Wow, 2015 went fast. But 2016 is just getting started, and the Austin area hardly slows down after the holidays when it comes to staying healthy, listening to amazing local music and finding some amazing new food.
We know your options are nearly endless for late night New Year’s festivities. So we kick off our events roundup with a New Year’s Eve bash for the whole family — no alcohol, but plenty of awesome music and fireworks. Then, Austin brings out some of its best local music to clubs all around town for Free Week. It’s just like it sounds, free bands everywhere.
But if you’d prefer an elegant evening that will help save lives, check out the Dell Children’s Gala. Many of Austin’s top business, civic and nonprofit leaders gather at the event each year to contribute money to the Dell Children’s Medical Center with silent auctions and casino fun.
Finally, Austin is always happy to bring out the beer. And January features a special beer and bacon event that’s sure to be the most delightful way to put the dagger in that New Year’s resolution. So, pull out the calendar and see what you and your family might enjoy this month.
Dec. 31: Austin’s New Year 2016
If you haven’t heard Austin’s Groupo Fantasma rock their latin funk sound, you might make it one of the last things you do in 2015. The group joins Golden Dawn Arkestra and Carolyn Wonderland in the city-sponsored New Year’s party for the whole family. It’s alcohol-free. The event is packed with games, folk music, public art, food trucks and, of course, fireworks.
When: 4-10 p.m.
Where: Auditorium Shores, 800 W. Riverside Drive
Jan. 1: Hike Enchanted Rock and Grab Some Black Eyed Peas
Take a first big step toward that New Year’s resolution with a guided hike at Enchanted Rock, just outside of Fredricksburg. The park rangers will take visitors up the huge rock and share stories about the landmark’s cultural and natural history — it’s pretty interesting. Then, why not indulge a little by swinging by the annual Black Eyed Pea and Cornbread Cookoff out at Torre di Pietra Vineyards. They’ll have live music. Entry is free, but bring a $5 for a tasting kit.
When: Enchanted Rock hikes are scheduled throughout the day. The cook-off is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Enchanted Rock is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965. Torree di Pietra Vineyards is at 10915 East US Hwy 290 in Fredericksburg.
Jan. 1-10: Free Week
The post-holiday hangover is especially dreary for the live music and nightlife industry. But not in Austin. Local artists and bars team up to provide free live music at venues throughout the city. The lineup is huge, and it’s one of the best times to learn about a ton of new bands without paying a cover to get a first listen.
When: Various times
Where: Venues throughout Austin
Jan. 16: The Martin Luther King Festival
Honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by meeting with people from across the region at the MLK statue on the University of Texas campus. Then, march together to the steps of the State Capitol for a short program. Marchers will go on to the historic Hutson-Tillotson University for more celebration, including vendors, live music and more. Organizers are collecting canned goods for the food bank.
When: Marchers meet at 9 a.m. at the MLK statue at UT. The festival is at at 3 p.m.
Where: It starts on the UT campus and the festival is at Hutson-Tillotson, 900 Chicon St.
Jan. 23: Dell Children’s Gala
This elegant and charitable evening will include an incredible dinner, a silent auction and casino tables. It’s a black tie affair, and tickets start at $500. The money helps Dell Children’s Medical Center help more young patients facing some of the toughest situations.
When: 6:30 p.m.-Midnight
Where: Austin Convention Center 500 East Cesar Chavez Street
Jan. 24: Austin Bacon and Beer Festival
Wait, wait… a festival featuring bacon and beer? Yes. Some of Central Texas’ most bacon-centric chefs will showcase their best bacon-oriented dishes. And there will be plenty of beer at Fair Market on the east side of Austin.
When: 2:30 p.m.
Where: Fair Market, 1100 E 5th St.