2018 Austin Trail of Lights to run Dec. 10-23; annual “Night Lights” preview party, benefiting the Trail of Lights Foundation, kicks off festivities on Saturday, Dec. 8
(AUSTIN, TEXAS – Nov. 15, 2018 source: Juice Consulting) – The 54th annual Austin Trail of Lights, powered by H-E-B, announces exciting details for “Night Lights,” the fifth annual preview party benefiting the Trail of Lights Foundation on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 6-10 p.m. Austin Trail of Lights’ annual Night Lights Preview Party is an exclusive fundraising event kicking off the Austin Trail of Lights season. Proceeds from Night Lights ticket sales go directly back into the Trail of Lights Foundation. Brownout and Interrobangwill be performing on Dec. 8, as Night Lights guests enjoy light bites from various local restaurants and tastings from featured liquor brands.
Restaurant partners for the party include Austin Java, Bob’s Steak and Chop House, Chameleon Companies/Wu Chow, Chudleigh’s, Darcy’s Donkey, Farah Coffee, Kellie’s Baking Co, La Pera, Max’s Wine Dive, P.F. Chang’s Downtown, Parkside, Phoebe’s Diner, Poke-Poke, Quality Seafood Market, Taverna, Texas Honey Ham Company, Thai Fresh/Gati, Top Notchand Truluck’s Restaurant Group. Beverage sponsors include Nine Banded Whiskey, William Grant Whiskey & Scotch, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Still Distillery, Kimo Sabe Mezcal and Austin Eastciders. Guests will also enjoy complimentary beverages, a classic car show and Ferris Wheel and Carousel rides all evening. Tickets are $85 per person and can be purchased here:
Overall Austin Trail of Lights Information
The Austin Trail of Lights will be open to the public from Monday, Dec. 10through Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018 in Austin’s beloved Zilker Park. For more information and to plan a trip to the Trail of Lights, please see here. Limited quantities of early access, premium tickets are also available, and guests are encouraged to purchase tickets ahead of time to secure their preferred dates. Tickets can be purchased via the online event calendar at – pick your preferred date, then purchase tickets. The 2018 Austin Trail of Lights full entertainment calendar will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
ZIP Fast Passes are the ultimate convenience. ZIP Fast Passes include:
  • One hour early access to the Austin Trail of Lights at 6 p.m.
  • Enter through an exclusive ZIP entrance
  • Access to the heated Zilker Lounge with complimentary cookies, cocoa and comfortable seating
  • Premium heated washrooms
ZIP admission hours are 6-10 p.m. on Dec. 11-23. ZIP passes are $15 on Dec. 11-13, and Dec. 17-19. ZIP passes are $20 on Dec. 14-16 and Dec. 20-23.
Platinum Passes are available for a VIP experience. The full Platinum package includes:
  • One hour early access to the Austin Trail of Lights at 6 p.m. through private, dedicated entry
  • Valet parking for one vehicle – parking opens at 5:30 p.m.
  • Platinum concierge planning before and our Platinum Team to guide you at the event
  • Golf cart shuttle access to the Platinum Lounge and Trailhead
  • Access to a private, heated Platinum Lounge with comfortable seating and exclusive bar
  • One drink ticket per Platinum Pass, valid at bars throughout the park
  • One ride pass per Platinum Pass, for exclusive entry to the Ferris wheel or carousel
  • Access to the Zilker Lounge where you’ll find cookies, cocoa, comfortable seating
  • Premium heated washrooms
Platinum pass prices range from $80 for an individual pass, $150 for a two-pack (includes valet parking for one car) and $260 for a four-pack of tickets (includes valet parking for one car). Platinum passes are available Dec. 10, Dec. 13-16, and Dec. 19-23.
General Admission and Shuttle
Thanks to the Trail of Lights Foundation’s year-round efforts, seven out of the 14 nights of the Austin Trail of Lights are kept free and accessible for all in the community. See the event calendar for days that are free to enter and days that carry a $3 General Admission entry fee.
Paid parking at Zilker Park for the Trail is available only with a pre-paid parking pass. All parking passes must be purchased in advance, online, and will not be sold onsite. A limited quantity of spots are available each night, so guests are advised to purchase parking passes early for their preferred days. Passes are available for $15 per vehicle.
