Twinkle and Glow
How to do Austin's Trail of Lights like a true VIP
For more than 50 years, the Austin Trail of Lights has been dazzling families with incredible decorations of more than 60 displays and two million lights, the city's favorite food trucks, nightly entertainment, and holiday activities.
More than 400,000 people experience this community event during the month of December, and thanks to the Trail of Lights Foundation at least half of the nights are free for everyone to enjoy.
While you may consider yourself a Trail of Lights expert, did you know there are several different ticket types that offer all kinds of perks? We break them down for you here.
This is the one that's free for seven of the 14 nights (check the calendar to see which nights offer free entry and which nights carry a $5 entry fee). GA hours are 7-10 pm nightly from December 10-23. If you purchase your ticket online in advance, you can access the Trail through a separate, expedited "prepaid" entrance and skip the long admission lines.
This is the ultimate in convenience and a favorite of families and small groups, especially on busier nights at the Trail. Not only do you get to enter early at 6 pm through the exclusive ZIP entrance and sip hot cocoa in the ZIP lobby, you also get special access to the ZIP lounge with complimentary holiday cookies, cocoa, comfortable seating, and heated washrooms.
ZIP admission hours are 6-10 pm nightly on December 11-23. ZIP passes are $20 (plus fees) and are required for ages six and over (kids five and under are free with a ticketed ZIP adult).
Experience the Trail of Lights in luxury with concierge service, valet parking, and an array of amenities. Start with 6 pm early entry through the exclusive Platinum back gate entrance, then enjoy the private, heated Platinum lounge with comfortable seating and a private bar. A golf cart will shuttle you to the Trailhead, and you'll get one drink ticket valid at bars throughout the park and one ride ticket for exclusive entry to the Ferris wheel or carousel (per Platinum Pass).
Also included is access to the Zilker Lounge, where you'll find cookies, cocoa, comfortable seating, and heated washrooms. Stay warm and cozy within the Platinum hospitality area and enjoy a fabulous lineup of nightly entertainment. Platinum pass prices range from $80 for an individual pass, $150 for a two-pack, and $270 for a four-pack of tickets.
If you plan to drive to the Austin Trail of Lights, take advantage of the close lot parking at Zilker Park available only with a $15 pre-paid parking pass. There are a limited number of spots available each night, and all parking passes must be purchased online in advance.
Love Austin, hate the traffic? Avoid driving and take a shuttle directly to the front gate of the Austin Trail of Lights from two convenient locations. Purchase a $7 per person shuttle pass (which includes general admission Trail access!) in advance to skip the long shuttle admission lines at each pick-up location. Small children seated on an adult’s lap and infants ride free.
Austin Trail of Lights shuttles operate from these two locations on December 13-15 and 19-23: Republic Square (422 Guadalupe St.) in downtown Austin and Toney Burger Event Center (3200 Jones Rd.) in South Austin.
If you're still looking for a holiday party venue, whether corporate or private, the Austin Trail of Lights is the answer. It can accommodate all types and sizes of groups, from 50 to 3,500 people, with dedicated staff to help curate an evening that will definitely impress your guests. Head here to learn more and reserve your date.