Popcorn & More: Central Texas Movie Theaters near Kyle, Texas


The movies are coming to Kyle! Construction on the city’s first movie theatre and entertainment complex – the EVO Family Entertainment Center – has begun. And by November of this year, residents of Kyle will be able to go to the movies, play bowling and laser tag just minutes away from home.  The complex will feature an 11-auditorium theatre, a 14-lane bowling center, a “casino style” arcade floor featuring video and redemption games, and a full-scale restaurant and bar.  In anticipation for the November opening, here are some other movie entertainment options available around Plum Creek for date nights, girls’ night out or for family-friendly entertainment.

Central Texas Movie Theaters

In South Austin at the intersection of Mopac and Slaughter Lane lies The Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin establishment that offers visitors movies, alcohol, delicious food, and themed/special events. The Drafthouse hosts special screenings, the latest blockbuster releases, as well as sing and quote-a-longs for adults and children to enjoy. Additionally, the Slaughter Lane Drafthouse is home to 400 Rabbits, a cocktail lounge adjacent to the movie theater that features Spanish-inspired bites and specializes in tequila and mescal based cocktails. The programming at Alamo Drafthouse changes every month and can be viewed on the theater’s website. This month they’ve been featuring the Bring it On Cheer-Along and special subtitled showings of Hayao Miyazaki’s newest movie, The Wind Rises.  The Alamo Drafthouse also offers convenient ticket purchasing via their official app available in the iTunes app store. And remember – events at the Drafthouse are popular, and unlike a traditional movie theater, the Alamo Drafthouse requires movie-goers to reserve seats online before attending a show.

Central Texas Movie Theaters

Photo courtesy of the Austin Chronicle

Deeper into Austin (downtown to be exact) Violet Crown Cinema is another food-and-movie establishment located in the 2nd Street District that offers moviegoers an upscale theater experience. The theater’s four screens are devoted to independent, documentary and international and the cinema bar and café offers a full cocktail bar and an appetizer menu with a wide range of options, too. Tickets for the cinema can be reserved and purchased online and the schedule of shows can also be found on the Violet Crown website.

Just south of Kyle, Texas Cinema Showplace in San Marcos offers a movie experience on the cheap – $1 to be exact. It’s a small theater, with only three auditoriums that show movies once they’ve left the big screen, but they’re a dollar or less and close to home – can’t beat that!

With these theaters and more around Kyle, there are plenty of entertainment options available for Kyle residents to  enjoy until November when EVO opens its doors!

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Romance in Nature: Spending Valentine’s Day Outdoors in Central Texas


It’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Day is around the corner and as you’re researching fun, romantic things to do with that special someone, Plum Creek has compiled a list of ways to show your love for your honey and the beauty of nature in Central Texas.

Central Texas Valentines Day

Photo courtesy of the Adventure Journal

Botanical gardens are cheap and romantic date option, and Kyle is bounded by two beautiful botanical gardens to the north and the south. The Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin is a serene and peaceful date spot located in Central Austin in close proximity to other outdoor hot spots, like Barton Springs Pool and Zilker Park. The 30-acre facility features a number of theme gardens, with romantic nooks and crannies for intimate moments, tinkling waterfalls, ponds and other hidden gems, Of course, the best time for the garden is the spring, once it starts getting warmer, but there is still beauty to be found. The Garden’s proximity to many other date spots is an added bonus – Zilker Park, Barton Springs, great restaurants and bars along South Lamar, and more.

Austin Valentines Day

Photo courtesy of Austin Texas.gov

San Antonio also has a couple of flower gardens, including the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Tea Gardens. Both are located near each other, in Central San Antonio. The Tea Gardens is a quiet and lush area that contains a large open-air pagoda, as well as koi ponds and a waterfall. It is such a beautiful and romantic space that it is a San Antonio favorite for weddings and engagement photography, so you know it’ll facilitate flying sparks. Plus, it’s near the sprawling Brackenridge Park, the San Antonio Zoo and the Pearl Brewery.

