It’s the most wonderful time of the year — especially for lovers of holiday lights. And while Austin is probably not going to see any white Christmases any time soon, there’s still plenty of holiday cheer to go around inside and outside the city. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up eight of the best holiday light displays in Austin. Check them out below — and prepare to be wowed by their magic!
Austin Trail of Lights — Zilker Park
Austin’s most popular holiday light extravaganza returns this year with food, music, special events, and of course, light displays in every color imaginable. This year, the event features more than 40 separate installations with over two million lights overall, Santa’s House, Santa’s Workshop, a ferris wheel and carousel, and a Candyland with plenty of sweets. General admission to The Trail of Lights is free, while there are options for exclusive access packages running between $15 to $80. Parking is $15 per vehicle.
Holiday Stroll — Downtown
Celebrate the lighting of the downtown tree in front of the Capitol Building with a holiday fling complete with music, photos with Santa, a petting zoo, live ice sculptures, local food trucks, and more. Get your Christmas shopping done early by perusing a fleet of craft and artisan vendors spanning 9th to 11th Streets. The event runs from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m., with the holiday tree lighting scheduled at 7:00.
“Miracle on 37th Street” — 37th and Guadalupe Streets
All holiday season
Every year, the residents of 37th Street compete to put up the most extravagant homegrown holiday displays. Expect plenty of Austin weird as you stroll up and down the street. The lights typically start at 37th and Guadalupe Streets and spread east from there. Grab your coats and a to-go mug of hot cocoa, and get ready to be blown away by another one of Austin’s unique traditions.
Lala’s Little Nugget — 2207 Justin Lane
All year long
Speaking of Austin weird, one little bar on a tucked-away street in Crestview is keeping Austin Christmas-y all year long. Decked out in its holiday finest, this dive has everything you could want in a holiday sojourn — and there are drinks! Make sure to check out Santa and his reindeer perched outside on the roof.
Holiday Fun at the Domain — the Domain
November 25–December 23
If the idea of trekking all the way downtown isn’t your version of holiday bliss, don’t worry. Every year, the Domain hosts its own holiday bonanza, complete with a 200,000-light show synchronized with a selection of favorite seasonal tunes. You can also meet Santa, listen to carollers and live music, and enjoy a complimentary carriage ride, then pop over to the Microsoft store to pick up that new Xbox the kids have on their list this year.
Lakeway Trail of Lights — Lakeway, Texas
December 1–January 1
For those in the Lakeway area, the city of Lakeway hosts its own holiday spectacular with enough lights and music to carry you all the way into the new year. The trail starts at the Lakeway Activity Center parking lot at 105 Cross Creek. Admission and parking are free.
Winter Wonderland at the Circuit — Circuit of the Americas
November 29 and 30; December 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 13–30.
The Circuit of the Americas’ massive holiday pageant returns for a second year with a dazzling Chinese Lantern display, Tunnel of Lights, Singing Trees, Santa’s Workshop, and petting zoo. There’s also an ice skating rink, musical acts, carnival rides, retail village, food trucks, and basically anything else you might need to celebrate. All you need to bring is your holiday spirit (and probably your wallet).
Luminations — The Wildflower Center
December 6–December 9
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is beautiful any time of the year, but in December it transforms from ordinary gardens to a magical wonderland of luminaries. This year’s festivities feature live performances from Austin aerial dance group Blue Lapis Light, with free hot chocolate for all. It’s sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience. Tickets are $10 to $15.
Want a home worthy of your own holiday light ambitions? Contact us here at Paradisa Homes to design a house that will suit your loftiest decoration goals — and have yourself a wonderful, light-filled holiday season!