What says Christmas holidays better than lots and lots of lights? Texas abounds in festive light displays, many of which are just a short road trip away from Austin. These displays are must-sees for the holiday season.
Johnson City: LBJ Boyhood Home and National Historic Site
Tour Lyndon Johnson’s Boyhood Home by lamplight with national park rangers on Saturday December 20 from 6-9 pm. The home is located on Elm Street, just one block south of Highway 290 (Main Street). Just across the street, majestic live oaks in front of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative twinkle with hundreds of thousands of tiny white lights, and the Blanco County Courthouse two blocks north on Avenue G features "Lights Spectacular." On December 21, the National Historic Site just west of town hosts carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments and a spectacular tree lighting ceremony. The free event is from 6-9:30 pm.
San Antonio: River of Lights
The Museum Reach of this city’s famous Riverwalk is decked out in colorful underwater, fiber optic and LED holiday lights through January 2. Take in this festive 1.3-mile stroll, which runs from the turning basin near Grayson Street south to Lexington Avenue. Leave time to explore the Pearl Brewery, home to shops, restaurants and all kinds of events.
Houston: Downtown Holiday Lights Tour
This lights tour on December 23 departs Market Square Park downtown and takes in the City Hall tree, Discovery Green’s Field of Lights, River Oaks and Woodland Heights, with the opportunity to get out at each spot to walk around and take pictures. The tour runs approximately 6:30-9:30 pm and costs $30 per person, which includes specials at some Market Square establishments and holiday treats on the bus, and a $5 donation to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Or go on your own to the Field of Lights at Discovery Green, illuminated from 3-11 pm daily, and check out more than 2 million lights throughout the zoo until January 4.
Goliad State Park and Historic Site: Trail of Lights
The park’s History in Lights exhibit, from 6-10 pm daily throughout December, tells the story of this historic mission site along paths walked by Native Americans and Franciscan priests long ago. On December 20, see a shepherd’s play like the ones the Franciscan priests created in the 16th century depicting the shepherd’s journey. Entry fees are $3 per adult, children 12 and under are free.
Monument Hill and the Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites: Trail of Lights
Walk a short trail lit by thousands of lights decorating Monument Hill and the Kreische House, the 1850s-era German home of H.L. Kreische, all decked out for Christmas in true Texas-German style on December 20 from 6-8 pm. The trail follows a bluff with views of nearby La Grange.