Deck the park

Austin’s beloved Trail of Lights sparkles among 10 best holiday displays in the U.S.

Austin’s Trail of Lights sparkles among 10 best U.S. holiday displays

Austin Trail of Lights
Austin's Trail of Lights gets some worthy national attention. Courtesy of the Trail of Lights Foundation
Austin Trail of Lights
The event has grown throughout the years to include more than 2 million lights.  Courtesy of the Trail of Lights Foundation
Austin Trail of Lights
Trail of Lights is a drive-thru event this year, but there are still plenty of festive lights to take in. Courtesy of the Trail of Lights Foundation
Austin Trail of Lights
Austin Trail of Lights
Austin Trail of Lights

Your eyes might light up when you read this news. Austin’s Trail of Lights has been named one of this year’s 10Best Public Holiday Light Displays by USA Today readers. The Trail of Lights ranks sixth.

This is the fourth consecutive year the Austin Trail of Lights has received a Readers’ Choice Award in the category for public displays of holiday lights. A panel of experts — along with USA Today’s editorial team — selected 20 nominees, and then voting was open to the public for four weeks to choose the winners.

The Trail of Lights, held annually at Zilker Park, is a drive-thru-only event this year; vehicle passes are available through December 31. 

Starting as a small community gathering around a yule log in 1965, the Austin Trail of Lights now features more than 2 million lights illuminating the park, 90 lighted holiday trees, and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels.  

The Trail of Lights Foundation operates the annual lighting display with support from title sponsor H-E-B, as well as backers like Ascension/Dell Children’s, Vista Equity Partners, KXAN, Cirrus Logic, Keller Williams Realty International, Northern Trust, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, SHI, the University of Texas, Audacy, the Austin Parks Foundation, the Austin Convention Center, and the Austin Community Foundation.

At No. 1 on the 10Best list of the best public displays of holiday lights is Holiday in Paradise in West Palm Beach, Florida. The event is anchored by Sandi, a 35-foot-tall, 700-ton holiday tree made entirely of sculpted sand. The holiday festival also includes a light show, entertainment pop-ups, singalongs with Sandi, and a synchronized dancing-water show.