Merry and bright? Check and check.
It’s just not Christmas until you’ve grabbed a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and enjoyed the annual, outdoor holiday music and light show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. And this year, Mozart’s has made the free, 15-minute show, which plays every hour on the hour from 6 p.m. to midnight daily through Jan. 4, merrier and brighter than ever.
The merrier comes through the addition of a specially recorded new arrangement of Lee Greenwood’s country anthem, "God Bless the USA" featuring a group of vocalists from Oyster Landing, the center where Mozart’s (as well as Hula Hut and Abel’s on the Lake) is located.
The brighter is due to an additional 100,000 lights — not total, additional. Let that sink in. And let’s assume those lights were necessary to accommodate the taller display, which features animated lights posing as fireworks bursting over an Austin skyline.
Other songs include the Andy Williams classic, "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and if past years are any indication, the University of Texas fight song. We’ll keep our burnt orange-gloved fingers crossed.
"Our dazzling, decorated deck, music and light show is our gift to the community," says Mozart’s manager Jack Rainstorm, who notes that a number of people are using the deck to take their holiday family photos.
Speaking of photos, you have less than a week to enter Mozart’s and Hula Hut’s annual "All About Texas Christmas Lights" photo contest. Your best holiday shot could win one of 19 prizes including an iPad Air 2 or an iPad Mini. For entry rules and other details, head to www.allabouttexaschristmaslights.com.
— Dale Roe
"Holidays in the Courtyard." The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center presents a 15-minute musical light show in the courtyard. 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 2. The University of Texas, 1900 University Ave. 512-404-1900. meetattexas.com.
The Rock ‘n Lights Holiday Light Tour. A drive-through light show at Old Settlers Park. 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (hours change Dec. 18-24 and 25-30; check website). $15-$75. Out of their cars, attendees can go to Christmas Towne, a full-scale carnival with rides, a petting zoo, food, train rides and, yes, more lights. Admission to Christmas Towne is free; check website for hours, which vary by day. 3300 Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. roundrocktexas.gov.
Trail of Lights. One of Austin’s longest-running holiday traditions with more than 50 custom light displays on a 1.25-mile stroll through Zilker Park, featuring live music, local food for sale, merchants and photo zones. Gates will open at 7 p.m. nightly through Dec. 21. Free admission Monday-Thursday. $3 Friday through Sunday. VIP and parking packages available. Zilker Park, 2201 Barton Springs Road. www.austintrailoflights.org.
Wimberley Trail of Lights. EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens in Wimberley presents 8 acres of lighted displays, with Christmas caroling around the Yule Log. 6 to 9 p.m. daily, 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through Dec. 31. Admission by donation. 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley. www.emilyann.org.
Zilker Holiday Tree. See the decorative 155-foot-tall tree, which is made with more than 3,000 lights and topped with a large, bright star. 6 p.m. to midnight through Dec. 31. Free. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree.