Hill Country Lights for the Holidays

Chilly nights in December are the perfect time for packing up your family and friends to explore some of the beautiful holiday light displays available across Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. The annual Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail is an assemblage of  lighting displays from small towns throughout the region, including  Austin, Bandera, Blanco, Boerne, Burnet, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Marble Falls and Wimberley. To help you navigate the displays, the lighting trail website offers a helpful map and schedule of events and activities in each city.

Bandera is one of the stops on the Regional Lighting Trail, and, as the ‘Cowboy Capital of Texas’, Bandera will be hosting its annual Christmas Singing in the Saddle event at the Longhorn Saloon tomorrow evening, December 18th. Visitors are encouraged to bring, or rent horses, for Christmas caroling down Main Street at this event, and there will be hot chocolate and sweet treats available for visitors at the end of the parade ride.

While Fredericksburg, Texas is a popular getaway year-round, the town is extra special during the holiday season. Over the course of the holidays, Fredericksburg’s unique German heritage is on display with holiday décor, which includes a 26-foot-tall Christmas Pyramid at the town’s Marktplatz. Other attractions include an outdoor ice skating rink, 150 specialty shops with crafts from local artists, 75 restaurants serving everything from traditional German cuisine to unique Hill Country dishes, and over 400 bed and breakfast options for overnight guests.

Central Texas holiday

Photo courtesy of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce

Just down the road from Fredericksburg, the Johnson City courthouse lighting display is one of the largest lighting displays in the state. Millions of lights cover the historic Blanco County Courthouse, creating a visual treat.  The lights are up until January 1st, and the inside of the courthouse is open on Saturday and Sunday nights throughout December from 6:00-9:00 p.m. for photos in front of the large Christmas tree, and the local Garden Club will be on hand to sell crafts and ornaments.

Located on Highway 281, just 40 miles west of Austin, Blanco, Texas celebrates the holiday season with the lighting of Blanco’s downtown Bindsiel Park. The park lights are open for holiday visitors until January 6th and, while in Blanco, visitors can enjoy the many antique shops and boutiques along the courthouse square as well. Another notable lighted courthouse in the area is the historic Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet, Texas, which shines  with thousands of white lights all over the building’s façade. Burnet is also home to a massive 18-foot multi-color Christmas tree, which is perfect for photo ops.  The Burnet lighting display is open nightly until January 1st.

Since 1991, the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights has also delighted visitors of all ages. Over 2 million lights dot  150+ decorated sculptures, which create a magical reflection on the waters of Lake Marble Falls. This enchanting self-guided tour is open nightly beginning at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. until January 1st.

Central Texas holiday

Photo courtesy of the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights Facebook Page

Also just outside of Austin, Wimberley hosts its 16th Annual Trail of Lights at the EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens. This year’s trail features 8 acres of glowing displays decorated by local businesses and community groups, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to celebrate the season every Friday and Saturday evening until Christmas.  Nearby, in Austin, the beloved Trail of Lights at Zilker Park is open nightly until December 22nd, with an exciting schedule of entertainment from local bands.

Holidays in the Hill Country are unlike any other celebration. The region offers free, easily accessible lighting displays and events sure to charm visitors of all ages.  So pack up your crew this weekend and experience the joy of the season.

Lights, Parades, Ice Skating & More | Holiday Events and Activities in Central Texas

While malls and departments stores have been ready for the holidays since Halloween, Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season has officially begun. Starting this weekend, cities and towns from across Central Texas are gearing up for the holidays with lights, events and festivities throughout the month of December. To help make your holiday season as festive as possible, we’ve compiled a partial list of events and celebrations happening in the area.

This weekend, Buda’s annual Budafest takes place from 10 a.m. to dusk, December 1-2nd. The 33rd annual celebration will feature an array of fun, family friendly events including live music, over 125 craft vendors, a wide selection of locally-prepared food and a carnival for the kids. The event takes place at Buda City Park and will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday with a holiday parade starting from the Fire Station.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

November 28th to December 1st, San Marcos hosts their four-day Sights & Sounds of Christmas celebration south of Kyle. Festivities include arts and crafts, a carnival, food vendors, a 5K & 1K Run a parade along downtown Main Street hosted by the San Marcos Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, and live music performances each night. Tickets to the event are $4 per night, or $7 for the complete four days. For more information about the event, including a performance schedule and event details, visit the Sights & Sounds of Christmas website.

Throughout the month of December, San Marcos will also host Santa’s Ranch – a mile of spectacular holiday scenes featuring over 1 million lights and 100 displays and animations.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

Other holiday light scenes can be found in towns throughout Central Texas thanks to the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Tree Lighting Trail. Eleven communities are participating in this year’s event with light displays and special festivities occurring throughout the month. Special events and features a self-guided, winter wonderland walk amidst 2 million lights reflecting on the waters of Lake Marble Falls; a German-themed Christmas tree, holiday lights and an outdoor ice skating in Fredericksburg; and a Cowboy Christmas at Enchanted Springs Ranch in Boerne, December 22-23rd. For a complete list of participating communities, and more information about each city’s festivities, visit the Texas Hill Country Christmas Trail website.

Other holiday events in the area include a capella caroling inside the Cave Without a Name in Boerne December 8th, ice skating atop Whole Foods Market in Austin, Polar Express Movie Night under the stars in New Braunfels, and an endless array of holiday craft and vendor markets in towns across the area.

So, when you catch a minute between shopping, decorating, cooking and cleaning for the holidays, take some time to enjoy the spirit of the season with some lights and family fun in Central Texas.