- Arianna Auber American-Statesman Staff
The Zilker Holiday Tree
6 p.m. to midnight daily through Dec. 31. Free. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree.
The Austin Trail of Lights might be over, but the Zilker Tree is still providing sparkling light to the park. And it’s well worth a visit. Though not a real tree, the 155-footer is made by draping a total of 3,309 bulbs from one of Austin’s moontowers, which used to light the city. There isn’t a more iconic way to hail the holiday season in Central Texas.
Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 26-28, 6 to 11 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30. $16, plus some activities are extra. Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland.
Head to the track for some final festive activities at the inaugural Winter Wonderland. The nightly holiday spectacle includes a skating rink, a human snow globe, singing trees, petting zoo, camel rides, Santa’s workshop, carnival rides, a hot air balloon float, movies on the lawn, a Tunnel of Lights and much more.
Wimberley Trail of Lights
6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 26-28. Free; donations encouraged. EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org/trailoflights.html.
There are only a couple more days to visit Wimberley’s eight acres of lighted displays, but if you’re going to choose any day to go, make it the Dec. 26 show. According to the website, llamas will be visiting the grounds.
Mozart’s Christmas Light Show
6 to 11 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Free. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. mozartscoffee.com.
In recent years, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters has become a go-to destination for folks who don’t want to have to move around a lot to see the holiday lights. This year, the popular lakeside coffee shop is upping the ante with a show that will include more than a million LED lights. Expect Austin- and holiday-centric displays, an audio-activated wall of lights and festive songs performed by choirs from various local schools and community groups. — Kristin Finan
Ice Skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 15. $10. 525 N. Lamar Blvd. wholefoodsmarket.com/store/event/ice-skating-plaza-1/.
We’ve had one snow day this year, but generally Texas doesn’t get cold enough for ice skating. Thankfully, the flagship location of Whole Foods has come to the rescue with another skating rink above the store. If you go on a Friday, the soundtrack is curated by KUTX for the KUTX Music Fridays series. Note that the rink will close early, at 7 p.m., on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Circus Chickendog’s “Mutt-cracker (Sweet!)”
4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on various dates through Jan. 7. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org.
It’s not Christmastime without this kid-friendly, circus-themed version of “The Nutcracker,” as performed by Circus Chickendog. The production once again stars five talented rescue dogs (Mouse, Moose, Coyote, Squirrel and Skeeter) and a talking scarlet macaw named Lauren MaCaw. Their owner, Darren Peterson, brings his masterful juggling and unicycling skills to the stage, as well his gifted dog training. Joining Darren with the magic of diabolo is Etienne Chauzy.
“A Tuna Christmas” at Zach Theatre
7:30 p.m. Dec. 27-Dec. 30, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 31. $30-$88. 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org.
Christmas tidings continue at Zach, which is highlighting the holiday festivities in Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, with this holiday favorite produced in collaboration with the Paramount Theatre. Between the holiday yard display contest and the Little Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” on the brink of cancellation, it’s a miracle anyone gets tinsel on a tree in “A Tuna Christmas.” Three Zach actors play all 25 of Tuna’s colorful citizens.
“A Christmas Carol” at Zach Theatre
7:30 p.m. Dec. 27-30, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 31. $25-$150. 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org.
This Zach Theatre tradition is back for the fourth year running, though it’s not quite as fans of Charles Dickens’ book will remember it. Zach’s production combines new songs and reimagined carols with traditional Victorian setting and costumes, creating an infectious spirit that will have you dancing in the aisles.