Christmas is only seven days away! While some homes chose to opt out of a holiday display this year, many families and neighborhoods are continuing the tradition this holiday season.
So put on your favorite Christmas tunes, grab some hot chocolate and drive to these holiday displays around town for a festive experience.
Spindler Family Light Show, Georgetown
With over 28,000 LED lights, 17 lighted trees and a computerized light show, the Spindler family is continuing the tradition of lighting up their Georgetown home located at 2441 Candle Ridge Trail. The family is celebrating their eighth annual light show, and families around town have made it a priority to attend. Along with the light show, the Spindler family is collecting unwrapped toys for the Williamson County Brown Santa, which gives presents to kids from low-income families.
Tune in to 88.5 FM while driving through the show for the ultimate experience. The show runs everyday from 6-10 p.m., so grab your friends and family and head over to the Spindler Family Light Show. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
Chinati Court, Cedar Park
Despite the pandemic, the Chinati Court cul-de-sac is lighting up the whole street for a safe, socially distanced light experience. The display of lights is a contribution from different families in the cul-de-sac, offering a walk-through or drive-thru experience. The families ask that you socially distance in groups of six if you chose to walk through the displays. The holiday show will also be taking in donations for Brown Santa. More information on the Chinati Court holiday show can be found on their Facebook page.
Rhodes Family Christmas, Cedar Park
The Rhodes Family Christmas will continue lighting up Cedar Park for the 20th year in a row. The family is encouraging people to drive by and enjoy the Christmas spirit after a challenging year. The holiday display is also a collection site for the Cedar Park Area Food Bank. The display will run until Jan. 1 from 5:45-10 p.m. at 2410 Sharon Dr., so drive by for a shiny, festive experience. More information on the Rhodes Family Christmas can be found on their Facebook page.
Maywald Christmas Lights, 10505 Twilight Vista
Maywald Christmas Lights
Over 200,000 lights will illuminate Twilight Vista this year. The Maywalds are continuing a 12-year tradition with this year's display, which is bigger and better than in years past. The display is completely free, but the family asks guests to make a donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation when entering. The event is a walk-through experience, although the family encourages guests to remain socially distant from each other. The display will run everyday until Jan. 3 from 6-10 p.m. More information on the Maywald Christmas Lights can be found here.
Diagon Alley ATX, Slaughter Lane & Bungalow
Have a very Harry Christmas this year by attending Diagon Alley ATX's Christmas show. The display is known in Austin for its Diagon Alley Halloween makeover, but with 2020 being such a tough year, the family turned Diagon Alley into a winter wonderland for a festive holiday experience.
Inspired by the Yule Ball in the fourth Harry Potter book, the display transports you into the wizarding world. The display is free, but donations are being accepted for Foster Angels of Central Texas, Variety Texas and ZACH Theatre. The holiday display runs every half hour Monday through Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. More information on Diagon Alley ATX can be found on their Facebook page.
This is part of a holiday series counting down to Christmas, so make sure to visit Austonia tomorrow, as we reach six days until Christmas.
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Live Music Capital of the World. Mecca of all things "weird." City of hippies, slackers and honky tonks—Austin's reputation was once synonymous with all things "cool."
But after three years as the top city to live in the U.S., Austin fell to No. 13 in the U.S. News & World Report's ranking this year.
For over a hundred years, Austinites have lamented that their city's charm is gone, and some continue to worry that the city has swapped too many of its grittier live music venues for gleaming corporate towers.
Has Austin's coolness taken a fall from grace? Here's a look at what could be affecting Austin's reputation.
Migration and affordability—not so cool
3. The median priced home costs $635K, while the median Austin resident can only afford a $438K home.— Nik Shah 🏡 (@NikhaarShah) June 16, 2022
This affordability gap of $187K is 3x higher than at the national level! pic.twitter.com/CH036nj8Nn
There can always be too much of a good thing–including dating profiles bragging about packing up and moving to Austin.
Austin saw a higher growth rate than any other U.S. city from 2010-2020 as the metro attracted 171,465 newcomers in a decade.
With highly publicized move-ins including billionaire Elon Musk, podcaster Joe Rogan and tech HQs, came a gaggle of Californians eager to eke out a living in the burgeoning "boomtown" paradise.
An affordability crisis ensued.
Young people, who often serve as the drumbeat of a city's "coolness," are quickly being priced out amid skyrocketing rent. While a Rent.com study ranked Austin as one of the best cities for young professionals in 2022, the city's share of 20-24-year-old residents was 7.5% of the population in 2019—down from 8.6% in 2010.
