Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).
Visiting Austin during Christmastime is always a good idea. The city hosts an array of events such as holiday bazaars, fairs, and light parades. Take a stroll downtown, enjoying the festive illumination and holiday shopping on Austin’s famous Congress Avenue. Drive through the Trail of Lights in vast Zilker Park, immersing yourself in millions of dazzling lights.
Downtown Stroll Austin (December, dates TBA)
Every winter, the Christmas season in Austin is kicked off with the Downtown Holiday Stroll light display. Get into the Christmas spirit by joining a carol sing-along, listen to live music on the stage, attend an artisan market, and enjoy delicious foods. The Capitol Tree lighting ceremony is the main highlight of downtown celebrations. The 45-ft-tall tree is decorated with hundreds of lights. And there are also plenty of fun activities for the whole family.
Trail of Lights (November 28, 2020–January 3, 2021, drive-through only)
The Trail of Lights display in Zilker Park, located close to downtown, is a favorite Christmas destination for many Central Texas families. A sparkling mile-long display includes entertainment and fun for all ages. The main highlight of the park is the 150-ft-tall Zilker Tree, adorned with over 3,300 Christmas lights. Trail of Lights features more than 2 million lights, 90 Christmas trees, and over 70 other holiday displays. Lighted tunnels are everybody's favorite. As you enjoy Trail of Lights in the comfort of your car, tune your car radio to a holiday music station to maximize your experience.
Santa's Ranch (November 6, 2020–January 3, 2021)
One of Central Texas's best Christmas displays, Santa's Ranch in New Braunfels, offers a mile-long drive-through trail, comprising of a hundred displays and animations. The light exhibit winding through country roads features over one million lights. Visitors can also enjoy a 50-ft-tall Christmas tree, homemade hot cocoa, kettle corn, and snacks. The display is open from Thursday to Sunday, from 6 pm to 10 pm, and from Friday to Saturday, from 6 pm to 11 pm.