The Polar Express

Chris Van Allsburg’s magical tale of the Christmas Eve re-education of a Santa-doubting adolescent gets the motion-capture treatment. Read a full review of The Polar Express.

8PM and 6PM, Texas Spirit Theater at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress


  • Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

    Nothing says holidays in Austin like scouring aisles and aisles of local art, crafts, and – thank God – beer. All while surrounded by tunes from one of many musical acts performing this year. Don't worry; Post Office reps will be on the premises to spare you from lugging all that holiday cheer home. Dec. 17-24, 11am-11pm. $7 (free, kids).

    Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd.


  • Austin Trail of Lights

    Still bright and free after all these years. Every day has live entertainment, myriad photo ops, and, of course, funnel cake. Go online for a schedule of shuttles and other transpo options. You can pay online for parking or a pass that lets you cut everyone in line. Bike racks will be available for your pedal pushers. Every day through Dec. 22, 7-10pm. Free.

    Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd., 512/974-6700


  • Blue Genie Art Bazaar

    Need something Austin-y (art, jewelry, prints, clothing, etc., whatnot, and then some) for a loved one this year? More than 135 artists and artisans will help you with your gifting conundrums. Special events occur throughout the month of December, so shop early and often. Every day through Dec. 24, 10am-10pm. Free.

    The Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 6406 N. I-35, 512/494-6178


  • Child's Christmas in Wales

    Dylan Thomas' holiday tale gets a musical backdrop in the style of an old-time radio show. Good for all ages. 3pm. $15/$5 kids.

    First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa, 512/345-8866


  • Holiday Light Show

    This local coffee shop has been stepping up its holiday-light game for years. Every hour on the hour the lights and music explode with the spirit of the holidays. Through Dec. 31, 6-11pm. Free.

    Mozart's Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., 512/477-2900


  • Tinplate Trackers Train Club

    Come watch the choo-choos and inspire the next generation to keep this historic hobby alive and well. You might even be allowed to sit behind the controls if you're kind enough to the tip jar. Wed. & Sat., Jan. 1 & 4, 11am-5pm. Donations appreciated.

    ArtSpace, 231 E. Main, Round Rock, 512/689-2450


  • Yule Bazaar

    is one of your last chances for unique holiday shopping as vendors, entertainers, and musicians congregate to help you get in the spirit of shopping local. Warm up by the yule campfire, sit down for real talk on the dark side of the season, and get the kids singing along to some of the live acts. Sat.-Sun., Dec. 21-22, noon-5pm. Free.

    The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282


  • Children's Nutcracker

    The Austin City Ballet presents the 13th annual Nutcracker for the kids. It's a holiday tradition for all age groups, as long as you don't consider watching people leap in tights "adult." Fri.-Sun., Dec. 13-22. $25 ($15, children).

    Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd., 512/974-4000


  • Disney Junior Live: Pirate & Princess Adventure

    We've never heard of Sofia the First or this new incarnation of the Never Land Pirates, but we're sure your kids have. It's probably safe to assume Disney knows how to entertain kids. Sun., Dec. 22, 1, 4, & 7pm. $20 and up.

    Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red River, 512/477-6060


  • USA Diving Winter National Championships

    There will be past Olympians and world championship team members taking to the board to see who is the best in the country. There will be so little splash you'll barely know they're diving. Through Sun., Dec. 22.

    Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center, MLK & Trinity, 512/471-7771


  • Whatchu' Talkin Bout Christmuss?

    Rebecca Havemeyer and Stanley Roy ain't the half of it. Mitzi, Silky, LSM, Russell, Khatti, the Infant o' Prague, and bacon, bacon, bacon. The MUST-SEE show of the year. And if ya fancy: See it from the balcony with a bottle and thou. And maybe some bacon? Fri.-Sun., Dec. 20-22, 8:30pm. $12-150.

    The North Door, 502 Brushy, 512/485-3002