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15 gorgeous Instagram photos from the Zilker Tree and Trail of Lights

Half a century of sparkly fun

A funnel of lights moving upward while photog spins below
Take a spin
MarkScottAustinTX/Flicker

Here’s another way Austin isn’t like other cities: Our holiday tree is not a chopped down conifer or other living thing sacrificed to the winter gods. It’s a moonlight tower.

Yes, it’s gussied up with lights, spreading out in a conical shape, with a star on top. But underneath (and people can—and do—go underneath, in droves, and spin around until they are in altered states), it’s a moonlight tower: one of those gorgeous, nutty, metal towers that Austin bought from Detroit in the 1890s to make our streets glow at night with the light of 30 or so (artificial) moons.

People under the moonlight tower tree
Under the tree
That Other Paper

It was the Zilker tree’s 50th anniversary this year, and the Trail of Lights, the sparkly walking tour that leads through the park, is just a bit older. We think there’s nothing more festive than the sight of people wandering the path, taking in the sights, and the the tree itself, sometimes with tacos in the foreground, the same and slightly anew at once.

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