Top Holiday Lights and Christmas Displays in the US

We love the holiday season — the decorations, starry lights, religious displays and multicultural celebrations that light up cities and towns everywhere from November to January.

Stowe, Vermont has a scenic main street decorated for the holidays.
Stowe’s historic village is decorated with holiday cheer to welcome winter visitors.

Yes, this holiday season will be different. Public Health officials tell us we shouldn’t have big parties or family gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Many of us will forsake winter holiday vacations in the U.S. and skip seeing family abroad if there are flights involved. Attend big holiday celebrations in any community and you’ll be required to wear a face covering, keep six feet apart from other families and, likely, reserve an entry time in advance.

Bring Joy Back to the Holidays

We will still enjoy the holiday season. Bring a tin of home baked cookies to elderly neighbors or send to those you won’t get to see. Make decorations for your tree, which could be one your family picked themselves (see our directory of U-Pick Christmas tree farms for ideas). Go out and enjoy the starry lights displays.

Croisieurope Barge on canal in France
Gift the family a barge trip on a French canal with Croisieurope for next spring.

There is no better time to give a trip or an experience as a gift that pays off next year or the year after. Even before the pandemic, we saw that more and more families were choosing to travel together. Now, of course, traveling with your pod is the safest option and what better way than on a private barge? CroisiEurope’s canal barges crisscross the French countryside, housing you and up to 20 of your closest friends and family. Make excursions to visit famous French Chateaux or enjoy a day in a picturesque French village shopping for supper. Kids will especially enjoy cycling along the quiet canal paths; all from the comfort of a private canal barge.

Top Holiday Lights, Decorations and Festivals for 2020

This roundup of the top holiday displays across America to the best and brightest public events was compiled with Taking the Kids. We hope you will share your finds and photos with us by using the tag #starrylights when you post to social media.

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

The ABQ Biopark Botanic Garden will host the River of Lights, New Mexico’s largest walk-through holiday production featuring giant sculptures created by millions of twinkling lights and nearly 600 dazzling displays. Come weeknights and earlier in December to avoid crowds

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND

Lights on the Bay is a drive-through holiday light show at Sandy Point State Park comprised of more than 60 stationary and animated displays including a glowing lighthouse and blue crabs on Chesapeake Bay. Don’t forget to buy the 3D glasses so the displays really pop! Dates are Nov. 20, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021 with tickets just $20 per car.

ASPEN, COLORADO

Fireworks over Aspen Mountain, Colorado
Holiday festivities include fireworks over Aspen Mountain, Colorado. Photo c.Aspen Chamber Resort Asociation

As the ski season launches, the four mountains surrounding Aspen — Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk -– are readying for the annual influx of snow sports fans from around the world. This year will be different of course, but families can take advantage of all the safety protocols in place to plan their own safe holiday getaway. The town of Aspen provides transformative experiences in nature that any family member, of any ability or interest, will enjoy. Not into downhill snow sports? Explore the snow-covered terrain with cross-country ski lessons with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and enhance your inner artist with the city’s suggested Aspen Arts itinerary, which leads visitors to museums, galleries and, of course, the most scenic holiday meals.

AUSTIN, TEXAS

The annual Trail of Lights at Zilker Park, voted a USA Today “Top 10 Holiday Celebration,” is going to be a drive-through only event this year featuring more than 2 million lights, 90 lighted trees and more than70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. Tune in your radio for holiday music and history. Nov. 28, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Experience the German-style Christmas Village in Baltimore at Inner Harbor West Shore Park. Look for more than 50 local and international vendors selling traditional crafts, glühwein, hot pretzels and more. Come weekdays for free admission. Open Nov. 21, 2020 to Christmas Eve.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Take your pick of holiday lights across Boston starting Nov. 23 when Christopher Columbus Park is transformed into a magical light garden. Traditionally, the tree at Faneuil Hall Market Place is the tallest decorated tree in the Northeast. That lighting is Dec. 1; others will take place at the Boston Common (Dec. 3), Copley Square (Nov. 30) and the North End (Dec. 4.) Join the Freedom Trail Holiday Stroll and discover how Boston’s holiday traditions evolved.

