Best Christmas Light Displays in the United States

By Jillian Conway |

  | Nov 12, 2019  /  Announcements |

Every year when the holiday season kicks off, there seems to be some sort of magic in the air. It may be the nostalgia that comes along with the holidays and reminiscing about all of your childhood memories with friends and family toward the end of December or maybe it’s the way every street is decorated in bright holiday lights, red and green wreaths and kissing balls. We don’t know where it comes from, but we do know it makes us all feel fabulous during those chilly winter months!

So, how do you get yourself into the Christmas spirit each year? Maybe it’s Christmas caroling with your friends and family after a few eggnog cocktails or driving around the best lit neighborhood in your area and screaming “All I Want for Christmas is You” at the top of your lungs. 

If you're feeling adventurous this holiday season, check out this list of ten of the most impressive holiday lighting displays across the U.S.! 

Garden Lights - Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia

Dates: November 17, 2018-January 6, 2019

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens annual holiday lights spectacular features thousands of sparkling Christmas lights throughout the 30-acre gardens. Some of the fun things you can expect to experience are the Tunnel of Light, Radiant Rainforest and the Orchestral Orbs which displays countless lights, fixtures of orbs for your viewing pleasure. 

ZooLights at Smithsonian's National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Image courtesy of Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Dates: November 23, 2018-January 1, 2019

Packed with over 500,000 environmentally-friendly (YAAAS!) LED lights during the holiday season is the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. Lights greet guests at the entrance where the show begins! You’ll have lots of “oohs and aahs” along your adventure through this breath-taking lighting display. 

Austin Trail of Lights, Austin, Texas

Dates: December 10-23, 2018

Join the Austin locals as they celebrate the holidays by showing off that in Texas, you go big or go home. In the heart of Austin, you will be able to capture the Christmas spirit as you walk through the city and experience this gorgeous lighting display. These displays show you everything that you will love about this city from the delicious food to the lively music, this display truly captures the Christmas spirit of Austin! 

Miracle on 34th Street, Baltimore, Maryland

Dates: Thanksgiving - Early January 

Every year, immediately after Thanksgiving the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore gets all decked out in the most extravagant Christmas light displays to ever grace the streets of Maryland. For 72 years this has been a much-loved tradition where the neighbors come together to transform their block into a winter wonderland. They fill their front yards with inflatable snow globes, musical trains, nativity scenes, and of course, more sparkling twinkle lights.

Night of Lights, St. Augustine, Florida

Dates: November 23rd - January 1st 

Stop by the ever-beautiful Flagler College campus to see this awe-inspiring Christmas light display. Take a leisurely walk through the historic district and enjoy more than three million twinkling lights that cover the Casablanca Inn and Lighter Museum. You can even peer over the water to see the decorated skyline in the distance. 

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois

Dates: November 29th-January 1st

Each year, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago gets all lit up with 2.5 million twinkling holiday lights. With animated displays creating a winter wonderland in the middle of Chicago, this is a great place to take the kids for a family night! Be sure to check out this holiday spectacular so you can get yourself into the Christmas spirit! 

Speedway Christmas, Charlotte, North Carolina

Dates: November 22nd - January 6th 

Drive through the Speedway Christmas display at the Charlotte Motor Speedway where tons of lights will brighten your holiday season. This family-friendly Christmas village will be open Thursday-Sunday from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. with an all-new 50-foot Ferris wheel, Bethlehem Village, photos with Santa and more. If you love Christmas movies, be sure to check out their lineup of Christmas classics in an awe-inspiring, Christmas-themed drive-in theater around.

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, Brooklyn, New York

Dates: November 29th-January 1st 

Though the most well-known Christmas lights in New York are Rockefeller Center and Saks Fifth Ave, there’s an even more impressive and awe-inspiring Christmas light display in Dyker Heights. So, if you’re looking to avoid the nerve-wracking crowds in The Big Apple, head to Brooklyn to check out the Dyker Heights neighborhood. It gets transformed into a Winter Wonderland complete with millions of displays and lights. From life-size reindeer to more Santa’s than you could possibly count, this tops the list of the best lighting displays in the US. 

Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo, Denver, Colorado

Dates: November 28th- December 30th 

Though the Denver locals like to deck their houses out in Christmas decorations, nothing compares to the Denver Zoo’s Zoo Lights event where they light up over 60 acres of land with twinkling holiday lights. If you have young children, they will love the LED animal sculptures throughout the zoo. Admission starts at $15 and you can enjoy the lights, choirs, ice-carving and even photos with Santa. 

Nola ChristmasFest, New Orleans, Louisiana 

Dates: December 20th-December 31st 

Each December the New Orleans Convention Center is transformed into a Winter Wonderland for 10 days for an indoor Christmas Festival. When you stop by, you can expect to see family-friendly activities like ice skating, snowball fights, rock climbing, and ice sliding. Traditionally, the event takes place during the last two weeks of December for those of you looking last-minute for your Christmas spirit! 

For more holiday fun in your hometown, check out myareanetwork.com/locations and go to your local area site. On the home page, you'll find your local guide to the Holidays!