Johnson City Christmas Lights in 2023

Have you seen the Johnson City Christmas lights yet? Johnson City is the “The Twinkliest Town in Texas,” which is an absolutely adorable name, and the light display earning them the title is beyond spectacular!

Johnson City, Texas, is known for its stunning Christmas lights display that attracts visitors from all over the country. The Lights Spectacular event takes place every year from November to January and features over two million twinkling lights in the historic square off Main Street, City Park, and PEC headquarters. In 2023, the festivities kick off on November 24, 2023.

We live just an hour from Johnson City and seeing the lights is on our must-do list every year – who can pass up such a twinkly event?! We’ll were just there this weekend on November 25th and so have some updated new details and images to share.

With so many lights on display, the town truly comes alive during the Johnson City Christmas Lights season!

Johnson City Lights at PEC
Johnson City Light display at PEC in 2023

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History of Christmas Lights in Johnson City

Johnson City has a long history of celebrating the holiday season with lights. The Lights Spectacular festival has been a beloved tradition in the town for over three decades. In the early years of the festival, the lights were mostly concentrated around the Blanco County courthouse. The courthouse lawn is transformed into a winter wonderland, with thousands of lights and decorations.

In recent years, the festival has expanded beyond the courthouse. The entire downtown area is now decorated with lights, and there are many more activities for visitors to enjoy. In addition to the lights, there are also food vendors, live music, and other entertainment.

There are over 2 million lights in total, making it one of the largest Christmas light displays in the country. NASA reports being able to see the Johnson City Christmas lights from the International Space Station – twinkly indeed!

Blanco County Courthouse in Johnson City, Texas at night with Christmas lights
Blanco County Courthouse in Johnson City, Texas

Best Spots to See the Johnson City Christmas Lights

  • 2023 Season Dates: November 24 – January 8
  • 6pm- 10pm nightly

Johnson City Christmas Lights Spectacular is a must-see event for anyone who loves the holiday season. With over 150 brightly lit Christmas trees, it transforms downtown Johnson City into a winter wonderland.

You can park and walk through all the displays (our top choice!), or you can drive thru the Christmas lights and view the from your vehicle, or you can take advantage of the horse and carriage rides offered on most Friday and Saturday evenings.

Historic Main Street

Built in 1917, the Blanco County Courthouse is not just festively decorated with 2 million (!) pretty white lights, but it is also a historic part of the area. It has been covered in hanging lights since 1989. Head to the square to see a magnificent display of lights on the courthouse itself, as well as on the surrounding buildings around the square and on the amazing, mature oak trees.

I highly recommend arriving before sunset to see the courthouse lights before the sun completely disappears – during a photographer’s blue hour, if you will! The scene was beautiful as we watched it transform as the light changed and turned to night.

Johnson City lights at the historic Blanco County courthouse

City Park

While the courthouse is classic and elegant, City Park is colorful and merry. Seek out lighted snowmen, festive tractors, and a lit gazebo who often hosts Santa on the weekends! Just a block from the courthouse, you can’t miss it!

My nieces loved the princess cut out decorations and I was a fan of the adorable jumbo snowman!

Christmas lights in City Park in Johnson City
City Park in Johnson City

Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) Holiday Lights

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) Holiday Lights display is a must-see attraction located at PEC’s headquarters just across Main Street, a few blocks from the courthouse. The display features more than 1.3 million sparkling LED lights and is free and open to the public.

Johnson City Christmas lights - so bright you can see them from space!

Annual Christmas Lights Events

Opening Night

  • 2023 Season Dates: November 24, 2023

The official start of the Christmas lights season in Johnson City is marked by an opening night ceremony at 7pm. This event is free to attend. The ceremony includes fireworks, live music, and a visit from Santa Claus. Visitors can enjoy hot cocoa and other festive treats while strolling through the downtown area to admire the holiday decorations.

