What is lovelier at the holidays than lights—white, multi-colored or solid-hued – reflected off the faces of those you care about? Lights, lovely gathering places, and inspiring music can be found at three Austin classic venues this holiday season. Any or all of these light displays could become a new holiday tradition for your family.
The Driskill Hotel will hold its annual tree lighting to kick off the holiday season on Dec. 3 from 5-7 p.m. Sip a hot chocolate or glass of champagne and listen to holiday music in the Driskill’s historic Grand Lobby. Then, get your photo taken in front of the stately 15’ Christmas tree. If you are a transplant to Austin in need of a holiday tradition with history behind it, the Driskill may be for you. The Driskill, located at 604 Brazos Street, opened in 1886 and has had an important place in Austin’s history, including being the place Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson had their first date—in the Driskill Dining Room for breakfast. The hotel was named to the National Historic Registry in 1969 and is here to stay. Each year’s Driskill tree drips with clear bulbs that reflect off the marble patterned floor below and the glowing backlit stained glass above. Holiday photo card backdrop, anyone? Dec. 3 festivities include music by the Arundel Ensemble from 5-6 p.m., tree lighting at 6 p.m., and caroling from 6-7 p.m. Free of charge. Questions? Call 512-439-1234.
Luminations is a yearly celebration at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, located 9 miles from downtown Austin. The 284-acre property is referred to as the Botanic Garden of Texas. Luminations endeavors to showcase the gorgeous property and sustainable gardens with thousands of lights and small, paper luminaria lanterns. Stroll lighted paths and gardens of this natural wonderland. There will be live music, displays, festival foods, and more. This year’s event features newly lit trails and an exclusive performance by Blue Lapis Light’s “Oneness of Being” aerial dance choreography, which was inspired by the Wildflower Center. Luminations is the yearly frosting on the cake of the Center’s mission to inspire conservation of native plants through sustainable gardens and education of Americans of all ages. Luminations is held December 5-8 and 12-15, 6 -10 p.m. at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center located at 4801 LaCrosse Ave. Ages 0-4 are free, and ages 5 and up are $18. Parking is available at the University of St. Augustine, 5401 LaCrosse Ave. Visit wildflower.org for tickets and shuttle details or call 512-232 0100 for more information.
After taking a holiday card photo in front of the most beautiful tree in town, and walking in a lighted natural wonderland, you may be ready for an evening of rest and reflection with a cup of something warm in your hand. The Christmas Light Show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters occurs surprisingly close to downtown. There is a “get-away” vibe at Mozart’s. Take a seat on their deck, decorated with over one million LED lights, and glimpse the sweep of Lake Austin just below you. The lights are set up to cycle with familiar holiday tunes, and the iconic blue piano, played by one of Austin’s talented musicians, is like something from a festive, hip film scene. Mozart’s is an Austin original, opened in 1993, and was the first to roast coffee beans in-house. They have desserts, sandwiches, and bakery items to compliment the many drinks, which range from basic coffee to more exotic cups (iced oat milk latte with honey? Yum!). There is parking in front, or find a spot along Lake Austin Blvd. and stroll up in time to the holiday melody of that blue piano, like you are arriving at the coolest lake party in town. Mozart’s is located at 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. Light shows begin nightly on Nov. 21 from 6-11 p.m. until Jan. 2 (except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). Free admission. For more information, call 512-477-2900.
If you are looking for a new holiday tradition, this season of light in Austin definitely has something memorable and special for you and those you care about.