Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas

Last night, the very wonderful “Adult Culture Task Force” at school planned a trip to Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas. I’d never been the COTA before and it sounded like a nice way to kick of the holiday spirit! The bus driver we had was pretty awesome. His bus is totally decked out for the holidays.

Once there, there are lights to walk by, food and drinks (including some delicious adult hot chocolate and a warm spiced wine), and a carnival rides to enjoy.

My favorite thing at the event was the light tunnel!

I also thought it was pretty cool to get to walk around on the track.

Now, would I recommend you go? That depends. First of all, I went on a Friday night and it felt like there were not very many people there. There was no wait for food and food trucks, there was little wait for photos with Santa and other characters, and little wait for the carnival rides. Parking is plentiful and very easy as well. Compare that to something like Austin’s Trail of Lights (where I’d recommend you purchase additional VIP Parking and you have to wait in long lines for the ferris wheel and food trucks) and COTA easily comes out on top. However, for such a HUGE space, I felt like there could have been a ton more lights. The “trail of lights” wasn’t super impressive (Austin’s Trail of Lights has COTA beat big time). Heck, even Lakeway’s free “trail of lights” has a pretty impressive set up. Kids under 5 are free at COTA’s Winter Wonderland, so if you had kids that would enjoy seeing Santa, Anna, and Elsa, and would enjoy a petting zoo and looking at a few lights, I think this is a pretty low-key, hassle-free event. As an adult that isn’t going to ride carnival rides (which cost extra to begin with), I don’t quite feel it was worth the $16 entrance fee. However, spending an evening with a super fun group of people? Totally worth it 🙂

This was the very first Winter Wonderland at COTA and I think they have SO much potential out there. I cannot wait to go back next year to see how things have grown and improved. Head out there, support what they’re trying to do, and encourage them to come back even bigger and better next year!

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Circuit of the Americas

Author: Kelly

Kelly Phillips is the writer and photographer behind You can view more of her photos on Instagram @DiscoveringATX and her photography portfolio at

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