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The Trail of Lights on Dec. 18, 2022. (Steven Joyner)

If you've driven north through Mopac at night, you've seen the Zilker holiday tree in all its glory next to the Trail of Lights. And Austin has so many more holiday sights for you to see.


Don't miss these eight holiday-themed light shows.

Trail of Lights

(Trail of Lights)

Austin's most famous annual light show and a Readers Choice of USA Today's 10 Best Public Displays of Holiday Lights, the Trail of Lights is a drive-thru event this year until Dec. 31. For 57 years in a row, the Trail of Lights has lit up Zilker Park with games, food, local vendors and more than two million lights gleaming for the holidays. Vehicle passes start at $35, you can reserve slots here. The nearby Zilker Holiday Tree can be viewed as up close and personal as you want.

Peppermint Parkway

(Peppermint Parkway)

Peppermint Parkway will transport you to COTALAND, where six million lights gleam and Christmas is just a one-mile drive away. The hybrid event is a drive-through with lights, dancing elves and unique little villages before you hit the walking plaza, where you can grab a bite to eat and meet Santa. Tickets range from $40-$95, some including a lap around the COTA track, running until Dec. 26.

December in Downtown and Bike Zoo Parade

(Downtown Austin Alliance)

Head on down to the Capitol if you want to see Austin's own Rockefeller tree. Additionally, all month long the Downtown Austin Alliance has been hosting events, rounding them out with the Bike Zoo Austin Parade on Dec. 18 from 3-8 p.m; it will start at Republic Square Park and travel through the streets of downtown. The fun doesn't stop there, get in on the Downtown Holiday Stroll for good deals nearby with "holiday passport" stamps that will enter you into a chance to win prizes.

Dreamland's Lights and Delights

(Dreamland Dripping Springs)

Dreamland Dripping Springs has been transformed into a winter wonderland—running throughout the month of December, the venue's first-ever holiday display is taking over with activities for the whole family. Plus, until Jan. 4, a pop-up ice skating rink will really bring the holiday cheer for $10 or $5 Monday specials. The lights display will feature half a million lights and warm, festive sips from the taproom.

Hill Country Galleria

(Anne Burnett/Hill Country Galleria)

With events galore for the holiday season, winter is really when the Hill Country Galleria thrives. You can catch a spectacular lit holiday tree throughout the month. It will also hold a holiday market every Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas Eve and periodic photos with Santa nextdoor to Buenos Aires Cafe.

Deck the Halls at the Driskill Hotel

(Courtesy of the Driskill Hotel)

It's the most wonderful time of the year at the Driskill. The historic 6th Street hotel has decked out every nook and cranny from the grand staircase to the 16-foot Christmas tree in the lobby, which is open to the public. Touches of Driskill festivities can also be seen at Dell Children's Hospital with a gingerbread village for its annual "Cookies for Caring" event.

Luminations at the Wildflower Center

(Joanna Wojtkowiak/Wildflower Center)

Combining festive holiday lights and the beautiful native plants of Central Texas, catch thousands of lights, luminarias and a lit-up look at Fortlandia at Luminations at the Wildflower Center. This year also features an interactive light maze called "silvana" by Ben Busche of architecture firm Brut Deluxe, which will be the maze's first appearance in North America. The event will run Thursdays-Sundays until Jan. 30 for $10-$25 per person.

Mozart’s Christmas Lights Show

(Mozart's)

Reserved tables are back for Mozart's Coffee Roasters annual Christmas Lights Show for $20 four-person tables and $30 six-person tables—so get your tickets early because these tables are likely to sell out. The light show will also feature a festival-style Bavarian marketplace for those last-minute gifts. If you're too late to reserve a table, don't worry, there will be standing room available for free so come one, come all, and come early for parking.

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