The 10 Most Spectacular Holiday Light Displays Across America
Forget peppermint lattes and all-things gingerbread. If you ask me, there's no better way to revel in the holiday spirit than by feasting your eyes on some spectacular light displays. And fortunately, during this time of year, America has endless with festive illumination.
So if you, too, are seeking decked-out destinations to brighten up your Christmas, look no further, as we've rounded up the top 10 places to visit across the country. No matter if you fancy totally tacky or boastfully beautiful, the displays ahead are sure to make even Santa proud, not to mention Clark Griswold!
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, OH
Ice skating, camel rides, and animated musical light shows — is there anything not to love about the annual Wildlights holiday event that takes place at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio? We don't think so. Rumor has it that there's even a scuba-diving Santa Claus in the mix of all the yuletide fun!
Trail of Lights in Austin, TX
With more than 40 displays, two million lights, and a calendar jam-packed full of seasonal activities for all to enjoy, it's no surprise why the Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas receives national accolades, year after year. From the twinkling, winding tunnel to the 155-foot conical tree made entirely of lights — and let's not forget about all the pop-up food trucks — get ready for unforgettable festivities in this pocket of the Lone Star State.
The Lights of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, NY
Although people used to associate "Christmas in New York" with the infamous tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center, these days, it's all about the razzle-dazzle displays brightly shining in Dyker Heights. Thanks to the "unspoken" competition amongst the residents of this Brooklyn neighborhood to try and out-decorate each other, these homes are certainly pushing the limits of kitschy creativity, including the electric grid. Our advice? Bring sunglasses!
Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore, AL
It's no wonder why the 65-acre estate of Bellingrath Gardens and Home has become the place to revel in holiday cheer when in the Gulf Coast. Not only can guests stroll through an awe-inspiring display of over three million sparking lights, but they can also listen to live nightly choral performances. Plus, the family fun continues, as Santa is available for photos each evening until 9 p.m.
Bentleyville "Tour of Lights" in Duluth, MN
While Bentleyville "Tour of Lights" first began as one man's passion for holiday decor, it has since been recognized as "America's largest free walk-through lighting display." Featuring over four million lights, an animated 128-foot Christmas tree, and complimentary hot cocoa, this magical spectacle is certainly one not to be missed.
Celebration in the Oaks in New Orleans, Louisiana
Each year, thousands upon thousands of guests pour into New Orlean's City Park to witness the whimsical wonderland known as Celebration in the Oaks. Thanks to the endless strands of twinkling lights covering the area's iconic oaks and the breathtaking displays scattered throughout 25 acres, this highly-anticipated exhibit oozes with joy.
Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay, ME
Tanglewood Festival of Lights in Clemmons, North Carolina
During the holidays in North Carolina, Tanglewood Park's rolling countryside magically transforms into a shimmering winter wonderland — aka, the Tanglewood Festival of Lights. Here, guests can gaze upon millions of gleaming lights and over 80 dazzling displays, all from the seats of their cars. But if you want an even more up-close perspective, tractor-pulled hayrides and horse-drawn carriage rides are also available.
Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, CO
Festival of Lights in Riverside, CA
When it comes to celebrating the holiday season, very few events can compare to the spectacular Festival of Lights that takes place each year at The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside, California. Debuting over 200 animated figures — including the world's largest man-made mistletoe — this free, six-week-long extravaganza welcomes more than 250,000 visitors from all around the world.
If you, too, want to marvel in this magical experience, make sure to plan your trip around the famous "Switch-On" Ceremony. It is during this time that the castle-like hotel is instantly illuminated with five million lights, followed by a breathtaking fireworks display.