Christmas in Austin is bursting with live music, local delicacies, and family-friendly funky-meets-tradition festive entertainment. This December, sing carols on the steps of the Texas state capitol or take a stroll through Zilker Park’s Trail of Lights to get into the festive spirit. The sounds, sights, and tastes of Christmas include ice skating, Santa photographs, and hot cocoa. Visit the top Austin Christmas events in 2022 to make lasting memories with your family!
Trail of Lights: Take a Walk Under the (Artificial) Stars
At Zilker Park in the center of Austin, 2 million lights, about 100 trees, and more than 70 additional illuminated tunnels or exhibits come to life. One of the city’s oldest yearly customs, the Trail of Lights, has won numerous honors over the years, including Best Family Festival and inclusion in USA Today’s list of the Top 10 Best Public Holiday Lights Displays in the Country.
The Trail of Lights will only be accessible through the drive-through on its 57th anniversary, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. You can even tune in on your car radio to hear some festive music and information about the occasion. Many of Austin’s best food trucks will be located around the venue’s grounds for those who want something to snack on while they ooh and ahh. The specific dates have not yet been determined, but the event starts in December and lasts until the first week of January. This is pretty much the only Christmas activity you should do in Austin.
Get Into the Spirit of Giving: Austin Christmas Events
Toy drives are organized by the Austin Police Department’s Operation Blue Santa for underprivileged families around central Texas. As a consequence, Operation Blue Santa will provide Christmas gifts to nearly 6,000 households this season. The Chuy’s Christmas parade used to be where toys were collected, but Covid has forced the parade’s cancellation indefinitely. Cross your fingers for a future revival of this enjoyable event!
To assist the organization’s cause this holiday season, donate toys to your neighborhood fire station, volunteer to collect, prepare, and distribute the toys, or adopt a family. Information about how to contribute is available on the website.
Christmas Light Displays in Austin
On December 3, 2022, the state capitol building hosts the yearly Holiday Sing-Along. Sing your favorite Christmas songs with countless other families! The sing-along comes before the tree-lighting ceremony at the Capitol, which includes a light display paired to holiday music.
The Downtown Stroll is open along Congress Avenue following the tree lighting. Local shops and institutions provide special deals, sweets, and live entertainment to promote holiday pleasure. Along the journey, stop for a hot chocolate break and a picture with Santa! Many families look forward to these three Austin Christmas festivities every year.
One of the most cherished Austin holiday traditions is the Trail of Lights in Zilker Park. This year, it will run from Monday, December 8 through Sunday, December 23 in accordance with its customary schedule. Online ticket sales are currently taking place.
This light trail is unlike any other because many of the displays have just the right amount of Texas flair. Every year, families anticipate the lively atmosphere that Austin’s renowned food trucks and performers produce. On December 3, 2022, the Trail of Lights Fun Run is held there as well. With only 2.1 miles, it’s the ideal length for the whole family and is stroller and walker friendly. For details, consult the schedule.
Celebrate a True Texas Christmas at Santa’s Ranch
As you drive down the winding country roads at Santa’s Ranch, look out for a 50-foot Christmas tree, 1.5 million lights, a variety of dynamic displays, and drive-through tunnels, to name just a few of the highlights. Naturally, a Texas-style Christmas drive wouldn’t be complete without some holiday treats, so stop at the concession stand before you go.
There, you may fill up warm beverages like homemade hot cocoa, roasted nuts, and fresh kettle corn. The event will be available daily from 6 PM to 10 PM and 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays from November 5, 2021, to January 2, 2022. For $35 per car or $70 for a full game so you can go more than once, get your tickets.
Observe the skyline At the lighting of the Zilker Tree
This famous Christmas tree, which stands 155 feet tall over the joggers and loungers in Zilker Park, is lit at the end of November to let everyone in Austin know that the holiday season has arrived. However, it’s more than just a showy ornament. The Zilker Tree is actually a moonlight tower that has been restored. This innovative type of street lighting allowed citizens to remain outside in safety after the sun had set.
The only surviving moonlight towers in the entire world are located in Austin. They lost popularity in the 20th century as other lighting technologies advanced and became more scalable. From a distance, the tree resembles another magnificent skyscraper in the metropolis since 39 strings of festive lights hang from the tower’s outside during the holidays.