Austin, Texas is a city that loves to celebrate the holidays in style, and one of the best ways to do that is by checking out the many Christmas lighting in Austin displays throughout the city. From the dazzling light show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters to the festive displays at the Capitol and Four Seasons, there is no shortage of holiday cheer in Austin.
I live just barely outside Austin with my family (including three kiddos) and so strolling the streets of Austin to see what fun new holiday lights we can discover is always on our Christmas bucket list! We love taking the quick thirty minute drive to find our annual favorites as well as checking out new fun spots for Christmas in Austin, TX. Our personal favorite is the light show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters – such a unique Austin spot!
One of the most beloved holiday traditions in Austin is the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. This event has been a local favorite for over 50 years, features over two million lights, and is one of the best Christmas lights in Texas.
Check out our favorite spots for seeing Austin Christmas lights during the 2023 season! We’ll be scoping them all out early in the season and adding any local’s tips we discover to make sure your holiday is as merry as can be!
Christmas Lighting in Austin: Best Spots!
Peppermint Parkway at Circuit of the Americas
- 2023 Season Dates: November 25 – December 30
- Location: 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617
- Admission: Buy Tickets Here
Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is a world-renowned racing track located in Austin, Texas. During the holiday season, COTA transforms into a magical wonderland with its Peppermint Parkway drive-thru experience.
Peppermint Parkway is a mile-long drive-thru holiday spectacular that takes place at Circuit of The Americas in Austin. Visitors can take a parade lap on COTA’s signature track with a Candy Cane Cruise ticket and visit Peppermint Plaza to meet Santa Claus and enjoy food, rides, and activities. It features over SIX MILLION holiday lights (seriously!), eight themed villages, dancing characters, and a holiday plaza full of food, rides, activities, and more. If you need help getting into the holiday spirit, this is the place to go!
if you want to walk or run through the course instead of drive, then don’t miss the opportunity to sign up for the 2 mile Fun Run! It will be held on December 2nd and comes with memorable keepsakes and tasty treats for purchase.
Austin Trail of Lights
The Austin Trail of Lights is a beloved holiday tradition in Austin, Texas and it is also one of the best Christmas events Austin has to offer. It is an annual event that is hosted by the Trail of Lights Foundation and takes place in the iconic Zilker Park. This Christmas Lighting Austin event hosts two million lights, 90 Christmas trees, and 70 other festive displays. It’s truly gorgeous!
The Austin Trail of Lights is the longest running holiday tradition of its kind in Texas’ capital city. But don’t be fooled! It’s not just about the lights! It is also a festive experience that includes live music, food trucks, and a variety of holiday-themed activities. Visitors can enjoy carousel rides, train rides, and take photos with Santa. The event also features a Ferris wheel that offers ridiculously stunning views of the city skyline. Okay, okay, it really is all about the lights!
One of the highlights of the Austin Trail of Lights is the Zilker Tree, which is a 155-foot-tall Christmas tree made up of over 3,300 lights. The tree is the centerpiece of the event and the tree lighting ceremony is a special event that takes place on the first night of the Trail of Lights.
The Austin Trail of Lights is a community effort that is made possible by the support of volunteers and sponsors. The event is also a fundraiser for the Trail of Lights Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Trail of Lights for future generations.
Buda Trail of Lights
- 2023 Season Dates: December 7 – 20
- Location: 15570 S I-35 Frontage Rd, Buda, TX 78610 (shuttle pick up)
- Admission: Free
The Buda Trail of Lights is a magical event that takes place in Historic Stagecoach Park in Buda, Texas. I know, I know, this isn’t technically in Austin, but it is less than a half hour away!
Guests are shuttled for free from Cabela’s to the park to enjoy the festive scenes on foot. You can take a leisurely walk through the park and enjoy the festive atmosphere created by the twinkling lights and illuminated displays.
The Buda Trail of Lights features an impressive display of lights, including a 60-foot-tall Christmas tree that is sure to find its way on your camera roll. Also don’t miss the nativity scene, a snowman village, and a gingerbread house.
If you eat dinner before you come, make sure to leave room for dessert. Food vendors are set up throughout the park, serving up everything from hot cocoa and cider to funnel cakes and turkey legs. There are also several activities for children, including a visit from Santa!
The Buda Trail of Lights is open two weekends in December. So if you’re in the Austin area during the holiday season, be sure to check out the Buda Trail of Lights and experience the magic for yourself!
Light Show at Mozart Coffee Roasters
- 2023 Season Dates: November 10 – January 6
- Location: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
- Admission: Reserve a Spot Here
The Light Show at Mozart’s has become an amazing holiday tradition and one of the best places for a Christmas lighting in Austin. Every hour, they put on an incredible light show that will knock your socks off! Choose from free reserved standing spots, paid reserved seating, or a boat ride along the lake from which to watch the show.
