Austin Trail of Lights to kick off Monday night


Austin, Texas (KXAN) — A tribute to the area’s music scene is the newest display lighting up Zilker Park at Austin’s Trail of Lights.

The 54th annual Austin Trail of Lights opens its gates officially at the Grand Opening on Dec. 10. If you can’t wait until then, a Fun Run will get you into the holiday extravaganza before it’s open to the public.

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


  • Starts Monday, Dec. 10 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 23
  • General admission gates open 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every evening. There is a $3 admission fee (ages 12 and older) on weekends, but most weeknights are free.
  • ZIP Fast Passes let you enter the park an hour earlier at 6 p.m. Prices range from $15-$20.

Specialty Nights

  • Saturday, Dec. 1
    • 2018 Fun Run
    • 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Jingle, jog and 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.
  • Saturday, Dec. 8
    • Night Lights Preview Party
    • 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Kick off the Austin Trail of Lights season in style! Enjoy Austin’s favorite holiday event with a little extra sparkle – and support the Trail while you’re at it! Tickets are $85 per person, and proceeds go directly back to the Austin Trail of Lights.
  • Monday, Dec. 10
    • 2018 Grand Opening
    • 7 p.m. – 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. KXAN’s own Sydney Benter will be on-hand as emcee of the night.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 11
    • Heroes Night
    • 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • The trail will honor veterans, active military, and first responders (police, fire, EMS) at their annual Heroes Night. Wear your uniform or bring an ID showing military, veteran status or first responder verification for you and your family to receive complimentary ZIP Fast Pass perks beginning at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 13
    •  Movie Night at the Trail
    • 7:00 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Grab a bag of kettle corn, bring a blanket and enjoy a classic holiday movie – The Polar Express – under the stars and lights in Austin’s beloved Zilker Park. The night will start with story time at 7:30 p.m. followed by the movie at 8 p.m.
  • U.T. Night
    • Sunday, Dec. 16
    • 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • The fifth annual UT Night on the Trail of Lights will spotlight the vibrant University of Texas at Austin 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!

How to Get There

  • Shuttle: TOL shuttles will operate from two locations on Dec. 14-16, and 20-23: Republic Square in downtown Austin (422 Guadalupe St.) and Toney Burger Event Center in south Austin (3200 Jones Road). The shuttle ticket includes your TOL general admission ticket. First shuttle starts at 5:30 p.m.
  • 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.
  • Ride-Hailing Apps: The ride share pick up/drop off will be located near the Zilker Tree, adjacent to event parking. Drivers are aware of the street closures surrounding Zilker Park.

Do Good

This year TOL organizers are asking attendees to bring a canned good to help the Central Texas Food Bank.

For more information on the 2018 Austin Trail of Lights, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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