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There’s something about Christmas lights that makes us smile.
Below, 11 incredible light displays across the country that will leave you with a million-watt smile.
Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville, Alabama
Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville, Alabama (Credit: Huntsville / Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Kadie Pangburn)
Prepare to be amazed in this glimmering universe, ahem, galaxy, of colorful lights that was started in Huntsville 25 years ago. Situated on the 112 acres of the Huntsville Botanical Garden, guests can take the lights in via walking or driving.
Cost: $16 – $25 for walking nights and $25 – $35 for driving nights, depending on the dates
Dates: Nov. 11, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022
Peace, Love & Lights in Bethel, New York
Peace, Love & Lights in Bethel, New York (Credit: Kevin Ferguson c/o Bethel Woods)
Head to the home of the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival for quite the brilliant spectacle: This year, visitors will be treated to an extended 1.7-mile route and new themed displays highlighting New York and holidays around the world. Scenes like Snowflake Alley, Candy Cane Lane, Groovy Way and the Enchanted Forest will also be on display in all their gleaming beauty. On Mondays, the drive-thru option will be closed to make way for pedestrians who would like to walk through the experience.
Cost: Tickets start $28.75 per vehicle
Dates: Nov. 19, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022
Christmastime at Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire
Christmastime at Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire (Credit: White Mountains New Hampshire)
Get ready for nearly one million Christmas lights at this annual holiday event at the Santa’s Village theme park, with a dazzling array of lights around the buildings, Christmas trees and at the various rides. Beyond this the majestic White Mountains during the holiday season are pretty magical. FYI: Tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Cost: $48 for guests ages four and older
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 13 – Dec. 19, 2021
Redding Garden of Lights in Redding, California
Redding Garden of Lights in Redding, California (Credit: Seth McGaha)
Designed by renowned light artist Tres Fromme, this display uses more than one million twinkling lights. There, wander along winding paths through ten acres of captivating bulbs, and be sure to check out the wildlife and plant themed exhibits, too. There are also nearly 200 feet of light tunnels and the Polar Pathway with a 30-foot wide illuminated igloo and snowy pathway. Then, there’s the Candy Cane Causeway, with a 40-foot diameter ring of larger-than-life columns wrapped in red, green and white lights (as if that’s not enough, machines perfume the air with the scent of peppermint).
For overnight stays, book the Sheraton Redding at Sundial Bridge’s The Garden of Light package, which includes a night at the hotel and two adult tickets to the light show.
Cost: Tickets are $20 for adults, $14 for children ages 5-15, and free for children four years old and younger
Dates: Nov. 19, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021
Twinkle at the Track in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Twinkle at the Track in Bowling Green, Kentucky (Credit: National Corvette Museum)
Put on by the National Corvette Museum, this impressive drive-through display takes place on a real racetrack, including over 25 scenes and spanning two miles. Though the display is only its second year, the display is set to be even bigger than last year, with approximately one million lights in yet-to-be-revealed scenes.
Cost: $20 per car on weekdays and $25 per car on weekends ($50 for carloads with nine or more people)
Dates: Nov. 25, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022
Speedway Christmas in Concord, North Carolina
Speedway Christmas in Concord, North Carolina (Courtesy of Visit Cabarrus)
Another racetrack extravaganza, Speedway Christmas is one of the Southeast’s largest drive-through holiday light displays, with four million LED lights along a 3.75-mile course with more than 800 individual displays — some are 80-feet tall, that’s a whopping eight-stories high. Want to visit with Santa? Thursdays through Sundays, Ole Saint Nick has a residency in the infield Christmas Village to get photos, where you can also shop for gifts and make s’mores by the fire.
For a fun night out, you can also book a reservation to dine at The Speedway Club above the lights. Another neat offering: They offer several drive-in holiday movie nights, in which flicks like Home Alone 2 and A Christmas Story are played on a 16,000-square-foot screen.
Cost: from $30 per car
Dates: Nov. 19, 2021 – Jan. 16, 2022
Shimmering Solstice at Old Westbury Gardens in Old Wesbury, New York
Shimmering Solstice at Old Westbury Gardens in Old Wesbury, New York (Credit: Marisa Losciale/Discover Long Island)
For a unique experience in Long Island, don’t miss Lightswitch (a collective of internationally recognized lighting, media, and visual designers) presenting Shimmering Solstice at Old Westbury Gardens for the first time ever. While there, shining wonder awaits on illuminated paths to the property’s famed gardens (The Walled Garden, Rose Garden, South Lawn, and Allée). Bonus: The event plays host to a winter festival with a wide array of food and drinks on offer.
Cost: From $16.95 per person, depending on age and time of show
Dates: Nov. 20, 2021 – Jan. 9, 2022
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lluminations at Botanica Wichita in Wichita, Kansas
lluminations at Botanica Wichita in Wichita, Kansas (Credit: Visit Wichita)
This jaw-dropping smattering of lights includes more than two million lights along a mile-long walkable path. Adding to the excitement, there are three different light displays choreographed to music, a 240-foot-long tunnel of lights you can walk through, Candy Cane Lane and Tree Top Forest in the Butterfly House, and an eye-catching tree with light sculptures that take staffers upwards of 80 hours to create, an underwater scene in the Shakespeare Garden, and more. Don’t leave without visiting Santa’s Village.
Cost: $13 for adults, $9 for members and children younger than 12, free for ages 2 and younger
Dates: Nov. 18 – Jan. 1. Illuminations hours are 5:30 to 9 p.m. nightly, except for closures on Nov. 24th and 25th and Dec. 24th and 25th
“Smoky Mountain Christmas” at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
"Smoky Mountain Christmas" at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Credit: Dollywood)
Dolly Parton’s beloved theme park, in the storied Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee, boasts 5 million lights in its walk-through displays. To get a serious dose of the most wonderful time of the year, there are also plenty of holiday shows, seasonal foods and the “Merry and Bright!” fireworks bonanza. Take note: You need to pay park admission to get into the park and thus see the lights.
Cost: $84 for a one-day adult theme park ticket; child and senior pricing available
Dates: Nov. 6, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022
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Deck the Chairs at Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Deck the Chairs at Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach, Florida (Credit: Visit Jacksonville)
The Sunshine State gets glowing with Jacksonville Beach’s one-of-a-kind holiday lights display of decorated lifeguard chairs in an experience that is both wheelchair accessible and pet friendly. The nonprofit is run by more than 600 volunteers (proceeds from concessions and more are donated to the arts and arts education) and along with 40 decorated chairs, there are nightly light shows, weekend stage programming and several art installations including Beaches Go Green Octopus Garden.
Dates: Nov. 24, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022
Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut
Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut (Credit: Lake Compounce)
What’s billed as America’s oldest amusement park will have roughly 500,000 lights on display this holiday season, including Connecticut’s tallest Christmas tree at the main gate which stands 100-feet tall and has more than 175,000 lights on it. On opening night, Friday, Nov. 26, Lake Compounce will aim to break the single-location ugly sweater record of 3,473 while also joining its sister parks Kennywood, Dutch Wonderland, and Castle Park to create a cross-country celebration and add a multi-location record for ugly sweater celebrations.
Cost: From $19.99 per person when you buy online
Dates: Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m. from Nov. 26, 2021 through Jan. 1, 2022, except Christmas Day; weekdays Dec. 27 – 31 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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