Shuttle services to the Austin Trail of Lights drop off at the front gates and are available from two convenient locations in Austin. Trail-goers are advised to purchase a shuttle pass for $6 in advance to skip the long shuttle admission lines at each pick up location. Guests who purchase a shuttle pass do NOT need to purchase separate General Admission tickets on the nights that require a $3 admission fee – the shuttle pass includes shuttle ride and gate entry. Trail of Lights Shuttles will operate on Dec. 14-16, and 20-23 from: Republic Square in downtown Austin (422 Guadalupe St., Austin, Texas 78701) and Toney Burger Event Center in south Austin (3200 Jones Rd, Austin, Texas 78745).
Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run
Visitors seeking a first look at the Trail can register online for the annual Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run on Saturday, Dec. 1. The Fun Run includes a 2.1-mile course that starts at the iconic Zilker Holiday Tree and takes thousands of festive Fun Runners through the sights of the Austin Trail of Lights, ending with a celebration in the center of Zilker Park – the Finish Line Festival and Expo. The Finish Line Festival and Expo will feature DJ entertainment from DJ Chino Casino, a dance party, food trucks, drinks, fitness expo and more! Wacky holiday costumes are always welcome! Visit to register for the Fun Run.
2018 Highlights and New Attractions
Since it began in 1965, the Austin Trail of Lights has grown into one of Austin’s largest events, attracting an average of 400,000 people per year. Every holiday season, Austin’s iconic Zilker Park is transformed into the Trail of Lights with over two million lights, 65+ displays, 30 food trucks, nightly live entertainment, 50 private holiday parties and interactive experiences throughout the park.
The annual tradition continues to grow, celebrating the quirky, independent character that Austin is recognized for across the country. New attractions and enhanced areas will be found throughout the Trail. Some new highlights include a 13-foot illuminated carriage, 12 seven-foot lighted guitars commemorating Austin’s musical roots, a 25-foot spiral holiday tree and Keep Austin Weird presents “Flipped,” an upside down tree grove highlighting local Austin business that we know and love.
Specialty Nights and Programming
The full calendar, along with online ticket purchasing is available at
  • Sunday, Nov. 25: The Annual Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • Saturday, Dec. 1: The Annual Trail of Lights Fun Run
  • Dec. 2, 3 and 4: STARS at the Trail program hosts over 20 nonprofit organizations. The Trail of Lights will be closed to the public on these nights.
  • Saturday, Dec. 8: Night Lights, the annual Preview Party and fundraiser for the Trail of Lights Foundation
  • Monday, Dec. 10: Austin Trail of Lights Grand Opening and Sponsor Soiree
  • Tuesday, Dec. 11: Heroes Night, a celebration of veterans, active military and first responders
  • Thursday, Dec. 13: Movie Night, join us for a holiday movie at the Trail
  • Sunday, Dec. 16: UT Night, dedicated to the vibrant community of the University of Texas at Austin
Accolades and Statistics
  • Current nominee by USA Today for their 10Best Reader Poll on Public Holiday Light Displays
  • Third Largest Event in Austin according to the Austin Business Journal (2018)
  • Up to 400,000 attendees visit every year, on average
  • 28,000 average nightly attendance in 2017
  • 2 million twinkling lights, 90 wrapped trees and over 65 holiday displays
  • More than 1 million miles walked on the Trail by attendees annually
  • 8,000 runners at the 2017 Fun Run
  • 14,000 photos taken with Santa in 2017
About the Trail of Lights Foundation
The Trail of Lights Foundation is an independent nonprofit corporation dedicated to producing and maintaining the Austin Trail of Lights as an authentically Austin community tradition. The organization raises the funds from donations by individuals and the business community to produce and ensure the long-term sustainability of Austin’s largest community celebration. It is curated in close conjunction with its long-time partner, Forefront Networks, who provides turn-key production, marketing, sponsorship and programming services to the foundation. The Trail of Lights has remained in the top three Austin events since the Trail of Lights Foundation adopted the event in 2012.
For more information on The Trail of Lights, please see
For general press inquiries about the Trail of Lights, please contact the team at Juice Consulting:
Heather Wagner Reed
713 208 3891
Madison Snelling
210 213 8934
Tyler Ostby
210 854 9119