Central Texas Valentines Day

Photo courtesy of Expedia.com

Elsewhere in Central Texas, there are scenic Hill Country drives, wine country and Valentine’s Day specials out in Fredericksburg, countless cute and interesting restaurants, breweries, day spas and more. Pick your location of choice – goodness knows pretty much every town in Central Texas and the Hill Country has something beautiful or something going on – and do a little research. There are plenty of ways to love your honey and love the beauty of nature. And if it turns out to be cold on Valentine’s Day weekend, there’s no short supply of indoor date ideas either!

Hill Country Lights for the Holidays


Chilly nights in December are the perfect time for packing up your family and friends to explore some of the beautiful holiday light displays available across Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. The annual Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail is an assemblage of  lighting displays from small towns throughout the region, including  Austin, Bandera, Blanco, Boerne, Burnet, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Marble Falls and Wimberley. To help you navigate the displays, the lighting trail website offers a helpful map and schedule of events and activities in each city.

Bandera is one of the stops on the Regional Lighting Trail, and, as the ‘Cowboy Capital of Texas’, Bandera will be hosting its annual Christmas Singing in the Saddle event at the Longhorn Saloon tomorrow evening, December 18th. Visitors are encouraged to bring, or rent horses, for Christmas caroling down Main Street at this event, and there will be hot chocolate and sweet treats available for visitors at the end of the parade ride.

While Fredericksburg, Texas is a popular getaway year-round, the town is extra special during the holiday season. Over the course of the holidays, Fredericksburg’s unique German heritage is on display with holiday décor, which includes a 26-foot-tall Christmas Pyramid at the town’s Marktplatz. Other attractions include an outdoor ice skating rink, 150 specialty shops with crafts from local artists, 75 restaurants serving everything from traditional German cuisine to unique Hill Country dishes, and over 400 bed and breakfast options for overnight guests.

Central Texas holiday

Photo courtesy of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce

Just down the road from Fredericksburg, the Johnson City courthouse lighting display is one of the largest lighting displays in the state. Millions of lights cover the historic Blanco County Courthouse, creating a visual treat.  The lights are up until January 1st, and the inside of the courthouse is open on Saturday and Sunday nights throughout December from 6:00-9:00 p.m. for photos in front of the large Christmas tree, and the local Garden Club will be on hand to sell crafts and ornaments.

Located on Highway 281, just 40 miles west of Austin, Blanco, Texas celebrates the holiday season with the lighting of Blanco’s downtown Bindsiel Park. The park lights are open for holiday visitors until January 6th and, while in Blanco, visitors can enjoy the many antique shops and boutiques along the courthouse square as well. Another notable lighted courthouse in the area is the historic Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet, Texas, which shines  with thousands of white lights all over the building’s façade. Burnet is also home to a massive 18-foot multi-color Christmas tree, which is perfect for photo ops.  The Burnet lighting display is open nightly until January 1st.

Since 1991, the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights has also delighted visitors of all ages. Over 2 million lights dot  150+ decorated sculptures, which create a magical reflection on the waters of Lake Marble Falls. This enchanting self-guided tour is open nightly beginning at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. until January 1st.

Central Texas holiday

Photo courtesy of the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights Facebook Page

Also just outside of Austin, Wimberley hosts its 16th Annual Trail of Lights at the EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens. This year’s trail features 8 acres of glowing displays decorated by local businesses and community groups, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to celebrate the season every Friday and Saturday evening until Christmas.  Nearby, in Austin, the beloved Trail of Lights at Zilker Park is open nightly until December 22nd, with an exciting schedule of entertainment from local bands.

Holidays in the Hill Country are unlike any other celebration. The region offers free, easily accessible lighting displays and events sure to charm visitors of all ages.  So pack up your crew this weekend and experience the joy of the season.

Holiday Films and Live Showings in Central Texas


Of all of the holidays throughout the year, those in December are often the ones that are most celebrated in pop culture – whether it’s through song, films, plays or other live experiences. Such mainstays as The Nutcracker, The Grinch and It’s a Wonderful Life have become holiday traditions for many people this time of year; and across Central Texas, there are countless opportunities for experiencing your favorites.