BRANSON, MISSOURI

Do not miss an Ozark Mountain Christmas that features over 300 exhibitions including drive-through night light displays such as the 2½-mile long Trail of Lights at The Shepherd of the Hills. More than 6 million lights will help celebrate an Old Time Christmas at the Silver Dollar City amusement park from Nov. 7-Dec. 30. Call ahead to doublecheck Branson’s many traditional holiday events including live shows and the chance to ride the Polar Express.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

The Lights of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn attracts 100,000 visitors to view amazing decorations. Expect to see massive, professionally wired light displays that start blinking the weekend after Thanksgiving, though locals say to see the most lights come in Mid-December. If you’re walking, be sure to wear your face covering and leave plenty of space for others to enjoy the lights at a distance. And ask the kids to bring a few dollars to contribute to a local charity.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

The annual Holiday Festival of Lights, considered one of the top 20 holiday lights events in the Southeast, features millions of lights arranged in over 700 displays along a three-mile route at James Island County Park. This season, you must stay in your vehicle, except to use the restroom. You can purchase concessions right from your car. Open from November 13 – December 31, 2020.

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

Rock City Garden’s Enchanted Garden of Lights returns for its 26th year with more than 30 illuminated holiday scenes.  Visit Santa in his office and shopping Downtown Yuletown for unique finds. Dates are November 20, 2020-Jan.2, 2021. The Holiday Trail of Lights will feature 12 major city attractions with millions of twinkling lights, some of which stay lit from November to February.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

A key Chicago event, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival returns on November 22,2020 The Museum of Science and Industry will celebrate Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light will feature more than 40 trees decorated by volunteers to represent various cultures and holiday traditions. The festivities run Nov. 13, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021.

CLEVELAND, OHIO

Enjoy Kringle’s Inventionasium Experience virtually, visiting Mr. Kringle’s top secret laboratory and invent new toys in a fun STEAM activity. Open Nov. 21-Dec. 24, 2020 The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has an all-new drive-through Wild Winter Lights display with more than a million lights and holiday displays including the Enchanted Forest and Conservation Trail. Nov.17, 2020-Jan.3, 2021.

COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO

Be wowed by holiday music performances and more than one million lights on the largest on-the-water holiday light display in the United States. The lakefront Coeur d’Alene Resort runs “Journey to the North Pole Cruises” three times each evening. This 40-minute cruise offers spectacular views of the holiday light displays. Enjoy a visit or book a resort overnight package between Nov. 13 2020- Jan. 1, 2021.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will illuminate over one million holiday lights, 85 light sculptures plus crowd-warming firepits to make the annual Electric Safari very festive. A bonus: Select indoor animal exhibits will remain open during the event. Electric Safari happens 24 nights between Dec.4-Jan. 1, 2021. Nearby, The Broadmoor is also known for its million holiday lights—and life-sized Gingerbread creation, different each year, as well as cooking demonstrations and small group holiday entertainment.

CRUISE VACATIONS FOR THE FAMILY

Performers in gothic costumes doing music revue on ship.
Carnival Sunrise singers/dancers perform “Soulbound” in the ship’s Liquid Lounge. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Many families love to cruise over the holidays to share special shows, meals and decorations together without doing all the work. Since the pandemic has all but halted cruising around the world, gift your family a cruise vacation for 2021 or 2022. Consult with a cruise specialist agent as there are many itineraries and deals to choose from. Our annual family cruise guide, updated with the latest public health guidelines, has the information you need to choose the best cruise and itinerary for your family.

DENVER, COLORADO

The Mile High City goes all out for the holidays, including the Mile High Tree. Catch a 110 foot-tall immersive art installation, the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Light, a tradition for Coloradans with light displays that are sound reactive and Zoo Lights that transform the Denver Zoo with more than a million lights — plus a host of new measures to keep your family safe. Nov. 20- Dec. 31 2020; some events through Jan. 3.

GALVESTON ISLAND, TEXAS

The 3-mile-long Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens is the largest holiday destination in the Southwest, boasting dozens of animated light displays, The Dancing Tree of Light, movie, snow tubing down a 100-foot long Arctic ice slide and photos with Santa Claus. Visit in real life from Nov. 21, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021.

GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE

Enjoy the 45th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade with lighted floats, equestrian units and Santa Claus on Dec. 4, 2020. The parade lineup includes marching bands from all over the east, large balloons, dancers, musicians, and much more. Look for arts ‘n’ crafts shows, special concerts, socially distanced dining and other holiday attractions this season.

