Holiday Lights off the Beaten Path

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Holiday light displays are the perfect COVID-friendly activity this year.  Branch out from the usual and go off the beaten path to explore different displays in Central Texas.

Santa’s Ranch

Santa’s Ranch via

Located in New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio. Stay in your car and take a drive through over a mile of winding country roads to see the beautiful lights, animated Christmas displays, and towering Christmas trees. Buy tickets online or at the entrance: $35 a vehicle.


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Luminations

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Luminations display (@2017 Earl McGehee)

A South Austin treasure, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is hosting a strollable light display called Luminations. This walk through the Center’s Texas Arboretum and new Fortlandia exhibit is illuminated with creative lighting to get you in the holiday spirit. Buy tickets online to reserve your day and time: $18 for adults/$10 for children. Kids 4 and under get in free.


Lights Spectacular Johnson City

The lights in Johnson City. (Creative Commons)

Travel into the Hill Country to experience Johnson City’s annual lights display. Though many activities are postponed until next year in response to the pandemic, the city will still be lit up until January 3 to celebrate the season. Take a socially distanced tour of “The Twinkliest Town in Texas,” and see millions of twinkling lights in the historic square off Main Street. Admission is free.


Bastrop River of Lights

Bastrop River of Lights (photo by Jim Knodler)

Just 30 minutes from Austin (and home to an amazing Buc-ee’s), Bastrop’s small town charm amps up during the holidays. The Bastrop River of Lights is located downtown on the June Hill Paper Riverwalk and is decorated by local groups and businesses. Only a half mile, this display is perfect for young kids!  Admission is free.


Marble Falls Walkway of Lights

Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls (Photo by Ronnie Madrid/Divine Radiance Photography)

Take a walk through Lakeside Park in Marble Falls to see the over two-million lights and 130 sculptures on display for the holiday season. Santa and his elves will also make appearances on weekends and Christmas Eve. Admission is free. 



Remember to wear a mask and to social distance (when necessary) to help keep everyone safe and healthy this winter.


About the writer: Julie Hagen is going on her third year as a member of the Junior League of Austin. Julie does social media for a state agency and is looking forward to applying those skills as a League Lines writer. She was born and raised in Austin and is a third generation JLA member.