Austin is the perfect place for getting your holiday fix this December, as it’s a mere 20 minute drive away from Kyle – and nearly every movie theater or theater house in town is celebrating the holiday season in their own way. The Alamo Drafthouse, for example, is showing both holiday classics and modern favorites (many with their own special programming) including a Home Alone Pizza Party, a Christmas Vacation Quote Along, It’s a Wonderful Life and more.  Most of the special programs are shown at the original Drafthouse location on 6th Street, just down the road from I-35, making it an easy stop for those of us traveling to the theater from Kyle. Plus, there’s the Paramount and Stateside Theaters a little further into downtown Austin which are also showing holiday films throughout the month.

Plum Creek Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of Ballet Austin

If a live experience is more your thing, the ZACH Theater in Austin is showing their own take on the Christmas classics A Christmas Story and This Wonderful Life the whole month of December; and Ballet Austin will be performing their annual presentation of The Nutcracker at The Long Center for the Performing Arts as well.  The Nutcracker will also be shown in San Marcos at the San Marcos High School Performing Arts Center thanks to the River City Ballet, and THIS THURSDAY, the famous jazz version of the classic ballet from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, will be put on by the Texas State University Jazz Ensemble and the Department of Theater and Dance at Texas State’s Evans Auditorium. The Evans Auditorium will also be home to the Hill Country Youth Chorus’ free presentation of the “Holidays in the Hill Country” on December 9th as well.

Plum Creek Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of the San Marcos Mercury

In Kyle, the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center located in Plum Creek is host to another array of holiday shows and events throughout the month, including holiday performances from the districts’ choirs, orchestras and bands, a performance of The Nutcracker on Sunday, December 15th and The Night Before Christmas on December 20th and 21st.

So to get you and yours in the holiday spirit this month, complement the holiday classics you have on VHS and DVD with some live film and theater experiences, and celebrate not only the season, but the talent and creativity that’s present here in Central Texas!

 

 

Austin Arts Event: The East Austin Studio Tour


There’s something about Central Texas that invites creativity. Maybe it’s the beauty of the Hill Country, the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of Austin or merely the history of creativity that’s been present in the area for decades; either way, there’s a lot of creative minds living, working and creating in Austin, and, this November, these creatives are celebrated at Austin’s annual East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) – a two-weekend event that showcases the best of local art and craftsmanship in the city.

EastAustinStudioTour

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

The East Austin Studio Tour – taking place this year the weekends of November 16th and 17th and November 23rd and 24th – is a free, self-guided tour of the artist studios, galleries and event spaces on Austin’s east side. Hundreds of art spaces open their doors these two weekends, and for many of them, EAST is the only time of the year they are open and available to everyday folk to see. This year, more than 400 artists are participating in EAST, and there are a number of cool events and activities happening both weekends of the event, including out-of-the-box events, projects, art competitions, traveling performances, art parties, site-specific projects and more.

East Austin Studio Tour

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

EAST comes with its own catalog, which is a free, full color tour guide that comes with a tour map. They’re out and available on the east side the two weekends of the tour, or can be picked up at all 22 Austin Public Library branches beginning November 6, as well as select other locations around town.

Austin Events This Weekend: Austin Film Fest, Texas Book Festival and Austin Beer Week


Looking for something to do this weekend? Austin has three, count them – three, festivals happening this weekend – the Austin Film Festival, the Texas Book Festival and Austin Beer Week. So, if you’re bored and want to watch a movie, buy some books or drink some local beer (and who wouldn’t?), head up to ATX for a weekend of fun, just 20 minutes north of Kyle.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of Austin Film Festival (2012)

The 20th annual Austin Film Festival runs October 24-31, with film screenings taking place at theaters across the Austin area. Badges and passes are available for access to all eight days of the fest, but individual tickets are also available for some of the films. Unfortunately, they’re only sold 20 minutes prior to a film’s screening, and only if there’s still space available once all badge and film pass holders have been seated. So, it’s a bit of a gamble, but there are some awesome films being shown this year, including Innocence, La Navaja de Don Juan, Finding Neighbors and more. If you don’t want to risk it though, the Film Festival is also hosting a Family Film Series that is FREE and open to the public. Here’s the schedule of movies in the Family Series.

