The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs - totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. The double star displays 150 frosted bulbs. This unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower.  On December 10, 1967, the first tree was lighted by Mayor Pro Tem Mrs. Emma Long. In subsequent years this honor has been awarded to the young winner of a city-wide tree art contest.

The Zilker Holiday Tree is sponsored by the Trail of Lights Foundation.   

The tree is installed, produced and managed by multiple City of Austin Departments.  They include Austin Energy, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Resource Recovery and Austin Police Department who provide in kind services that keep the display available to the citizens of Austin.    

Tree Lighting Ceremony Event

2020 Information Pending

2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony - December 1st, 2019

5:30 pm    Pre-event music by the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble

6:00 pm    Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Featuring local entertainment, food, novelties and live music! Performances by:

Bring a toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa

Zilker Holiday Tree - Nightly Visitation Information

2019 Zilker Tree - Season Parking Schedule

If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around nights as noted below - carefully review the schedule.  TRAFFIC AND PARKING FEE ALERT!  December 7, and 10th - 23rd expect high volumes of traffic and road closures during Trail of Lights.  Parking on site is pre-paid ONLY on these nights!  See the transportation page for information and FAQ's.

Days                           Parking and Traffic Expectations Dec 1- 6:                    Free on site surface parking available.

  • expect moderate/high traffic on Friday Dec. 6

Dec 7:                         Trail of Lights Fun Run - no drive in access until after 11 pm.  Pre-paid parking only. Dec 8-9:                      Free on site surface parking available

  • expect significant traffic on Dec. 8 for private events

Dec 10-23:                 Trail of Lights Event Nights, pre-paid parking only.

  • no drive in access until after 11 pm.

Dec 24 - Jan 1:         Free on site surface parking available.


Trail of Lights Information Resources

2020 Information Pending

2019 Event Information

Event Schedule
December 7              5K Fun Run
December 10-23      Trail of Lights event nights - see event website for details, ticket, pre-paid parking, etc...

PLAN YOUR TRIP!   There will be PRE-PAID PARKING ONLY at the park during Trail of Lights Nights.  Motorists will not be allowed to wait and pay on site for parking.  Extensive neighborhood parking restrictions will be in effect.   Shuttle or bicycle arrival is the best option - plan ahead!