Dec 10

Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the United States

Every year my wife and I like to travel around our city, Christmas music playing talking about our year, hopes, and dreams for next year, and looking at the Christmas lights that are out on display, filling our hearts with joy and fond memories of Christmas past.  Our love for Christmas and the wonderful traditions that go with it has led us to travel to both sides of our state and occasionally outside it to see them.  We know everybody has their own personal favorite and there are great ones that did not make our top 10 Christmas Light Displays list like the Christmas Tree Lane, in Fresno which started out as a lone tree in remembrance of child that died and is now miles long, or the incredible Osborne Family Spectacle in Disneyland.  But based on what we like and our personality here is our list of the Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the United States.  Hope you enjoy and we wish you a Merry Christmas!!!

Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the United States

10. PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

PNC Festival of Lightsvia
What better way to kick off the holiday season then by spending time at one of America’s better zoos and staying to see over 2 million Christmas lights on display.  There are lots of fun activities that also go along with seeing their amazing light displays.  For more information visit their website at http://cincinnatizoo.org/blog/category/events/pnc-festival-of-lights/

9. Mission Inn Lights Riverside, California

Mission Inn Christmas Lightsvia
An historic landmark hotel in downtown Riverside, California that puts on a 4 million plus light display that makes this AAA Four-Diamond hotel into a magical place.  For more information check out their brochure at https://publ.com/8T9qDxi

8. McAdenville, North Carolina

Tiny Town USA that turns itself into Christmas Town USA every year a great Christmas lights display that harkens the days of a Norman Rockwell painting.  A tradition since 1956.  For more information about McAdenville visit their website at http://www.mcadenville-christmastown.com/

7. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Chicago

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festivalvia
One of the largest Christmas celebrations in the country that kicks off the holiday season in Chicago which puts up over a million lights on 200 trees on Michigan Avenue.  This is an all-day event with top musical artists a tree-lighting parade, and a fireworks show over the Chicago River.  For more information visit their website at http://www.themagnificentmile.com/events/lights-festival/

6. Silver Dollar City Branson

Silver Dollar City Christmas Wreathvia
An 1800’s themed amusement park that puts on a spectacular Christmas lights show with over 5 million lights, 1,000 decorated trees, and a parade among many other things to do in the park.  For more information about Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas visit their website at http://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/festivals/An-Old-Time-Christmas.aspx

5. Kansas City Plaza Lights

Kansas City Plaza Lightsvia
The traditionalist in me says this one is the best, but that might also be because this is the one that I have been to the most and have the fondest memories of.  The Plaza Lights display has been a Kansas City tradition for over 80 years that paints 15 blocks of the Country Club Plaza in golden light.  For more information about the Plaza Lights visit http://www.visitkc.com/things-to-do/attractions/plaza-season-lights/index.aspx

4. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade 2012via
If you cannot have a white Christmas you might as well spend it by the ocean and check out the hundreds of lighted boats on display during the over 100 year tradition of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in Southern California.  For more information about the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade go to their website at http://www.christmasboatparade.com/

3. River Walk in San Antonio

Christmas on San Antonio River Walkvia
Thousands and Thousands of Christmas lights create a spectacular scene in San Antonio’s River Walk. For over 20 years San Antonio has kicked off the lighting of their River Walk with a parade, celebrities, illuminated floats, bands, and costumed participants.  For more information about the River Walk visit their website at http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

2. River of Lights and Luminaria Tour in Albuquerque

New Mexico’s largest walk-through holiday light show is a sight to see with millions of lights on display, but what sets this Christmas display apart is their Christmas Eve tradition of different Albuquerque districts lining their streets with luminaries which are brown paper bags fitted with tiny burning candles, the way is lighted for the Christ child which really hits home the true meaning of Christmas.  For more information visit http://www.cabq.gov/culturalservices/biopark/garden/annual-events/river-of-lights/river-of-lights

1. Smoky Mountain Winterfest

Pigeon Forge Christmas lightsvia
The Smoky Mountain Winterfest combines the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville to decorate the Smoky Mountains with over 5 million Christmas lights.  Throughout the festival there will be parades arts and crafts shows shopping and of course all the other attractions that are found in that part of Tennessee.  For more information about the Smoky Mountain Winterfest visit  http://smokymountainwinterfest.com/

We hope you enjoyed our list of the Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the United States.  Like any top 10 list they are subject to opinion so please give us yours and let us know what you think of our list, is there anything that you think we should not have put on our list and what would you replace it with by leaving a comment.

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  1. John Redwine

    The only lights I’ve seen on your list is Branson. There is a display at Muskogee Oklahoma that far Outshines (pun intended) those. If you ever get the chance to see them, they are really nice! I have been to most of your Waterfall List.

    1. Kenny and Karen

      Thank you for letting us know about Muskogee Oklahoma, we will have to check it out.

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