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Visiting Austin & Hill Country

Catch the spirit of the holidays with a trip through the communities on the 2013 Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail. Blanco, an hour west of Austin, makes a nice stop to stroll through Bindseil Park along festively lit pathways. With the Old Blanco County Courthouse and downtown shops lit and decorated, Blanco is a holiday wonderland.  Johnson City, 15 miles north of Blanco, adds its homes and businesses to the holiday light trail, including 1,000,000 lights at Pedernales Electric Cooperative Headquarters. The Marble Falls Walkway of Lights, 25 miles north of Johnson City, is another must-see stop on the trail.

Stop at Lakeside Park in Marble Falls, for a leisurely stroll past 150 light sculptures reflecting off the water. Further north in Llano, the city holiday tradition of Starry, Starry Nights is at its home in Badu Park along the banks of the Llano River. Don’t miss Llano’s Snow Day In the Park, on December 8th – kids love to sled and tube down the snow hill. Through December 22nd, visit Santa on weekend evenings in Llano.

Fredericksburg is fabulous during the holidays. Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country 80 miles west of Austin, Fredericksburg hosts its Eisbahn, adding outdoor ice skating to the fun of the holidays. Join the fun through January 6th at the Fredericksburg Marktplatz – take a spin on the ice amidst Fredericksburg’s winter wonderland.

All too soon, the holidays are over and Austin and Texas Hill Country launch into 2013 with new and traditional events. Make short order of those extra holiday calories at January’s Austin 3M Half Marathon and February’s Live Strong Marathon and Half Marathon.

Austin’s 2013 3M Half Marathon is January 13th, and is one of the capitol city’s largest racing events. The point-to-point course is primarily downhill, starting at the corner of Capital of Texas Highway and Stonelake Boulevard with the finish at 17th Street and Congress Avenue.

The Livestrong Austin Marathon brings a full weekend of activities to the city. The Austin Marathon Expo features live music and speakers at the Palmer Events Center in downtown Austin. Race events include the Marathon, Half Marathon and Paramount 5K. Enjoy over 30 live bands and entertainers lining the course on race day. Come cheer on your favorite runner – Austin City Hall, the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, and the University of Texas Intramural Fields make great viewing locations. For the finish, head to 10th Street and Congress to congratulate the runners.

There’s no more appropriate place than Austin, the Texas State Capitol, to celebrate Texas Independence Day. Visit Austin March 1st through 3rd, for 2013 Celebrate Texas events and festivities. Make the 5K run or walk up Congress Avenue before the Celebrate Texas Parade begins, visit the Capitol Rotunda for the noon celebration, then move to the Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig Museum for the afternoon ceremonies. Celebrate Texas independence in Austin.

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