When December arrives, the bright lights shine. And in this part of Texas, that means the annual Trail of Lights in Zilker Park and the Trail of Lights in Lakeway.
Both events offer sparkling arrays of holiday lights plus events that will put you and keep you in the holiday spirit.
Let’s talk about the Trail of Lights first. This is an Austin tradition that’s more than a half-century old but is adding some brand-new features this year.
The preview party, called the Second Annual Night of Lights, is December 4 and is a fund-raiser for the Trail of Lights Foundation. You’ll need to buy tickets to attend the party that starts up at 7:30pm with swag bags for the first 500 attendees.
Enjoy the Trail of Lights with an adult beverage and food samples from some of Austin’s premier chefs. The headline entertainer is Austin legend and blues guitarist Jimmy Vaughan. See all the details on the Night of Lights webpage.
There’s also a 2.1-mile Fun Run at 7:30pm on December 5 for those with some energy (or calories) to burn over the holidays. Details here.
The official start for the Trail of Lights is December 8 and it runs through December 22.
This year for the first time, there will be a classic carousel in Zilker Village along with the traditional attractions such as the Ferris wheel, Santa’s Workshop, the Yule Log and the North Pole.
Quick note for those who’ve attended past Trails: The Ferris wheel this year is going to be on Lou Neff Road, not near the big Zilker Tree.
There will be more than 50 displays and some 2 million lights. It will be hard to miss if you’re anywhere near downtown Austin. Visit the Trail of Lights website for details on tickets and parking.
Trail of Lights Lakeway
If you’re not sure about braving Central Austin traffic or the Zilker crowds, give the Trail of Lights in Lakeway a visit. The first night is December 4 and it’s free!
The Lights On! event at 1102 Lohmans Crossing features Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph plugging in the official lights display. There will be hot chocolate and marshmallow roasting.
Organizers ask that you bring some non-perishable food items that will be sent over to the Lake Travis Crisis Ministries.
The Trail of Lights in Lakeway lasts through January 3 and will be open from 6pm to midnight, including Christmas Night and New Year’s Night.