Every December, millions of people brighten their Christmas trees and their homes with the magical glow of holiday lights. While the big cities, spectacular displays draw captivated crowds year after year. From Thanksgiving to New Years, the landscape sparkles with radiant light and color. Here are a few destinations to visit during the holidays to check out spectacular holiday displays.
The historic Admiral Fell Inn is trimmed with early American ornaments and greenery. Sitting by the fire, you can nibble on gingerbread with a resident ghost, Miss April who tells stories. During high tea, Guests also get the opportunity to decorate their own gingerbread men.
One of the street's most popular displays is an eight foot Christmas tree made entirely of hubcaps by folk artist Jim Pollock. It adds a unique sparkle to the street that attracts up to 2,000 people every night.
Over the years, other Prestonwood residents followed suit, choosing holiday themes for almost every block in the subdivision. One reoccurring theme is based on the popular book called 'The Night Before Christmas in
On the second Sunday of December, all the lights are turned on at once throughout the subdivision. This marks the beginning of what is now known as Prestonwood's Night of Lights. During the two week event, more than 15,000 drive through this one of a kind Christmas tradition.
In Johnson City, TX, Dexter Haynes hangs thousands of holiday lights, but it isn't about winning prizes. He just wants to share his deep love of Christmas. Dexter, also known to locals as the Christmas boy, began hanging Christmas lights around the house when he was 11.
Today, his love for Christmas and preparation for the holiday season starts a year in advance. Dexter works on his display beginning the day after Christmas when everything goes on sale. Every element of the display is planned by March. He spends the summer and fall checking his equipment.
Dexter's Christmas display can be seen from the nearby highway. The standouts among the dozens of shimmering sights are a 12 ft. star, a 25 ft. merry Christmas sign, and the most popular feature, a drive-thru illuminated tunnel.
Tourists and residents looking to check out dazzling Christmas lights in
All this razzle-dazzle isn't for nothing. Residents feverishly come up with new ways to decorate their homes and front yards to compete in the annual Christmas competition for the city's top award - the sweepstakes prize for best home.
During, the holidays, thousands of visitors plan a trip to see the Festival of Light at the Mission Inn of Riverside, located just 60 miles from
From the elegant Spanish patio to the shimmering swimming pool, The Mission Inn is draped in more than two and half million lights. Twenty men and women work from the end of September right through Thanksgiving to install and prep the
The balconies are decorated with 275 animated holiday figures. Whimsical carriages take visitors on a ride around the block to view the displays. Welcoming 30,000 people on its first night alone, the Festival of Light at The Mission Inn has proven to be not only beautiful, but profitable.
If you like your holidays cold, snow, and sparkling with holiday lights,
When you have had enough cold, you will find some of the most impressive lighting displays indoors, starting with the Museum of Science and Industry's 'Christmas Around the World' exhibit. Every year different ethnic groups from all around
'Christmas Around the World' began in World War II as a tribute to
Another timeless hotspot for kids and grownups is the legendary Macy's Department Store. Every December a constant stream of children press their noses to the glass of the display windows on
The store's main holiday attraction is the 45-foot tall Christmas tree with 1200 Swarovski crystal ornaments, including a 6-foot tree topper. It's sight no Chicagoan or visitor should miss.
Everything is bigger, brighter, and more colorful in
Destinations include Tavern on the Green , the famous
The first Christmas tree was erected in Rockefeller Plaza in 1931 by the demolition crew who was preparing the site. They decorated the tree with handmade tinsel and ornaments fashioned from blasting caps. Two years later, a 50-foot evergreen was raised at Christmas and decorated with 700 lights.
It takes six months of planning and two months of constant work to put up close to a million lights, which also include the lights to deck out the zoo's buildings.
While holiday magic at the Bronx Zoo spread out over 265 acres, Rolf's Restaurant in Manhattan packs its astonishing Christmas d��cor in only 1500 square feet. Every inch of this popular eatery, from the 19th century oak bar to the beamed wooden ceiling, is dripping with holiday decorations.
At this time of year, the menu also includes traditional German delicacies, like Christmas goose and a holiday drink called neuwein. Many customers come back year after year as part of their annual holiday celebration.
The neon glow of
If you venture out of Vegas to the nearby desert town of
At Ethel's Chocolate Lounge, more than 600 tons of chocolate are churned out every year. During the holidays, production really escalates. The burst of seasonal productivity can be viewed up close on one of the chocolate tours, where chocolate is still handmade.
Visitors can also head to Cactus Botanical Gardens where they will find over 300 species of cacti and succulents. The idea of stringing holiday lights around the prickly plants began 12 years ago to keep some species warm during the cold winter months. Today, over a million lights bathe the 3-acre garden in a vibrant glow.
Each species are wrapped in a specific color so that customers can identify them as they walk through. Tucked among the lit cacti are moving reindeer, gingerbread men, lollipops, and Santa Claus himself. It's enough to put anyone in a jolly Christmas mood, even in the middle of the dessert.