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04 November . 2022

Our holiday event guide to Lakeway, Lake Travis, Austin and the Hill Country

Get ready for the holidays with our guide to festive events all around Sweetwater. One of the best things about our location, where Austin meets the Hill Country, is that we’re only a short sleigh ride from holiday events in Austin and the Hill Country, not to mention Lakeway, Bee Cave and Spicewood.

Here are our top 12 picks for holiday fun. Many of these events are free, while some require tickets. Please check the links provided to confirm dates and admission policies – and enjoy!

Bee Cave on Ice

Bee Cave on Ice, a festive ice-skating rink at the Hill Country Galleria, starts Friday, November 4 and continues through January 2. Grand opening festivities are on Sat., Nov. 5 and 5 p.m. The ice rink will be open seven days a week. Tickets are $15 and include skate rental and a 75-minute skate session. Since the rink is limited to 120 people at a time, reservations are highly encouraged. Visiting Bee Cave on Ice is also a great opportunity to enjoy some holiday shopping and dining at Austin’s liveliest shopping and entertainment center, located just a few miles from Sweetwater.

Christmas Tree Lighting at Iron Wolf Ranch

Many of the wineries and distilleries near Sweetwater host holiday events. One is the Christmas Tree Lighting at Spicewood’s Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery on Friday, December 2. Instead of Rudolph, you’ll have a chance to meet Luna, the distillery’s pet wolf.  All ages and leashed dogs are welcome. Admission is free and drinks will be available for purchase, including cocktails and mocktails.

Lights On! in Lakeway

Lights On! is an annual tradition that kicks off the holiday season in Lakeway, a vibrant town near Sweetwater. For 2022, Lights On! happens on Friday, December 2, from 6-8 p.m. The festivities are at the City Hall parking lot, at the corner of Sailmaster and Lohman's. Have fun decorating cookies, roasting marshmallows, listening to live Christmas music by The Lost Pines Band, and playing reindeer games with the family. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be nearby to 'plug in' the Trail of Lights display and speak to the kids.  Food trucks will be on hand with pizza and sweet treats available for purchase. No pets, please.

Trail of Lights in Lakeway

One of Lakeway’s most cherished traditions, the Trail of Lights kicks off Dec. 2 with the aforementioned Lights On! event and continues nightly from 6 p.m. until midnight, every night through January 2. Stroll through thousands of twinkling lights along the glimmering trail, beginning across from the Lakeway Activity Center.  There is no charge to park or attend this self-guided trail.

Jingle Bell Run 5K

On Saturday, December 3, the Bee Cave Chamber of Commerce hosts the Jingle Bell Run 5K through the streets of the Hill Country Galleria. The 5K begins at 7 a.m., with a Kids Dash at 8 a.m. Dogs are welcome. The first 200 registrants for the 5K and the first 100 registrants for the Kids Dash will receive free T-shirts. 

Lake Travis Lighted Boat Parade

Don’t miss the ninth annual Lake Travis Lighted Boat Parade, sailing the lake from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, December 3.  The organizers note: “There are a few public places to watch the parade go by including Lakeway Resort and Spa on the south shore. Call Lakeway Resort prior to the event to ask about the cost associated with their watch party.” Parade-goers are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Brown Santa, a Travis County Sheriff’s Office program that provides toys to underprivileged children.

Hill Country

Sweetwater’s location makes the Hill County an easy day (or night) trip to enjoy the many small-town holiday traditions in cities like Marble Falls and Johnson City. Here are a few of our Hill Country favorites.

In Marble Falls, stroll through 2 million twinkling lights and lighted sculptures in Lakeside Park in the 32nd annual Walkway of Lights from November 18 through December 31. The lights reflecting off Lake Marble Falls offer a truly magical experience. Santa will be present in his Workshop on Friday and Saturday evenings. Local non-profit groups will be selling treats such as cookies and hot chocolate. The event is free and dogs are welcome.

The Lights Spectacular in Johnson City is billed as one of the largest light displays in the nation, with more than one million twinkling lights around the historic courthouse and this quaint town along the Pedernales River. Hayrides and carriage rides are available, and lamplight tours of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Boyhood Home are offered on Saturday evenings. Now in its 33rd year, this spectacular display lights up the Hill Country from Friday, November 25 through January 8.  

In Dripping Springs, Christmas on Mercer is an all-day holiday celebration on Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features arts and crafts vendors, food, live music, photos with Santa, and kids’ activities. Evening events include the annual Lighting on the Tree ceremony, caroling and more. 

Greater Austin

The Trail of Lights, Austin’s brightest holiday tradition, takes place in Zilker Park from December 8-23. Now in its 58th year, this event features 2 million twinkling lights, 90 lighted holiday trees and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. There’s also live music, community performances, food, and festivities on every evening. Following tradition, the Trail hosts private nights allowing limited free entry through the Stars at the Trail program for over 40 non-profit community partners.

Field of Light at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center isn’t exactly a holiday event, but it’s perfect for this time of year. Illuminating 16 acres in the Texas Arboretum at the Wildflower Center, Field of Light is a stunning display of 28,000 vibrant solar-powered, fiber-optic light pods that showcase the intersection of art, technology, and nature. Created by acclaimed British artist Bruce Munro, Field of Light continues through December.  

Austin’s famous Armadillo Christmas Bazaar returns back inside the Palmer Events Center for the first time in several years. From Saturday, December 17 through Friday, December 23, the Bazaar is a one-of-a-kind shopping destination for fine arts and crafts, featuring national and local award-winning artist. Add live music, food, and a full bar in a festive, lively atmosphere, and you have a holiday event that’s as unique as Austin.

Holiday events at The Long Center include a traditional ballet performance of The Nutcracker, plus new favorites including Conspirarie Christmas, Graham Reynolds Ruins the Holidays, and Elf in Concert. Check out the calendar for dates and ticket information.

At Sweetwater, our residents will be enjoying their own holiday traditions and celebrations!

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