Austin provides unconventional ways to celebrate holiday


Jonathan Garza

Lauren Frye and Deanne Hufnagel ice skate at Whole Foods on Sunday afternoon. Whole Foods annually sets up a public ice rink at the upper deck for the holiday season. 

Lauren L'Amie

The time has come — department store speakers blast holiday radio on repeat, ordinary people allow ornamented trees and creepy bearded dolls in their homes and family gatherings supply no shortage of baked goods and tacky sweaters. The holiday season is an excuse to eat every cookie in sight, but celebrating in Austin means there are creative and unconventional ways to have holiday fun. 

Texas Ski Ranch Snow Park

No snow, no slopes, no problem. Texas Ski Ranch has a new addition to their facilities in New Braunfels — a massive outdoor snowboarding park. The park officially opened for Texas-style snowboarding in September, following months of constructing man-made “slopes” and covering them in a special type of AstroTurf that mimics the effects of real snow. 

Special events coordinator Catie Bialick said the park was built with beginning riders in mind. 

“It’s great for people who are preparing to go to the mountains to learn to board before their trip,” Bialick said. “As we add more and more features we’re getting more advanced riders out here. It’s definitely changing as we build.”

The park partnered with Burton snowboarding company to complete its construction and features learn-to-ride clinics plus a tubing hill. Open ride times are available Wednesday through Sunday. Individual or group lessons can be booked in advance. 

Ice Skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods

Indulge in another Texas version of a winter wonderland every day in December — ice skating on top of the Whole Foods downtown location. Each year, the store installs a small covered ice skating rink on their plaza overlooking the downtown skyline. The rink is small but offers the experience of ice skating, even if it’s 70 degrees outside. The rink is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
and charges a $10 entry fee, including skate rentals. 

Alamo Drafthouse Christmas Quote-Alongs

The famous Alamo Drafthouse cinema provides a safe haven this holiday season for those unrelenting movie-quote maniacs. While the theater hosts numerous interactive screenings and “quote-alongs” year round, this season features some of the most quote-able classics, including “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story” and “Elf.” 

Also on the schedule this season is the “Xmas Pop Sing-Along,” a night dedicated to singing the best pop renditions of classic Christmas jams, from Mariah Carey and NSYNC to David Bowie. In the wise words of Will Ferrell, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. 

Show schedules vary by location, and times and availability can be found on the Alamo Drafthouse website, 

Lala’s Christmas-themed Bar

Whether the holidays are coming to a close or have yet to begin, it’s always Christmas at Lala’s. Located on Justin Lane in Allandale, the local dive bar is revered for its cozy atmosphere and year-round dedication to the kitschy spirit of Christmas. The walls are covered in Christmas decor, featuring a tree, lights and a jukebox blaring classic ‘50s tunes and old standards. Get that warm and fuzzy feeling, whether it’s because of the decorations or a shot of whiskey.