Holiday Happenings

Austin's beloved Trail of Lights unveils 2017 dates and special events

Austin's beloved Trail of Lights unveils 2017 dates and special events

Trail of Lights Austin skyline
400,000 guests are expected to attend the 53rd annual Zilker Trail of Lights. Photo by Maggie Boyd

This will put you in the holiday spirit: The 2017 dates and a full calendar of events have been announced for Austin’s favorite holiday tradition, the Zilker Trail of Lights.

Each year, Zilker Park transforms into a winter wonderland with over 2 million twinkling lights, 40 fantastic displays, more than 20 local food trucks, two live music stages, and interactive experiences throughout the trail.

Festivities will kick off on Sunday, November 26, with the annual Zilker Tree lighting. An Austin icon, the tree is built around one of the city’s historic moonlight towers and is the largest man-made holiday tree in America.

The grand opening of the trail takes place on Saturday, December 9, and it will remain open through Saturday, December 23. A full calendar of events can be found on the Trail of Lights website.

General admission gates will open at 7 pm each night, with free entry for children under 12. There will be a general admission fee on seven of the 14 nights of the event. On select nights, guests can purchase early entry Zip Fast Pass, Platinum access, parking, and shuttle passes.

Important dates for the Trail of Lights include:

  • November 26: Zilker Tree lighting
  • December 2: Trail of Lights Fun Run
  • December 3, 4, and 6: Stars at the Trail hosts up to 20 nonprofit organizations for private tours of the trail
  • December 8: Night Lights, the third annual preview party to benefit the Trail of Lights Foundation
  • December 10: UT Night, including special programming; entertainment; and private hospitality tickets for University of Texas at students, faculty, staff, and alumni
  • December 12: Heroes Night honors first responders

The event is produced by the Trail of Lights Foundation, a nonprofit formed in 2011 to ensure the long-term sustainability of Austin’s largest community celebration. Now in its 53rd year, more than 400,000 people are expected to attend the event, marking over 1 million miles walked through the park’s displays.  

“This is the sixth year that the Trail of Lights Foundation has produced this community event, and we are very proud to offer this unique celebration of all that Austin is known for,” says Trail of Lights Foundation board president Leah Davies.

“2017’s event is a culmination of a great year, highlighting the people, music, groups, food, technology, charitable organizations, and businesses that make Austin the place we love to call home. Visitors will see new modernized displays, interactive environments, Austin’s famous food trucks, local musical talent, movies, local merchants, and more.”