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The Ultimate List of Christmas Lights in the US

Posted on December 23, 2022
Marshall, TX

With Christmas only a few days away, what better way to kick your festive spirit into overdrive than by taking a tour of the best Christmas lights in the US?

From the twinkling lights of New York City to the radiant displays of California, there's no shortage of holiday cheer waiting to be discovered across the country.

Below, we'll showcase some of the most breathtaking Christmas light displays the US has to offer. Maybe you’re looking to plan a holiday light tour or have already ventured into a different city…

Regardless if you’re on the road or in your hometown, there’s bound to be a magnificent light display nearby.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to marvel at the best and brightest lights the US has to offer:

Themed Christmas Light Displays

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, CA

Universal Orlando
Photo: Universal Orlando

If you happen to have a raving Harry Potter fan in your family or are one yourself, this is the perfect place to visit.

Come take in the overwhelming lights of the towering Hogwarts castle and its impeccable decor. Explore a tour through the themed streets and experience the holiday magic Universal Studios puts together.

Hershey Park’s Candylane in Hershey, PA

Hershey Park
Photo: Hershey Park

Sweet, savory, and incredible to look at…

Candylane in Hershey Park lights up the night with over 5 million lights for you and your family to see. With adrenaline-pumping rides and a visit from Santa Claus, it’s worth getting excited about.

There’s even a Hershey’s Kissmas tree and photos available with your favorite Hershey’s characters!

Botanical Garden Light Displays

Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens in SC

Brookgreen Gardens
Photo: southernliving.com

Experience one of the most frequented holiday events in the Southeast, Nights of a Thousand Candles. 

Witness Brookgreen Gardens come to life with the warm glow of more than 2,700 hand-lit candles and millions of Christmas lights.

Between 4 - 9 p.m. you can explore the paths with a hot beverage, hear the sounds of holiday music, and take in the season with your family and friends.

This garden display took home the "Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina" title by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

Blossoms of Light in Denver, CO

Denver
Photo: botanicgardens.org

Running for over 3 decades, it’s no wonder the Blossoms of Light event sells out so quickly…

Imagine an expansive, beautiful garden covered with the most brilliant LEDs you’ve ever seen. Every trail and area leads to a feature more jaw-dropping than the last.

Join thousands of families who make this holiday marvel an annual tradition!

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL

Busch Gardens
Photo: Busch Gardens

Running until January 9th, Chrismastown at the Busch Gardens is sure to create memories for a lifetime.

They take your holiday experience to another level with live animal encounters, rides, Christmas-inspired culinary delights, and shows like Christmas on Ice. 

Florida is packed with holiday spirit where residents transform their homes into immaculate displays. If you’re in the area, this guided Tampa lights tour is sure to impress!

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Photo: Atlanta Botanical Gardens

With magnificent sculptures, flowing string lights, and beautiful archways, the Garden Lights, Holiday Nights exhibition is sure to leave you with warm Christmas feelings.

This display runs all the way until Jan.14th so you have plenty of time to check it out. A stroll through this holiday garden is an absolute must.

Illumination at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL

Morton
Photo: mortonarb.org

If you haven’t filled up your list of events, the Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum deserve a spot.

Explore 50 acres of majestic trees during this unique spectacle of color, light, and sound featuring six new displays. Music and lights make for the perfect combination and lead to a spectacular laser-light finale.

They even have an 18+ option later in the evening with trance and progressive house music for the adult-only thrill-seekers.

Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, MA

Maine
Photo: mainegardens.org

This stunning seasonal celebration has made a grand return and takes you through a 1 mile long walking trail weaving through 14 acres of gardens.

You get to explore the 750,000+ LED lights and burn some extra calories from all the delicious holiday treats, it’s a win-win! 

The Gardens Aglow event runs until Dec.31st.

Drive-through Light Displays

Glittering Lights in Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas
Photo: Glittering Lights

Get the car ready because this Christmas journey takes you on a drive through millions of sparkling lights at the Las Vegas Speedway.

You’ll get approximately 40 minutes of perfectly coordinated lights and it’s worth every second. The displays are breathtaking and it truly highlights the energy Las Vegas brings to the table.

