Another holiday season, another meltdown at the mall trying to figure out what to get your dad for Christmas.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Austin’s various shopping bazaars and pop-ups offer a chance to get all the people on your list crossed off with one-of-a-kind gifts made locally. A gold elephant pendant for your sister-in-law, a lamp made from car parts for your impossible-to-buy-for dad — you can find some pretty swell presents if you don’t mind a little browsing.
Here, we round up four of the best holiday bazaars and pop-ups you’ll want to visit in the coming weeks. (But hurry!)
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
One of Austin’s most reliable holiday shopping markets is back. The annual four-week shopping extravaganza has artwork, jewelry, clothing and other gifts from more than 200 regional and local artists. You can browse some of the available items ahead of time on the Blue Genie website. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Dec. 24 (when it will close at 6 p.m.). Free. 6100 Airport Blvd. bluegenieartbazaar.com.
Cherrywood Art Fair
We’ve got only one weekend to find locally made gifts this holiday season at the East Austin shopping spot featuring the works of more than 85 Austin artists. In addition to the artistic vendors, Cherrywood Art Fair has live music and entertainment from the likes of Sour Bridges, Jed Craddock, TKO Puppeteers and more. 10 a.m. Dec. 9 and 10. Maplewood Elementary School, 3808 Maplewood Ave. cherrywoodartfair.org.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
This quintessentially Austin market — hey, it features live music as prominently as it does local vendors — begins an 11-day run with music from the Watters at noon, Wendy Colonna at 3 p.m. and Dale Watson & His Lonestars at 7 p.m. The event features three musical acts daily through Christmas Eve, with highlights including Ruthie Foster, Shinyribs, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Marcia Ball.
You can listen to their live performances while browsing artisan wares including jewelry, visual art and ceramics. Want to learn more about the artists behind the products? Keep an eye out for our spotlight of Armadillo artists next week. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily starting Dec. 14 through 24. $8 (season pass $60); ages 12 and under free. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd. armadillobazaar.com.
The Austin Flea
This little market of local vendors rotates venues each time it opens, and often, the Austin Flea set up shop in the parking lot of a brewery or grocery store — guaranteeing you some boozy or food-filled fun while you shop. It’ll be at Adelbert’s Brewery on Dec. 7, the Whole Foods Arbor Trails on Dec. 9 and the ABGB on Dec. 10, as well as additional locations through Dec. 17.
Participating vendors often differ, so you can go to more than one market and find some treasures — everything from scented mustache wax to a signed copy of "Trappist Beer Travels" from local authors. Keep up with the rotating locations at facebook.com/pg/austinflea.
Holiday Pop-Up Markets
The Downtown Austin Alliance is hosting the first year of two pop-up markets at Republic Square Park. Find last-minute holiday gifts from local artists and businesses while listening to live DJ music. Plus, because this time of year can be so fun but so stressful, Wild Heart Yoga will be on-site to provide a free session of yoga. 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20. 422 Guadalupe St. downtownaustin.com.
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