AUSTIN (KXAN) — You’ve probably heard of the Trail of Lights and Peppermint Parkway, but if you’re looking for a holiday display that doesn’t require reservations and is a little more off the beaten path, we have the hookup.
Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for a niche Central Texas holiday display.
Diagon Alley House
Joel Pace, the man behind the Diagon Alley House, says the elaborate decor started as a way to cheer up his wife, who was going through cancer treatment and recovery in 2017. The Pace family liked it so much they kept doing it.
“It turned into a fundraiser at some point, and you know it’s just become part of our family tradition for the holidays, Halloween, Christmas, and it just sort of takes on a life of its own,” Pace said.
It started as a Halloween-only event, but the family started doing it for Christmas when the pandemic hit. It’s back again this year.
It’s for a good cause too, they partnered with three nonprofits and ask people who enjoy the display to consider donating. The groups are Foster Angels of Central Texas, Variety of the Children’s Charity of Texas and Zach Theater.
You can donate through Diagon Alley’s GoFundMe here.
“Our goal this year is to raise $15,000 so we can give each of our charities $5,000 because we do not keep any of the money we raise. So right now, we’re about $12,000, we’re about $3,000 short of our goal so we’re doing really well but we can always do better and we would love to exceed our goal,” Pace said.
The Diagon Alley House is on Slaughter Lane in Circle C’s Vintage Place, across from the park. It’s hard to miss.
If you’re not ready for bed after hanging out at the Harry Potter house, not too far away you’ll find Escarpment Blvd., heading into Circle C, has trees lining the street that are lit up beautifully.
The neighborhoods in that area feature some decked-out homes.
This video was taken at one of those homes off of Dedham Drive and Escarpment Blvd.
The 37th Street Lights are a group of neighbors that come together every year to be the most festive neighborhood in Austin. From weird sculptures to a stuffed animal petting zoo, it’s a unique viewing experience.
“We’re loving it, unique Austin experience,” said Karl Frick, who had brought his young daughter, Penny, to the lights for the first time this year.
“Penny likes it. Something you can only get in Austin. Really unique and we were just talking about how we want to make it a family tradition,” Kara Frick, Penny’s mom, said.
The sights can best be viewed by getting out and walking, there are many opportunities to wander around people’s yards and interact with the displays.
“Even when it’s 75 degrees you can get into the Christmas spirit here on 37th Street,” Kara said.
Most of the decorations can be found between Guadalupe and Home on 37th Street. There also tend to be decorations on 32nd and 35th Streets, if you do a little more walking.
The Gingerbread House
Though the life-sized Gingerbread House in Kyle had its last event of the year Friday night, the decorations are still worth driving past.
The house is not only decked out with lights and holiday decorations but is made to look like a life-sized gingerbread house.
The house raised more than $600 in cash and 250 pounds of nonperishable food items Friday night alone for Hays County Food Bank. You can still make donations to the food bank on their website.
You can find the house at 285 McGarity in Kyle,
The Shady Hollow neighborhood off Brodie Lane in south Austin has a few streets where neighbors really went to town.
The below video was taken in Doe Run, which had houses decorated all along the street. Apache Forest Drive also has additional displays.