42 of the Best Christmas Light Displays in the United States - Backyard Boss
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42 of the Best Christmas Light Displays in the United States

Do you love the bright lights and intricate displays of Christmas? If so, you should make it a habit to explore some of the best Christmas light displays in the country. Whether you travel ten hours or ten minutes to see a display, you won’t be disappointed. Check out one of these displays for a winter night you won’t forget.

The Best Christmas Light Displays in the United States

WildLights at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

Located in Palm Desert, California, this display is worth the drive. With over one million lights on display,  this show is quite impressive. There are light animals, delicious food, and live entertainment. The light tunnel is one of the most popular attractions.

wildlights lanterns_2018 christmas lights displays
Credit: Living Desert


The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC is home to this one of the best Christmas light displays in the United States. In the display, there are over 500,000 LED lights.

River of Lights

ABQ BioPark Botanical Garden is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to being a fun place to visit, it’s also home to the River of Lights. The walk-through light show displays amazing underwater life and animals.

Austin Trail of Lights

This light display celebrates the community of Austin, TX but welcomes visitors. If you visit the Zilker Metropolitan Park for the event, you’ll be one of the 400,000 annual visitors to experience Austin’s best music, food, creativity and beauty each year.

Hershey Park’s Sweet Lights

Hershey, Pennsylvania isn’t only home to tasty candy bars. It’s also home to one of the best Christmas light displays. As you drive through Hershey Park, you’ll see more than 600 light displays, many of which are animated.

hershey sweet lights cecilia t
Credit: Cecelia T./Yelp

Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights

If you’re near Wheeling, West Virginia, you can see this incredible display. You can drive a six mile route to see over one million lights. There are tunnels, displays, and much more.

oglebay resort winter festival of lights
Credit: Oglebay Resort

Illumination at Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois has a walking tour of lights. Over a mile long, the tour takes you through 50 acres of music, projections, and lights.

View across Meadow Lake of the Illumination lights at Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
Credit: Steve Ornberg

Enchanted: Forest of Light

In La Cañada Flintridge, California, the oak trees aren’t the only thing that’s famous. The city’s light show is also renowned, and for good reason. The walking exhibit takes you on a walk through the Descanso Gardens, where there are larger-than-life displays.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights

If you’re anywhere near Atlanta, you should consider making the drive to the Botanical Gardens for the Garden Lights display. It’s one of the best Christmas light displays for its experiences, like the Orchestral Orbs.

atlanta botanical gardens garden lights holiday nights counse broder
Credit: Counse Broders

Moody Gardens’ Festival of Lights

Galveston, Texas is the birthplace of this light show. Located on the Moody Gardens property, this light show takes you on a mile long trail. It also gives you great views of Galveston Bay.

galveston moody gardens light festival holiday
Credit: Galveston.com

Bellingrath Gardens

Although Theodore, Alabama might not be on your radar, it should be. The city is home to the Magic Christmas Lights at Bellingrath Gardens. There are over there million lights in this incredible display.

Glendale Glitters

Glendale is where you’ll find this display. As one of the best Christmas light displays, it features performances, food, and the largest free light show in Arizona.

Garvan Woodland Gardens

For an animated light show in Arkansas, head to the Garvan Woodland Gardens. There are 18 acres of bright lights, an animated light show, and an ice palace. It takes place in Hot Springs National Park.

garvan woodland gardens holiday lights
Credit: OnlyInYourState.com

Mission Inn Festival of Lights

Located near LA, the Mission Inn has a stunning light display. The hotel resembles a castle and is covered in more than five million lights. If you stick around for the fireworks, you’ll make permanent memories.

the mission in festival of lights christmas display
Credit: sparklinglala

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens

Around Christmastime, the Blossoms of Light display lights up the Denver Botanic Gardens. With bright and bold displays, the interactive display is like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

blossoms of light denver christmas light show
Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens

St. Augustine Nights of Lights

The city of At. Augustine goes all out for Christmas. The buildings in the city are draped in white lights, and there are special holiday events throughout the season.

st augustine nights of lights festival christmas display
Credit: OldCity

Fantasy in Lights

The Callaway Resort & Gardens in Georgia is home to the Fantasy in Light Show. With over 2,500 acres, the location features a Christmas Village and a magical trolley ride.

Honolulu City Lights

For a whole month, the city of Honolulu hosts a light display. Everything kicks off with an incredible electric light parade and a tree lighting. If you can’t make it to Honolulu this year, you can relive the magic in a one-hour video of the 2019 city parade.

honolulu city lights the clauses
Credit: Tammy Seymour

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

In Chicago, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival inspires wonder. Just as the name leads you to believe, the event features a mile of wonder-inspiring lights.

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

At the Lincoln Park Zoo in Illinois, there are more than 2.5 million lights when the holidays approach. In addition to the light displays, you can enjoy a light maze.

Santa Claus, Indiana Christmas Lights Display

The town of Santa Claus celebrates Christmas in a big way. For three weeks in December, the town is home to 1.2 miles of holiday lights. You can drive through the streets and watch the story of Rudolph come to life.

