I am a sucker for Christmas lights. For me, it is tradition to make hot chocolate and drive around to look at lights in our pajamas. It really gets me in the Christmas spirit. It’s a wonderful tradition to start if you haven’t already. Aside from the normal neighborhood lights, there are many places across the country that go all out and I have the list — and yes, I checked it twice. So grab some hot chocolate and put on your Christmas pajamas and hit up one of these extraordinary Christmas light extravaganzas. 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Las Vegas, Nevada

Enjoy a spin around the track going through a 2.5 mile circle with over 500 displays. Tickets range between $20-$30 depending on the carload. 

Smithsonian’s National Zoo – Washington, DC

This free light show is covered with over 500,000 LED lights. There are plenty of things to do around the event like an interactive light canopy, a train to take you around the park, a Gingerbread Village, and a carousel. 

Zilker Park – Austin, Texas

This 2.1 mile walking trail boasts the tallest man-made tree in the world standing at 155 feet. They have 50 light displays and over 800 trees that are lit up. This trail has been going on over 50 years and is up for a limited time. This year the trail is open from Dec. 10-Dec. 23 and is open 7-10 PM nightly. They have free general admission on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th.

Holiday Festival of Lights – Charleston, South Carolina

This down-home festival is full of “dancing” trees, a train, Santa’s Treats and Blitzen’s Burgers, giant greeting cards, a climbing wall, an Enchanted walking trail, marshmallow roasting, and interactive tree displays. Admission is $20 per vehicle for up to 15 people.

River of Lights – Albuquerque, New Mexico

With holiday nature crafts, a train, and an exclusive Magic Hour, you won’t want to miss it. There is a free park and there are even places to park that are close so you can walk. These lights run from Nov 30-Dec 30 from 6-9:30 pm nightly except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Snowflake Lane – Bellevue, Washington

A character meet and greet, tree lighting ceremony, a giving tree, Snowflake Lane factory which ensures that the snow falls every night, and entertainment from local school choirs, how much more magical can it get? Oh, and it’s completely free. 

Freedom Trail Holiday Stroll – Boston, Massachusetts 

Walk the Freedom Trail and learn about how the holiday traditions in Boston have changed throughout history. It only happens on Thursdays-Sundays from mid-November until the end of January 2020. 

Electric Safari – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Roam the exhibits as you witness animal demonstrations, have animal encounters, and meet Santa as he visits his favorite furry friends in Colorado. With over 85 light sculptures, you can witness some of the best lights in Colorado plus an amazing view of the city lights over Colorado Springs. Open on Dec 6-8, 13-23, 25-Jan 1, 2020. Open from 5:30-8:30 pm.

Hershey Park Christmas Candylane – Hershey, Pennsylvania

Head to Hershey Park to experience the thrilling roller coasters but with a Christmas touch around the park. There are festive lights, a lot of entertainment, and you can even meet Santa AND his reindeer. Ticket prices are $30.95.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade – Newport Beach, California

This will be the 111th year of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights. Over a million people bear witness to this amazing parade on the water. There isn’t one set place to view the parade, but it runs nightly from Dec. 18-22 and begins at approximately 6:30 pm each night.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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