November 04, 2020

29 Best Places to See Christmas Light Displays Near You

Enchanting installments you won't be able to take your eyes off.

Sometimes the "Christmas creep" – the phenomenon in which holiday sales and decorations pop up before Thanksgiving, or the traditional start of the Christmas season – isn't such a bad thing. Especially if it means there's more time to enjoy all the fun activities and wholesome traditions associated with the holiday, like a crafternoon making DIY decorations followed by a family stroll through Christmas light displays in a town that really goes all out for the holidays.

We're not talking about the couple of bushes your neighbor threw string lights on, either. Though pretty, they're nothing like the extravagant holiday displays you can find all overthe country. From Southern states like Texas and Florida, to the Midwestern states, and both coasts, you'll find both commercial and private light shows that'll help you rediscover the magic of the holiday season.

Thankfully, 2020 isn't raining on the (light-filled) parade too much. Plenty of the most beloved shows will still occur, just with some modifications made with everyone's health and safety in mind. In some cases, capacity is greatly limited, with masks and social distancing required; in others events are being altered slightly, eliminating certain activities like visits with Santa or moving to drive-thru formats.

To find a show near you, check out this comprehensive list of some of the best Christmas light displays happening in the US.

Enchanted Airlie at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina

Take a self-guided walk through the pristine Airlie Gardens, where you'll take in plenty of sparkling sights paired with festive holiday music.

Dates: November 27 - 29; December 4 - 22

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn, New York

For decades, the residents of the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn have been creating a dazzling—and seemingly endless—display of extravagant holiday lights and Christmas decor. You can stroll the neighborhood or see it all by car.

Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo in New York, New York

For a truly immersive experience, head to the famed Bronx Zoo to see life-like, life-sized animal lanterns. At Holiday Lights, you can also take in a musical light show, browse ornate ice sculptures, and take a special Christmas train ride.

Dates: Select dates November 20 - January 10

Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, Maryland

Every year the residents of 34th Street in Baltimore, Maryland, come together to create one of the most dazzling light displays in the country.

Danvers Lights on Arthur Street in Danvers, Massachusetts

Another private display that's drawn many crowds over the years. This one is on Arthur Street in Danvers, Massachusetts, where revelers take in a breathtaking display of holiday lights each year.

Gardens Aglow at the Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine

Take in the Maine Botanical Gardens at night during the Christmas season's Gardens Aglow event. The scale is impressive, with more than 650,000 blazing lights.

Dates: November 21 - January 2

Magic Christmas Lights at Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, Alabama

At the Bellingrath Gardens, holiday visitors trek through more than 65 acres and 15 displays and 1,100 set pieces comprising as many as 3 million lights.

Dates: November 27 - December 31

Night of Lights in St. Augustine, Florida

During this annual event, which spans November through January, more than three million lights adorn every corner of the historic district of the famed Floridian city.

Dates: November 14 - January 31

Koziar’s Christmas Village in Bernville, Pennsylvania

The quaint countryside town of Koziar boasts a special Christmas surprise—more than one million holiday lights adorning buildings, gift barns, and landscape all reflected in a big lake.

Dates: Select dates November 7 - January 2

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, Georgia

Take a stroll through Atlanta's Botanical Gardens, where you'll be treated to an impressive array of holiday light displays and landscape installations.

Dates: November 14 - January 16

Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills, California

In this Los Angeles neighborhood, homeowners on an eight-block stretch of Lubao and Oxnard Streets go all out with their lights during an annual seasonal event known as Candy Cane Lane, perfect for driving through.

Dates: December 12 - December 31

Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos, California

For some socially-distanced fun, head to this drive-thru event, where you'll cruise through 1.5 miles of overly extravagant Christmas light displays coupled with music you can stream through your car's radio.

Dates: December 4 - December 20

Festival of Lights in Natchitoches, Louisiana

In this six-week festival, guests are treated to over 300,000 lights and more than 100 set pieces on display every night at dusk. The event also features a parade, fireworks, live entertainment, and food vendors.

Dates: November 21 - January 6

Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania

For one of the sweetest displays of all, look no further than through the gates of Hersheypark. Between amusement park rides and attractions, guests will take in more than 5 million lights, plus have the opportunity to a visit with Santa or their favorite Hershey characters.

