Tuesday, November 25, 2014
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.
Be sure to check the links below before heading out, in case any of the schedules change.
Know of a home or neighborhood that has an outstanding light display? Tell us about it in the comments!
- Mozart's Coffee Roasters -- Daily through January 4, 2015 (excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), from 6 p.m. to midnight. Mozart's hosts a FREE 15-minute light show at the top of each hour, starting at 6 p.m. 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
- AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center: Holidays in the Courtyard - November 26 until January 2. Show times will be every night at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Holidays in the Courtyard will feature a 15-minute light show accompanied by a holiday playlist around the spacious courtyard illuminated with nearly 10,000 bulbs. FREE and open to the public. For more information, call 512-404-1900. AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, The University of Texas at Austin, 1900 University Avenue.
- Zilker Holiday Tree -- Sunday, November 30 through December 31, from 6 p.m. to midnight. Join the tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, November 30 at 6 p.m., or stop by any evening after that through the end of the year. The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs, totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. The double star displays 150 frosted bulbs. This unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower. Go take a spin under the tree and buy some kettle corn from one of the onsite vendors. REMINDER: December 7-21 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.
- Lighting of the Capitol Tree -- Saturday, December 6 at 6 p.m. The fun starts at 6 p.m. when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season with John Aielli, host of the long-running show "Eklektikos" on KUTX 98.9. As the clock strikes 7 p.m., the crowd begins the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol tree, featuring a programmed light show at the top and bottom of every hour, set to holiday songs of local Austin musicians. After the annual lighting of the tree at the Holiday Stroll this pastSaturday, the Capitol Christmas Tree will be on display nightly through January 5, 2015. This 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. (Sun-Wed); 11:00 p.m. (Thursdays) and Midnight (Friday & Saturday). Texas State Capitol, Congress Avenue & 11th Street.
- Trail of Lights -- December 7-21, from 7-10 p.m. To get a sneak peek of the Trail, join the two-mile Fun Run on Saturday, December 6, 7-10 p.m., rain or shine ($20 for adults; $10 for kids). Admission to the Trail of Lights is FREE on Opening Night (December 7) and on Monday to Thursday nights. Admission is also FREE for kids under 12 every night. Admission for adults (age 12+) is $3 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (excluding Opening Night). With the purchase of a ZiP Pass for $15, trail-goers can enter the Trail early, starting at 6:15 p.m. on most nights. Shuttle tickets cost $5/person on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights ($4 on weeknights) and provide admission into the Trail of Lights (no additional gate admission ticket is required). Lap children ride free. Zilker Parking Passes are $15. All passes can be purchased online in advance. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
- Luminations at Wildflower Center -- Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, from 6-9 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.
- Holiday Light Shows at The Domain - November 22 through December 31, hourly between 5 and 9 p.m. Watch the holidays come to life with hourly lights show in Domain II. More than 82,000 lights and 2,200 strobes will dance to holiday music for the first 15 minutes of each hour. Call (512) 795-4230 for more information. Domain II (mall map).
- Frozen Medley Christmas Light Show - Nightly until New Year's, from 5:30-9:45 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Viewers can hear the songs from the house's speakers or from their car radio by tuning in to 106.9 FM. FREE! 16412 Rockgate Dr., Austin (near Avery Ranch in Round Rock).
- Lanicek Family in Wells Branch -- November 30 through January 3, 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. Preview videos on YouTube: Jingle Bell Rock Anthem, Nutcracker Russian Dance and
Angels We Have Heard on High (Relient K). 2207 Klattenhoff Drive.
- Wagon Hitch Cove - This street in southwest Austin was recommended by several readers. See a preview of the lights here.
- Willis Littlefield’s house -- Willis has been decorating his Clarksville home since 1998. He welcomes kids to interact with his display, including animatronic Santas galore, starting mid-December. FREE. 1611 West 12th Street.
- River of Lights -- December 6-31, 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.
- Lighted Parade -- Saturday, December 13 at 6 p.m. Bastrop's annual lighted Christmas parade brings a festival of lights, music, and cheer, including lovingly constructed and decorated floats, fire engines, marching bands, horses and riders, and, of course, Santa Claus and his helpers. Produced by the Downtown Business Alliance, this joyful Bastrop tradition literally lights up the Bastrop Christmas festivities. Main Street.
