Celebrate the magic at the Austin Trail of Lights


AUSTIN (KXAN) – Back for it’s 55th year, the Austin Trail of Lights is returning to Zilker Park.

There are 14 magical nights to experience the Trail this year.

Enjoy more than 60 displays and over 2 million lights at the grand opening of the Trail of Lights on December 10. If you can’t wait until then, there are a few opportunities to catch Austin’s largest holiday tradition before it opens to the public.

Add a little extra sparkle to your evening and support the Trail of Lights Foundation at the Night Lights Preview Party on December 6. Or jog with your favorite elf at the Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s visit to Zilker Park:

Taking in the sights at the 2017 Austin Trail of Lights.


  • Starts Tuesday, December 10 and runs through Monday, December 23.
  • General admission gates are open 7 to 10 p.m. every evening. There is a $5 admission fee (ages 12 and older) on weekends, but most weeknights are free.
  • ZIP Passes allow you to enter the park an hour earlier at 6 p.m. ZIP guests also receive special access to the ZIP Lounge where you’ll find complimentary holiday cookies, cocoa, comfortable seating, and heated washrooms. ZIP passes are $20 (plus fees).

Specialty Nights

  • Friday, December 6
    • 6–10 p.m.
    • Austin Trail of Lights annual “Night Lights” Preview Party is an exclusive evening kicking off the Austin Trail of Lights season in style! Enjoy Austin’s favorite holiday event with a little extra sparkle – and support the Trail of Lights Foundation while you’re at it! Ticket proceeds from Night Lights ticket sales go directly back to the Austin Trail of Lights.
  • Saturday, December 7
    • 6–10 p.m.
    • Jingle, jog, & jive your way through the iconic Austin Trail of Lights in your best holiday costume, then stick around for the ultimate after party celebration – the Finish Line Festival – located in the heart of Zilker Park.
  • Tuesday, December 10
    • 7–10 p.m.
    • The official first night at the Trail begins with a ceremonial flipping of the switch by AISD students lead by city officials. General admission is free.
  • Wednesday, December 11
    • 7–10 p.m.
    • The trail will honor veterans, active military, and first responders (police, fire, EMS) at their annual Heroes Night. Heroes and up to 3 of their family members are invited to enjoy complimentary ZIP access on this special night.  
  • Thursday, December 12
    • 7–10 p.m.
    • Grab a bag of kettle corn, bring a blanket and enjoy a classic holiday movie – Home Alone – under the stars and lights in Austin’s beloved Zilker Park.
  • Sunday, December 15
    • 7–10 p.m.
    • We’re lighting up the Trail burnt orange at UT Night at the Austin Trail of Lights. This special evening is dedicated to our city’s vibrant UT community. UT Night is a great way to ring in the holiday season with students, faculty, alumni, family and friends. UT-themed programming by university groups will showcase Longhorn pride!

Getting There

  • Parking on-site must be purchased in advance for $15 per vehicle. With a prepaid parking pass, you will be able to access our event parking with your pass anytime between 5:30 p.m. and when the event concludes at 10 p.m.
  • Please leave plenty of time to arrive at Zilker Park. This is a very popular event in the center of the city and you should still expect traffic delays approaching Zilker Park.
  • Shuttle: TOL shuttles will operate from two locations on Dec. 13-15, and 19-23: Republic Square in downtown Austin (422 Guadalupe St., Austin 78701) and Toney Burger Event Center in south Austin (3200 Jones Rd, Austin, TX 78745). The shuttle ticket includes your TOL general admission ticket. First shuttle starts at 5:30 p.m.
  • Ride Hailing Apps: The ride share pick up / drop off will be located just west of the Zilker Holiday Tree in the Zilker Field. Drivers are aware of the street closures surrounding Zilker Park.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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