2013 Central Texas Holiday Lights Displays

 Thursday, December 5, 2013

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Does your family like to drive around town gazing at Christmas displays? Or enjoy walking through trails of lights? Here's a roundup of holiday light displays in and around Austin. Those that are not free include the admission prices.

Know of a home or neighborhood that has an outstanding light display? Tell us about it in the comments!


  • Mozart's Coffee Roasters -- Through January 5, 2014 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), Mozart's hosts a FREE 10-minute light show at the top of each hour, starting at 6 p.m.  3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
  • Light Shows at the Capitol -- Brought to you by the Downtown Austin Alliance, the 45-foot tree at 11th and Congress on the South side of the Capitol shines brightly with 137,000 LED lights. 10 choreographed light shows set to local music play at the top and bottom of every hour. The tree is lit daily at 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. (Sunday - Wednesday); 11:00 p.m. (Thursdays) and midnight (Friday & Saturday). (Update: On 12/21, two of the sections of the tree were not working and there was no music.)
  • Zilker Holiday Tree Schedule -- Through December 31, from 6 p.m. to midnight, the tree will be lit. Go take a spin under the tree and buy some kettle corn from one of the onsite vendors. REMINDER - December 8-22 the area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around those nights! FREE. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
  • Trail of Lights -- December 8 - 22, from 7 - 10 p.m.  For a sneak peek at the trail, click here. Admission to the Trail of Lights is FREE. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
  • Willis Littlefield’s house -- Starting December 12, Willis will welcome kids to interact with his display, including animatronic Santas galore (and he insists you take a candy cane!). FREE. 1611 West 12th Street in Clarksville. 
  • Luminations at Wildflower Center -- Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15, 2013, from 6 to 9 p.m., enjoy Luminations, a Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center holiday tradition. Make plans to visit the lighted gardens, filled with thousands of luminarias and twinkle lights. Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. In addition to the beautiful holiday lighting, there will be hot chocolate and food for sale, plus children's activities and musical acts throughout both evenings. Kids can get a hug from Frosty the Snowman and make crafts in the Visitors Gallery. 4801 La Crosse Avenue.
  • Balcones Country Club -- We couldn't find any details online, but two Free Fun in Austin readers recommend visiting the Club to see holiday lights on display. 8600 Balcones Club Drive.
  • Project "X"-mas -- Tune in your radio and enjoy the lights show. Sunday to Thursday: 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 5:30 - 11:00 p.m.; Christmas Eve: 5:30 - 11:45 p.m. No shows on rainy nights or following rainy days. 1912 Crystal Shore.
  • Lanicek Family in Wells Branch -- Through January 4, 2014, from 6 - 10 p.m., weather permitting. 10,000+ lights programmed to 20 minutes of music. The house is also a collection point for non-perishable food items for Saint Louis Catholic Church food pantry. 2207 Klattenhoff Drive, 78728.
  • River of Lights -- Through December 31, from 6 - 9 p.m. The River of Lights features 120 lighted displays and music. The trail continues all the way down the Lower Colorado River to Ferry Park, about a half mile. FREE. Fisherman's Park, 1200 Willow St, Bastrop.
  • Trail of Lights -- December 13 - 22, from 6 - 10 p.m. Get in the holiday mood by strolling through the park and enjoying the lights! FREE shuttle parking is available at Cabela's. No parking is permitted in the park. Walk in visitors are welcome and may bring leashed pets. The trail is approximately 1/2 mile long. No pets are allowed on shuttle buses. Bring your own camera for pictures with Santa! Paid concessions are available for purchase. FREE.  For more information, please call the Parks Department at 512-295-7170. Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda.
Cedar Park
  • Anna Court Light Display -- This Cedar Park cul-de-sac is decked out with thousands and thousands of festive lights. Bring a toy to donate to Blue Santa, through December 11.  FREE. 1329 Anna Court.
  • Rhodes House -- Through January 1, 2014, from 5:45 - 10 p.m. (10:30 p.m. on weekends). Check out the huge lights display on this home and bring a donation for the Cedar Park Area Food Bank. FREE. 2400 Sharon Drive. 
  • Chinati Court -- Just off Sun Chase Blvd in the Ranch at Cypress Creek. Park on Sun Chase and walk, if you can. The neighborhood is also a collection point for Brown Santa. FREE.
  • Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa's Workshop -- Friday, December 6, from 6:30 - 9 p.m. Over 60,000 lights will illuminate the largest Live Oak Tree in Cedar Park. Santa's Workshop will kickoff immediately following the tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy live music, carriage rides, games & prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa, and arts & crafts projects. Bring the whole family for what promises to be a festive evening. FREE Admission. Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Parkway.
