The holiday season is upon us! And as you finish your Thanksgiving leftovers and dig out your Christmas decorations, there’s no better way to get in the spirit than visiting a holiday light show! From lobster trap trees to illuminated Navy ships, every duty station has something unique to offer.
Below is a list of (mostly) ongoing holiday light displays* to enjoy this season:
*When possible, we share month-long events vs. stand alone tree lighting ceremonies.
- Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo (Tacoma) – Don’t miss the zoo transformed into a colorful winter wonderland with over 800,000 lights, Nov. 5-Jan 2, 4:30pm-10pm! Tickets (timed online only – must purchase in advance) range $6-$16.
- Christmas in Big Valley (Poulsbo) – This sweet Poulsbo family transforms their backyard every year into an enchanting display. This year the display will run Nov. 25-Jan. 1, 4:30pm-9:30pm. Admission is $12 per person, kids 6 and under are free.
- Kingston Cove Christmas (Kingston) – Be sure to stop by Mike Wallace Park for a fantastic display of the half a million holiday lights through Jan. 8. The display is free, dusk-dawn, brought to you by the Kingston Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Kingston.
- Holiday Festival of Lights (Charleston) – Head over to James Island County Park for two million, magical twinkling lights, Santa’s Village and a Winter Wonderland, Nov. 11-Dec. 31, 5:30pm-10pm. Purchase tickets here ($15-$30).
- Celebrate the Season (Moncks Corner) – Celebrate The Season is an annual charitable holiday event, powered by Berkeley Electric Cooperative, organized by Santee Cooper, Old Santee Canal Park and the Town of Moncks Corner. Enjoy the Holiday Lights Driving Tour with dozens of brilliantly lit displays and thousands of twinkling lights, supported by local businesses and organizations. The cost is only $5 per vehicle, proceeds benefit charities serving Berkeley County.
- DC Holiday Lights (Washington, D.C.) – DC’s Main Streets and commercial corridors have joined together to bring you a spectacular holiday experience. Beteen Nov. 18-Jan. 8, take a stroll down each of the participating corridors below to experience a dazzling array of lights and decor. Then, cast your vote for the best decorated corridor!
- National Christmas Tree (Washington, D.C.) – The gorgeous conifer lives in President’s Park on the White House Ellipse, where it’s surrounded by trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. states and territories and is accompanied by nightly musical performances throughout the holiday season. The display is free to visit and open from 10am-10pm beginning Dec. 1, while the National Christmas Tree is lit each day from 4:30pm-10pm.
- Holiday Lights Trail (Groton) – The City of Groton Parks & Rec is hosting a Holiday Lights Trail (Dec. 5-16) open to all city residents and businesses! Submit your address by Dec. 1 to be included on the community map!
- Lobster Trap Tree (Stonington) – Does it get more New England than this? Visit the trap tree daily from Nov. 26-Jan. 15, lit every night dusk-9:30pm.
- Holiday Lights Spectacular (Mystic) – Head over to Olde Mistick Village for the largest holiday light display in southern New England, from Nov. 18-Jan 18 through Jan. 31. Over a half-million lights will decorate the Olde Mystic Village square of shops and restaurants, free for families and holiday enthusiasts to enjoy. Parking is also free.
- Magic of Lights (East Hartford) – Enjoy festive lights from the comfort of your own car as you wind through the sparkling path. At every turn, the magical route is overflowing with spectacular light displays that bring your favorite holiday themes and characters to life. Tickets cost $25-$35.
- Tree Lighting Festival – Don’t miss the Naval Base Guam Tree Lighting Festival on Saturday, December 3rd at 5pm! The event includes storytime with Mrs. Clause, a gingerbread house contest, ugly sweater contest, bouncy houses, food trucks and more. The festival is free and wiwll take place at the Torpedoes & Tomahawks Field.
- Balloon Tree at RIHGA Royal Guam (Tamuning) – While not a light display, don’t miss the return of the RIHGA Royal Guam’s colorful balloon tree, which was paused last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. RIHGA Royal Guam staff inflated 8,000 balloons for the display in the hotel’s Atrium Square. The balloon tree display is open to the public.
