Christmas Light Show at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
December 14, 2016:
Ever since I moved to Austin, it has been tradition to bundle up and gather at Mozart’s to watch the free choreographed Christmas Light Show. The first year we went, we discovered the light show entirely by accident.
It was Thanksgiving day 2014 and I was less than a month into living in Austin. After stuffing ourselves, we decided to do as the Europeans do and finish the night with a nice cup of coffee. Upon finding the coffee shop closed (something we hadn’t even considered), we were delighted by the surprise light show, which takes about 15 minutes and starts at the top of each hour from 6 pm to 11 pm.
My first experience with Mozart’s was when I came to Austin for my birthday, 9 months prior to moving. Nestled on Lake Austin along the Colorado river, the scenic location is one of the many reasons I made the move and, to this day, continues to captivate every time I visit.
With a sizable menu and large seating area, Mozart’s provides the perfect setting for everything from a first date to a family outing. Claiming a table near the water, sipping on coffee, and soaking in the view, it’s easy to spend an afternoon lost in admiration.
The lake-side coffee shop isn’t just for Christmas lights and first dates, however. Many flock to this location for a quiet place to study, read, or write. Although, admittedly, I have yet to take advantage of the latter.
Not only does Mozart’s have the choreographed light show, they also adorn the entire outside deck with lights. The amount of stimulation sends your eyes into overdrive as they curiously glance around, noticing new little clusters of lights and decorations. The immense illumination is effortlessly accepted as you access your inner child.
You’ll know when the show starts as the house music fades out, giving way to the curated festive playlist. Among the track listing for this year was “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen, as well as the University of Texas fight song (I can only assume).
Given the time of the year, and the fact that the show is presented outside, my recommendation is to dress warm. Being near the water can also cause the temperature to drop slightly.
I also suggest showing up at least 30 minutes prior to the next showing. Due to the small parking lot at Oyster Landing (the assembly of restaurants and coffee shops playing host to Mozart’s), parking can be difficult. Parking is allowed on Lake Austin Blvd but this often goes first and goes fast. The best place is across the street from Oyster Landing, where parking is free.
With the car parked and your scarf on, the next hurdle is the mob of people that came before you, either lining up for a drink or vying for a table with a good view. Unfortunately, with the renown of the light show, and the fact that it has become a holiday staple in many Austin homes, the crowd on any given day can be substantial. Be prepared to sit through the show at least once before you’re able to grab a table and watch it comfortably.
If crowds aren’t your thing and you’re afforded the ability to come to a later showing, you may want to wait until the horde is sure to be diluted. Otherwise, the charming light show is certainly worth battling the traffic and the throngs of puffy-coat patrons.