Ready to get into the Christmas spirit? Viewing Christmas illuminations throughout the United States is a popular pastime throughout the country. Whether it is a few simple strands or thousands of bulbs twinkling in the night, Christmas lights are a dazzling display of love for a time-honored holiday. Some displays, however, are much more zealous and have become attractions that bring hordes of people from all over to see the brilliance. Here are the top 10 most dazzling holiday light displays in America.
Christmas in paradise? St. Augustine is a historic city in Florida that also makes waves around Christmas time. There are lit palm trees, shimmering mansions, and shining gardens. In fact, the Night of Light features over 3 million all-white lights in total. Businesses stay open late, too, meaning you can do some shopping while perusing the streets full of illuminations. The best part? It is free – and there is parking, horse buggies and shuttles available on the busiest evenings!
Address: 29 Old Mission Ave, St. Augustine, FL 32084
A Christmas event like no other – that would be Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. Over 8 million lights are aglow at the biggest Christmas light display in all of North America. Many amusement park rides are also still open during this time, so you can move from Rudolph's Winter Wonderland to some thrills before casting you gaze up at the vibrantly coloring wreaths and stars. While in Williamsburg, don't forget to check out the colonial townscape, where more Christmas events are taking place all month long.
Address: 1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Ready for a sparkling holiday in the heart of the South? In order to complete the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park, it takes over 15,000 hours and 1,500 volunteers. This increasingly popular Christmas display has been growing bigger and bigger for the past 50 years. Aside from food trucks and live music performances, the star of the show is the 1.25 mile walking circuit. People meander the circuit, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the 50 light displays and 100 lighted trees. At the center is a tallest man-made free standing Christmas tree in the world.
Hosted at ABQ BioPark, the River of Lights has become something of a tradition since the launch in 1998. The botanical garden comes alive in a different way during the holidays with the state's grandest walk-through light show. There are over 400 sculptures, animated displays, and eight miles of extension cords used to bring over 2 million bulbs to life. You can also see traditional southwest luminarias—paper bag lanterns. Don't forget to hop aboard the Polar Bear Express!
New York City is a place unlike any other in the United States, so it should be no surprise that the holiday light displays are out of this world. One such place would be the Dyker Heights Christmas lights in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The locals deck out their homes with lights, decorations, animatronics and world, transforming the area into a veritable winter wonderland. Over 100,000 people come every year to see the sight – which is around for a limited time. The cheer begins after Thanksgiving and lasts until New Year's.
The holidays are taken seriously in Branson, Missouri. The local theme park, Silver Dollar City, has a celebration every year that features 5 million Christmas lights and 1,000 Christmas trees. Aside from the scintillating illuminations, there are holiday-themed rides to enjoy. However, Silver Dollar City isn't the only way Branson celebrates the holidays. There is a long, long list of Christmas events happening for you to check out.
Address: 399 Silver Dollar City Pkwy, Branson, MO 65616
If you are willing to plan ahead for some Christmas fun, Orlando has something for everyone to enjoy around Christmas time. Disney World pulls out miraculous events like “Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party” that goes on from November 9-December 22 every year, as well as caroling concerts, candlelit parades, and much more. Then there's Universal Studios, where you can enjoy lights and magic throughout the park, especially within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Address: Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL 32830
Though you might assume that the glitz and glam of the Las Vegas strip is all the Christmas lights you would need, there are bigger, better lights elsewhere. When you say Christmas in Las Vegas, people will point you to the racetrack. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts Glittering Lights, a 2.5 mile circuit that allows visitors (and their cars) to cruise the grounds while checking out more than 400 animated holiday lights. More than 30,000 vehicles are expected this year.
Address: 7000 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89115
Located at Warm Beach Camp is a wonderful annual Christmas event with over one million lights stretched over 15 acres of waterfront campgrounds. The Lights of Christmas is the largest light display in the Northwest, comes with 7 different light zones all themed differently. There is also live entertainment, shopping, children's activities, and on-site food concessions. It is quite the wintry festival, engaging children from 1 to 99 years young.
Often called the Sweetest Place on Earth, Hersheypark in Pennsylvania is undoubtedly one of the best places to see thematic holiday lights. The theme park gets revamped to spread Christmas cheer during the season. There are Sweet Lights abound, as well as a unique way to enjoy the display even if you don't feel like braving the cold. That's right: there's a drive-thru display! Just be there before January 1st, 2018.
Address: 100 West Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033