Few things put people in the holiday spirit like twinkling Christmas lights. Although your neighbor might have an eye-catching Christmas light show for you to see out your front door, there are multiple public places around the country to view beautiful Christmas lights displays. Check out these festive light shows that will put you in the Christmas spirit.
Tacky Lights Tour
Location: Richmond, Va.
Sometimes the best Christmas displays are the tackiest ones. There are even homeowners in Richmond, Va., who utilize the tackiest displays possible to make it on to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s annual Tacky Lights tour. Houses must boast at least 40,000 lights to make the list. And some of the houses on display have double that number.
Dominion GardenFest of Lights
Location: Richmond, Va.
Cost: $13 adults; $8 for ages 3-12
The Dominion GardenFest of Lights is a Christmas light show not to be missed. Over half-a-million lights will illuminate in the beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens of Richmond. The theme this year is Naturally Ever After, which will include folklore and fairytale classics.
Lights on Miracle Hill
Location: Walnut, Calif.
This special light show is now in its fourth year. The 45-minute Christmas light spectacle takes place every weekend in December at the City Blessing Church campus.
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Location: Clifton, Ohio
Cost: $10 (ages 7 and up)
Ohio residents searching online for “Christmas lights near me” should look no further than “Legendary Lights” at Clifton Mill — one of the largest water-powered mills in existence, conveniently located 30 miles from Dayton and 40 miles from Columbus.
Millions of lights illuminate the mill and its surroundings. And on the hour, more than 3.5 million lights are turned off, leaving guests in darkness. Visitors will then watch the lights turn on and intensify as Christmas music plays. Don’t miss the Santa Claus Museum, one of the oddest museums you’ll likely encounter. It’s home to more than 3,000 Santa Clauses that date back to the 1850s.
Nights of Lights
Location: St. Augustine, Fla.
Cost: Free, however paid tours are strongly suggested
One of the most historic cities in the nation glistens with more than 3 million white lights during the annual “Nights of Lights” event. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come each year to the Christmas light show, where historic landmarks are beautifully illuminated. National Geographic has called St. Augustine’s light display one of the best in the world.
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
Cost: $20 to $30
The Las Vegas Strip isn’t the only part of Sin City that glistens during the holidays. If you’re traveling to Las Vegas, head over to the Las Vegas Speedway for its Glittering Lights event. The 2.5-mile course features millions of lights, plus exciting animated displays. Although the event is located at the speedway, visitors won’t get to drive on the racetrack.
Blossoms of Light
Cost: $15-$20; free for children 2 and under
Come to Denver Botanic Gardens’ “Blossoms of Light,” where you’ll be able to meander through winter grounds that are now draped in thousands of colorful lights and outdoor Christmas decorations. The 2017 event features more than a million lights, which are made to dazzle even more thanks to HoloSpex glasses. The Romantic Gardens are also twinkling with lights, so be sure to visit with someone special.
Miracle on 34th Street
There are plenty of ways you can celebrate Christmas for free this year. For more than 60 years, row houses located on the 700 block of 34th Street have been lighting up for the holidays. Each year, thousands of people visit the event, which is a must-do for locals. According to Baltimore.org, the light display includes unique sculptures and more lights than you can imagine.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
If you really want to get into the Christmas spirit in New York, Dyker Heights is the place to be. The homeowners of this Brooklyn neighborhood are known for their over-the-top lights — some even hire professional help to create their winter wonderlands.
According to TimeOut, the Christmas light show extends over many blocks, so wear your best walking shoes and winter gear if you’re not taking a paid tour.
Fantasy in Lights
Location: Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga.
Cost: $28 (ages 13 and up); $14 (ages 6 to 12)
With 8 million lights illuminating the grounds of this resort complex, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the best light shows in the South — and in the world. The event features more than 15 light displays choreographed to music.
Former Disney Imagineers designed the original sets. According to the website, it takes roughly 3,900 man-hours to install Fantasy in Lights — and more than 32 miles of cable are required to power all the lights.
ZooLights at The Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Location: Washington, D.C.
The Christmas light event at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is sure to be a hit with the entire family. More than 500,000 lights illuminate the zoo grounds, which is also host to a light show choreographed to music.
Visitors can stroll the display at their leisure, take a train ride or even go tubing. New this year is a free glow-in-the-dark play zone for children, as well as a mobile art gallery and holiday market.
Austin Trail of Lights
Location: Zilker Park, Austin, Texas
Cost: $3 for ages 12 and over
A community tradition in its 53rd year, the Austin Trail of Lights brings more than 400,000 visitors to Zilker Park annually. More than 2 million lights adorn the 1.2-mile walk of 40 displays. Additionally, visitors can enjoy nightly programming and rides on a Ferris wheel.