- One Pacific’s Winter Wonderland (Tamuning) – One Pacific is hosting a Winter Wonderland 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Uptown Pub and Grill. Live music by Taj, raffle prizes and food available throughout the event. Pre-sale tickets are $15 and $20 at the door. Proceeds will be used for Guam’s foster children for Christmas. For more information, visit @1nepacific on Instagram.
- 2022 Jax Illuminations (Jacksonville) – This drive-thru experience is a can’t miss for kids and adults of all ages! Load up your car and drive through over a mile of dancing lights, December 1-31. Tickets must be bought online in advance ($25-$30 per vehicle).
- 2022 Deck the Chairs (Jacksonville) – This uniquely Florida holiday display attracts visitors from all over! From Thanksgiving until New Years, the free holiday light display at the Seawalk Pavilion is a must see!
- Memphis Zoo Lights (Memphis) – Don’t miss the Memphis Zoo Lights from Nov. 18-Jan. 1 on select nights. We’re decking the halls with gorgeous displays and some of your favorite Zoo Light features including the Twinkle Tunnel, Ice Rink, Ferris Wheel, Magic Mr. Nick, Animal Meet and Greets, the Arctic Outpost Adventure, and so much more! The cost is $14 for members and $19 for non-members.
- Holiday Wonders at The Garden (Memphis) – Head over to the Memphis Botanical Garden for festive lights , Nov. 25-Dec. 23 5pm-8:30pm. This year offers approximately eight acres of lights and cheer, which is a larger footprint than ever before and features the larger-than-life Alice’s Adventures at the Garden sculptures aglow in the Garden. Tickets cost $10-$14.
- Christmas on The Wharf (Monterey) – Head down to the Custom House Plaza for a waterfront winter wonderland! From Dec. 2-18, 11am-9pm,“ Christmas on the Wharf” will feature holiday musical entertainment including choirs and community caroling, a dazzling array of beautiful holiday lights and decorations, a 23-foot Christmas tree, silhouetted lit trees, tin soldiers, free sweet treats, free Santa “meet and greet” visits, photo ops with Santa, lovely holiday princesses and much more!
- Holiday Lights at Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds (Santa Cruz) – Enjoy a 3/4 mile ride through the Magical Lights decorating the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds (Nov. 25-Dec. 25) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Stay in the warmth of your vehicle as you enjoy Holiday Carols from our two local radio stations while you view over millions of lights decorating tractors, trees, lawns and the buildings.
- Winterfest on The Wisconsin (Norfolk) – This Nauticus’ WinterFest on the Wisconsin returns (Nov. 9-Jan. 1) better and brighter to the downtown Norfolk waterfront. Explore all-new interior spaces aboard the Battleship Wisconsin, enjoy two new shows nightly by everyone’s favorite green grump, come aboard a polar train journey, and enjoy sweets and treats surrounded by over one million lights! Tickets range from $12.50-$18.50.
- Garden of Lights (Norfolk) – Head over to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens for their annual holiday display (Nov. 11-Jan. 1). The displays run nightly 5pm-9pm, tickets ranging $10-$25.
- Holiday Lights at the Beach (Virginia Beach) – Enjoy an enchanting journey through holiday, nautical, and adventure-themed light displays while listening to a soundtrack of traditional holiday music as you drive your vehicle on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The lights run nightly from Nov. 18-Jan. 1, 5:30pm-10pm (Sundays-Thursdays) and 5:30pm-11pm (Fridays and Saturdays). Tickets are $25 must be purchased in advance. Don’t miss Military Mondays, a $5 discount with ID.
- Christmas Town at Busch Gardens (Williamsburg) – The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park is once again transformed with over 10 million twinkling lights, one of the largest holiday displays in North America (Nov. 11-Jan 8). Enjoy heart-warming holiday shows and classics such as Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Town Express and ‘Twas that Night ice skating show. Over 20 rides and coasters including NEW Pantheon™, the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster, pair thrilling moments with holiday cheer.