Also in Austin this weekend is the Texas Book Festival, taking place on October 26th and 27th in the area immediately around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin. The festival is one of the nation’s largest celebrations of literature and authors’ contributions to the field – bringing hundreds of authors from a variety of different genres to the city for two-days full of readings, books signings and panel discussions. The event is free and open to the public, and both days of the festival are chock full of events and activities for everyone in the whole family – so check out the schedule and broaden your mind!

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of 365 Austin.com

This weekend also kicks off Austin’s 4th annual Austin Beer Week – a 10-day celebration of Austin’s craft brewing scene. Austin Beer Week is a multi-day, multi-event, brewer-centric showcase of all things independent, craft beer, with dinners, parties, tastings, happy hours and more happening across the city. Participating breweries and restaurants include Austin Beerworks, Banger’s, Black Star Brewery, Eden’s East, The Gingerman, (512) Brewing and many, many more. Check out the ABW calendar for details about events happening this weekend and next week.

So, whether you want to watch a movie, see R.L. Stein read in person or try some new, local beers, there’s a lot going on up in Austin this weekend. So pop in the car for a quick drive north, and enjoy yourself!

Art City Austin


Art is everywhere in Austin, in galleries, museums, and in parks and other public spaces throughout the city. This weekend it’s taking over the streets of downtown Austin too, through Austin Art Alliance’s annual Art City Austin – a two-day outdoor art festival and block party that will transform Cesar Chavez Street and the hip 2nd Street District into an artistic and cultural mecca this Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th. So pile the family into the car for a short jaunt up north for a day full of art, culture, food and live music out on the streets of downtown Austin.

Plum Creek Texas

Photo courtesy of Austin 360

Art, of course, is front and center at the event, with two different kinds of art browsing experiences available for attendees this year. As in past years, Art City Austin features more than 100 temporary outdoor art galleries set against the streets, plazas and open spaces along Cesar Chavez Street and in the 2nd Street District. These galleries feature an array of art types and mediums, and you’re given the opportunity to meet the artists themselves at the event, too. New to the festival this year, though, is the People’s Gallery inside Austin City Hall, on Lavaca between Cesar Chavez and 2nd Street. This part of the festival is made possible by the Cultural Arts Division of the Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office and features only Austin-based artists and creatives, to showcase the regional talent and creativity available in Central Texas. And we all know there’s A LOT of that!

Additionally, festival-goers are given the multiple opportunities to watch art in action over the course of the weekend. Articulture Designs will create and install living art pieces throughout the festival site to beautify and set the stage for the festival, while local artists from the Hatch Workshop will weld a sculpture from unusable bike parts in the middle of the fest. Once complete, the sculpture will live at one of Austin’s many bike shops.

Articulture Design

Photo courtesy of the Articulture Designs Facebook page

While these galleries and exhibits are geared toward the teenage plus crowds, Art City Austin doesn’t leave out the kiddos. In fact, they’ve got a whole Kid’s Block that is chock full of fun, arts-related activities. Activities include making action paintings with marbles with Abrakadoodle, making masks with the Mexic-Arte Museum, crafts with the Mexican American Cultural Center, face painting, decorating bags, street chalk and more.

Two other activities at the fest unite the creative talents of many into group artworks.  These include Building a City with the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, where kids are given a single ceramic tile to decorate, which will then be assembled and featured at the Sculpture Garden during the May 5th Umlauf Family First Sunday; and the massive origami peace crane installation. This eventual art piece will incorporate colored twine and the origami peace cranes made at Art City to create a public art installation that will revitalize and transform an ordinary alleyway in downtown Austin. The installation will be on display on 9th street between Congress and Brazos through May 5th.

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Riders Against the Storm, courtesy of Do512

In addition to these art activities, Art City Austin will feature live music and food from a number of favorite Austin food trucks. Five different bands perform each day at stages that are a part of the outdoor block party. The musical selection is diverse and eclectic, ranging from Texas folk, to positive hip hop, to world music in order to reflect the diversity and quality of Austin and Texas’ music scenes. For more information about the musical performers, visit the Art City Austin music page, for band bios and to listen to some tunes.