Best Holiday Light Displays Around the World

Fairy lights. Festival of Lights. Night of the Candles. Whatever the tradition, light displays have been a part of holiday celebrations for centuries. Here are some of the biggest, best and most over-the-top displays from around the world.

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Kobe, Japan

A tribute to the loss suffered in 1995’s Great Hanshen Earthquake, which left 6,000 dead and much of Kobe in darkness, the city’s annual Luminaire lights up for two weeks every December as a symbol of hope.

Madrid, Spain

The last Friday of November, Madrid’s streets light up with overhead displays created by Spain’s best-known designers, architects and artists. The lighting installations vary from street to street.

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

The proto-amusement park and fantasy gardens in Copenhagen’s center is a wonderland at Christmas when it fills with the holiday market and special lighting. Tivoli's Moorish Palace shines with Christmas decorations.

Tbilisi, Georgia

The giant illuminated Christmas tree in Freedom Square is the centerpiece of the holiday lighting displays in Tbilisi’s town center. Overhead lights adorn numerous streets throughout the area, most notably Rustaveli Avenue.

Rockefeller Center, New York City

Thousands of visitors flood Rockefeller Center for the annual Christmas tree lighting which is televised for an audience of millions. The tree and the surrounding area, including the world-famous ice rink, remain lit 5:30 p.m. to midnight until January 7.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

The Christmas lights in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square are a draw for holiday visitors beginning the first week in December. The spectacular light show illuminates the square in an array of shifting colors.

Ayala Triangle Gardens, Manila, Philippines

Running from November through early January, Manilla’s annual Festival of Lights illuminates the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City. The light and sound show, which has a new theme each year, runs every thirty minutes between 6 and 10 p.m.

Medellin, Colombia

Beginning December 7, which is known as the Night of the Candles, Medellin, Colombia lights up with holiday displays. The Medellin River area is the most elaborately decorated—and visited—light display area in the country. 

Melbourne, Australia

One of the most popular features of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival, which runs between November 27 and December 25 each year, are the colorful, dynamic and illuminated images projected onto Melbourne Town Hall between 9 and 10:45 p.m. nightly. 

Baltimore, Maryland

Dubbed “Miracle on 34th Street,” the over-the-top lighting displays along a row of houses on 34th Street in Baltimore’s Hamden neighborhood draw crowds of spectators each December. 

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