A 2021 guide to holiday lights in and around Central Texas
Tis the season for Christmas in Central Texas and one thing that makes this time of year more enjoyable is holiday lights!
If you haven’t gone hunting for Christmas lights yet, in this article I will offer you several locations that you can visit in Central Texas to see some awesome light displays.
Where To Find Holiday Lights In Central Texas
Austin Trail of Lights: This iconic holiday staple returns for its 57th year and second year as a drive-thru event to light up Zilker Park with over two million lights. Stay warm in your car and cruise through light displays of every shape and size. Open nightly from Nov. 27 through Dec. 31 (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), with a few fun theme nights. General admission vehicle passes are on sale for $30-$40. Information and tickets: austintrailoflights.org.
Zilker Tree: Not a tree technically, but a moontower made to look like one with hundreds of lights. Generations have been spinning under the 155-foot-tall structure during the holiday seasons and can again this year. It’s free, and the moontower will be aglow from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 27 to Jan. 1. Masks are required for everyone 2 and older. Parking is limited. Information: austintexas.gov/department/zilker-holiday-tree.
Peppermint Parkway: This drive-thru holiday event was launched last year as a way to celebrate safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Music and millions of holiday lights are featured on the mile-long route. It will run from Nov. 26 to Dec. 26. Tickets start at $35. Information and tickets: peppermintparkway.com.
Luminations at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Take a walk through this illuminated Texas Arboretum featuring thousands of luminaries, holiday treats and lit-up Fortlandia forts. It’s open, with limited capacity, Thursday through Sunday from Dec. 2 to Jan. 30. Tickets are $25 for ages 18 and older, $15 for ages 5-17 and children under 4 are free. Information and tickets: www.wildflower.org/luminations.
Mozart’s Christmas Lights Show: On the edge of Lake Austin, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters is known for its musical and illuminated nightly holiday shows. Grab a coffee and dessert and enjoy the reflection of the lights on the water and a Bavarian marketplace. Parking is limited, so plan accordingly. Mozart’s is bringing back the reserved table option created for pandemic safety reasons in 2020, along with a general admission “standing room only” option. GA tickets are free; reserved tables start at $20. The shows run through Jan. 6. Information and tickets: mozartscoffee.com/pages/annual-christmas-light-show.
37th Street: An eclectic showcase of Austin pride and holiday cheer, neighbors and supporters of the tradition unite every year to string multi-colored lights and bold decorations from almost every tree, roof and fence on this residential strip of 37th Street. Walk through this two decade local tradition starting at Guadalupe and 37th streets. Opening night festivities are Dec. 10 and the displays will stay up until Jan. 1. You can stay updated on the event on the 37th Street Lights Facebook page, which includes information on how to donate to keep the lights up and on.
Domain Northside Holiday Display: Merry and bright window displays and decorations at Domain Northside make it an already bustling center of holiday spirit, and the 40-foot tree at the outdoor mall is a must-see. The season kickoff is on Nov. 27 and features a 6 p.m. Christmas tree lighting show, live music and photo ops with the Grinch. The display will be available until Dec. 25. Information: www.domainnorthside.com/events/domain-northside-holiday-tree-light-show.
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