It’s a yearly tradition in my family to venture out on Christmas Eve to see our town’s best Christmas lights. Over the years, I have had the chance to witness and view some of the most colorful and sometimes outrageous light displays around Texas, in Dallas and Austin alike.
Living near Lake Travis has put a fun spin on outdoor decorating, and like anything in Austin, it’s going to be a little on the weird side. When it’s time to grab the winter coats and head out for an evening of taking in Christmas’ electric glory, it’s always more fun to have a welcoming and well-decorated neighborhood to visit! That’s why this year I’m officially on the hunt for Austin’s best tacky lights, near and far.
If you’re new to the Christmas light game, I think it’s best to start at the heart of the city’s Christmas spectacle, the Austin Trail of Lights downtown at Zilker Park. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the art of Christmas light decorating, in a uniquely Texas setting. Monday through Thursday admission is free and weekends are $3. Without giving too much away, expect more lights than you can count and a walkable trail that will illuminate and blow your mind.
While you’re on the South side of the river, take a drive down South 1st and head into the neighborhoods around Mary St. and South Congress Ave. Peppered throughout the quaint streets are interesting and weird displays of the holiday variety that make me proud to be an Austinite. UT orange lights, an armadillo Santa Claus, and everything in between, I’m always surprised at what I find on the South side of town.
Take a drive up the Central side of Austin near UT for another great trail of tacky lights featuring sock monkey nativity sets, tube lights hung high atop ancient pecan trees, UT towers and even a Bevo or two. My favorite stop on the hunt is at 37th Street at Guadalupe where residents decorate their homes year after year. On weekends the line to see the lights can get quite long, so park across the neighborhood and take a scenic stroll for a fun way to take in the displays.
I also happened to stumble upon a few very choice light displays on the edge of 12th and West Lynn just on the West of downtown. Here is where I found a literal ascending row of Santas, and more decorations than I could count. I don’t want to know their power bills for this month!
If you want to see the nation’s most over-the-top Christmas displays, check out ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight where families compete for the crown of best Christmas decorations.
What about your favorite neighborhood to look at tacky lights? Let us know and drop us a line in the comments!