Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Trail of Lights in Zilker Park

Each year in December Zilker Park is decorated with over a 2 million lights and you can walk through them from December 10th - 23rd in an event called the Trail of Lights.  It is open from 7:00PM - 10:00PM.   The trail is over 1.25 miles long.   See a map of the trail here.  Parking is very limited they recommend buying a parking pass in advance for $15. You need to print a pass and display it  on your dashboard. Parking will not be sold onsite. To buy a parking pass click here

Other options are walking from downtown or there are also shuttles from:

  1.  Burger Center (3200 Jones Rd, Austin, TX 78745)
  2.  Republic Square Park (422 Guadalupe St., Austin 78701)

The shuttles run on December 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Tickets are $5 per person (lap kids are free). Shuttle Tickets on 12/17-12/23 include your general admission gate ticket. 

Prices for the event this year:
  1. General admission is FREE for all ages December 10-16.
  2. General admission is $3 per person ages 12+ December 17-23.
  3. The ZiP Fast Pass admission is available December 10-23 and allows you early access to the trail at 6:00pm, one hour before the public.  Plus free hot cocoa and cookies and private restrooms. This is the one I recommend to avoid the lines and crowds.
  4. Want to be a VIP - Platinum tickets give you early access, rides on the Ferris wheel or the carousel.  Plus Private restrooms, refreshments. These tickets are only available December 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23

You can eat dinner there too.  There are a bunch of food trucks through out the trail including:  Burro Cheese Kitchen, Hat Creek Burger Co., Krispy Kreme, Evil Wiener, Austin's Pizza, Smashtini, PitaLicious, Funtastic Funnel Cakes, Chi'Lantro, Mighty Fine Burgers, Shawarma Point, Southside Flying Pizza, Veracruz All Natural, Fat Sal's Deli, As Good As It Gets, Crepe Crazy, Lucky Lab Coffee, Knotty Nice Bakery, Moojo, Churro Co., Ann's Piece of Cake, As Good As It Gets, Mighty Cone, Amy's Ice Creams and others. 

We got the free cocoa, cookies and some kettle corn.  As well as a taco, piece of pizza, sausage on a stick and a crepe.  There really is something for everyone. 


There is a lighted Carousel and Ferris Wheel.  We skipped these attractions as they were too much money.   It is $6 per person for a ride on the Ferris wheel and $4 per person for a ride on the Carousel. You need to buy tokens and they only take cash and wait in line.  This was not our idea of fun.     Instead we par took in the free activities including a photo booth at Santa's Village, an interactive reindeer game, a free craft kit and received a free book from HEB.   We saw many different light displays and even some singing and dancing at one of the many stages.  (the free books are children's books and my 8 year old was not impressed but my 4 year old loved it)  Pictures with Santa and Mrs Claus were also available but we already saw Santa at the local mall so we skipped that as well. 
Free Book Giveaway from HEB

The Free Arts and Crafts 

Christmas Photo Booth 

Interactive Reindeer Game

We did the parking pass and parking was a breeze to get in and out.   We did go early with the Zip pass which allowed us to go in early and beat the crowds for the trail.  We parked just at 5:30 and the gates open for the zip line at 6:00pm.  The parking is right next to the Zilker Park Christmas tree, which also had food trucks.  The night was truly a fun experience for the kids and the parents.  Bonus: there are bars through out the walk where you can order an alcoholic beverage as well.  I recommend bringing a camera, a coat and a wagon or stroller as there is a walk to get to the trail plus the trail it self.   Happy Trails. 

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