- Trail of Lights -- December 12 -13 and 18 - 21, 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. Hot beverages and concessions will be available for purchase. FREE. For more information, please call the Parks Department at 512-295-7170. Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda.
- Anna Court Light Display -- Scheduled to kick off on November 28. This Cedar Park cul-de-sac is decked out with thousands and thousands of festive lights. Bring a toy to donate to Blue Santa. FREE. 1321-1333 Anna Court.
- Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa's Workshop -- Friday, December 5, 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, free carriage rides, games and 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.
- Rhodes House -- See the Facebook page for updates on when the lights will be ready for viewing. When you go, bring a donation for the Cedar Park Area Food Bank. FREE. 2410 Sharon Drive.
- Chinati Court -- See the Facebook page for updates on when the lights will be ready for viewing. The neighborhood is also a collection point for Brown Santa. FREE. Just off Sun Chase Blvd in the Ranch at Cypress Creek. Park on Sun Chase and walk, if you can. (Map)
- Santa's Wonderland -- November 14 through January 4, from 6-11 p.m. (midnight on weekends). Buy tickets online. Tickets start at $6.95 per child and $10.95 per adult. Children age 2 and under are free. 18898 State Highway 6 S, College Station.
- Christmas on Mercer Street -- Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend the day-long festival on Mercer Street, hosted by the City of Dripping Springs and the Dripping Springs Lions Club. Admission is FREE to the public for this fun-filled day the whole family will enjoy. The charming downtown setting of Mercer Street will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with lights, holiday decorations, festive music, fire pits for warmth and plenty of holiday cheer. Photos with Santa, train rides, pony rides and a variety of arts, crafts and specialty food and drink booths will be in full swing. The highlight of the evening will be the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Triangle, located at Hwy. 290 and RR 12. At sunset, attendees are invited to gather for the illumination of the tree, showing off its twinkling lights, and joining in festive songs. This year features a special High Steppers performance, in addition to multiple choirs from local Dripping Springs churches and schools. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available for all to enjoy. Mercer Street, Downtown Dripping Springs.
- Nature in Lights, a Holiday Tradition -- November 14 though January 4, 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. $7 per car. Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area. (Directions)
- Christmas Stroll -- Friday, December 5, from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, December 6, 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 more than 250 arts and crafts booths. Children will love the various FREE activities and rides and visiting with Santa. There's even a parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. If you can't visit during the stroll, stop by any evening to see the Downtown Square lit up for the season. FREE. See the website for parking and street closure information. (Map of the Stroll)
- Spindler's Family Light Show -- November 27 through January 3. Tune your car radio to 88.5 FM to listen to the music. FREE. This is a collection site for Brown Santa, so please bring a new toy to donate. 2441 Candle Ridge Trail.
- Harlien Family Christmas - Starting November 28, from 6-10 p.m. on weekdays and from 6-11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tune in to 87.7 while viewing. Donations for the light show and Santa visit benefit Make-A-Wish. On December 16 there will be hot cocoa, cookies, a sing-along, and story time with Santa. 400 Liscio Cove. (For safety reasons, all guests are asked to enter Liscio Loop from Lancaster Drive & exit Liscio Loop at Champions.)
- Shady Oak Christmas Display -- Visit the Facebook page before heading out to make sure the lights are on. The show lasts about an hour if you watch the whole thing, but each song averages around 6 minutes. See videos of last year's songs here. FREE. 107 Shady Oak Drive.
- Town Lighting -- Saturday, December 6, 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 and cozy up to a fireplace for dinner at the Gristmill. Call (830) 629-5077 for information.
- Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style -- November 22 through January 1, from 6-11 p.m. This holiday season, bring your family to enjoy the magic and beauty of over two million LED lights spread over a mile-long drive through light display. Admission is FREE, but donations are accepted to help keep the display burning bright! To book a hayride through the lights for your family or group this Christmas season, or if you have any questions, call 512-955-1706. 1 mile outside of Johnson City, on Hwy 281.
- Official Lighting of the Blanco County Courthouse -- Friday, November 28 at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks start at 6:30 p.m., followed by the official lighting of the Blanco County Courthouse. Live band music will continue throughout the evening festivities. FREE hayrides, sponsored by the Antique Tractor Club, will operate until approximately 10 p.m. (loading in front of Texas 290 Diner, weather permitting). Carriage rides will also be available. The Johnson City Garden Club will offer Christmas ornaments and crafts in the courthouse lobby. 101 E Pecan Avenue.
