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04 November . 2019

Our guide to fun holiday events and lights near Rancho Sienna

The holidays are a very special time in the Texas Hill Country, whether you’ve got kids or grandkids, or it’s just the two of you.  Here’s a sampling of our top picks for holiday fun near Rancho Sienna.

Georgetown

We’ll start with Georgetown, home to the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.

For the holidays, Georgetown’s historic square becomes even more magical.

The fun gets an early start on Sunday, Nov. 17, when the U.S. Capital Christmas Tree visits Georgetown’s Town Square as it makes its way from New Mexico’s Carson National Forest to Washington, D.C. At 2 p.m., Santa and his reindeer arrive at the Square in an antique sleigh. As the excitement builds, Williamson Museum will host a holiday craft-making event. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will arrive at 4 p.m. Visitors will be able to sign banners on both sides of the truck carrying the 60-foot tree, and they can take photos with the reindeer for $10. Official U.S. Capitol Tree merchandise will be available for purchase, along with Georgetown collectible ornaments.

On Friday, Nov. 29, Georgetown celebrates the Annual Lighting of the Square, with festivities beginning at 5:30 p.m. Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross will help Santa countdown and flip the switch to turn on thousands of twinkling lights. Downtown shops will be open late for some unique holiday shopping.

On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, it’s the 39th Annual Christmas Stroll around the Square. The festivities begin on Friday with Bethlehem Village, featuring shopping with more than 150 vendors and live entertainment on two stages. Dessert with the Grinch is at 5 p.m., followed by an outdoor screening of the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 6 p.m. On Saturday, there’s even more fun, with a parade at 10 a.m., followed by shopping, dining and live entertainment. Attractions include Bethlehem Village, Santa’s Village, and a Winter Wonderland with ice skating, a swing carousel and a Candyland obstacle course.

 

Cedar Park & Leander

On Friday, Dec. 6, Cedar Park will light up its 400-year-old Heritage Oak with more than 30,000 lights. The Tree Lighting Ceremony and Santa’s Workshop will feature a snow hill, playing areas, live music performances, games and prizes, and photos with Santa. There will also a Yule fire, inflatables, and arts and crafts projects. The Cedar Park Police Department will be accepting new, unwrapped gifts for Blue Santa. Admission is free, with food concessions available for purchase.

Leander’s Old Town Christmas Festival is an all day event on Saturday, Dec. 7, taking place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Activities include the Old Town Rudolph Run, a 5K chip-timed fun run through the streets of Old Town Leander. The Christmas Marketplace features holiday vendors, children’s activities and live music and theater productions. A hometown parade and tree lighting ceremony provides a festive finale.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a favorite family holiday musical, returns to H-E-B Center in Cedar Park on Sunday, Dec. 29. Favorite characters including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snowman, and of course Rudolph will soar off of the screen and come to life on stage for this new holiday classic.

Downtown Austin

From Dec. 13-24, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is an Austin holiday shopping staple featuring nearly 200 curated local and touring artists and makers, live music and local food. Attendees will find gifts in all price ranges as well as fine art for their collections. Shoppers can learn stories about the artists and their works, support local and traveling artists and buy exclusive gifts. The 2019 music lineup is filled with 36 bands ranging from breakout musicians, touring singer-songwriters and Austin legends over 12 days at Palmer Events Center.

Holiday events at The Long Center include a traditional ballet performance of “The Nutcracker,” along with a jazz tap version of this holiday classic called “Of Mice & Music.” On a lighter note, “Graham Reynolds Ruins the Holidays” showcases this Austin composer and bandleader wreaking musical havoc with an explosive set of holiday favorites. Check out the calendar for dates and ticket information.

The Trail of Lights, Austin’s brightest holiday tradition takes place in Zilker Park from Dec. 10-23. Now in its 55th year, this event features 2 million twinkling lights and 40 unique light displays, including the famous light tunnel. There’s also live music, community performances, food and festivities on every evening.

Hill Country

The Hill Country area surrounding Rancho Sienna is filled with festive holiday traditions, and none is more heartwarming than the Hill Country Lighting Trail, featuring millions of twinkling lights in 11 towns. Johnson City’s Lights Spectacular is another don’t-miss Hill Country holiday tradition. 

At Rancho Sienna, we’ll be celebrating Dec. 14 with our own Cookies with Santa party, one of the events and activities enjoyed by our residents throughout the year.