Browse the Bavarian Marketplace, be sure to grab hot cocoa in a memorable mug, please don’t skip the cinnamon sugar and salt pretzels, and whatever you do, don’t forget to make a reservation!
Christmas Décor at The Driskill Hotel
- 2023 Season Dates: TBD
- Location: 604 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701
- Admission: Free to enter lobby
The Driskill Hotel is a historic landmark in Austin, Texas, and during the holiday season, it transforms into a winter wonderland. The hotel’s Christmas décor is a sight to behold, with elegant and festive decorations adorning every corner of the building.
As soon as you enter the lobby, you are greeted by a towering 16-foot Christmas tree, adorned with sparkling lights and shimmering ornaments. The lobby is also decorated with festive wreaths, garlands, and other holiday decorations. The hotel’s staff takes great care to ensure that every detail is perfect, from the tinsel on the tree to the stockings hung by the fireplace.
Guests can also enjoy a variety of other holiday-themed activities and events at The Driskill during the Christmas season. The hotel hosts a tree lighting ceremony, complete with live music and cocktails. There are also holiday-themed dining options, including a special Christmas brunch and dinner.
If you’re looking for a truly magical Christmas experience in Austin, The Driskill is the place to be. The hotel’s beautiful décor and festive atmosphere will transport you to a winter wonderland, and you’ll feel the magic of the holiday season all around you.
In addition to its festive lobby, The Driskill also offers a range of amenities and services to make a stay there as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Guests can expect luxurious rooms and suites, world-class dining, and a variety of other amenities, including a fitness center, spa, and rooftop pool.
Christmas Tree at The Capitol
- 2023 Season Dates: Holiday Stroll + Tree Lighting on December 3, 2023 5-10pm
- Lit tree all season at 6pm each evening
- Location: 1100 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701
- Admission: Free
One of the most iconic holiday traditions is the Christmas lighting in Austin at the Capitol Building. This massive tree stands at an impressive 150+ feet tall and is adorned with thousands of multicolored lights.
The lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Capitol is a tradition that dates back to 1967. Each year, the tree is donated by a different Texas community, and a special ceremony is held to celebrate its arrival. The tree is then decorated by volunteers, who spend countless hours stringing lights and hanging ornaments.
The lighting of the tree is a highly anticipated event that draws crowds from all over the city. The annual Holiday Stroll in downtown Austin is a great opportunity to witness the lighting of the tree in all its glory.
The Holiday Stroll is a family-friendly event that kids will love. There is live music, cookie decorating, movie screenings, games, and various food and drink vendors. The highlight of the evening, of course, is the lighting of the tree at 7pm!
Visitors to the Capitol Building can view the tree throughout the holiday season. The tree is lit every night from 6 p.m. to midnight, and visitors are welcome to take photos and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Free indoor tours of the Capitol building are also available with festive décor indoors as well.
Christmas Tree Lighting at The Domain Northside
- 2023 Season Dates: Saturday, November 18 – December 25
- Location: 10910 Domain Dr, Austin, TX 78758
- Admission: Free
The holiday season kicks off nice and early on the Lawn at Domain Northside on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. A fun family friendly festival surrounds the tree lighting that officially occurs at 5:30pm.
Every day after that throughout the season, the tree will perform a holiday light show for onlookers (weekends from 12-9pm and weekdays from 5-9pm). Scope out the other cute holiday decor and photo spots before you rush off to your other holiday shopping!
Ice Rodeo and Christmas Tree Lighting at Four Seasons
- 2023 Season Dates: TBD
- Location: 98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701
- Admission: TBD
For those looking for a festive and fun activity in Austin during the Christmas season, the Ice Rodeo at Four Seasons is a must-visit destination. Located at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin, this holiday event is perfect for families, couples, and anyone who loves the holiday spirit.
The Ice Rodeo at Four Seasons event features a gorgeous 30 feet tree lit up with some of the best holiday lights in Austin.
A variety of activities are a huge hit with my family as I expect they will be with yours! One of the main attractions is the ice skating rink, which is situated on the shores of Lady Bird Lake and offers incredible views. For a special splurge, consider booking a private cabana and fire pit for roasting up some s’mores.
Don’t miss walking through the lobby for even more festive décor and plenty of beautiful photo opps (and a life-size gingerbread airstream!).
Looking for More Christmas Lights Near Austin?
Austin Christmas Lights
Each night as the sun sets during he holiday season, the holiday lights in Austin start twinkling in their festive way! Whether you decide you drive the Trail of Lights, watch the Mozart’s Light Show from the water, or dress up for a night out at the Driskill, enjoy all the Christmas lights that the city of Austin has to offer this 2023 season!