Landry Allred is a freelancer for Austonia. Alongside her barista job at a local Austin coffee shop, she also works for the startup branch Austinites101 as a contributor. In the past, she's had the privilege of working at multiple publications including Austin Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, Austin Woman Magazine and The Daily Texan. She graduated from UT in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and is excited to share more untold stories of Austin.
Finding food you can pick up or restaurants to dine in at on Christmas Day can be difficult. But whether you're looking for some classic Chinese food or just want some coffee, some Austin places are keeping their doors open.
Here are restaurants in Austin, both local and chains, that will be open on Christmas Day.
Bennu Coffee, multiple locations
In the mood for coffee but not sure where to go? Bennu Coffee has got you covered this holiday season! It will be open at all three locations during the holidays. The Highland location will continue to serve 24/7, and the MLK and Congress locations will be open all week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Swing by to grab a cup of joe or maybe even a last-minute stocking stuffer gift card.
Old Thousand, multiple locations
This Christmas, the neighborhood Chinese restaurant on 11th Street will be open for dine-in for anyone with cravings for hotpot or any other Chinese dish. You can make reservations by phone at 737-222-6637. Their Burnet location will also be open on Christmas Day for Ho-Ho Hotpot takeout, which includes Mala Beef Tallow Broth or Smoke Veggie Umami Broth, a variety of meats, veggies, noodles, sides and dessert. This meal costs $110 with the option to purchase an additional hotpot kit for $40. You can preorder by the same phone number and pick up on Christmas Day 4-8 p.m.
24 Diner, 600 North Lamar Blvd.
This classic American diner, which was modeled after diners of the 50s, will be open for limited hours on Christmas Day—from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Customers can get their fill of classic diner food in a swanky environment.
Simi Estiatorio, 601 Congress Ave.
This Greek restaurant, which offers fine dining in the middle of downtown, will be open both on Christmas and New Years Day with its regular hours and menu. On Christmas, the restaurant will be open from 5-11 p.m. and will offer seafood, hearty steaks and tasty Mediterranean dishes.
Wu Chow, 500 West 5th St.
Celebrate this holiday season with Wu Chow! This farm-to-fresh Chinese restaurant will be open for dine-in from 5-11 p.m. on Christmas Day. If you’d like to order to-go, they are available only by walk-in on Christmas Day. Wu Chow offers modern Chinese dishes, which represent all eight styles of Chinese cuisine.
- Applebee’s: Limited hours
- Denny’s: 24/7
- Starbucks: Different hours at various locations
- IHOP: 24/7
- Waffle House: Different hours at various locations
- McDonald's: Normal hours
- Sonic: Normal hours
It isn't Christmas without tamales and Austin has one of the top-ranked eateries for the warmly wrapped goods.
Here are the best places in Austin to satisfy your tamale craving.
El Sunzal Restaurant, 642 Calles St.
Ranked in the top 25 best tamale restaurants in Texas, El Sunzal was the only Austin restaurant to make the list. If you're stopping by the restaurant, you can get other Mexican and Salvadoran food from huevos rancheros to migas.
Fresa’s South First, 1703 South 1st St.
This month, Fresa’s is offering holiday tamales, which feature tamale meals, by the dozen and special desserts. They are taking pre-orders until Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. Pickups are available Dec. 22-24 at its South 1st Street location. Tamales can be ordered online at fresaschicken.com or by phone at 512-915-0362.
Delicious Tamales, 1931 East Oltorf St.
Get ready for 13 flavors of authentic, handmade tamales ready to unwrap this winter season at San Antonio-based Delicious Tamales. They opened their first Austin location on Dec. 13 and will continue to serve tamales all year long. Customers can order in person, both ready to serve or frozen to reheat later.
Lick It Up, multiple locations
This plant-based Mexican food truck opened in August of 2020 and is offering holiday tamales this season. Customers can choose from red chile, green chile with cheese and black bean with cheese. Tamales are available for pick up until Dec. 22 at either their South or East Austin location between 5-8 p.m. You can order online here.
Tamale Addiction, 114 East Parsons St.
Another great palace to satisfy your itch for tamales, Tamale Addiction offers organic options for tamales which include vegan and vegetarian choices. They also serve meat, banana leaf and dessert tamales. For this winter season, tamales are only available by walk-in only and the shop is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Except this week, they are off for Christmas Eve.)
