8 Holiday Light Displays You Don't Want to Miss
Prepare to be dazzled by the holiday magic that only millions of twinkling lights can create.
Photo By: Hersheypark
Photo By: Visit Baltimore
Photo By: Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
Photo By: Callaway Resort & Gardens
Photo By: FloridaHistoricCoast.com
Photo By: Kent Otto
Photo By: Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo By: Krystle Jim
Hershey Sweet Lights
Inch your way across two miles of forest trails as you ooh and ahh at more than 600 animated holiday lights displays, like 'The 12 Days of Christmas,' at Hershey Sweet Lights in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Plan to spend at least 30-60 minutes to see it all at this incredible drive-thru holiday lights display that asks guests to wear Holospec glasses in order to "watch it snow." Pair Hershey Sweet Lights with a day at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, which has its own dazzling lights show, NOEL, with more than 200,000 dancing twinkle lights.
Miracle on 34th Street
This holiday lights display may only run across one block of Baltimore’s eclectic Hampden neighborhood, but Miracle on 34th Street is a holiday lights spectacle like no other. Now in its 71st year, neighbors living along 34th Street between Keswick Road and Chestnut Avenue keep adding to the holiday cheer with inflatable snow globes, musical trains, nativity scenes, and of course, more sparkling twinkle lights. Make it a weekend by strapping on ice skates at the seasonal ice rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Settle in at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Baltimore, which is known to dress up in lights, too.
Mission Inn Festival of Lights
The Mission Inn Festival of Lights in Riverside, California has been a favorite holiday tradition in Southern California for 25 years. A whopping five million twinkle lights illuminate the historic four-diamond hotel, which is elaborately decorated with angels, elves, carolers and reindeer. It takes hotel staff nearly four months to string the lights and set up more than 400 animated characters across the property. So popular, the free six-week long Festival of Lights attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year to experience the warmth and glow of the holiday season.
Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy in Lights
Just an hour from Atlanta, Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy in Lights has been delighting guests for more than 25 years. This drive-thru holiday spectacle features more than eight million twinkling lights, enough to light up 26,000 Christmas trees. Enjoy the sparkle of multiple lighted displays from your own car or from a seat on the "Jolley Trolley," which takes visitors across the incredible holiday lights display. Go behind-the-scenes on a special trolley tour to see how it’s all done and make it a weekend with a stay at the resort at Callaway Gardens.
St. Augustine Night of Lights
In St. Augustine, Florida, there’s nothing quite as spectacular as the annual Night of Lights holiday celebration. Take it slow as you walk through the historic district to enjoy all three million twinkle lights festooned across nearly every inch of downtown. Among the highlights are the dazzling lights displays at Flagler College, Casablanca Inn and the Lightner Museum. The central plaza, Plaza de la Constitucion, features a lavishly decorated Christmas tree. See the lit skyline from the water on a special boat excursion or take a trolley tour and don magical viewing glasses that "let it snow" on the town.
Silver Dollar City’s Christmas in Midtown
Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri is the place to be for a bigger and brighter Christmas in Midtown Light Spectacular in 2017. More than 6.5 million twinkle lights — 30 percent more than last year — bring to life angels, reindeer, trains, snowflakes and a 90-foot tall Christmas tree. The tree alone is illuminated by more than 350,000 colorful LED lights. Take your time and stay for Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, which winds through town twice-nightly. You’ll also find a Living Nativity, strolling carolers and a 12-foot tall talking Christmas tree.
There are a number of zoos across the country that light up for the holidays, like the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, which knocks it out of the park with their ZooLights celebration. This year, more than 2.5 million twinkle lights and hundreds of animated displays will transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Explore all the magical ZooLights attractions on your own or sign up for a Holiday Lights Tour with Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. This festive 2.5-hour guided tour takes guests all across Chicago to experience the holiday magic.
River of Lights
Every year, the ABQ BioPark in Albequerque, New Mexico delights crowds with their annual River of Lights celebration, the largest walk-thru holiday lights display in New Mexico. Millions of sparkling lights illuminate more than 500 colorful displays created by artisans at the ABQ BioPark. Buy a ticket for the Polar Bear Express, a nighttime train that takes guests on a magical ride complete with hot chocolate and holiday storytime before being dazzled by the holiday lights and meeting up with Santa for photos.