Event and Giveaway: 2015 Trail of Lights

It’s the most wonderful time of the year which means Austin’s Trail of Lights is back! This year, Trail of Lights will be open for two full weeks of holiday fun. General Admission nights begin December 8th and run through December 22nd, with special previews starting December 4th. Read on for anything and everything you need to know about getting there and enjoying one of Austin’s best holiday traditions.


Don’t Miss:

  • Activity Zones – Eat, Drink, Play, Ride, Repeat! Armadillo Alley will feature a new Groovy Grove presented by the 5T Foundation, and will include letters to Santa, as well as arts and crafts.
  • Interactive Santa’s Workshop – visitors can create their own holiday videos to share presented by Vista Equity Partners.
  • Photo Opps – No visit to Trail of Lights is complete without a photo in front of the famous Rainbow Tunnel. If you got a selfie stick as a gag gift, nobody will judge you for having it out at Trail of Lights!
  • A replica of the iconic 360 Pennybacker Bridge has been added to Trim-a-Tree Grove
  • The University of Texas at Austin will turn the featured Globe burnt orange – hook ‘em!
  • Community Performance Stage – featuring more than 60 local performance groups!
  • Shopping – Because you always have someone on your list
  • Yule Log – Warm up by the fire in a cozy Adirondack chair and enjoy the spirit of the season.  Special thanks to Cirrus Logic for bringing this back!
  • Food – Austin’s best food outlets will serve up their classic favorite from East Side King, Burro Cheese Kitchen, La Fantabulous,
    Austin’s Pizza, Krispy Kreme, PitaLicious, Funtastic Funnel Cakes, Hat Creek Burger Co., The Evil Wiener, Crepe Crazy, As Good As It Gets Kettle Corn, Mighty Fine Burgers, Southside Flying Pizza, Churro Co., Amy’s Ice Cream, and more.

    Beat the crowds with ZiP Fast Pass presented by HomeAway:

  • The ZiP Fast Pass gives attendees front-of-the-line access to the Trail at 6 PM, before it opens to the public.
  • ZiP purchasers will also have access to Kringle’s Kantina and the HomeAway ZiP Lounge in the VIP Hospitality area for cookies and hot cocoa.
  • ZiP Fast Passes are available 12/9 – 12/17 for $15/person and $20/person 12/18 – 12/22.
  • ZiP passes are required for anyone age 6 and above.
  • ZiP can be purchased in advance, online or at the ZiP box office in the park.

Experience the Trail in luxury with VIP Platinum Passes! For $225 you receive 4 platinum passes which include:

  • Valet parking at the back gate
  • Hot cocoa on arrival
  • Early entry into the park at 6 PM
  • 2 drink tickets for the bar
  • 4 tickets for the ride of your choice (Ferris wheel or Carousel) with front-of-the-line access.

Platinum Pass required for children over age 6. Children 6 and under are free. Platinum Passes are available 12/11 – 12/13, 12/18 – 12/22 and can be purchased in advance, online.


General Admission is FREE from December 8th to December 15th. Prices are $3 for ages 12 and up from December 16th to December 22nd. Click here to purchase tickets in advance.

Preview Nights:

Theme Nights:

  • December 8th – Grand Opening
  • December 9th – Heroes Night – A special evening dedicated to honoring military, veterans, police, fire and EMS personnel. First responders receive access to the VIP Hospitality Lounge
  • December 11th – UT Night – Wear your best burnt orange and celebrate the season with UT students, alumni and friends

Getting there


Hop on a shuttle at Republic Square Park (422 Guadalupe St., Austin 78701) or Burger Center (3200 Jones Rd, Austin, TX 78745) for $5/person. Lap children ride free.

  • Shuttle passes are available 12/11 – 12/13, 12/16 – 12/22.
  • Shuttle passes can be purchased online, at the shuttle locations and at area H-E-B stores.
  • On nights where there is a Gate charge (12/16-12/22) the shuttle pass will include gate entry.

*Note: shuttles will not be available 12/8-12/10 and 12/14-12/15. First shuttle departs shuttle stops at 5:30 pm . Last shuttle departs shuttle stops at 8:30 pm. Return shuttles from Zilker will run until 10:30 pm. There is a limited capacity per night and each lot will stop selling tickets when capacity is reached or at 8:30 — whichever occurs first.

Pay for Parking in Advance:

  • Event Parking: Parking Passes to the Trail of Lights allow for close in parking within Zilker Park. Passes can only be purchased in advance, online. Parking Passes are available all nights of the Trail and are $15/car. Please follow the directions on your ticket if you’ve purchased parking – there is only one entrance into Trail of Lights event parking. Parking directors will be nearby to direct you to a designated spot. See the map below.
  • ADA Parking: Qualifying vehicles must display a state-issued handicapped plate or placard. The person to whom the placard or plan is issued must be present in the vehicle, as a driver or passenger. Disabled Veterans will receive free parking with display of state-issued license plate or placard.

MetroBus or Rail

  • CapMetro can get you close. Take the #3, #4, #30 or #338 bus lines to drop you a short walk to the park or hop on the rail which runs until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights!

Bike or Walk

  • Live close by? Then take a stroll or a quick bike ride down to the park to enjoy the night and the lights. Bike checks are located adjacent to our box office opposite the front entry gates.


Giveaway: Win a Platinum VIP pass for four, valued at $225, to see the Austin Trail of Lights in luxury on December 12, 2015!

What do you have to do to win? Leave a comment or complete the form below. One lucky winner will be chosen randomly. The winner will be contacted via email with 24 hours to respond to claim the prize. If no response is received within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen. All entries must be received by 9:00 a.m. on December 7, 2015. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Prize holds no cash value and cannot be redeemed for other merchandise. Official Rules.

Thanks to all who entered and congrats to the winner, Nicole C.

Lisa Caldwell
About Lisa Caldwell 16 Articles
After growing up in Pittsburgh and bouncing around The West, Lisa Caldwell settled in Austin in 2012 with her husband and daughter with the dream of eating tacos for the majority of her meals. In her spare time, she writes at Hip-Baby Mama.

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