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Things To Do in Texas This New Year’s Weekend: Dec. 29-Jan. 1

Written by , published December 25, 2017

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Bootstrap your way into the new year with these Texas traditions old and new—the largest fireworks display of its kind in the Central time zone, polar bear plunges in the Gulf of Mexico, and San Antonio's dazzling New Year's celebration as it kicks off its tricentennial year.

AT&T Streaming Lights at Reunion Tower

Dallas: Dec. 31 
The celebratory fireworks show is one of the largest of its kind in the Central time zone featuring pyrotechnics fired from 560 feet above ground. The dazzling display will run for 8 minutes with a synchronized music score, and feature more than 4,000 pyrotechnic special effects with the magnificent downtown skyline as its backdrop. The best vantage points will be on the west side of the Trinity River, along the levees and Trinity Overlook Park, or Trinity Groves.

Tricentennial Kickoff and New Year's Eve Celebration

San Antonio: Dec. 31
The city kicks off its yearlong 300th anniversary celebration with an extraordinary New Year's Eve celebration and free outdoor comme­morative concert at Hemisfair Park. Roaming performers, interactive art installations, projections on buildings, imaginative lighting, and festive decorations will occupy eight acres of festival grounds and spill into the streets of downtown. Enjoy delectable international fare, games, pop-up performances, and more. The event will be punctuated by a spectacular fireworks show choreographed to music.

New Year's Eve Fireworks

South Padre Island: Dec. 31
Watch as the sky lights up and the water sparkles with the reflection of South Padre Island's New Year's fireworks celebration.

Austin's New Year

Austin: Dec. 31
This alcohol-free, family-friendly event at Auditorium Shores celebrates the diversity and creativity of the city with visual art installations, jugglers, storytellers, fire dancers, and other festive performances.

Luckenbach New Year's Eve Celebration

Fredericksburg: Dec. 31
Usher in the New Year with one heck of a party in the historic Luckenbach Texas Dance Hall featuring music by Dale Watson.

USO-Style Hangar Dance

Fredericksburg: Dec. 31
A 1940s-style dance at the Pacific Showroom at the Hangar Hotel with swing dance lessons, big band live music, a costume contest, photo booth, and concessions.

Holidays in Gruene: New Year's Eve at Gruene Hall

Gruene: Dec. 31
A Gruene Hall favorite returns to help ring in the New Year at Texas' oldest dance hall. Advance tickets are recommended. On New Year’s Day, the venue hosts its Hair of the Dog Day, offering free live shows all day.

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Polar Bear Plunge

Corpus Christi: Jan. 1
Take the plunge and help freeze out ALS while celebrating the new year. This year's event will be held in an a-la-carte format, so no need to register—all the same food, drinks, and apparel will be available and you can choose to purchase as much or as little as you'd like. The fun run is free.

Penguin Plunge

South Padre Island: Jan. 1
Boomerang Billy's offers live music, free sandcastle lessons, and a chainsaw sculpture demo, culminating in a plunge at 2 p.m.

Polar Bear Dip

South Padre Island: Jan. 1
This New Year's Day beach party at Clayton's Beach Bar & Grill culminates in a dip at noon. The event will feature live music and a costume contest.

"Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange, 1920-1945"

Austin: Through Jan. 1
It's your last weekend to catch this exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which chronicles two decades of cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States, and showcases examples of modern Mexican art and design. The more than 200 items are drawn primarily from the collections of the Harry Ransom Center.

Free Week

Austin: Jan. 1-8
The first week of January might be the best time for a music fan to visit Austin. Why? Hundreds of Austin bands participate in this annual event that encompasses multiple venues all over the city.

Day 1 Dallas

Dallas: Jan. 1
What better way to celebrate New Year's Day than with family-friendly fun at Fair Park. This all-inclusive event features children's activities, live music, and a spectacular fireworks show. And the best part, all activities are free; the only cost is for food. 

New Year's Day Black-Eyed Pea Cookoff

Hye: Jan. 1
William Chris Vineyards rings in New Year’s Day with prosperity with its annual celebration, Indulge in a black-eyed pea cookoff and black-eyed pea eating contest, all while enjoying live music, dancing, scenic views, and William Chris wines.

Lightwire Theater's "A Very Electric Christmas"

Dallas: Jan. 1
Lightwire Theater is a combination of art, theatre, dance, and technology. This weekend at AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House, the theater company plays with shapes and designs to develop puppetry-based neon creatures that quickly come to life. 

New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge

Temple: Jan. 1
Grab a friend, put on a costume, and take the plunge at Lion's Junction Family Water Park. Hot chocolate and doughnuts will be provided for those who can brrrrave the frosty water. The day will begin with the costume show and contest followed by the plunge and a belly flop splash off. 

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