The holidays are here, and one of the best ways to celebrate in Austin is by visiting the city’s famed Trail of Lights. Beginning on December 9, Zilker Park transforms into a winter wonderland as it is lit up by 40 displays and nearly two million dazzling lights. This year, the Trail of Lights will welcome local food trucks, musicians, shops and organizations. We have highlighted some of the celebrations’ events to help you plan your next visit to the trail:

Tunnel of lights at Austin Trail of Lights
Courtesy of the Trail of Lights Foundation.

12/9/12
Grand Opening
Austin Trail of Lights’ grand opening officially kicks off the month-long event. Join the community as they welcome one lucky Austin elementary student to the stage as they flip on the lights for the first time in 2017.

12/10/17
UT Night
The Trail of Lights shines many colors, but on this night, burnt orange shines the brightest. Come out with your fellow Longhorns or bring the family and your future little Longhorns to rep the University of Texas with pride.

12/12/17
Hero’s Night
Come on out to help the Trail of Lights celebrate veterans and active military members. Bring your military ID, first responder verification or wear your uniform to receive a Zip Fast Pass to avoid lines and crowds, access to the Zip Lounge and early entrance to the park.

12/14/12
Cap City Music Night
Located in the Live Music Capital of the World®, it’s no surprise the Trail of Lights is dedicating a whole night to live music. Local band Mother Falcon and other musical acts take the stage to bring the sounds of the holidays to ATX.

Zilker Tree at the Austin Trail of Lights
Zilker Tree at the Austin Trail of Lights. Credit Dear Wesleyann Photography.

12/19/17
Movie Night
Free and open to the public, Movie Night at the Trail is fun the entire family can enjoy. Bring out the family from 7–10 p.m. for movies that will surely put you in the Christmas spirit.

12/23/17
Closing Night
This is the last night to see the lights before they are removed from from Zilker Park for the year. Don’t miss out!

Insider Tip
If you want to grab a bite before hitting the trail, Barton Springs Road has plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Check out Shady Grove for their inviting patio and well-rounded menu. If you’re looking for Tex-Mex, you’re in luck – the original Chuy’s (an Austin staple) is located just down the road. Going with a big group and can’t settle on one place? The Picnic, Barton Spring Road’s biggest food truck park, has options for everyone.  

This fun-filled fest has something for the whole family and truly completes the holiday season in Austin. Make sure to make a trip to the trail before it's gone for the year!

Contributed by Nicole Zielinski, Visit Austin Marketing Communications Intern