- Pedernales Electric Cooperative Headquarters -- November 28 through January 1. 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. Read some nice reviews here. FREE. 201 S Avenue F.
- Lighted Hooves and Wheels Parade, Clickety Cloggers -- Saturday, November 29. Activities start at 5:30 p.m. with the Lighted Hooves and Wheels Parade kicking off at 6:30 p.m. Clickety Cloggers will start of the second night of Lights Spectacular with a performance in the street in front of the Courthouse on the Square. The highlight of the evening will be the Lighted Hooves and Wheels Parade at 6:30 p.m. and pictures with Santa in Memorial Park on Main Street. The Chuck Wagon Food Court will be open, the Court House lobby will be filled with the Garden Club’s Christmas ornaments and crafts and carriage rides will be available. 101 E Pecan Avenue.
- Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade -- Saturday, December 6 at 5 p.m. Pictures with Santa, Holiday Hayrides, Yule Fire, Choral Performances, Christmas Parade, and Tree Lighting. FREE. City Hall, 200 West Willis St.
- Toungate Klub Kringle -- Starting December 6 at 8:30 p.m. Come out to see a brand new show, with more lights and new songs! FREE. 2305 Arroyo Grande.
- Starry, Starry Nights -- November 29 through December 31, from 6-9 p.m. Christmas lights strung along the Llano River glow each night for families to enjoy. FREE. Badu Park.
- Lighted Christmas Parade -- Friday, December 5 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. Following the parade on Friday night, and all day on 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 at 7 p.m. 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. S. Main.
- Walkway of Lights - Friday, November 21 to January 1, from 6-10 p.m. People come from far and wide to see the two million lights reflecting off Lake Marble Falls during the world-famous Walkway of Lights. Please check the website before heading out for weather updates. The lights cannot be turned on if the ground is wet. FREE! Lakeside Park, 307 Buena Vista, Marble Falls.
- Santa's Ranch -- November 7 through January 3. 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 + tax per car. 9561 I-35 North, New Braunfels.
- Christmas Parade and Pfestival of Lights -- Saturday, December 13, starting at 5:30 p.m. Activities until 8 p.m. The city's Parks & Recreation Department joins forces with the Knights of Columbus this year and adds activities to the annual Christmas Parade. Blending the two events makes a larger, more fun holiday celebration for the community. The city will bring a stage with live performances from local elementary schools and dancers on the stage at 200 W. Main Street. There will be FREE arts and crafts activities for children, a bonfire, the traditional tree lighting, and photos with Santa Claus at the end of the parade. Donations for the Blue Santa program welcome. For information, call 512-990-6113. FREE. The parade travels down Railroad Avenue to Main Street. (Parade route map.)
- Rock'N Lights Holiday Light Tour -- December 1 to 30, starting at 6 p.m. (closing times vary). 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. Admission for the tour is $15 per family vehicle. Get a $5 coupon here (but read the fine print as it is only valid on certain dates). Enter the park at Old Settlers Boulevard and Harrell Parkway, 4111 E. Old Settlers Blvd.
- Christmas Family Night -- Friday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. Watch as Main Street is illuminated and Santa arrives in his sleigh. FREE. Historic Downtown, Main Street.
- Elfvis and the Kringles -- Bring unwrapped gifts for Blue Santa (Georgetown) and Brown Santa (Williamson County). This year, Olaf from Frozen has been added (get a sneak peek here). Go to www.elfvis.com to stay updated on any schedule changes. FREE. 3448 Tourmaline Trail.
- Sights & Sounds of Christmas -- December 3 to 6, from 5 - 11 p.m. Nightly admission for 13 and up is $5; kids 12 and under are FREE. Online Purchase Event 4-Day Wristband: $7. FREE Shuttle from Bobcat Stadium. Parking info. San Marcos Plaza Park.
- Festival of Lights -- Saturday, December 6. Enjoy Kids Fest (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.), photos with Santa, a live performance of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a Lighted Parade after dark, and more! Historic downtown Smithville.
- The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights (Wimberley) - November 29 to December 31, from 6–9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Stroll a walking path with more than 100 lighted exhibits created by local businesses, churches, organizations and families. Roast a marshmallow at the yule log and listen to live entertainment on most nights. See the schedule of when Santa will be in his house. FREE! EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley.
For even more holiday lights in Central Texas, check out the Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail.