Holidays Around the USA: Where to Go See Christmas Lights

The Sweater Store traveled the country to find the best Christmas light displays in the United States. Here are our favorite places to celebrate the season in every state!

1 Alabama
Bellingrath Gardens | Theodore, Alabama
This year marks the Bellingrath Gardens and Home’s 20th anniversary of Magic Christmas in Lights! Stroll through a dazzling display featuring 1,000 set pieces, 3 million lights, and 5 different scenes covering 65-acres of land. Also, enjoy nightly carolers and warm hot chocolate.

Photo cred: http://bellingrath.org/experiences/events/magic-christmas-in-lights/

2 Alaska
Christmas in Ice | North Pole, Alaska
Christmas in Ice features Christmas-themed ice carvings, slides, a maze, and indoor crafts. New sculptures are added almost weekly!
Photo cred: http://www.christmasinice.org/

3. Arizona
Zoo Lights | Phoenix, Arizona
http://phoenixzoo.org/event-items/zoolights/
Experience the magic of ZooLights! This display showcases 3-D animal light sculptures, music in motion shows, and live ice sculpting.
Photo cred: http://www.rentcafe.com/blog/cities/the-holiday-events-across-the-valley-that-you-must-not-miss/

4. Arkansas
The Lights of the Ozarks | Fayetteville, Arkansas
http://www.experiencefayetteville.com/lights-of-the-ozarks
Over 400,000 lights decorate the Downtown Square of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nightly carriage and pony rides, fresh hot chocolate, and festive holiday music make this a memorable event.
Photo cred: Jessi Makes Things

5. California
The Annual Christmas Boat Parade | Newport Beach, CA
http://www.christmasboatparade.com/
This is the 107th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Enjoy five consecutive nights of decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes lighting the 14 miles around the harbor for all to see.
Photo cred: http://www.johnblomphotography.com/ John L Blom Photography

6. Colorado
Denver Botanic Gardens | Denver, Colorado
http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/trail-lights
The Denver Botanic Gardens Trail of Lights offers visitors a variety of paths to choose from. This years light show features a three-sided light tunnel, a fire pit, illuminated antique and model tractors, and much more!
Photo cred:  https://kmswoodworks.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/lights-at-the-botanic-gardens KMS Woodworks Blog

7. Connecticut
Holiday Light Fantasia | Hartford, Connecticut
http://www.ctvisit.com/Events/summary/holiday-light-fantasia/4751
Cruise two-miles through Goodwin Park to view over 35 scenes of whimsical holiday lights. This display celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and Three Kings Day.
Photo cred: Living in Glastonbury CT

8. Delaware
Faucher Family Christmas House | New Castle, Delaware

The Faucher Family Christmas House


The Faucher family’s light display slows traffic for several miles every year, and with good reason. Imagine 1,000,000 lights covering one house — you’ll have to see it to believe it.
Photo cred:  Amanda Jansen

9. Florida
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights | Orlando, Florida
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/hollywood-studios/osborne-family-spectacle-of-dancing-lights/
The people at Disney World know a thing or two about putting on a good show. The Osborne Family of Dancing Lights consists of several stunning light displays throughout the park, turning Disney World into a winter wonderland!
Photo credit: http://www.thefloridaproject.com/blog/ The Florida Project

10. Georgia
Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights | Pine Mountain, Georgia
http://www.callawaygardens.com/events/signature/fantasy-in-lights
Callaway Gardens showcases 8 millions lights across 15 different scenes. In addition to the light displays, there is a storytime with Mrs. Claus and a Christmas train ride.
Photo credit: http://www.callawaygardens.com/events/signature/fantasy-in-lights

11. Hawaii
Honolulu City Lights | Honolulu, Hawaii
http://www.yelp.com/biz/honolulu-city-lights-honolulu
It doesn’t snow in Hawaii, but Honolulu still knows how to celebrate Christmas! They kick off the holiday season with a sizable Christmas parade, marching down streets decorated with a beautiful display of trees, wreaths, and lights.
Photo cred: 
http://hawaiianspring.com/blog/2011/12/07/mele-kalikimaka-from-hawaiian-springs/ Hawaiian Springs

12. Idaho
Festival of Lights  | Preston City, Idaho
http://www.idahofestivaloflights.org
Idaho Festival of Lights is a hodge podge of wonderful Christmas events. These events include a bed race, live entertainment, a chili cook off, a parade, fireworks, live music, and a free kids movie!
Photo credit: http://www.idahofestivaloflights.org

13. Illinois
Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier | Chicago, Illinois
https://navypier.com/pnc-bank-winter-wonderfest/
Photo credit: https://navypier.com/pnc-bank-winter-wonderfest/
Navy Pier

14. Indiana
Circle of Lights Festial | Indianapolis, Indiana
https://www.visitindy.com/indianapolis-events-circle-of-lights-tree-lighting
Watch one lucky child’s dream come true in Indianapolis, where tradition dictates that the winner of a coloring contest is given the honor of “flipping the switch” on the cities lights with the help of Santa and the mayor. Things get even brighter after the lighting, with a display of fireworks!
P
hoto credit: https://www.facebook.com/DowntownIndy/photos_stream Downtown Indy

15. Iowa
Reflections in the Park, A Hillcrest Lights Festival | Dubuque, Iowa

Reflections in the Park, a Hillcrest Lights Festival


Memorialize a loved one by participating in Memory Lane. The “Memory Lane” is filled with starlit street lights that represent participants loved ones. In addition, there is a banner and booklet that display the numerous names of the people being remembered.
Photo credit: http://www.quiltingpathways.com/rivertowns/dubuque-holiday.html Scenic Byways

16. Kansas
http://botanica.org/~bloomsorg/illuminations-2015
Botanica Illuminations | Wichita, Kansas
This event showcases 17 acres of the Botanica’s beautiful gardens with dazzling Christmas lights.
Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/BotanicaWichita?fref=photo
Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

17. Kentucky
http://www.louisvillemegacavern.com/attractions/5/lights-under-louisville
Lights Under Louisville | Louisville, Kentucky
Lights under Louisville features 850 Christmas light displays that the visitors enjoy at their own leisure while driving through the caverns! This is the world’s only fully underground drive through Christmas light show. Truly breathtaking!
Photo credit: http://www.louisvillemegacavern.com/attractions/5/lights-under-louisville Louisville Mega Cavern

18. Louisiana
http://holidaytrailoflights.com/
Monroe West, Louisiana
Photo credit:
https://365nola.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/christmas-in-nola-city-park/ 365 Nola
Experience holiday lights, parades, fireworks, shopping, and more. This trail of lights includes five locations– Alexandria-Pineville, Minden, Monroe-West, Natchitoches, and Shreveport-Bossier–from east to west on I-20 and north to south on I-49. Specifically, the image above features Monroe West.

19. Maine
http://www.auburnlights.com/1.html
Auburn Lights | Auburn, Maine
The Vista Drive Lights in Auburn, Maine is a fantastic neighborhood lights display with Christmas lights synchronized to Christmas Radio 88.3.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4191059817/in/photostream/

20. Maryland
https://nationalzoo.si.edu/ActivitiesAndEvents/Celebrations/ZooLights/zoolights.cfm
Smithsonian’s National Zoo | Washington D.C.
Enjoy Zoolights with live music performances, winter treats, and holiday shopping. With over 500,000 lights, the Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland. This years Zoolights is has a specially synchronized music light display!
Photo credit: http://lavalerosa.com/2013/12/10/zoo-lights-at-the-smithsonian-national-zoo/ La Valerosa

21. Bright Lights at Forest Park | Springfield, Massachusetts
HubPages
This light display is also synchronized to the Christmas radio station 98.5fm. Along with the light display, guests can visit Santa, the gift shop, wagon and carriage rides, and even participate in a ‘Bright Nights 5k Road Race’.

22. Michigan
The Big Brights Lights Show | Rochester, Michigan
Mark Hicks Photography
Downtown Rochester, Michigan buildings will be covered with holiday lights. The display will be lit every evening through January 3rd.

23. Minnesota
Holidazzle Village | Minneapolis, MN
Holidazzle The Holidazzle village is a quaint Holiday Market with live entertainment, food and drinks in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

24. Mississippi
14th Annual Christmas on the Bayou | Bayou Bernard, Gulfport
Photo credit: James Edward Bates
The first ever Christmas on the Bayou event was held in December 2000. This event is the only waterfront parade in Gulfport and gives viewers a close up and personal view of the boats decked out in Christmas lights.

25. Missouri
Silver Dollar City | Branson, Missouri
Photo credit: Branson Tourism Center
With over 5 million dazzling lights, 1,000 decorated Christmas Trees, two Broadway-Style productions and a 5-story tall Christmas tree, Silver Dollar City celebrates the true meaning of this holiday season.

26. Montana
Zoo Lights Drive Through | Billings, MT
Billings 365
ZooMontana is a drive through holiday light display where the visitors can actually drive through a section of the zoo and admire the various Christmas light displays.

27. Nebraska
Omaha Holiday Lights Festival | Omaha, NE
Photo credit: Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival
Celebrate the holiday season with family friendly activities. Check out 40 blocks of dazzling lights in downtown. This festival spans the whole holiday season–opening with a lighting Ceremony mid-December and ending with a New Year’s Eve firework show!

28. Nevada
Charlotte Motor Speedway | Las Vegas, NV
Off the Eaten Path
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the largest Holiday drive-thru light show in Nevada! With a 2.5 mile course of fantastic Christmas lights, visitors can celebrate the holiday season.

29. New Hampshire
Santa’s Village | Jefferson, N.H.
Photo credit: Gorillas Don’t Blog
At Santa’s Village, there is plenty to do! Besides seeing a beautiful light display, you can visit Santa’s home, Elf University, play games at the firehouse, go on rides, and so much more!

30. New Jersey
Shaefer Farms | Flemington, NJ
Photo Credit: The Lollipop Road
Shaefer farms offers a drive-through light display with colorful farm and holiday themed lights. Also, at your convenience, you can purchase your Christmas trees, wreaths, decorations and more after you see all the lights!

