All that glitters

Austin's beloved Trail of Lights unveils 2019 dates and dazzling special events

Austin's Trail of Lights unveils 2019 dates and dazzling attractions

Austin Trail of Lights holiday displays
It's not the holiday season without Trail of Lights. Trail of Lights/Austin

Austin's favorite holiday tradition returns for its 55th year, bringing dazzling light displays, nightly entertainment, and a costumed fun run. The 2019 Trail of Lights returns to Zilker Park December 10-23, where it expects to welcome more than 400,000 guests during its run.

With its Zilker Holiday Tree and giant Ferris wheel, Trail of Lights heralds the beginning of Austin's holiday season, and is a captivating annual addition to the city skyline. This year, visitors can expect 2 million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees, and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels, teases a release.

Though the trail officially opens on December 10, festivities actually begin Sunday, December 1, with the Zilker Holiday Tree lighting. December 2-4, the 6th Annual STARS at the Trail gives local nonprofits a special sneak peek of the attractions before it officially opens to the public.

Following the annual preview party on Friday, December 6, the holiday attraction officially opens to the public on Tuesday, December 10.

Along with this year's dates, Trail of Lights also unveiled 2019's special events and dedicated nights. The 8th Annual Trail of Lights Fun Run will be held on Saturday, December 7. Runners decked out in their holiday finest will trace a 2.1-mile course around the Holiday Tree before ending at the Finish Line Festival, a party with a live DJ dance party, Ferris wheel and carousel rides, food trucks, and a fitness expo. (It's also a chance to see the trail before anyone else.)

On Wednesday, December 11, the trail will celebrate Heroes Night, an evening honoring veterans, active military, and first responders. Thursday, December 12, catch a favorite holiday flick when Austin Parks Foundation's Movies in the Park comes to Zilker. No details yet on this year's film, but the evening will begin with a special Storytime on the Trail at 7:30 pm, followed by the movie at 8 pm.

And it wouldn't be Trail of Lights without a University of Texas night. Behold the burnt orange trail on Sunday, December 15, with UT-themed programming, and celebrate the season with students, faculty, and alumni.

Tickets for the Trail of Lights will be available beginning in October, and will include general admission, early-entry ZiP passes, VIP platinum passes, and parking and shuttle options. According to organizers, general admission will be free seven out of the 14 days the trail will be lit, and those dates will also be released later this fall.