12 Vacation Attractions In and Around San Marcos, Buda, and Kyle

The City of Kyle hosts events at the newly renovated Mary Kyle Hartson Park downtown. (Courtesy of the City of Kyle)

Until December 25 | Kyle’s 25 Days of Christmas

Before Christmas, the Kyle City Parks and Recreation Department hosts events at the newly renovated Mary Kyle Hartson Park downtown. Attractions will include food vendors and themed days such as Music Mondays, which will feature holiday music and local vendors, and Taco Tuesdays. Throughout the week, Bailey Christian Studios will be on hand to take professional photos of the children’s visits with Santa. The holiday lights will be on display throughout December in the park for the community to enjoy. Mon.-Fri. 5pm-9pm, Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. Photos Dec. 15-18, 22 and 23, $30-$100. Mary Kyle Hartson Square Park, 101 S. Burleson St., Kyle. www.cityofkyle.com/recreation/december-events

16-19 Dec. | Wander among the holiday stalls

The 13th annual Buda Trail of Lights returns for foot traffic after being a drive-thru only experience in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Held at Historic Stagecoach Park, the event features holiday light shows created by local businesses, organizations and other groups. Posts will be voted on and the three posts with the most votes will receive city signs. Lighting will be provided along the sidewalks and walking paths, and Santa Claus will be on hand to visit the children. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Free (entry). Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda. www.ci.buda.tx.us/525/trail-of-lights

Until December 24 | Cabela’s Winter Wonderland

Visit Santa’s Wonderland at the Cabela location in Buda. Discover the wonderland, toy shop and aquariums in the store while waiting to get a free photo with Santa Claus. Those wishing to have their picture taken with Santa must make an online reservation. By appointment only. To free. Cabela’s, 15570 I-35, Buda. www.cabelas.com/shop/en/santas-wonderland

Until January 10 | Take a walk in the forest

Around the gazebo in downtown Buda, the Festival of Trees will take place in the New Year as a way to bring the community together. The event is free, but donations are welcome and will benefit small businesses in Buda. Residents who purchase a spot along the Greenbelt can decorate their tree to participate in the forest for community enjoyment. Each tree will feature a plaque with the names of those who decorated the tree. To free. Open daily to the public. Downtown Greenbelt, 319 Main Street, Buda. www.downtownbudatx.com/festival-of-trees11

Up to 12 | A Mermaid’s Christmas

Join the Mermaid Society of Texas for their third annual Merry Mermaid Market at their gift shop and gallery at Wonder World Park. There will be holiday music, wine and hot chocolate available while shopping from a selection of craft vendors. There will also be special train rides and cave tours through the park. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Free (entry). Wonder World Park, 1000 Prospect St., San Marcos. 512-825-2819. www.mermaidsocietysmtx.com

18-19 Dec. | Driving in a holiday movie

Doc’s Drive-in Theater hosts its third annual Holiday Market filled with holiday activities for the whole family, such as decorating ornaments and taking pictures with Santa. Local vendors and live music will be on site all day, followed by holiday film screenings of “Elf,” “Arthur Christmas,” “A Christmas Story” and “The Holiday” at 6 p.m. Free entry to the market from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free movie tickets (3 and under), $6 (4-11), $12 (driver and 12 and over). 1540 Satterwhite Road, Buda. 512-960-4460. www.docsdriveintheatre.com

December 22 | Warm up with hot chocolate

Bring your own mug or buy a commemorative mug to make your own hot chocolate at Cocoa Jingle in downtown Buda. Stroll Main Street, hit the shops for hot chocolate samples, and stick around for the pajama contest at 5:15-6 p.m. Free. Buda city center. 512-523-1075. www.downtownbudatx.com/events

January 1 | Dive into the new year

The Town of Kyle and the Department of Parks and Recreation host the 18th Annual Polar Bear Splash, kicking off the New Year with hot chocolate and a dip in the James Adkins Pool. Community members can watch the event for free. Regular registration is open until December 31. Late registration on January 1 will cost an additional $5. 10 a.m. $20. 1100 W. Center St., Kyle. 512-262-3939. www.cityofkyle.com/recreation/polar-bear-splash-2022

Worth the trip

Until January 2 | Drive through the Christmas lights

Visit Santa’s Ranch to experience over a mile of light displays, animated Christmas shows and more. Hot chocolate, hot corn and other snacks will be available. 6pm-10pm (Sun-Thu), 6pm-11pm (Fri-Sat). $35 (per vehicle), $75 (per vehicle for season pass). 9561 N. I-35, New Braunfels. 830-743-1293. www.santasranch.net

Until December 31 | Admire the lights of Zilker Park

Experience the magic of the holidays from the comfort of a car on the annual Austin Lights Trail. This is the second year that the event will take place in a drive-in format. Participants can tune into the Trail of Lights radio station to listen to holiday music while passing millions of lights. 5:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. daily. Closed Dec. 24, 25, 28, 29. $30 to $65 (depending on time of attendance). 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin. austintrailoflights.org

Until January 30 (Thu-Sun) | Light up the trail

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is hosting its winter light event, Luminations. Participants can walk through paths and gardens lit by luminarias. Reservations are recommended due to limited capacity. 6-9 p.m. daily. Closed Dec. 24, 25, 31, Jan. 1 Free (0-4 years), $10 (members 5-17), $15 (non-members 5-17), $20 (members 18 and over), $25 (non-members 18 and over). 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin. 512-232-0100. www.wildflower.org

Until December 23 (weekends) | See Christmas at the Caverns

The Natural Bridge Caverns celebrate Christmas with a trail of lights, an outdoor maze, live music and carols. 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. $14.99 to $21.99 (depending on attraction and time of attendance). 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, San Antonio. 210-651-6101. www.naturalbridgecaverns.com

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