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 https://www.oprahmag.com. By Brigitt Earley.