Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays! Especially when home is right here in Austin, Texas. They say everything’s bigger in Texas and holiday light displays are no exception. Spend quality time with your family, take your sweetheart on a special date, or share the magic with friends for this socially distant holiday season.
While not all traditions of past can be honored, letting go of past traditions can often make room for new ones. Driving around looking for the best neighborhoods in Austin for Christmas lights is a fun activity with minimal cost and a great way to start a new tradition.
Prepare for Your Christmas Light Quest
With a little planning, you can make this trip one of the best! First, it’s important that your vehicle is in optimal condition and that you have a full gas tank, as you may find yourself traveling more than usual. Don’t let an empty gas tank prevent you from having a happy holiday.
In addition to fuel, pack a basket of goodies for the ride. Fill up a large thermos with freshly made soup and pack some warm rolls on the side to eat while you sit and watch the light show. Snack on popcorn, party mix, or other favorite. For dessert, pack Christmas cookies, cereal treat bars, and candy canes. Keep yourself and your passengers warm with your favorite hot beverage. Hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream and peppermint sprinkles is the perfect drink for your ride.
To keep warm on the chilly winter nights bring along coats, scarves, gloves and a few blankets in case you want to get out of your vehicle and walk around to see the lights. Follow all social distancing regulations and be sure to bring your face covering in case it is needed. Lastly, make a list of the lights you want to see and plan your drive accordingly. Program each address into your phone or GPS. Once all destinations are reached, drive around and find more!
Best Christmas Lights in Austin
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin, TX 78703
Alongside Lake Austin is Mozart’s Coffee Roasters. A cherished Austin display, the previously free show has changed due to COVID restrictions. Tables must be reserved in advance for a nominal fee of $10 per table for parties of up to 6 people. For your safety, tables are spaced 6 feet apart. Showing nightly beginning November 11th from 6 PM to Midnight, the annual Christmas light show features over a million LED lights.
You’ll be dazzled by the lighted statues including a giant coffee mug and 25 enormous and beautiful silk roses—an homage to the Chinese Lantern Festival. Come for the lights, stay for the delicious treats and holiday sounds from the Steinway Concert Grand Piano played by various artists throughout the month. Preorder treat and drink purchases are available and can be added to your ticket order or view the menu and order when you arrive. Tickets can be purchased on their website at https://mozartscoffee.com/.
Rhodes Family Christmas Lights
2410 Dr. Cedar Park, TX 78613
The Rhodes’ family light show in Cedar Park was featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2013. Visitors can tune their radio to their special station to view the sounds that go along with the sights. The entire house and front yard, trees and all are covered in lights that dance in tune with the music. The garage door is wrapped like one big Christmas gift.
If you’re lucky, you might just spy Santa as he waves from a bench on the front porch. A 16-foot Christmas tree made of lights takes on an animated look that adds to the whimsy. The light show runs nightly from 5:45 PM to 10:30 PM starting Thanksgiving evening through January 1st. The family also collects non-perishable food during the season to benefit the Cedar Park Area Food Bank.
Lone Star Light Show
905 Lone Star Dr., Cedar Park, TX
14 songs completely synchronized along with a 16-foot tree, candy canes, giant snowflakes, inflatables, and over 12,000 lights, the display continues to grow annually. The family’s entire front yard is covered with light displays as well as the façade of the home. Giant snowflakes create a trail up and around the garage. Santa appears to sing along with the music. Tune your station to the listed station when you arrive to fully immerse yourself into the show.
Beginning in late November the show runs daily through December 31st Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM and Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Parking is available in front of the house or across the street. A drop box is provided for donations with all proceeds going to CASA of Williamson County.
Lakeway Trail of Lights
Though there won’t be an official lighting ceremony at this year’s anticipated event, the Lakeway Trail of Lights at Zilker Park will be shining bright for all! Beginning November 20th through January 3rd nightly from 6 PM to midnight. You’ll follow the trail on a 20 minute walk to view all kinds of lights, sculptures, and a light tunnel. Be sure to adhere to all social distancing guidelines, limit group size, and wear a mask. Trail can be accessed from the lower level of the Lakeway Activity Center or behind City Hall. There is no charge to park or to attend this amazing display of thousands of twinkling lights.