It may be hard to believe, but one of Austin’s favorite holiday traditions — the Trail of Lights — is about to return for its 55th year in Zilker Park. And while it’s always fun to meander along the loop brimming with 2 million lights and lined with 60 elaborate displays, this year, there’s even more to see and do. Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect at the 2019 Austin Trail of Lights, which runs Dec. 10-23.
Fun Run: The Trail of Lights might officially kick off Dec. 10, but you can get an early glimpse of it during the annual Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run, which is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 7. After the 2.1-mile jaunt, which starts at the Zilker Holiday Tree, enjoy a Finish Line Festival complete with a dance party, food trucks and a fitness expo. New this year, runners will have the option to choose from one of four waves of start times intended to reduce congestion along the trail at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. All participants receive a free hot cocoa or beer at the finish line. Pricing starts at $37 for adults and $20 for children 11 and under.
Themed and specialty nights: Expect numerous themed and specialty nights this year, including the Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Dec. 1, the Night Lights preview party Dec. 6, Heroes Night Dec. 11, Movie Night Dec. 12 and UT Night Dec. 15. Visitors can also expect live entertainment throughout the month from acts including Jackie Venson and Mother Falcon.
Play and stay: Have company coming to town? This year, the Trail of Lights is partnering with Hilton Hotel to offer a "Celebrate the Magic" package. Guests who book a stay at Hilton will receive a 10-percent discount on Trail of Lights ZIP tickets.
New attractions: This year will feature a new 8-by-6-foot dreidel labyrinth sculpture from sculptor Marcia Raff, as well as a new wine bar (Trail of Flights) presented by Coravin in Zilker Village.
Photo ready: You can’t forget those Santa photos. Snap a free photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus in Santa’s newly updated house, sponsored by Ascension Seton and Dell Children’s Medical Center.
More details: The Trail of Lights is open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly Dec. 10-23. Adult admission is free Dec. 10-12 and 15-18. Admission for children 11 and under is always free. Early entry ZIP Fast Passes, VIP Platinum passes and parking and shuttle passes are also available. Learn more at austintrailoflights.org.
MORE MERRIMENT: A guide to holiday live music shows in Austin