Dates: November 13 - January 3

Wild Lights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio

This holiday spectacular promises millions of LED lights littered throughout installations like a 42-foot illuminated spruce, an animated light around the zoo's lake, and a polar bear express train ride.

Dates: November 20 - January 3

Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo in Houston, Texas

During the holiday season, the grounds of the Houston Zoo feature special installments like a 125-foot-long tunnel of lights, a 4D enchanted forest, and even a giant ice throne ripe for selfies.

Dates: November 14 - January 10

Christmas Town USA (McAdenville, North Carolina)

With a nickname like Christmas Town USA, it's no surprise that this is the place to see holiday light decorations—specifically, more than 500,000 lights, beautiful holiday wreaths, and traditional red bows.

Dates: December 1 - December 26

Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas

Though this annual celebration in Zilker Park will be a drive-thru event this year, guests will still have the same over-the-top experience as they take in more than two million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees, and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels.

Dates: November 29 - January 3

Winter Wonderland Festival in Caldwell, Idaho

Experience the best of the winter season at the Winter Wonderland Festival in Caldwell, Idaho. The town decorates the river that runs through it with over a million lights, plus hosts other fun winter events like Santa visits, ice skating, holiday shopping, food vendors, and more.

Dates: Beginning November 20

WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

In addition to holiday string lights and sculptures, guests of the Woodland Park Zoo will take in breathtaking lanterns of life-like wild animals (grizzly bears, eagles, mountain goats, and more), as well as underwater and aquatic creatures (sea turtles, jellyfish and more).

Dates: November 13 - January 17

The Lights of Christmas in Stanwood, Washington

Drive through a winter wonderland of sparkling lights paired with beloved holiday tunes. During your cruise, you'll take in more than one million lights making up installations like an infinity light tunnel, a mountain scene, a larger-than-life Nativity, Santa and his reindeer, and more.

Dates: Select dates November 27 - December 30

Honolulu City Lights in Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu City Lights, a month-long celebration hosted by Honolulu's city hall, begins with a parade and Christmas tree lighting ceremony, but also includes special events like a holiday wreath contest, photos with Santa, food vendors, and more.

Dates: December 5 - December 27

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights in Chicago, Illinois

Experience all the famed Chicago zoo has to offer under the glow of millions of illuminated lights. Plus, partake in fun seasonal activities, like a light maze and a holiday market.

Dates: November 21 - January 3

Fantasy of Lights in Upper Sandusky, Ohio

In this spectacular Midwestern drive thru light display, 33 acres of park are ablaze with millions of lights that make up unique light displays.

Dates: December 1 - December 30

Fantasy of Lights in New Haven, CT

Each year, Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven hosts a holiday extravaganza called the Fantasy of Lights. In this drive-thru event, cars travel through more than a mile of colorful holiday lights.

Dates: November 20 - December 31

Blossoms of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado

For over three decades, the Blossoms of Light holiday event has been wowing guests with dozens of light displays, special 3D experiences, and other holiday treats.

Dates: November 20 - January 16

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in Chicago, Illinois

In Chicago, revelers kick off the holiday season with a light-filled parade on a city street dubbed "The Magnificent Mile." Though the live parade is cancelled this year, the city will still host televised events capped off with an illumination ceremony for the trees that line the popular street.

Date: November 22

Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth, Washington

For a truly magical holiday experience, head to the base of the Cascade Mountains, where over half a million twinkling lights illuminate the quaint town of Leavenworth, Washington's buildings and landscape.

Dates: Select dates December 4 - December 20

Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, New York

There's no denying the magic of Midtown Manhattan during the Christmas season. And the neighborhood that houses the famous Rockefeller Center tree is also home to a famed light show that takes place just across the plaza at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Dates: November 23 - December 23

Note: This year the tradition will look a bit different. There will be 20 smaller light ceremonies live-streamed.

Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, California

Take a mile-long walk through a section of the gardens expansive 150 acres, where trees and sculptures are artfully illuminated.

Note: This event will not take place in 2020; it will return in 2021.

Copyright 2020 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. All rights reserved. From By Brigitt Earley.

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