As we all know, COVID-19 has not been kind to small businesses, restaurants, or life in general. And as we roll into the holiday season, many may find it hard to get into the holiday spirit for a variety of reasons.
Luckily, you can’t keep a festive season down, even in the midst of the pandemic. If you’re looking for a bright and jolly way to spend an evening from the comfort and safety of your car, look no further than our top picks for seasonal and safe drive-through light shows guaranteed to delight young and old alike.
NOTE: While many of these events have walking trails, we’re only focusing on the drive-thru portion of the experience. If you choose to take these trails, please exercise proper social distancing and coronavirus precautions.
Fancy a short road trip? Take IH-35 South to New Braunfels and check out Santa’s Ranch where over 1.5 million animated holiday lights await. Not only are the displays stunning, rolling through over a mile of winding country roads screams classic holiday cheer. And it’s all delightfully Austin weird. Cowboys, dinosaurs, biblical scenes, and a host of random ideas combine to create a magical aura for every attendee. It’s a lovely event in a beautiful setting.
Visit santasranch.net for directions, pricing, and tickets.
Peppermint Parkway at COTA
A relative newbie to the ATX holiday scene, Peppermint Parkway at Circuit of the Americas grew from upstart to December mainstay in no time. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s event is mainly vehicular, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing over a million lights displayed over a mile-long course.
This year’s theme lets visitors follow hosts Pepper and Mint as they race to deliver letters to Santa. Exhibits include elves, holiday sculptures, an enchanted forest, and a 60 foot spiral light tree. And no trip to a holiday display would be complete without a visit from the man in red himself! My family will be cruising down Tunnel Road rocking our Christmas jammies sometime soon—so join us!
Go to circuitoftheamericas.com for ticket prices and more information.
Trail of Lights
It wouldn’t be the holidays without the 56th annual Austin Trail of Lights spectacular. And while you won’t be able to take a spin under the Zilker Tree this year, there’s still plenty to marvel at during this incredible holiday experience. Guests will be able to enjoy classic exhibits like Santasaurus, Spaceship Santa, and 12 Days of Christmas whist being dazzled by over 2 million lights.
The Trail of Lights team went to great lengths to capture the spirit of the event while keeping it COVID free. Festive elves scan your tickets upon entry and holiday classics are broadcast on an in-park radio station. They even hand out cookies! And although the entire trip takes about 15 minutes, the sensory overload is worth it.
If I wrote a “You’re Not an Austinite Until” article, visiting this annual holiday celebration would be close to the top of the list. And although this version of the Trail of Lights is decidedly 2020, it’s still worth hopping into the car for a one-of-a-kind hit of holiday cheer.
The Austin Trail of Lights runs through January 3; you can purchase passes at austintrailoflights.org.
Buda Trail of Lights
For a weekend display, visit our neighbors down south for the 12th annual Buda Trail of lights at the historic Stagecoach Park. This year’s event is completely drive-through so you can experience holiday cheer from the safety of your vehicle.
The Buda Trail of lights is free and accessible December 10-13 and 17-20 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. More info is available on the City of Buda site.
Everyone’s neighborhood has the “go all out” block. The row of homes where everyone gets together to celebrate the season under a blanket of glittering lights. And better yet, can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your vehicle. Here’s a quick run down of some of our favorites:
- Spindler Family Christmas Light Show: 2441 Candle Ridge Trail, Georgetown, TX 78626
- Rhodes Family Christmas: 2410 Sharon Drive, Cedar Park, TX 78613
- Chinati Court: Chinati Ct, Cedar Park, TX 78613
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Where are you going for your socially distant holiday cheer this year?