37th Street Christmas Lights

That  Other Paper's photos of the 37th Street Lights in Austin from 2006.

That Other Paper's photos of the 37th Street Lights in Austin

Started in 1980 by a few neighbors wanting to “one-up” each other, the 37th street Christmas light display is now an Austin tradition.

There is no committee or neighborhood planning for the lights. It is a voluntary effort made by the residents of 37th street every December to decorate their front and (sometimes) their back yards with huge, non-traditional light displays.

Many people visit the street over the holiday’s some drive through and others walk. It is recommended that you walk… driving does not allow for the “full experience” and is dangerous since there are many pedestrians.

A few years ago the Austinist published these tips for visiting:

1) The utmost and strongest encouragement we can give you is to walk, not drive. You will miss many details of the Christmas light art if you see it from a distance. And don’t just walk through quickly. Stroll leisurely and check out the details of the decoration instead of hurriedly trying to take it all in. The longer you look, the more you will see in each yard.

2) Since you will be walking the block, we suggest you come in on 38th street and find parking off of one of the side streets. There are other lights in the area, and this way you can check them out too.

3) Jamie’s (Jaime Lipman has been decorating his house with lights since the 1970’s and is one of the initial creators of this tradition.) house is one of the more noticeable houses. Don’t miss thoroughly enjoying this one. You can go in and explore his backyard which is incredibly decorated. He is the master of finding unusual things to light up. We can’t imagine how long it must take him to decorate each year, nor how many circuit breakers it takes to power everything.

4) Don’t litter while you’re enjoying the lights. It makes baby Jesus cry.

I live on E. 37th street (not the same street as the lights but close), and am definitely going to check out the lights this year! It’s a nice alternative or addition to visiting the Trail of Lights at Zilker.

Map of 37th Street Lights

Map of 37th Street Lights


22 Responses to “37th Street Christmas Lights”

  1. 1 Marylouise December 1, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Austin is a wonderful city and I love to visit. Now, you’ve shown me something to visit in December. Thanks!

  2. 2 jeffbechdel December 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    This is awesome and right in my neck of the woods. I had no idea this was even going on! Thanks for the tip, Samantha. Do you also recommend that light festival thing they do in Zilker? I’ve never been to that, either.

  3. 3 Samantha G. December 1, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    I went to the Trail of Lights years ago… I remember family’s, kiddie stuff, funnel cake etc… It had a bit of a carnival vibe. If that’s what you’re into or if you’ve never been, I definitely think you should check it out.

    Also, it may have just been like that, that year?

  4. 4 Caitlin W December 2, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I have been to the Trail of Lights every year since I was a freshman at UT, and I’m going again this year. I think it’s really fun, if you like to do “kid-at-heart” activities (which I totally do.) 37th Street is AWESOME, I remember my freshman year going to the house you could walk around, and they even had a fire pit in the back. It was glorious. Great post, Samantha!

  5. 5 Holley N December 2, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    That picture looks absolutely amazing!!!! I have actually never been to the Trail of Lights, but I really want to go! I absolutely LOVE Christmas lights! In fact, we aren’t allowed to put Christmas lights on our condo balcony so we put up lights inside our condo! It’s quite awesome if I do say so myself! 🙂

  6. 6 Jeremy December 14, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    This is about 37th Street, not the Trail of Lights.

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