Trail of Lights is one of Austin’s favorite holiday traditions!
I’ve been to the Trail of Lights a few times in my years of living in Austin but I hadn’t been in three or four years. I can confirm that it is still a lot of fun, especially for families. Austin Food Blogger Alliance was invited for a complimentary experience of the trail and its food trucks.
The trail features light tunnels, festive displays with familiar characters, shopping booths, live music, and dance performances, and even Santa. You’ll easily spend an hour here or maybe three.
Can you believe the first Trail of Lights event happened in 1965? As you can imagine, the displays and number of lights have expanded since then. It’s beautiful to see the Austin skyline in the background.
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Food and Drink at Trail of Lights
There are four different areas around the trail for food vendors, and the nearly 30 choices range from tacos to pizza. Plus there are plenty of dessert items like kettle corn and funnel cake.
We got to try food from a few of the food trucks. Don’t miss the brisket tacos at Bohemian Barbecue located at Candy Cane Lane. Stop at Shawarma Point at the North Pole for loaded curly fries. Another favorite is grilled cheese sandwiches at Burro Cheese Kitchen. See the full line-up of full vendors here.
Getting to Trail of Lights and Parking
They have two official parking lots close to Zilker Park. Parking passes must be purchased in advance online and it is $15 per car.
The $6 shuttle includes your general admission ticket. It runs continuously from Republic Square Park in Downtown Austin or Toney Burger Event Center in South Austin.
The best way for you or your rideshare to get to Trail of Lights is by Mopac and not Lamar. They close off Barton Springs Road nightly, so expect a lot of traffic in the area around Barton Springs Rd and Lamar Blvd.
- Get there 15 minutes before it opens or right as it opens if you want to avoid crowds. There’s also a Zip pass that allows you to get in at 6 p.m.
- Zip Passes are $15-20, depending on the day you go, and include early entry, separate entrance and access to the Zilker Lounge where there’s cookies, cocoa, seating, and nicer bathrooms.
- Trail of Lights is free seven out of the 14 days it’s open. Otherwise, general admission is $3 per person. Tickets can be bought in advance and this will allow you to get in through a separate line.
- Seating is available near the food trucks and bar tents.
- Trail of Lights is usually open through two weekends in December, this year from December 10-23, 2018.
- Find more info on their website.
Do you have any favorite holiday traditions?