Arabic music, belly dancing and belly-dance classes, complimentary Arabic sweets, candy, and coffee – all of these accompany a bazaar full of goodies from Syria, Egypt, and Morocco for exotic holiday gifts. 10am-10pm. Free.
You know all those closed streets Downtown? Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em for three days with five stages of music and performances, car shows, parties, gaming, kids activities, and more. Best of all, it's completely free. Makes you forgive them about the traffic, doesn't it? Fri., Nov. 16, 6pm-2am; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 17-18, 10am-2am.
Come and meet a dog or cat who might be a perfect match for you. Already have enough pets? You can purchase something from the baked goods table or bring supplies to help keep the unadopted animals happy and healthy. noon-6pm.
Want to party don't want a little distance from Downtown. Like so many of the events this weekend it will be a "Euro-style ultra-lounge," only this time it's in the rustic environs just outside of town. Sat., Nov. 17, 8pm-12mid. $100.
Get your tickets for one of the titillating shows featuring aerialists, exotic dancers, burlesque performances, and DJs all tasked with tempting and teasing the crowd. Thu.-Sat., Nov. 15-17, 8pm & 12mid; Sun., Nov. 18, 8pm. $300.
Break in those new jeans and boots with a country dance. Barbecue and drinks keep you energized for a few more turns around the floor. Awards go to the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl. 6-9pm. $10 ($5, advance).
Anderson Mill Community Center, 11500 El Salido Pkwy.
Learn something about the architecture of the Neill-Cochran House before attempting to re-create it using gingerbread. Kids between the ages of 6 and 11 can also make a small, edible house to take home. Call to register and wear clothes that could use some frosting on them. 11am. $10.
Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel, 478-2335
Of course a group named Formula VIP Events will have some elegant (and costly) options for you. Three events each day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner/after hours. Breakfast ($90) includes champagne. Brunch ($150-300) has drinks and entertainment. The dinners ($225-500) consist of multiple courses, classy drinks, live music, and more swanky accouterments, with the final night an afterparty homage to Prohibition benefiting LifeWorks. Fri.-Sun., Nov. 16-18.
Bring your motorcycle license if you want to rent a hog, take a ride through the hills outside Austin, and grab some barbecue in Lockhart. Location given upon registration. Fri.-Sat., Nov. 16-17, noon-4pm. $175.
Believe it or not these three days of top notch DJs (including a surprise performer on Sunday), lights, giveaways, and go-go dancers are just a preamble to the real party at the F1 events in May. Fri., Nov. 16, 8pm-2am; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 17-18, noon-2am.
It seems everyone is creating a "European-style nightclub" during F1 and this is no exception. That it's sponsored by Lamborghini and Patron should tell you something (as should the price). Fri.-Sun., Nov. 16-18, 9:30pm-2am. $300 and up.
The Convention Center has been transformed into a party palace and Friday has Flo Rida and Cobra Starship ($55). Enrique Iglasias and Nelly take care of Saturday ($70). Fri.-Sat., Nov. 16-17, 7:30-11:45pm.
Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/404-4000
Santa's tired of waiting for global warming to catch up at the North Pole. He's spending most of his pre-Christmastime among the 1.5 million lights of Santa's Ranch. Why not join him? Through Dec. 30, 6-10pm. $24 per car.
9561 N. I-35, New Braunfels (two miles south of Tanger Outlet Mall)
Chefs Parind Vora and Bill McGrory prepare signature appetizers to pair with Andretti wines for the pleasure of wine lovers and race fans alike. Mario Andretti's appearance is rumored. The party is free for Formula One VIP badge holders – for everyone else, $50. 5-9pm.
These cats have been more than herded. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, these circus cats ride skateboards, jump through hoops, and play in a rock band (!). Nov. 12-18: Mon.-Wed., 7pm; Thu.-Fri., 7 & 10pm; Sat., 4, 7, & 10pm; Sun., 1, 4, & 7pm. $18.
Renowned local chef Shawn Cirkiel adds a nightclub vibe to his Downtown restaurant for F1. Great eats are a given, but live music from Suzanna Choffel, Tameca Jones, and Sara Overall make it even more worth your while. After 10pm El John Selector takes over the DJ booth for unstoppable dance-floor antics. Fri.-Sun., Nov. 16-18, 8-10pm (dinner), 10pm-1am (after party). $300.
Share the warmth and donate new or gently used blankets, towels, and pillows to five area nonprofits – including Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace – via city newcomers Sleep Experts. Through Thanksgiving.
Sleep Experts locations or the Girl Scouts of Central Texas
Habitat for Humanity now offers free, once-a-month tours of recent and past home-building sites. See how much they've accomplished, and find out what's yet to be done. Call or e-mail to reserve a seat.