College Station
Fort Hood 
  • Nature in Lights, a Holiday Tradition -- Through January 5, 2014, from 5:30 - 11 p.m. Enjoy the drive through over five and a half miles of holiday-inspired scenes. Like magic, BLORA is once again transformed into a winter wonderland for all to enjoy: kids and kids at heart. $5 per car. Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area. 
  • Spindler's Family Light Show -- 6 - 10 p.m. nightly. Tune your car radio to 88.5 FM to listen to the music. FREE. This is a collection site for Blue and Brown Santa, so please bring a new toy to donate. 2441 Candle Ridge Trail. 
  • Schmidt House -- 6 - 10 p.m. nightly. Tens of thousands computerized Christmas light viewing spectacular. FREE. 7710 Pebble Creek Dr. 
  • Shady Oak Christmas Display -- Pull up, park and tune your radio to 95.9 FM. The show runs from approximately 5:45 - 10 p.m. during the week and 5:45 - 11 p.m. on weekends. The show lasts around an hour if you watch the whole thing, but each song averages around 6 minutes. FREE. 107 Shady Oak Drive, Georgetown.
  • Christmas Stroll -- Friday, December 6, from 5 - 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 7, from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Bring the family and walk through the many wonders of Whoo-Village, enjoy live entertainment, a special kids activity area, treats in the food court and browse over 250 arts and crafts booths. Children will love the various FREE activities and rides and visiting with Santa. If you can't visit during the stroll, stop by any evening to see the Downtown Square lit up for the season. FREE.
  • Lights of Tejas  -- Through December 28, from 5 - 10 p.m. 250,000 lights and more! Children (3-12) are $4; adults are $8. Camp Tejas, 1038 PR 2191, Giddings.
  • Town Lighting -- Saturday, December 7, from 5 - 6:30 p.m. Watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the Holidays. Celebrating with live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Afterwards, get some holiday shopping done at Gruene's 30+ stores, cozy up to a fireplace for dinner at the Gristmill, head over to Mozie's for a cold one, or stop by the Hall for the show that evening. Call (830) 629-5077 for information.
Johnson City
  • Pedernales Electric Cooperative Headquarters -- From 5:30 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5:30 p.m. to midnight Friday through Sunday.  When you're out touring the holiday sights in the Texas Hill Country, be sure to stop by Johnson City and see the lights display at PEC headquarters. Visitors are invited to enjoy PEC’s annual holiday lighting displays through January 1, 2014. FREE. 601 W Main St, Johnson City. 
  • Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style -- Through January 1, 2014, from 6:30 - 10 p.m. Proclaimed as "the Centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail" by Southern Living magazine with a courthouse that "shines brighter than the star of Bethlehem." The entire town is bathed in lights with 100,000 lights twinkling on the Blanco County Courthouse. Hayrides and carriage rides are available throughout the season. Each weekend, the Garden Club fills the Courthouse with Christmas ornaments and holiday crafts for purchase. Admission to all events is free. Make plans to take in the Hill Country Lighting Trail. For additional information, call the Johnson City Visitors Center at 830-868-7684.
  • Lights On! -- Friday, December 6, from 6:30 - 9 p.m. The City of Lakeway will sponsor its annual "Lights On!" Holiday Celebration in the Lakeway City Hall parking lot (1102 Lohmans Crossing at the corner of Sailmaster) and the area directly behind City Hall. Children of all ages are invited to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus on this most magical of nights. Santa, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph will 'plug in' the Trail of Lights display and be available to speak to all of Lakeway's good little boys and girls. The Trail of Lights will be lit for the first time this season and continue nightly from 6 p.m. - midnight through the end of the month. Other festivities will include the official dedication of the historic Liebelt Cabin. Delicious hot dogs and Cuban sandwiches will be available for purchase along with hot chocolate, coffee and snowcones. Activities will include cookie decorating and marshmallow roasting. S'mores packets will be available from Scout Troop 52. Please, no dogs at this event. Admission is FREE. Parking is available at the Lakeway Activity Center at 105 Cross Creek and at the Village Square near the corner of Lakeway Drive and Porpoise. There will be no parking available at City Hall for this event.
  • Trail of Lights -- December 6 - December 31, from 6:30 p.m. - midnight. The Trail of Lights display is located just behind Lakeway City Hall and may be accessed by parking either at City Hall, 1102 Lohmans Crossing Road, or at the Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek Road. Come see thousands of twinkling lights! See amusing tableaus, all accompanied by delightful seasonal music! For those attending who may be in wheelchairs or for those with baby carriages, please park at City Hall and access the Trail by walking down the front sidewalk to the right and around the building. Bicycles and motorized vehicles such as Lil' Rascals and golf carts are not permitted. No dogs, please. FREE.
