Where to Spend Thanksgiving Day in Austin

Where to Spend Thanksgiving in Austin

Christina and I faced this question – where do we spend Thanksgiving Day?! – during our recent trip to Austin over the holidays. Since most places are closed on Thanksgiving (see pics of what usually busy South Congress looked like below), we had to get creative with our sight-seeing choices. Find out what’s open and get ideas on where to spend Thanksgiving Day in Austin below!

Austin South Congress
What the usually hustling and bustling South Congress Ave. looked like – a ghost town.

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I could literally stand in the middle of the street!

The good thing about it being so empty? No long wait to take a pic in front of this infamous Austin wall:

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Find it on the side of Jo’s Coffee in South Congress.

Now juxtapose that with what we found on the side of a church:

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Ha! How fitting!

So where can we go that’s actually open on Thanksgiving Day? Well, there’s this awesome public graffiti wall/park that open year-round: Hope Outdoor Gallery.

Hope Outdoor Gallery

Hope Outdoor Gallery Austin

I wrote about Hope Outdoor Gallery in a previous post that covered what it was, it’s origins, etc. Even though I’ve been there before, it doesn’t get boring because it’s always changing. The art on the walls is always different because it’s publicly open. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?!

Hope Outdoor Gallery Austin


Christina was playing with her new camera, so she made me look as model-like as I will ever get. Hehe thanks for all the pics!
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Selfie! ?


This place never fails to leave me with some cool, new photos!

Hope Outdoor Gallery Austin
How fitting.

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Hope Outdoor Gallery Austin

Don’t forget to hike to the top to get ah-mazing views of the city!


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I felt very fortunate to have been able to watch the sun set with my best friend.


Word of the wise – wear shoes that you can scuff up! We obviously did no such thing and quickly found out that the ground to be uneven and muddy. ? If you want to climb to the top, you’ll also be climbing on a dirt trail.


Hope Outdoor Gallery Austin
Someone thought the leaves needed more color.

Hope Outdoor Gallery Austin

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Now that the sun has set…what do we do at night? Remember, it’s Thanksgiving so practically everywhere is closed!

Alamo Drafthouse

Well, Christina found these tickets at Alamo Drafthouse for Fantastic Beasts and our food was a traditional Thanksgiving meal! Gotta keep with tradition…

Both of us nearly keeled over from seeing this in the theater:


How Fantastic is this (heh, see what I did there)?!

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We were seriously SO excited upon seeing this. Props aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Although it was more than 2.5 hours long, time flew by. Potterheads will not be disappointed! Now I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Off to catch some #fantasticbeasts! ? #thanksgiving2016 #hp⚡#ifoundthem

A video posted by Jessica Pei (@heyjpei) on

This was my first time at an Alamo Drafthouse, and I must say, the service was waaay better than the service at Studio Movie Grill. The nice waiters showed us how to order (as this was our first time there) and quickly brought out the food. If you’re curious, here’s our Thanksgiving dinner:

Alamo Drafthouse Thanksgiving Meal
Mmmm SCRUMPTIOUS! Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, dinner rolls, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pecan pie (not pictured).

Needless to say, I was very full. The experience of stabbing at a plate in the dark was also a novel one. Have you ever been to an Alamo Drafthouse? What did you get?

So that was our Thanksgiving afternoon in Austin! Have you been anywhere cool during the holidays?


  • How we got there: Megabus
    • Get on at Dallas’s Pearl Arts Station; drop off at Austin’s Megabus station (by UT’s campus)
    • Round trip was ~$35
  • How we got around: Ride Austin, Austin’s alternative to Uber.
  • What to do:
  • Time spent:
    • 1.5-2 hours at Hope
    • 3 hours at Alamo

Read more: HOPE Outdoor Gallery, How to Spend a 3-Day Weekend in Austin