- Lights at The Fountain (Newport News) – Experience this strolling state-of-the-art holiday light show featuring falling snow! Delighting all ages, this animated light show plays every half hour and incorporates a 50′ animated holiday tree, 55 pixel-wrapped perimeter trees, a festive soundtrack and holiday decor that surrounds the five-acre fountain plaza. Free admission and parking.
- Honolulu City Lights (Honolulu)– Perhaps the largest Christmas celebration across the state, Honolulu City Lghts is a free event with holiday lights, concerts on the main lawn, and lights that stretch downtown to the civic center. Opening Night is December 3rd! The lights will operate from 6pm to 6am on the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center Grounds thru December 31.
- Show Aloha Land (Honolulu) – From December 1-31, come visit our 3,600 sqaure feet of fresh snow where the kids can go tobogganing and a spectacular drive-through display with one million LED lights. We have the massive Bouncing town, the human snow globe, zip lining and three new trains for the keiki to enjoy the light show. And also added the infinity bar and food court. Everything is included with admission, $39.95 per person, tickets are now available.
- Candlelight Stroll (Portsmouth) – During special nights in December, tour Strawbery Banke Museum’s furnished historic houses during the holidays, adorned with handmade decorations created from greens and dried flowers from the Museum’s heirloom gardens. While traveling from house to historic house, the glow of hundreds of lighted candle lanterns light the way and guests enjoy seasonal greetings from costumed roleplayers and performers who recreate the traditions of times past.
- City of Portsmouth Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting (Portsmouth) – Portsmouth’s annual Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting is back on December 3rd! Head downtown for the tree lighting ceremony at 5pm, followed by the parade at 6pm off from Islington Street/Summer Street.
- Winter Wonders – (Eliot) – Experience over one million twinkling lights, projections and one-of-a-kind creative displays along a one-mile trail through 14 acres of beautiful, enchanted hardwood forest. Concessions will be available for seasonal food items.
- Lightscape (San Diego) – Head over to the San Diego Botanic Garden (Nov. 18-Jan. 1) for a unique, immersive experience at Lightscape! The gardens will guide visitors through a festive world of wonder with over one million twinkling lights in various attractions that come alive at night with color, imagination and sound.
- Lights at the Lakes (Santee) – This one mile drive-thru event (Nov. 25-Dec. 24) will feature colorful twinkling light displays set to music through your car radio. The show will feature unique winter scenes that blink, swirl, and dance to holiday tunes. Best of all, the combination of lights and music change, creating a unique experience each visit.
- Jingle Terrace Live (Vista) – From December 7-18, Moonlight Amphitheatre will be adorned in a spectacular holiday light show that you will be able to walk through while you enjoy holiday refreshments, festive displays, live entertainment, family activities and photo opportunities.
- Snow N Glow (Del Mar)– From December 8-January 1, gather your family and friends and get ready to make some holiday memories at the Snow N Glow Holiday Festival in Del Mar! Events inclde snow tubing with fresh made snow daily, walk through holiday lights display with over one million lights, private igloo rentals, free visits with Santa and more!
- Enchanted Village (Spring Valley) – From December 16-22, walk through acres of brilliantly lit trees, magical cottages, light tunnels, live entertainers, hundreds of giant candy canes, over a million lights, interactive displays and other festive decorations.
- Santa’s Playland (Round Lake)– The light display will return to Quick Response for the holiday season! On select dates from November 23-January 6, you can drive through our magical holiday lights display with the family. The event takes place at Quick Response on Rt. 9 in Round Lake. Santa will be visiting regularly. Event is drive through only.
- Local Homes (Saratoga Springs) – We found this helpful link to neighborhoods and homes that do holiday lights, click the link for the fun itinerary. Also other great spots here.
Did we miss any? Comment below and we’ll add to the list.
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Celebrate the Season in Moncks Corner, SC for the Charleston area