The holidays are upon us! With a year of general craziness in the rear view mirror, we need a little December cheer. If you’re in the same boat, look no further than the 57th annual Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. While the event is drive thru instead of walk about, it’s still a wonderful opportunity to bask in the glow of holiday magic. Here’s everything you need to know to experience the trail right.
Austin Trail of Lights Is A Feast for the Eyes
Like last year, the Trail of Lights is 100% drive thru. While there’s no opportunity to spin under the Zilker tree, I respect their desire to keep people safe during the ongoing pandemic. Luckily, driving the trail doesn’t hurt the experience. The display is nothing short of spectacular.
Over two million lights illuminate the Zilker Park path. Old school favorites like the Jackalope, Santasaurus and Cartoon Land make an appearance once again. Seeing these classics brought back memories of my first Austin Christmas nearly 8 years ago and it was heartwarming listening to my son laugh at the sights.
One of the trails highlights are the multiple light tunnels that section off the trail. Driving underneath these massive structures was a blast. All in all, the trip, from the opening gate to end, took around 20 minutes which was perfect for the two kiddos in the van.
Trail of Lights in Austin – Tickets & More
- Passes to the trail are available right now but tend to sell out quickly, especially for peak evenings and weekends.
- Passes will cost you $30 – $40 per vehicle depending on when you choose to go.
- Dash Passes are available for $65. These allow you early entry between 5:45 and 7:00 PM and include holiday cookies and bottled water.
- Entry is one pass per vehicle containing up to nine passengers. Vehicles that hold 10+ require two passes. And all vehicles need to be street legal.
- While it’ll take about 20 minutes to experience the trail, leave ample time for queuing up and crowds. This year will be a busy one!
- 90% of the lights and all of the attractions are on the passenger side of the vehicle. This helps the driver stay focused on the road, so if you have two kids, make them rock-paper-scissors for who gets to sit on the right.
Austin Trail Of Lights 2021 – Important Dates and Special Nights
- 11/28 – Opening Night
- Virtual Fun Run: The 10th annual Trail of Lights Fun Run goes virtual this year. Rather than jogging through the trail, you can pick a route, any route. Trail of Lights has a lovely route around Austin’s finest landmarks, or you can jog in your own neighborhood. Just make sure it’s fun and festive! Entrants receive a Fun Run t-short, a 2021 race bib, a rad swag bag and festive route recommendations.
- 12/12 – UT Night
- 12/28 to 12/29 – STARS at the Trail Night: The Trail of Lights team provides free entry to over 30 nonprofit partners in the Austin community. A great way to give back to organizations who give so much throughout the year. They also give thousands of passes to eligible families in the Austin Independent School District (AISD).
- 12/31 – New Years Eve and the last night of the trail.
Trail of Lights – An Enduring Tradition
Whether it’s your first or 30th year, the Austin Trail of Lights is an enduring experience. While driving the park may not be same as walking it, cruising beneath a blanket of 2 million lights still captures the imagination and inspires holiday cheer. Come by yourself, as a couple, with friends, or a van full of kids. Everyone’s guaranteed to be delighted at this year’s Trail of Lights.
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