GRAPEVINE, TEXAS

They call this little Western town near Dallas the Christmas Capital of Texas because it has millions of twinkling lights and more than 1,400 events in 40 days, starting with the Carol of Lights: Bring Home the Holidays Drive Through Experience on Nov. 23, 2020. Tour the town’s Western sights and pick up some history with a “Christmas Passport – Elf Adventure” hunt. The Gaylord Texan resort features “Yuletide Bright,” a brand-new outdoor lights attraction featuring over 50,000-sq.ft. of colorful, glowing holiday-themed lights, characters and scenes plus a Snow Tubing hill made with real snow, Ice-Skating Rink, Build-Your-Own-Snowman activity and a Christmas Carousel. Teens will have fun in their two holiday-themed Escape Rooms.

HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA

A winter wonderland will beckon you at Hershey Sweet Lights, a holiday drive-through spectacular. Enjoy more than 600 massive illuminated, animated displays glowing along two miles of forested trails from the comfort of your car. The Sweet Lights Trolley, where conductors share chocolate and carols, is another option. It guides you to Hershey Park Christmas Candylane which features more than 4 million lights, 50+ theme park rides, a visit with Santa and his reindeer by the Holiday Chocolate House and, maybe, the best hot chocolate ever. Open Nov. 13, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021.

HONOLULU, O’AHU, ISLANDS OF HAWAII

The Aloha holiday spirit will shine throughout the 36th annual Honolulu City Lights festival that this year will have drive-by viewing and special online events, rather than traditional events that typically draw big crowds.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

This town goes all out by illuminating the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument with nearly 5,000 lights. This year the lighting will be a special made-for-TV event Nov. 27. Don’t worry! The Monument still will be surrounded by toy soldiers, sailors and peppermint sticks. Beginning Nov. 28, there will be a special nightly holiday presentation at 6:30pm, 8pm and 10pm. Don’t miss the Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. (Advance tickets now required; open Nov. 21, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021.

IOWA’S MOUNT PLEASANT

Go see the Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights on select nights from Nov. 19-Dec. 31, 2020 at the Midwest Old Threshers campgrounds. They will light up 60 acres of the park in what is described as the largest holiday light display in the Midwest.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Do not miss Kansas City’s winter holiday family events including the “Country Club Plaza Lights,” a local tradition for nearly a century. This 15-block holiday spectacle on famed Country Club Plaza will feature thousands of glimmerings, jewel-colored lights that accentuate every dome, tower and window of the Spanish-inspired shopping district. The “Mayor’s Christmas Tree” at Crown Center stretches taller than those at the White House or Rockefeller Center.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Las Vegas is an unforgettable nighttime wonderland featuring holiday entertainment and attractions. Feast your eyes on glittering lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and join carolers at the “Holiday Experience at the Park.” “Magical Forest at Opportunity Village” raises money for good causes and is open throughout the season. Check out the fun and entertainment-packed Vegas.com calendar of holiday events and double check before you head out as things will change often this year.

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

The downtown Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival will return to Pere Marquette Park with 500,000 LED lights that transform the streetscape with sparkling rooflines, harp lamp lighting and suspended décor above downtown intersections. The festival will run Nov. 19, 2020-Jan. 1, 2021.

MCADENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

McAdenville is a small town that really knows how to compete with big cities. Christmas Town USA, in its 65th year, will return… but on a limited basis this year. Trees will be lit in the downtown area and we’re sorry to see Christmas Town Lake will be dark. Open Dec. 1-Dec. 26, 2020.

MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT

Take a journey back in time to Christmas Eve 1876 at Mystic Seaport. In the past, their Lantern Light Tours included a play that features winter fantasia inspired by “A Christmas Carol” and and many musical surprises such as the chance to meet Santa. (Not recommended for children under 5 years.) Enjoy this New England holiday tradition safely – it’s held outdoors at limited capacity so book ahead — weekends, Dec. 4-Dec. 19.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

Celebration in the Oaks is a time-old tradition popular with kids, adults, locals and visitors to New Orleans. More than 25 acres of the park’s famous moss-covered oaks are blanketed in more than a million twinkling lights and light displays that you can see through the 2.25-mile driving tour. Nov. 26 2020-Jan. 2, 2021.