Welcome to Santa Claus Indiana America's Christmas Hometown
Credit: Sarah Afshar

Jolly Holiday Lights

Iowa is home to Adventureland Resorts, which features over 2.5 miles of lights and at least 100 light displays. Although you need to pay to see the spectacle, the money goes to a good cause.

roadway lighted arch jolly holly adventureland resort
Credit: Jolly Holiday Lights

Holiday Trail of Lights

Instead of being in one city, this trail of lights takes you through eight towns in Louisiana. Out of all towns, perhaps the most incredible is Natchitoches. There are scenes on the water as well as fireworks and carriage tours.

Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

Located in Maine, the botanical garden has an annual light show that’s more than memorable. The trees, sculptures, and shrubs all transform into light-up exhibits.

gardens aglow promo image coastal maine botanical gardens
Credit: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Miracle on 34th Street

On 34th street in Baltimore, there’s a holiday display that could make the Grinch smile. The Hampden neighborhood doesn’t miss anything and decorates houses, trees, and even hubcaps.

34th street lights boston hamden
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Big Bright Light Show

Another light display in Michigan, the Big Bright Light Show is in downtown Rochester. The whole city gets covered in lights and transforms into a rainbow.

Wild Lights

At the Detroit Zoo, the Wild Lights display is sure to impress. There are over 5 million lights shining on trees, buildings, and sculptures. If you want to make a night of it, check out the ice skating rink.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

The largest free walk-through light display in the U.S, Bentleyville has over 5 million lights. It’s located in Duluth and offers beautiful views of Lake Superior. You can also enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and snacks as you walk through the display.

bentleyville tour of lights wide view bridge

Silver Dollar City

This theme park in Branson, Missouri has some awe-inspiring Christmas lights. The park uses over 6.5 million lights to wow guests. Every night of the holiday season, there’s a Christmas parade.

christmas branson silver dollar city old mill town

Omaha Holiday Lights Festival

In Omaha, everyone decorates for the holidays. The 40 blocks of downtown Omaha light up, and celebrations ensue. If you want to be surrounded by lights, Omaha is the place to be.

omaha festival of lights new year's eve fireworks

Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Glittering Lights

While Las Vegas itself is a beacon of light all year, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway outshines the strip during the holidays. Drive your own vehicle on the speedway and check out the millions of lights. If you don’t feel like driving, take the Santa Tram.

las vegas motor speedway glittering lights
Credit: Travel Nevada

Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. The whole neighborhood participates in the winter festivities. As you walk around the neighborhood, you’ll see all sorts of Christmas decorations.

Christmas Town

McAdenville, North Carolina is also known as Christmas Town USA. Although there are under one million lights in the display, there’s much more to the holiday display than the lights. There are bows, wreaths, and plenty of charm.

christmas town usa lights

Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill

Located in Ohio, Clifton Mill celebrates Christmas in a big way. The venue is always covered in over four million lights. There’s also a 100 foot waterfall of lights and a miniature Santa village.

Peacock Lane

Peacocks like to show off their feathers, and Peacock Lane in Portland, Oregon models itself after the animal. Residents on this street decorate their homes proudly. With dazzling lights, inflatables, and trees, this street is like nowhere else. You can walk the streets or drive around.

sample of displays on peacock lane portland lights tour
Credit: Peacock Lane on Facebook

Koziar’s Christmas Village

The town of Bernville, PA is home to Koziar’s Christmas Village, a place to witness over one million lights. As you view the lights, be sure to check out the bakery and toy shop. You can even write a letter to Santa and the Christmas post shop.

Holiday Festival of Lights

Whatever time of year it may be, James Island is beautiful. But during the winter season, it’s particularly stunning. This is one of the best Christmas light displays for its three miles of lights and displays. As you drive through it, you can listen to Christmas music on the local radio station.

james island charleston christmas display
Credit: Charleston County

Cheekwood Holiday LIGHTS

In Nashville, the Holiday LIGHTS display spreads joy to people from all over the country. There are over one million lights throughout the Cheekwood Estates and Gardens.

holiday lights nashville promo shot
Credit: Cheekwood.org

Tacky Light Tour

Richmond, VA is home to several amazing light displays. To make it easier for people to find those displays, a local newspaper always compiles a list of the best homes in the city. This list is known as the Tacky Light Tour. Drive around and check out some of the most intricate displays in Richmond.

richmond tacky lights tours
Credit: Richmond.com

The Lights of Christmas

The festival takes place in Washington and features an incredible light display. With six themed areas, the festival has more lights than you can imagine.

Winter Solstice Celebration

In the summer, Fairbanks, Alaska doesn’t see much darkness. And in the winter, the dark skies are illuminated with the lights of the Winter Solstice Celebration. The festival features light displays, music, and more.

winter solstice lights and fireworks fairbanks alaska
Credit: Explore Fairbanks

Fantasy of Lights

Every holiday season, New Haven, CT hosts the Fantasy of Lights Festival. This event has some of the best Christmas lights. With over 100,000 lights, the event has a lot to look at.


Which Christmas light displays are on your bucket list? Make your holiday season something exceptional when you visit one of the best Christmas light displays in the United States. If you have any to add to the list, comment below.