Lighted Hooves & Wheels Parade

  • 2023 Season Dates: November 25, 2023 @ 6:30pm

Lighted parades are my favorite! Johnson City hosts their Lighted Hooves & Wheels Parade on Saturday, November 25th. Stake out your spot early with a picnic blanket and then head over to 290 Locale Winery & Pizzeria or Pecan Street Brewing for some dinner in downtown before the festivities begin.

Check out the parade route here.

Johnson City Light Parade in 2023
Johnson City Light Parade in 2023

Special Events for Christmas in Johnson City

Follow the Lights Spectacular calendar for some special guests at Lights Spectacular. Many weekends bring Santa Claus to City Park, The Grinch strolling around downtown, Princess Night, dance shows carriage rides, hay rides, Lamplight tours of LBJ’s childhood home, and more.

City Park Christmas display in Johnson City
Visit Santa at City Park in Johnson City

Planning Your Visit for Christmas Lights in Johnson City

Best Times to Go

Johnson City Christmas Lights Spectacular is a popular event that attracts visitors from all over the world. If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to plan your visit during the weekdays or early in the evening.

The lights are on every night from November 25 through January 8, and they stay on until 10pm, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the display. However, if you’re looking for the most magical experience, plan your visit on a clear night when the stars are out. The combination of the sparkling lights and the twinkling stars creates a truly magical evening!

Johnson City lights

Visitor Tips

Here are some tips to help you plan your visit to Johnson City Christmas Lights Spectacular:

  • Dress warmly: The weather in Johnson City can be chilly during the holiday season, so be sure to dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. It was wet and rainy when we just visited, but still SO worth it!
  • Arrive early: If you’re planning to drive through downtown, it’s best to arrive early to avoid the crowds. The lights turn on at 6:30 pm, so plan to arrive before then if you can. Visiting late in the evening is also a great time to visit. They are on until 10pm most nights.
  • Bring snacks and drinks: There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy a snack or a drink along the way, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own just in case.
  • Stay safe: Be sure to follow all traffic rules and stay alert while driving through the display. The roads can be narrow and winding, so take your time and enjoy the view.

What else is there to do in Johnson City?

Johnson City is one of the best towns in Hill Country due to its small town charm, gorgeous nature, and so many things to see and do. While in town for the Johnson City Lights Spectacular, we highly recommend taking a day or two to explore! Add a few of these to your list:

Jenschke Farms near Johnson City
Johnson City Science Mill
  • Head to Fredericksburg for a Magical Christmas
  • Hike at Pedernales Falls (one of the best waterfalls near Austin)
  • See the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights
  • Visit the Science Mill (a gorgeous interactive science museum for kids)
  • Tour Lyndon B. Johnson’s historic boyhood home (right downtown near the lights)
  • More activities in Texas Hill Country

Where to Stay in Johnson City:

Pedernales Falls in Johnson City
Pedernales Falls – Johnson City

FAQs: Johnson City Christmas Lights

What is the schedule for Johnson City Christmas lights in 2023?

The Johnson City Christmas lights will run from November 24, 2023, to January 7, 2024. The lights will be on every day from 6 pm to 10pm.

How long will the Johnson City Christmas lights be up?

The Johnson City Christmas lights will be up from November 24, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

Are the Johnson City Christmas lights visible from a drive-thru?

Yes, you can enjoy the Christmas lights in Johnson City from the comfort of their car by driving through the downtown area. However, you will get the best experience on foot.

What are the best viewing spots for the Johnson City Christmas lights?

The best viewing spots for the lights in Johnson City at Christmas are located in the downtown area near the historic Blanco County courthouse, City Park, and at PEC Headquarters. Visitors can also enjoy the lights from their car by driving through the downtown area.

Can you recommend any other holiday events in Johnson City?

In addition to the annual Johnson City Lights Spectacular event is the annual light up parade, visits with Santa, food vendors, and a variety of holiday-themed activities. You can also explore the local shops and restaurants in downtown Johnson City.

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