Where To See Holiday Lights Across The U.S.A.

published on November 1, 2022 by

The holiday season is right around the corner — and that means it’s almost time for holiday lights. In this day and age, virtually every city in the U.S. boasts some kind of “merry and bright” spectacle. But which ones are worth planning an entire trip around? Below, discover the destinations with the best holiday lights for your winter 2022 vacations.

St. Augustine, Florida

It doesn’t snow down in St. Augustine, but that doesn’t stop the city from pulling out all the stops when it comes to its wintry lighting displays. During the Nights of Lights festival, which run from the end of November to the end of January, St. Augustine’s classic Spanish-style architecture is enhanced by millions of twinkling white lights stretching from the ground to the rooftops. Be sure to grab a holiday card-worthy selfie in front of the towering Christmas tree in the Plaza de la Constitución and stroll across the Bridge of Lions to enjoy the shimmering reflections on the water below. 

Where To Stay: Grande Villas at World Golf Village

Kauai, Hawaii

The holidays get a tropical twist in Kauai each year, thanks to the annual Festival of Lights

at the island’s Historic County Building Park. With classic carols wafting through the air, the park becomes a holiday wonderland from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, with tall coconut trees festooned with festive lights and Hawaiian-themed decorations, all designed by local artisans and students. Santa and Mrs. Claus also show up during the event, available for photos every Friday from 6-8pm.  

Where To Stay: Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

New York City, New York

The Big Apple sparkles in the winter, adding a healthy dose of holiday magic to the excitement of New York City’s urban landscape. Rockefeller Center is a must-visit, of course, thanks to the 77-foot-tall Norway spruce that looms high above the famed 30 Rock’s popular ice-skating rink. (A fun fact: it takes five miles of lights to decorate that tree!) For those who want to venture a bit further out, don’t miss the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. Here, the residents try to out-do each other each December, adorning their homes with every type of whimsical holiday decorations imaginable.

Where To Stay: West 57th Street by Hilton Club

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans’ sprawling City Park transforms into a stunning holiday attraction each year during Celebration In The Oaks. From the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, more than a million breathtaking lights adorn the park’s iconic live oak trees, some of which are more than 800 years old. Visitors can either take a serene two-mile drive through this wondrous atmosphere or enjoy a walking tour — which also includes admission to the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, home to a botanic garden and 18 fun rides. Good to know: proceeds from the event go towards maintaining City Park’s beautiful green space year-round. 

Where To Stay: The Marquee Resort

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is lit up like a Christmas tree all year, but the holidays see Sin City taking things to another level. Head out to Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a drive-through holiday lights experience like no other. You’ll cruise through more than two-and-a-half miles of dazzling sights and sounds, including immersive tunnels and high-tech laser shows. For bonus oohs and ahhs, visit Glittering Lights on New Year’s Eve, when there’s a spectacular fireworks display. 

Where To Stay:Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations

Branson, Missouri

Branson (AKA Silver Dollar City) shines bright during the holidays, offering visitors an array of seasonal extravaganzas from November through New Year’s Day. The drive-through Lights of Joy features fun animated displays bringing to life a host of favorite wintry characters, from Santa to Frosty. The Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills homestead thrills every year with millions of beautiful and colorful lights. And Promised Land Zoo’s Let There Be Lights! event takes you through two miles worth of LED lights, plus a glimpse of the zoo’s nocturnal creatures — and Santa’s real reindeer squad! 

Where To Stay: Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge

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