Winter Wonderland Lights Throughout the United States

Nothing says Christmas cheer like a fabulous display of winter wonderland lights. No matter where you live in the United States, there is probably a twinkling show nearby. From neighborhoods and zoos to parades and town squares this country has a myriad of bright and colorful options for walkers and drivers alike.

Zoo Lights at the Smithsonian National Zoo

Washington, D.C.

With animal shaped displays and more than 500,000 LED lights gracing the walkways, trees, and buildings, the Zoo is transformed into a color-filled Christmas wonderland between Thanksgiving and the new year. Enjoy themed treats, tons of photo areas, and family friendly fun.

Stunning Christmas decor abounds at the Biltmore in North Carolina.

Christmas at the Biltmore 

Asheville, North Carolina

Enjoy a decorative display that will take you back to 1895 when the Vanderbilt family celebrated their first Christmas at the Biltmore. Between the trees, ornaments, and sparkly holiday lights, you’ll have an experience unlike any other. Every area of the estate from the house to Antler Hill Village is decked out and ready to put you in the holiday spirit.

Miracle on 34th Street

Baltimore, Maryland

Aptly named after the famous Christmas movie, this Miracle on 34th Street is a spectacular neighborhood light display that takes place every year. Thousands of lights adorn the homes and other displays are set up for your viewing pleasure. 

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights

Atlanta, Georgia

Located at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the Garden Lights, Holiday Nights event sells out quickly. It is one of the most spectacular light displays in the south. Regular attendees should expect lots of favorite features from years past. But also some new and exciting displays including lit up sculptures.

Holiday Festival of Lights

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston plays home to the Holiday Festival of Lights, a beautiful display of millions of lights along a three-mile long road that wraps around a lake. Drive around as many times as you like or purchase train tickets to see the lights up close. 

After the light display, you can walk down to Santa’s Village and meet Santa, enjoy a ride on the carousel, and visit the Reindeer Workshop. Wander through the Winter Wonderland and browse the gift shops, indulge a sweet tooth. Visit the impressive Holiday Sand Sculpture, made from more than 50-tons of sand each year. 

Glittering Lights of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Not only do you get to enjoy one of the greatest annual events in Las Vegas and one of the best Christmas light displays in the country. But you also get to support local charities, schools, and churches in the process. 

Take a ride on the Santa Tram, don’t miss the Neon Forest, and purchase a Fast Pass to bypass the lines on the busiest nights. Purchase snacks and support area boy scout troops and enjoy the incredible event as it celebrates 20 years!

Lights Under Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

A former limestone mine, the Mega Cavern in Louisville Kentucky is considered the largest building in the state. This is due to its support structures. So you can imagine the Christmas explosion that occurs every year during the holidays. Over 4 million lights and around 900 lit characters adorn the cavern.

You can drive your own car through or opt to ride the Christmas Express, an open topped trailer, for an incredible 30 minute ride through a portion of the 17 miles of passages of the Mega Cavern. It’s a truly unique experience that is sure to become a family tradition. Lights Under Louisville is the world’s only underground light display of its kind.

holiday lights at Denver Botanic Garden
Taking in sparkling holidays lights is something fun to do with your family during the holiday season.

Blossoms of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver, Colorado

The biggest event of the season at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Blossoms of Lights has been entertaining the masses for more than 30 years. New this year is a 17-foot-tall and 200-foot-long tunnel located at the beginning of the tour.

It will take you at least an hour to walk the entire outdoor display, so come dressed appropriately. You won’t be disappointed by this sparkling display of color-changing lights!

While in Denver, be sure to stay at one of our favorite family-friendly hotels. Maybe even also make a weekend of it at the Gaylord Rockies Christmas Spectacular. Enjoy snow tubing, ice skating, ice sculptures, ice bumper cars, shows and so much more.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum

Lisle, Illinois

A unique experience across 50 acres, enjoy the lights, festive music, and projections along the one-mile path through incredible trees. With fires along the path to warm up or roast marshmallows, you’re sure to get into the holiday spirit at The Morton Arboretum.

Celebration in the Oaks

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans City Park’s biggest fundraiser every year, Celebration in the Oaks has been entertaining visitors since the 1980’s. Enjoy more than a million lights adorning the beautiful oak trees over the 25 acres of the park.

With options to drive through the magnificent light displays or enjoy unlimited rides at the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, your whole family will enjoy this annual tradition. Some years you may even get to take pictures with Santa.

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn

Riverside, California

Dazzling visitors since 1992, the Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn was voted “Best Public Lights Display.” This display features millions of lights with hundreds of animated figures, gorgeous Christmas trees, and even fireworks displays. This is a must-see holiday light collection if you are in the Riverside area.

Night of Lights in St Augustine is certainly a celebration of winter wonderland lights.

Night of Lights

St. Augustine, Florida

Adorning around 20 blocks of the nation’s oldest city’s historic district, millions of white lights cascade down the Spanish Colonial architecture. They cover roof to sidewalk of public and private buildings and spaces alike. Listed among the top ten holiday light displays by National Geographic, St. Augustine is a magical place to visit during the holidays.

A few of the best locations to see include the Bridge of Lions. Here you can see the lights sparkle on the water and The Plaza de la Constitución. A gorgeous Christmas tree lights up the center of the plaza.

The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

Portland, Oregon

A truly unique experience with over two million lights, The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is also the world’s largest Christmas choral festival. It features holiday concerts with performances by regional churches, schools, and civic choirs. The music combined with the lights, is a beautiful mixture of holiday spirit.

While the outdoor walk itself is only about a quarter-mile long, the visitation times usually average around 90 minutes. All entertainment areas are either covered by tents or indoors. The plaza will have continuous entertainment that is fun for all ages.

Where are your favorite winter wonderland lights? Tell us in the comments below!

Winter Wonderland Lights Throughout the United States

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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