBQ and a cold beer. Yes, they get tourists from all over the world for their barbecue, but Lockhart also gives them that quintessential small-town vibe. They have the courthouse in the middle surrounded by small shops at the square, but since the start of the pandemic, new businesses are attracting people from all over Central Texas. Nickel City’s owners opened a sister bar, called Old Pal. The restaurant, Little Trouble, has also been shaking up the culinary scene. There’s even the cutest record store selling your favorite old country vinyl. I highly recommend a visit for those who love Christmas but also for the Grinches that can be bribed with BBQ.