  • Toungate Klub Kringle -- Starting December 7, from 6 - 10 p.m. Amazing Christmas light display with over 25,000 red, white and blue LED lights. See an 18-ft tall, 2000 LED custom Christmas tree that will change up to two million colors, featuring pictures, words, and designs, all synchronized to music. Tune to radio station 88.3 FREE. 2305 Arroyo Grande, Leander.
  • Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade -- Saturday, December 7, from 5 - 7 p.m. Pictures with Santa, Holiday Hayrides, Yule Fire, Choral Performances, Christmas Parade, and Tree Lighting. FREE.  City Hall, 200 West Willis St, Leander.
  • Starry, Starry Nights -- Through December 31, from 6 - 9 p.m. Enjoy lights and music along the banks of the Llano River, and visit Santa at the end. On Saturday, December 7, there will be a lighted Christmas Parade. Enjoy lights and music along the banks of the Llano River, and visit Santa at the end. FREE. Badu Park. 
  • Lighted Christmas Parade -- Friday, December 6 at 7 p.m. The annual “Lighted Christmas Parade” is a fantastic display of lights that travels around the Courthouse Square. For information about the parade, download the Parade Route or call the Lockhart Chamber at 512-398-2818. Then, following the parade on Friday night and all day Saturday, the holiday celebration continues with “A Dickens’ Christmas in Lockhart”. The Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library host this festival located on S. Main in front of the Library and Market Street on the south side of the square. This unique community event features authentic Victorian decorations, choirs, jugglers, bagpipers, carriage rides, and the culmination on Saturday evening… the lighting of the Yule Log. Once lit, the Lord High Mayor announces the proclamation that Christmas has come to light. Then the library and the historic downtown are lit with thousands of lights. For a full schedule of activities and times click here
Marble Falls
  • Walkway of Lights -- Through January 1, 2014, from 6 - 10 p.m. Newly expanded, over 2 million lights transform Lakeside Park into a holiday wonderland. Open every night at Lakeside Park (weather permitting) with Santa on the weekends. FREE.
New Braunfels
  • Santa's Ranch -- Open through January 4, 2014. Bring the family to Santa's Ranch and celebrate the holidays from the comfort of your vehicle. Drive through nearly a mile of spectacular holiday scenes with over one million lights and over 100 displays and animations. Located on I-35, one mile south of San Marcos between Posey Rd. & York Creek Rd. Just look for the 50' Christmas tree out front. Admission is $28 per car. Print out a coupon here (PDF) for $2 off admission. 9561 I-35 North, New Braunfels. 
  • Christmas Light Parade -- Saturday, December 14, starting at 5:30 p.m. The Christmas Light Parade will be hosted by the Knights of Columbus. Bring a Blue Santa gift donation if you like. The parade will travel down Railroad Avenue and will be followed by a lighting of the Christmas Tree on the corner of Main and Third Street. Click here to view the parade route (pdf). FREE.
Round Rock
  • Rock'N Lights Holiday Light Tour -- Through December 31, from 6 - 9 p.m. Come and experience the Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour at Old Settler's Park, from the comfort of your car. With 2 million lights, the 1.5-mile path is the must-see event of the season. The 2013 show features all new displays and a longer light tunnel. Admission for the tour is $15 per family vehicle. Go here for a $5 off coupon, Monday to Thursday. Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour is located at Old Settlers Park
  • Christmas Family Night -- Friday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. Watch as Main Street is illuminated and Santa arrives in his sleigh. FREE. Main Street, Round Rock.
  • Texas Baptist Children's Home Tour of Lights -- December 13 - January 2, from 6 - 8 p.m. FREE. 1101 N. Mays Street, Round Rock.
  • Elfvis and the Kringles -- Nightly from 6 - 9 p.m. Donations for Brown Santa welcome. Tune into 107.5 FM and enjoy the animated light show to music which features singing,dancing and performing animatronics the Fab Four from the North Pole, "the Kringles", with Santa's favorite entertainer, "ELFVIS". This year a special guest "The GRINCH" has been added. FREE. 3526 Citrine Pl, Round Rock.
  • Tom Seaver Place -- 25,000 lights, 48 channels of animated splendor! Come by and enjoy! 1005 Tom Seaver Place, Round Rock.
San Marcos
  • Festival of Lights -- December 7. Enjoy an obstacle course, magician, puppet show, live stage production of A Christmas Carol, reader's corner, miniature golf course, gingerbread house building booth and so much more. Mark your calendar for December 7th in historic downtown Smithville!
  • Trail of Lights -- Through December 31. Sunday - Thursday, from 6 - 9 p.m.  Friday - Saturday, from 6 - 10 p.m. Stroll along a walking trail through eight acres of lighted displays decorated by more than 100 local businesses, community groups and families. Listen to live entertainment and visit with Santa and Mrs Claus. FREE hot chocolate will be served and water will be available for sale. Admission is FREE, but donations are appreciated to help keep the trail going. EmilyAnn Theater & Garden, 1101 FM 2324, Wimberley.

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