Tamale House East, 1707 East 6th St.
One of the top tamale places in Austin, Tamale House East has seating both indoors and outdoors and a sizable amount of food to choose from. For this holiday season, they are offering holiday tamale specials which include six-pack pork, chicken, or bean, cheese and jalapeno tamales with sauce, each for $30. Currently, they are only open Friday through Sunday.
Rosie’s Tamale House, 3436 State Highway 71
This family-run joint sits in Bee Cave and offers a simple Mexican and American food experience. Rosie’s Tamale House, which has been owned and operated by the Arriaga family since 1973, offers their famous gluten-free tamales at a half-dozen order for $7.25 or their pint of beans famous tamale for $4.25. Customers can order online here.
J’s Shaved Ice / Tamales, 1716 East Slaughter Lane
Typically a shaved ice shop, J’s is bringing back their tamales for a limited time. They have tons of tamales to choose from, ranging from spicy pork to cheese ruckus to vegetarian. Tamales are made fresh every day and can be ordered either online or by phone at 512-470-5628.
Austin may not be a snowy winter wonderland this December, but that doesn't mean you can't be transported to a land of faux snow, Christmas trees and holiday cheer.
Here are six places that are hosting winter wonderlands in Austin.
Winter Wanderland at Austin Motel, 1220 South Congress Ave.
Get ready for a holiday experience you’ll never forget! From Dec. 2-26, the Austin Motel is hosting a neon rainbow holiday experience, which includes trees, rainbow lights, carols with Drag Mrs. Clause, Hunky Santa, weekly holiday film screenings and boozy holiday drinks galore. Thursdays through Saturdays offer some of these special holiday treats, so come ready to have a jolly time. This is a family-friendly event, reservations aren’t required and admission is free, but they do ask you to donate to CARY, Council on At-Risk Youth. The full schedule can be found here.
Yelp Pink Winter Wonderland at Revival Coffee, 1405 East 7th St.
This year, Yelp is hosting their Deck the Halls with Yelp, a $100K Holiday Winterization Fund which helps local businesses fund improvement projects needed for the winter season. To celebrate this launch, they have partnered with Enchantment Event Decor to create a pink winter wonderland at Revival Coffee. This winter wonderland will also serve as a way community members can nominate local businesses in person to receive funding, learn about the campaign and celebrate the holiday season. Expect unique lights, tinsel, pink trees and an overall Instagram moment.
Illuminate at W Austin, 200 Lavaca St.
This year, the famous secret holiday bar at W Hotel will become a sophisticated winter wonderland! Guests will truly have the chance to shine during this holiday season and enjoy appetizers and tasty Fire or Ice cocktails off their brand new holiday menu.
South Pole at Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, 605 Davis St.
This year, the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is hosting a marvelous winter wonderland with its third annual fourth-floor South Pole. They have revamped the rooftop desk to showcase outdoor igloos for private dining, holiday-themed cocktails (and also Friendsgiving-themed cocktails), and holiday-themed meals from Geraldine’s. Reservations for the private igloos will open on Dec. 3 and will also be open for a week around Valentine’s Day. They can be made here. Guests also have the choice to purchase hotel and dining packages, which can be made through Hotel Van Zandt or Geraldine’s.
Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
Get ready for the 57th annual Austin Trail of Lights running now through the end of the month. Tickets range from $15 to $65 and can be purchased online. The event is hosted by the Trail of Lights Foundation, and this year, it’s a drive-thru event. Enjoy over two million lights that light up the park, 90 holiday trees, and over 70 holiday displays and lighted tunnels. They also offer private nights in which entry is free through the STARS at the Trail program. More information about the Austin Trail of Lights can be found here.
Peppermint Parkway at COTA, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.
From now until Dec. 26, the Circuit of The Americas is hosting Peppermint Parkway, a winter wonderland where guests can enjoy a mile of immersive holiday displays, dancing elves, a plaza of food and activities and seven million holiday lights. There are four ticket packages that range from $40 to $95 and can include, along with regular admission, a fast pass and/or a chance to take a lap around the famous track. Regular admission includes a show, mailing letters to Santa, a mistletoe kissing booth, a holiday express train, amusement rides, treats, carols, a zipline and more!
Have fun walkin’ in a winter wonderland!
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