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA

The 112th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade has it all. In addition to one of the largest decorated boat parades in the country, there are elaborate Christmas light displays on waterfront estates competing in their “Ring of Lights” contest. Hundreds of decorated ships of all sizes also compete for top awards in over a half dozen categories. The boat parade sails nightly Dec. 16-20, 2020.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

New York celebrates thewinter holidays with enthusiasm. The exciting attractions include the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the world’s largest Menorah at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza (Dec.10-17, 2020), which will open without the usual fanfare. New York Botanical Garden’s adorable Holiday Train Show (miniature NYC landmarks made entirely out of plants) will only be open for members this year. However, a new all-lights outdoor attraction, NYBG GLOW, will take place on 14 nights, mainly weekends, between Nov. 27 and Jan. 9, 2021. Of course, it’s free to check out the amazingly animated or sparkling LED-lit store windows although some stores, sadly, will be dark this year. Visit NYC & Company for current details on holiday events.

OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND

Northside Park hosts Winterfest of Lights that incorporates scenes from popular fairy tales. Come take a half-mile stroll with holiday surprises along the way (masks required!) See the 50-foot Christmas tree put on a show. Nov.19, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Mickey Mouse welcomes guests to Magic Kingdom.
Mickey extends a warm welcome as Disney World reimagines its holiday celebration this year. Photo by Matt Stroshane c. WDW Resort.

Orlando has something for everyone. Walt Disney World will welcome guests with a reimagined holiday celebration with the four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, plus Disney Springs and all the Disney Resort hotels decked for the season. Through years’ end, guests will discover seasonal food and drinks at The Most Magical Place on Earth, as well as special merchandise and enchanting new entertainment experiences. Celebrate at Disney World Nov. 6, 2020-Dec. 30, 2021.

Elsewhere in Orlando: The “Dazzling Lights” at Harry P. Leu Gardens is a new family-friendly, three-quarter mile outdoor interactive experience. The new downtown “Orlando Wall Crawl” will enable you to get a socially distanced Santa Photo with 10 different holiday backdrops. (Select dates through December.) At SeaWorld’s “Christmas Celebration,” you will be able to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and see ice skaters twirl on a frozen lake. (Select dates Nov. 21-Dec. 31, 2020.) Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter dressed up for the holidays, watch Dr. Seuss’ lovable Grinchmas steal the show and catch the huge Macy’s balloons at Universal Studios (Nov. 14, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021.) Also, LEGO fans will want to celebrate at Legoland Florida with special shows, LEGO characters, plenty of twinkling lights and a Kids New Year’s Party. (Select dates from Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2020.)

PALM DESERT, CALIFORNIA

The 450-acre Living Desert will be bright for the 28th annual Wild Lights Festival when they blanket the botanical gardens with thousands of lights. This year, guests will encounter a herd of life-size, luminescent animal lanterns; explore newly added pathways and stroll through the popular tunnel of lights flashing to holiday music. The model trains, with more than 3,300 feet of track will be decked out as well. This festive event will kick off Nov. 25 and continue select nights through Dec. 27, 2020.

PARK CITY, UTAH

Temple in Park City Utah is illuminated for the holidays.
The grand Temple of Latter Day Saints in Park City, Utah is illuminated brilliantly for the holidays.

Park City’s historic Main Street is more magical than ever this season, with six-foot interactive snow globes lining the district from Nov. 28, 2020–Jan. 6, 2021.  Skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling and snow tubing are just a few of the ways the family can celebrate the holidays in Park City, Utah, home to both Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. You’ll find plenty of socially-distanced good eats on and off the slopes. For more urban holiday cheer, head to Salt Lake City and Temple Square, which puts on the biggest displays in the Rocky Mountains through Jan. 1, 2020. 

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA

Nights of a Thousand Candles, named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, will come alive amid the soft glow of more than 2,700 hand-lit candles and countless sparkling lights. In Murrells Inlet, walk the paths of Brookgreen Gardens, listen to holiday music and celebrate the season. Most nights Nov. 27-Dec. 31 2020.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

Experience the magic of the holidays and celebrate traditions new and old in Philadelphia. The delightful Macy’s Christmas Light Show has gone virtual. However, dozens of light shows and displays are open IRL. Check out VisitPhilly.com for the latest on their holiday events and you won’t be disappointed. Plan time at the ice rink at Dilworth Park, the Germany style Christmas Market at JFK Plaza and Franklin Square’s “Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show,” among many other events. Don’t miss the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront and the Mummers’ Parade on New Year’s Day. We love Philadelphia’s daycation offer which gives visitors who book tickets to Independence Park free parking, and their bargain overnight Holiday Packages with hotel discounts. No excuse not to visit this year. The Philadelphia PHLASH runs a free, festive shuttle that stops at 11 Philly Holidays Festival attractions every 20 to 30 minutes Friday through Sunday evenings. General dates are Nov. 19-Dec. 31, 2020.

PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE

Pigeon Forge creates a winter wonderland for locals and guests alike to enjoy during the city’s 30th annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest celebration. Nov. 13, 2020-Feb. 15, 2021. Dollywood theme park is a must-see with more than 4 million lights on exhibit during “Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas.” The park will have special holiday shows, local Appalachian artisans making gift items, rides, a nightly Parade of Lights and much more to celebrate the season. Park events run Nov. 7, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021.

PINE MOUNTAIN, GEORGIA

The Callaway Gardens Resort’s playful Jolly Trolley runs through a Fantasy in Lights featuring 15 displays, eight million lights and a new Magical Field of Lights all over the 2,500-acre property. Displays will include giant toy soldiers, an enchanted rainbow forest and Firefly Cove. Book ahead for limited capacity tickets as this display was voted one of National Geographic’s “Top 10 Light Displays” in the world. Nov. 20, 2020-Jan. 4, 2021.

REDDING, CALIFORNIA

Redding Garden of Lights, California
In its first year ever, Redding’s Garden of Lights showcases imaginative new lighting techniques. Photo c. Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Walk across the famous Sundial Bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava – itself a beautifully lit sculpture after sundown – to see the first annual Redding Garden of Lights. This fresh, modern interpretation of classic holiday lights displays is spread across 10 acres at McConnell Botanical Gardens and features carolers and booths selling food, drink and holiday presents. Redding is fun for active families; get to Turtle Bay Exploration Park early and let the kids run around the many outdoor play spaces. If you haven’t snacked, stay afterwards for a real treat – a farm-to-fork meal on the deck of Mosaic, the park’s terrific restaurant. Open Nov. 27-Dec. 27, 2020; closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Christmas Day and kids under age 5 are free.

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a historic AAA-Four Diamond hotel, will kick off the holiday season on Nov. 27 with the 28th Annual Festival of Lights celebration. It is a free, six-week-long holiday extravaganza featuring holiday lights, animated characters and more. This year, guests will not be permitted to walk the main walkway due to California’s current ban on large gatherings. Note that hotel guests and restaurant patrons will be allowed inside if you want to make this an overnight staycation. USA Today named this festival the “Best Public Lights Display in the Nation.” Open Nov. 27, 2020-Jan.6, 2021.

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

San Antonio’s River Walk is the place to enjoy Holiday Lights with more than 100,000 lights in artful displays. The River Walk is a public park and strolling among the lights dangling in the bald cypress trees is free. Book an outdoor café meal so you can rest your feet. Alternatively, opt for a Holiday Lights Cruise during the season or a special tour to see more than 2,000 Luminarias (Dec. 4-6, 2020), the traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns that originally were a candle set in sand. River (Nov. 12, 2020-Jan.4, 2021)

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights features more than 80 lavishly decorated boats sailing by the shores Dec. 13 and Dec. 200, 2020 ; is family-friendly city will present the Botanic Garden’s 125,000-light Garden of Lights on select dates during December. Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration is a holiday celebration waiting to happen, with festive shows, music, a towering sea-themed Christmas tree and more. (Nov.13, 2020- Jan. 4, 2021). Enjoy Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo (Nov. 27, 2020-Jan. 3. 2021).

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

The City by the Bay will have holiday lights, public art, special events, and more holiday cheer with Macy’s huge tree in Union Square with thousands of specialty lights and ornaments. Ride the SkyStar Wheel in Golden Gate Park for a skyhigh view of the starry lights. Light art will brighten block after block of San Francisco for the Illuminate SF Festival of Light with more than 40 installations in 17 neighborhoods created by more than 30 artists. It’s alight Nov. 27, 2020-Jan. 23, 2021.

