One of our favorite things to do on cold, wintery nights, is to grab some hot cocoa or hot cider and head out to view holiday lights. All across the country, there’s something especially magical about exploring fantastical and breathtaking light displays created just for the holidays. It really brings to life the cities and gateways through which millions of freight shipments pass throughout the year.
So kick back and enjoy as we bring you the 9 most dazzling holiday light extravaganzas in the United States. Hopefully one is in a city near you and you’ll be inspired to venture out to enjoy the spectacle firsthand!
Hershey Park’s Sweet Lights
At this annual display in Hershey Park, you can drive through two miles of pathway littered with almost 600 illuminated and animated displays. It takes up to an hour to get through the forest trails and includes special Holospec glasses that make it appear that it’s snowing.
Mission Inn Festival of Lights
For almost three decades, the Mission Inn Festival of Lights has been a favored holiday tradition in Southern California. During the holiday season, no corner of the historic hotel is left untouched as five million lights adorn the grounds, along with over 400 animated angels, elves, carolers, and reindeer.
WildLights at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Palm Desert, California
With over a million lights transforming this desert zoo into a lighted nighttime oasis, it’s sure to be a memorable experience. Life-sized light animals line all areas of the zoo and garden grounds along with a light and music tunnel.
Illumination at Morton Arboretum
This award-winning light show is truly unlike any other on this list! Throughout the entire 50 acres of the arboretum, visitors are welcomed by a one-of-a-kind light show with swirling light projections and music creating an all-encompassing holiday light experience.
ABQ BioPark Botanical Garden’s River of Lights
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The BioPark Botanical Garden’s River of Lights takes a unique spin on holiday light shows. In this special display, you’re taken into a colorful underwater ecosystem as it comes to life with marine animals, other wildlife, and millions of sparkling lights.
Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights
Wheeling, West Virginia
This Festival of Lights features a six-mile drive through 300 acres of twinkling lights. Beginning in 1985, the experience has grown into one of the nation’s largest holiday light shows with 90 lighted attractions and over a million lights.
Candy Cane Lane
Woodland Hills, California
For over six decades, local homeowners have teamed up to create what has now grown into an eight-block holiday light extravaganza affectionately termed Candy Cane Lane. Year after year, home displays get bigger and brighter as competition and ideas grow.
Bentleyville Tour of Lights
Featuring over four million lights displayed throughout a 20-acre park sitting on the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights is a breathtaking walk or drive-through light extravaganza. Making it extra special is all the light reflections off the waters of Lake Superior (if it’s not frozen).
Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
On this 2.5-mile holiday lights drive through the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, visitors experience a completely redesigned area of tunnels filled with twinkling lights. Showcasing various themes and every color you can think of, it’s an impressive holiday light show.
The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill
For over 30 years, the Clifton Mill has illuminated the mill, the gorge and the surrounding riverbanks, trees, and bridges with over 4 million lights. There’s even a 100-foot waterfall of twinkling lights along with a synchronized lights and music show on the old Covered Bridge.
Hopefully one of these spectacular holiday light extravaganzas is in a city near you and you’ll be inspired to venture out to enjoy it firsthand!