Austin Trail of Lights Returns to Its Traditional, On-Foot Format

The beloved Zilker Park holiday celebration returns

The Austin Trail of Lights is returning to its original walk-through format. The annual holiday tradition will offer brilliant light displays, food and drink, live music, and more starting Dec. 8.

Austinites wander through a past Trail of Lights. (Courtesy Trail of Lights)

The experience of walking wide-eyed through millions of holiday lights at Zilker Park is back. The Trail of Lights Foundation announced the 58th annual edition of the festival will return to its pre-COVID format, with visitors walking rather than driving through.

The holiday spectacle will feature its classic light and holiday displays along the 1.25 mile trail, with Santa available at the “North Pole.” The ferris wheel and carousel will also be making their returns. Food, drink, shopping, and live music round out the illuminated experience.

In addition to the nightly offerings, several events are planned throughout the month of December. If you want an early look at the lights, you can get a sneak peek by running the 2.1 mile Fun Run on Dec. 3. Dec. 13 is Heroes Night honoring veterans, active duty military, and first responders; Dec. 15 will feature a holiday movie on the big screen for movie night; and Dec. 21 is Pride Night. Additional programming will be announced in November.

General admission tickets range from free to $5, depending on the night. Check the schedule to see which nights are free. Admission is always free for kids 11 and under. There are also premium ticket options including ZIP Passes ($20-25) which grant early access through a special entrance as well as cookies and cocoa in the lounge area on Candy Cane Lane. For the high rollers, platinum tickets ($90) are available with access to concierge and valet services, a heated lounge, golf carts to take you from the lounge to the trail, and a drink and carnival ride ticket.

The Trail of Lights is open nightly Tuesdays through Sundays, Dec. 8-23. So get your walking shoes on, your holiday sweater ready, and purchase your tickets online now.

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Trail of Lights, Zilker Park

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