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA

Combine a temperate climate, golfing and beautiful resorts with cacti decked out in twinkling lights and you have the allure of Phoenix-Scottsdale during the holidays. “Las Noches de Las Luminarias” returns to Desert Botanical Garden — a traditional show of 8,000 glowing, hand-lit paper lanterns. If you plan to stay, check out “Christmas at the Princess” which transforms the classic, AAA-Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort into a holiday wonderland featuring a four-story musical tree with 70,000 synchronized LED lights. The Luminarias are lit select nights Nov.27-Dec.31 2020.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Seattle Space Needle and city illuminated for the holidays.
Seattle’s iconic Space Needle will be open for the holidays to highlight the city’s festive lights.

Renew holiday traditions in Seattle by supporting local businesses. New this year is Woodland Park Zoo’s WildLanterns, an immersive drive-through experience featuring more than 300 larger-than-life lanterns – works of art made in Washington — of animals, flora and fauna. Shop the famous Pike Place Market in person for one-of-a-kind crafts, foods and gift items at their Charitable Marketplace, featuring 100+ local businesses and products that all support a small business recovery program. Icons such as the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass plan to have special activities if they’re able to reopen Dec. 14. One of Seattle’s most beloved traditions, the Westlake Center Tree Lighting, is going virtual to feature the 80,000 lights installed on its arches, trees and more. So is the five-week Winterfest at Seattle Center which showcases virtual performances, videos and kid-centric activities while maintaining the stunning lights on its campus. Take advantage of bargain Winter Holiday hotel packages (many under $100 for a family of four room) to plan a staycation or a road trip stop and enjoy Seattle’s magical events. Check Seattle Safety FAQs to see the latest COVID-19 protocols in place during the Nov. 27 to early January holiday season.

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

The three-mile Bright Nights festival at Forest Park event is listed on People.com as “One of the Top Ten Holiday Happenings in America.” Expansions since the first season have included the Winter Garden, Jurassic World, Kwanzaa, Everett Barney Mansion, Happy Holidays, Springfield as well as the additions to Toy Land featuring Milton Bradley Company and Hasbro iconic toys and games. Nov. 25, 2020- Jan. 3, 2021.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

Lights on the Lake is celebrating 31 years. It is a two-mile long, drive-through show featuring spectacular holiday displays, larger-than-life Land of Oz, twinkling Fantasy Forest, colorful section arches, and a fairytale magic grand finale. Stay tuned Nov. 16, 2020 -Jan. 10, 2021.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA

Holidays Lights at the Beach allows you to drive on the Boardwalk through nautical, holiday and adventure lands as a soundtrack plays on your car radio. See festive fish, musical crabs and a 40-foot tall Christmas Tree made of lights on the beach. Nov. 13, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021.  

WASHINGTON, DC

There are many options to enjoy the holiday lights in the nation’s capital, including the National Christmas Tree and the National Menorah on The Ellipse, though in-person celebrations around them may change this year. The Capitol Tree on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building comes from Colorado this year. Explore sparkling garden rooms, twinkling lawns and shimmering tunnels of light at the Tudor Place garden, 5½ illuminated acres (selected December weekend dates). In addition, you will have an opportunity to experience the traditional decorations, caroling and visit an 18th century winter encampment at Mount Vernon (Nov.27-29, Dec. 11-13 and Dec. 26-28, 2020.)

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA

On a guided Art-Full Tree holiday tour, explore the galleries of the newly expanded Colonial Williamsburg Art Museum, see the ornaments on the Museum’s decorated tree and then create an ornament to take home. (Kids 12 and under free; offered twice daily Nov. 30-Dec.31, except Christmas day.). Enjoy musical performances including Who Will Bring my Presents where you will hear stories from other countries. (Sundays Nov. 29-Dec. 27) While you are in the area, visit Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town (Nov.13, 2020- Jan. 4, 2021). During “Christmastide in Virginia,” Dece. 19-31) at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, see how early Virginians marked the holiday season with houses adorned with simple greenery and candlelight, open-hearth cooking and period musical performances. 

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2 Replies to “Top Holiday Lights Celebrations Across America”

  • amel sm

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us. Loved your blog!….

  • Ladyjorns

    There’s one street in Baltimore that’s more festive than the rest. Every holiday season, the neighborhood of Maryland’s miracle on h Street is decked out in Christmas lights and festive displays. From a tree made of hubcaps to classic candy cane fixtures, each house is uniquely decorated.

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