Best Christmas Lights In Central Austin

December 6, 2017

Article by: Tony Cantu,

Looking for the best holiday lights is a must for the holiday season. Here are the most spectacular downtown displays.

AUSTIN, TX — The holidays wouldn't be the same without bundling the family in the car — or venturing out one one's own — to take in some Christmas lights. There are plenty of spots in Central Austin that qualify as must-see displays to bask in the afterglow of Christmas lights.

Austin Trail of Lights

Garnering national attention, this is the mother of all lighting displays in Austin. It's staged at the jewel of the city's park system, Zilker Park. The trails there are converted to trails of lights leading up to the centerpiece Christmas tree. The lighting ceremony for the city's 155-foot tree recently took place, officially launching the holidays here. It's definitely worth a visit.

Holiday Sing-A-Long and Downtown Stroll

If the Austin Trail of Lights is the mother of all holiday lighting displays, the Capital Holiday Stroll is the grandaddy. One of the city's longest-staged events, the lighting here is set amid a backdrop of the historic structure and its immaculate grounds. As if the dramatic lights weren't enough, there's a holiday sing-a-long too. This is a free, family-friendly event. Live music and photos with Santa are part of the mix. Merchants in the surrounding area — galleries, museums, shops and restaurants — typically open late for special activities and offers to the descending throngs.


Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree

The historic Driskill Hotel is hard to miss when wandering downtown, what with its majestic architecture set off by imposing pillars at the entrance. The annual lighting of the Christmas tree there features carolers adding to the seasonal vibe. Photos with Santa can be had, and there's a Christmas dinner offered on Dec. 25.

Lake Austin's Boat Trail of Lights

And now for something completely different — and beautiful. A typically beautiful setting all year round, Lake Austin turns magical during the holidays as boat owners deck their vessels in holiday decorations. Boaters participate in a contest for best-decorated boat and best light displayed. Not everyone gets to see this spectacle, as only a limited number of VIP tickets are sold.

Lala's Little Nugget Christmas Display

A favorite drinking hole for generations of Austinites, this charming pub named Lala's Little Nugget actually celebrates Christmas year-round but with a special feel come Christmas when it features a North Pole vista. It's a quintessentially Austin thing.

Mozart's Christmas Light Show

Three words: One million lights. Actually a little more than that light up this renowned display, including a literal wall of lights. This year, an interactive experience will take spectators on a virtual Christmas joy ride. The lights are shaped into iconic symbols of the city, recognizable for natives and transplants alike. The backdrop is just as dramatic, staged against Mozart's lakeside deck. The light show is free, but attendees can purchase Mozart's signature coffees and hot chocolate along with other holiday goodies from the bakery.

Do you know of other Christmas light displays that should be included in this story? Let us know and we'll add it in the days leading up to the holidays! Email

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