31. New Mexico
Christmas Luminaria Enchanted Forest | Red River, NM
Photo credit: New Mexico True
At Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, guests can ski or snowshoe along the three-kilometer pathway lit by luminarias (paper bags filled with sand and illuminated with a candle). Bonus: enjoy complimentary chile con queso, green chile stew, posole, and hot drinks in the warming hut on Christmas Day. This might be the most beautiful and peaceful holiday experience in North America!

32. New York
Rockefeller Center | New York City, NY
Photo credit: Mille Fiori Favoriti
Rockefeller Center is a classic Christmas must. The annual tree lighting ceremony is free and first come first serve. Watch the live broadcast of the ceremony or join the tens of thousands for the event.

33. North Carolina
The Hogard Triplets Lights | Windsor, NC
Chloe’s Blog from Big Mill
Turn off your headlights and drive slowly through the lighted arches of The Hogard Triplets Lights. Enjoy the view of elves, Santas, angels, reindeer, and other critters. If you’re lucky, you might even meet a real Elf!

 

34. North Dakota
Bismarck-Manden Christmas Lights | Bismark, ND
Bismark-Mandan residents go all out when decorating their homes for the holiday season. Enjoy a nice drive through the neighborhood and view some lights.

35. Ohio
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo | Columbus, OH
Life Love & Puppy Paws
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open year round and would like to celebrate the holiday season with you! View a spectacular christmas light display throughout the zoo to bring your holiday cheer.

36. Oklahoma
Chickasha Festival of Light | Chickasha, OK
Travel OK
The Chickasha Festival of Lights features over 3.5 million twinkling lights. Gaze out of your car to the dazzling light scenes, animated displays, and computer animated light shows. In the center of the light display there is a 172-ft Christmas tree.

37. Oregon
Peacock Lane | Portland, OR
It’s Serious This Time
Peacock lane is a popular Portland tradition. The event board recommends parking and walking through the display instead of driving.

38. Pennsylvania
Hersheypark | Hershey, PA
Photo credit: We 3 Travel
View more than 4 million twinkling lights and fun rides! Don’t miss the holiday shopping, seasonal treats, and more!

39. Rhode Island
Newport Mansions | Newport, RI
Photo Credit: Twenty Something
>Be prepared to be dazzled by the three magnificent Newport mansions. Thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens, wreaths and of course twinkle lights fill the mansions. Check out the gingerbread replicas of the three mansions created by local pastry chefs.

40. South Carolina
James Island County Park Festival of Lights | Charleston, SC
Photo credit: Sleepless in Babyland
The Holiday Festival of Lights illuminate the sky. Beyond lights, this festival includes sand sculptures, gingerbread houses, a holiday train, gingerbread houses, and a victorian carousel.

41. South Dakota
Winter Wonderland At Falls Park | Sioux Falls, SD
Photo credit: Visit Sioux Falls
The annual winter wonderland lights in the park is nightly starting at 5pm. View all of the lights in the park from a five-story viewing tower.

42. Tennessee
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights | Rock City, TN
Photo credit: Journey Leaf
Rock City is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary! See the thousands of of lights throughout the enchanting garden walk.

43. Texas
Riverwalk Christmas Lights | San Antonio, TX
Photo credit: Brian Moran
Stroll amongst millions of decorative lights along the riverside of the historic streets. With dazzling displays and breathtaking arrangements, this will be a site to remember.

44. Utah
Lights On Temple Square
| Salt Lake City, UT
Photo credit: Temple Square
Christmas lights on Temple Square is a beautiful and peaceful holiday light display for all to enjoy.

45. Vermont
Joseph Smith Memorial Birthplace | South Royalton, VT
Photo credit: George Osborn
The Festival of Lights at Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial displays 200,000 lights during the holiday season. The holiday lights are up daily through New Year’s Day.

46. Virginia
Tacky Light Tour | Richmond, VA
Photo credit: Living Life on the Road Less Traveled
Tour the Tacky Lights all over the City of Richmond. View neighborhoods of tacky lights from the comfort of your car.

47. Washington
Garden d’Lights Bellevue Botanical Garden | Bellevue, WA
Photo credit: The Outlaw Gardener
Garden d’Lights features over a half million lights that transform the beautiful Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland. The dazzling displays change each season because of the new visitor services buildings.

48. West Virginia
Festival of Lights in Wheeling | Wheeling, WV
Photo credit: Fashion meets Food
Winter Festival of Lights is one of the nation’s largest light show. It covers 300 acres and over six-miles throughout the resort.

49. Wisconsin
Country Christmas Light Show | Waukesha, WI
Photo credit: The Country Christmas
This is Wisconsin’s largest outdoor drive-through lights display. They are celebrating their 20th year! Experience the Country Christmas Trail, the Christmas Village, and the Streets of Bethlehem!

50. Wyoming
Cheyenne Holiday Trolley Tours | Cheyenne, WY
Photo credit: Wyoming News
Ride on the enchanted Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley to view the decorated homes and yards of the neighborhood.