Best Dazzling Christmas Light Displays in the US
Christmastime brings out many traditions across the United States. One of the biggest traditions for the holidays is to decorate using lights. Year after year neighborhoods and communities impress with outstanding Christmas light displays.
Christmas lights are a large part of many holiday celebrations. Nighttime light parades, special holiday events featuring light canopies, drive through lights, and animated light displays make for great family memories.
Get in on some of the most dazzling light displays you can find across the US:
Located inside of Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Hershey Sweet Lights are a part of their Christmas Candylane event. On the Hershey Sweet Lights two-mile driving trail, you’ll see over 4 million lights, with over 600 animated light displays. There’s also a choreographed light show, live entertainment, coasters, and of course Santa and his reindeer.
On Florida’s historic coast, in St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city is transformed into a magical land of lights for the holidays. If you can’t get there during the holidays you’re in luck! They actually leave the lights up through February! Currently celebrating their 25th year, visitors can tour the lights in numerous ways, including by boat and by shuttle bus. Over 3 million lights cover rooftops and doorways of buildings and landmarks alike. The festival can be traced back to the city’s Spanish heritage and placing a white candle in windows during the holidays.
Zoo Lights is a free (yes, free) event at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. There are over 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights that decorate the zoo for the holidays. And that’s not all they have! You’ll see a life sized Gingerbread Village, an interactive light canopy, laser light shows, kids holiday themed games and a holiday market. Remember to allow time for a ride on the zoo train!
Austin Trail of Lights is located in the popular Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. It features over 40 illuminated displays and 2 million lights. The event has been dazzling eyes of all ages in Austin for over 50 years. Not only can you come see the twinkling lights illuminating the big Texas sky, you can also sample some of Austin’s finest food. Food trucks are cookin’ up delicious eats and some of Austin’s best entertainment performs nightly.
The Festival of Lights at the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, California is an event like no other! It features a grand “switch on” ceremony for the kick off, with a fireworks display included. The hotel comes alive with 5 million lights. While that in and of itself is a sight to behold, there’s even more! There are also over 200 animated fixtures, the world’s largest man-made mistletoe, carriage rides, snow, and of course the jolly old man himself. They’re celebrating their 26th year anniversary and if you’re on the west coast for the holidays it’s definitely one to check out – and it’s free!
Located within Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, An Old Time Christmas is the place to be for the holidays. This Midwest light display features over 6.5 million lights, and a nightly light parade with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! There are also photo ops for the kids with Rudolph. The Christmas in Midtown light spectacular (located within An Old Time Christmas) features over 1.5 million lights alone. And you won’t be able to get enough of the five story special effects Christmas tree! Take a ride on the steam train or catch one of the holiday shows including A Christmas Carol.
Your Neighborhood Light Displays – featuring Hinojosa Family Lights
Neighborhoods all around the country feature some of the best, most entertaining light displays around. One family even took this year’s viral sensation amongst families – Baby Shark – and synchronized it to their light display. Check out Hinojosa Family Lights, located outside of San Antonio Texas. If you’re not in San Antonio you can check them out online via the link above!
Check your local newspapers and Facebook groups for ideas of where to find the best neighborhoods with great light displays.
Hello! My name is Lisa and like a lot of you – I’m a very busy mom! For full time work I’m a corporate trainer. In my spare time I hustle – side hustle that is! I do baby gear and equipment rentals in the San Antonio and Texas Hill Country areas with BabyQuip! I have 3 boys under 6 years old. I LOVE to travel and we travel as much as we can as a family. I love sharing all of the family travel hacks and tips I’ve come across over the years!