And the so-called "slackers" that helped make Austin famous are now struggling to survive in a city where the median price for a home is now $550,000, especially as many in the city's creative class make well below a living wage.
Live music and things to do—still cool
The outside, Zilker, Towne Lake, Barton Springs, dozens of decent hiking within the area. This is the advantage, do the free outside stuff (Austin has wonderful patio restaurants, etc but then the 💵 goes) More time inside less advantage to living here.— Trust_w/o_Journey_Is_Compliance (@runningman902) June 7, 2022
Austin was famously dubbed the "Live Music Capital of the World" in 1991 when officials discovered that the city had more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. And with 46.4 venues per 100,000 residents in 2018, that mantra remained largely true for years.
After the worst of the COVID pandemic, which was estimated to shutter up to 70% of music venues in the Red River Cultural District alone, the city's live music scene has worked hard to bounce back. The city now has the fifth-highest number of small music venues per capita in the nation and comes in at No. 4 among the best live music cities in the U.S., per a 2022 Clever.com study.
And many of Austin's unique attractions remain timeless. While paddle boarding on Town Lake has become overcrowded and even caused swimmer's itch for some, outdoor attractions like Barton Springs Pool, the Barton Creek Greenbelt and other Hill Country swimming holes remain a popular pastime.
And while the coolness of Sixth Street has become riddled with violence and safety concerns, the city still boasts plenty of nightlife districts.
Instead of the Armadillo Den of Austin yore, the new Austin boasts bachelorette party entertainment on West Sixth Street, intimate concerts in East Austin and a refuge for tech professionals on booming Rainey Street.
Keeping Austin Weird—barely hanging on
If you know...you know pic.twitter.com/auDQyVurUy— Evil MoPac (@EvilMopacATX) September 3, 2021
Leslie Cochran, the high-heel-wearing homeless man who personified the "Keep Austin Weird" movement, is long gone. In his place are controversial attempts at keeping that mindset alive, including an Instagrammable sculpture of the mantra approved by the city's Historic Landmark Commission in February.
But pockets of that signature Austin feel still exist. It's not uncommon to see Sam Greyhorse riding on his horse on South Congress.
And while South Congress is losing longtime businesses and gaining luxury retailers in its new Music Lane development, other areas—like Barton Springs—still retain their carefree, old Austin feel.
New "weird" strongholds have cropped up as well, like Austin FC's Q2 Stadium, where 20,500 soccer fans gather to chant Austin's mantras, lift up inflatable chickens and celebrate their community.
"Cooler" alternatives emerge
Moving out of Austin is so good for your mental health.— 𝒟𝑜𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝒷𝒶𝒷𝓎 🥂 (@adeeoxox) July 30, 2021
Still, Austin's residents are facing the second-most overvalued housing market in the nation, and many are looking for greener—and cooler—pastures.
Instead of cross-continent moves, some new move-ins are now relocating to nearby cities, according to a Placer.ai study. The study found that Austin's "boomtown" status could already be overshadowed by new tech markets like Philadelphia, Phoenix and Raleigh, North Carolina.
And even within the state, Austin fell behind Dallas, Houston and San Antonio as Texas' most sought-after city.
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Elon Musk’s spacecraft and rocket company SpaceX could be moving into Central Texas with an industrial facility in Bastrop County.
Bastrop County property records show that an entity tied to the Boring Company purchased the land near what it already owned along FM 1209. Then in early June, a 46.5-acre tract was transferred from the Boring Company’s entity to SpaceX.
In a June 6 filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, SpaceX gave notice for "Project Echo," a nearly 30-acre warehouse at 816 FM 1209. The project, just a 20-minute drive from Tesla's Giga Texas factory, was authorized to start construction early this month and has an estimated completion at the end of March 2023.
Meanwhile, the SpaceX jobs are for a facilities engineer and a senior application software engineer. The facilities engineer would be tasked with enabling SpaceX to achieve its long-term mission while the software engineer position would create systems to enable rapid build and reuse of the Starship—a reusable rocket the company is developing to carry cargo and people to space—as well as designing manufacturing software that will be used for Starlink, the company’s network of satellites providing internet access.
SpaceX has a site in South Texas along with a rocket testing facility an hour and a half drive north of Austin, in McGregor. Last year, job postings indicated SpaceX's plans for an Austin factory.
This brings an expansion of Musk’s companies in the region, with Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County and the Boring Company based in Pflugerville.
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