What started in 1965 with a small gathering around a yule log has transformed into a holiday tradition for many with more than 2 million lights, 96 lighted holiday trees, and over 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels illuminating Zilker Park.

What to expect

Those visiting can expect to get into the holiday spirit while walking an average of 2.5 miles each visit. The Trail of Lights Ferris Wheel and Carousel are both popular rides, and Santa can be found in his house each night from 6-9:30 p.m. Food and drink vendors will be scattered throughout the trail.

Additionally, visitors will also have the chance to roast s'mores at designated areas along the trail and see live entertainment at the Zilker stage.

The 59th annual Austin Trail of Lights will return to Zilker Park on Dec. 8-23. (Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights)

Admission prices are as follows:
  • Free general admission is open to all from 7-10 p.m. Dec. 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 19.
  • General admission is free for children under age 12 and $8 for those age 12 and older on all other nights; the trail will be closed on Mondays.
  • The $25 ZIP passes provide early access to the trail and include the ZIP Lounge stocked with cookies and cocoa.
  • The $95 platinum passes offer early access to the trail, the private Platinum Lounge and restrooms, valet parking, a golf cart shuttle to the trailhead, a drink ticket and a ride ticket.
Santa and his helpers will be at Austin Trail of Lights each night. (Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights)

Specialty nights are as follows:
  • 10th annual Night Lights Preview Party, Dec. 1: For a $100 donation to attend, guests will get a first look at the Trail of Lights with live music, amusement rides, snacks and drinks with all proceeds benefiting accessibility to the Austin Trail of Lights.
  • 12th annual Fun Run, Dec. 2: For $20-$45, guests can participate in a 2-mile fun run along the Austin Trail of Lights.
  • University of Texas-Austin Night, Dec. 10: Free general admission will be offered.
The 2023 Austin Trail of Lights display will continue at Zilker Park in December. (Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights)

Nearby parking at Zilker Park is only available with a $25 prepaid parking pass that must be purchased online ahead of time.

Organizers said ride-hailing, including carpooling; Uber, Lyft or a taxi; or using the trail’s shuttles, is encouraged. Shuttle rides are $8 per person, and general admission to Austin Trail of Lights is included.

Click here to learn more about planning ahead.