Holiday Festival of Lights
Location: James Island County Park, Charleston, S.C.
Cost: $20 per car Friday through Sunday (1 to 15 people)
You can add the “Holiday Festival of Lights” to the list of reasons to visit this Antebellum town, known for its charm and cooking. The 3-mile car ride boasts 2 million lights arranged in a variety of holiday displays.
Allow time for parking and exploring the other marvels on site, such as sculptures made from 50 tons of sand and massive greeting cards created by local students, as well as a carousel.
Bentleyville Tour of Lights
Location: Duluth, Minn.
With more than 4 million lights spread over 20 acres, Bentleyville is America’s largest free walk-through Christmas light show. The display includes a 128-foot tree featuring 150,000 LED lights.
According to the Star Tribune, Bentleyville has an economic impact of $20 million for the city and brought in 270,000 visitors last year alone. The Christmas spectacle’s annual budget is $450,000 and funded entirely through donations and sponsorships.
L.A. Zoo Lights
Location: Los Angeles
Cost: $10-$20 ages 2 and up
See the L.A. Zoo aglow with animal-themed light displays, including 3D projections, lasers, thousands of twinkling lights. New this year is a water show featuring music and lasers at the entryway and an all-new “Wild Wonderland” finale.
Magic Christmas in Lights
Location: Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Theodore, Ala.
Cost: $15 (ages 13 and up); $7.50 (ages 5 to 12); extra cost to tour the home
If a walk through a winter wonderland among thousands of glistening lights sounds delightful, you’ll want to check out Magic Christmas in Lights at the Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Alabama. Guests can stroll this 65-acre garden estate and be dazzled by 3 million lights and more than 1,000 displays. Don’t be surprised if you hear carolers in addition to the glistening of Christmas tree lights at this holiday destination.
Lights Under Louisville
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Cost: $27 per car
Who said a Christmas light show has to take place under the night sky? In Kentucky, you can see an underground light extravaganza that is the only show of its kind in the world.
Lights Under Louisville transforms a former limestone mine, known as the Mega Cavern, into a 30-minute ride-through light show. Guests will travel underground passageways illuminated by more than 3 million bulbs.
Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights
Location: Wheeling, W. Va.
Treat yourself to a 6-mile drive through 300 acres of Christmas lights at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, and you’ll see why the light show attracts more than 1 million visitors per year. Some fan favorites include the animated Snowflake Tunnel, Candy Cane Lane and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Although the event is free, a donation is generally expected.
River of Lights
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Cost: $12 (ages 13 and up); $6 (ages 3 to 12)
River of Lights is New Mexico’s largest walk-through light show. Decked out in millions of lights, the event at BioPark is continuously named one of the best light displays in the country.
Macy’s at Center City
For generations, the musical light show at Macy’s in Center City has been a Philadelphia staple. Visitors can watch the spectacular display inside the four-story atrium. More than 100,000 twinkling lights create the holiday images, which range from prancing reindeer to beautiful ballerinas. The world-renowned Wanamaker Organ also plays.
Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights
Location: Clemmons, N.C.
Cost: $15 per car, truck or van
More than 1 million lights adorn this beautiful countryside park filled with 100 displays. Visitors can explore the 4-mile course by car, tractor-pulled hayride or horse-drawn carriage. Festival of Lights has grown in popularity over the years, making traffic a bit of problem. So, plan accordingly for the best experience.
Location: Portland, Ore.
A visit to Peacock Lane has become an annual tradition in Portland. The street’s mostly Tudor-style homes display incredible lights, nativity scenes and anything else that says Christmas, such as a blow-up Frosty the Snowman. To avoid long wait times, tour this Christmas lights display by foot.
Holiday Light Fantasia
Location: Goodwin Park, Hartford, Conn.
Cost: $15 per car
Wondering where to see Christmas lights in Connecticut? Check out the Holiday Light Fantasia. Located at Goodwin Park, this 2-mile show brings the Christmas spirit alive with over a million sparkling lights set to a holiday soundtrack.
Festival of Lights
Location: Aurora, Ill.
One of the best Christmas light displays in Northern Illinois is the Aurora Festival of Lights. It’s the largest free drive-through holiday lights display in the state. Located at Phillips Park, adults and children will enjoy the more than 1-mile loop that also includes new dancing arcs and an expanded ice rink.
Jolly Holiday Lights
Location: Altoona, Iowa
Cost: $20 per car
Enjoy the Christmas light show while spreading some holiday joy this season. All admission fees for Jolly Holiday Lights goes directly to Make-a-Wish Iowa. This drive-thru light spectacle is 2.5 miles of more than 100 magical light displays.