Also, a portion of every ticket sold goes to local charities, churches, and schools as a terrific way to help give back to the community.

Speedway Christmas in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte
Photo: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Atrium Health puts together a whopping 4 miles of the best and brightest lights you’ve ever seen! Making use of over 4 million LEDs, it's no wonder Charlotte’s Speedway Christmas made our list.

Pass under glowing tunnels and drive through towering walls of light all the while listening to the synchronized music. Don’t forget to pop into the Christmas Village at the end for some treats and fun with the kids!

If you’re looking for more sights to see, take a tour of the most festive homes in Charlotte.

Historical Light Displays

The Rockefeller Center, NY

Rockefeller Center
Photo: Rockefeller Center

This tree has been a glowing tradition in New York for over 80 years, making the Rockefeller Center one of the US's most iconic Christmas light displays.

The tree stands 82 feet high and weighs over 14 tonnes… I don’t know about you, but that’s the biggest Christmas tree we’ve ever seen. Also, the Swarovski star sitting on top weighs 900 pounds!

Whether you come to explore the plaza or lace up your skates, the festive lighting is sure to make a lasting impression.

The Wonderland of Lights in Marshall, TX

Marshall
Photo: marshallnewsmessenger.com

This historic site started back in 1987 when Marshall experienced a severe economic low. A generous donation from a Marshall native who was living in France at the time made the light display possible.

As the years have gone by, the festival has grown to include an ice-skating rink, a vintage carousel, a train, and a display of tiny houses creating Santa's Village.

The perfectly lit courthouse still stands as the centerpiece for The Wonderland of Lights.

If you’re in the DFW area and want to see some incredible homes, you’ll love this SoFortWorthIt Christmas Lights tour!

The Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, MD

Baltimore
Photo: Getty Images

What’s better than a Christmas light display that’s free and easy to walk or drive through?

Every year, the jolly residents of 34th Street go above and beyond decking out their neighborhood with immaculate lights and decor.

A stroll down this street highlights the dedication and effort community members give to provide an unforgettable holiday experience for locals and visitors alike.

The Lights of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, AR

Fayetteville
Photo: experiencefayetteville.com

This celebration in Northwest Arkansas takes place in Fayetteville’s downtown square and truly makes the holidays come to life. The lights are illuminated from 5 pm until 1 am and it’s free to visit! 

Filled with glowing lights and a warm, family atmosphere, it’s a perfect place to take the kids.

Lights with Live Performances

Village of Lights in Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth
Photo: bonnersferrylivinglocal.com

During the holiday season, Christmastown’s Village of Lights turns into an enchanted winter wonderland overflowing with magnificent lights. The joy and cheer are contagious and the experience leaves you feeling as merry as ever.

Lights aside, this experience offers choirs, carolers, gift-wrapping stations, photos with Santa, and much more!

The Theatre of Lights in Sacramento, CA

Sacramento
Photo: Go Downtown Sac

This free holiday lighting extravaganza takes place on the old Sacramento waterfront turning it into a holiday hot spot. From rooftops to storefronts, the displays are expansive.

Running until Christmas eve, Troy Carlson of Stage Nine Exhibitions puts on an amazing live production of ‘Twas the night before Christmas. 

Not to mention, there’s an appearance from Jack Frost and a wonderful lighting of the 60ft Christmas tree!

Preparing for Your Next Christmas Lights Tour

If you’re looking to take a tour, all the routes in our app are specifically designed to maximize your viewing pleasure and minimize your driving time. 

Plus, we integrate turn-by-turn navigation to make it effortless for you to follow along.

While you're out and about on your tour, you can also listen to holiday jokes and read the stories of the people who decorated their homes. Our users love the personal touch it adds to their experience.

There’s no need to rush through it – you'll have unlimited access to the route for 30 days, so you can take your time and enjoy the tour at a pace that works for you.

A beautiful Christmas light tour is the perfect way to unwind and spend quality time with loved ones.

Download the Built Story app and start touring today! 

Happy holidays!

 

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