10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

by Libby Zay Subscribe to Libby Zay's posts Posted Nov 22nd 2010 05:12 PM



10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

The holidays are fast approaching, which means Christmas light displays will soon be lighting up across the country. From wacky residential displays to professional over-the-top spectacles, AOL Travel has rounded up the 10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the U.S. Unlike your kooky neighbor's blow up Santa Claus, these Christmas light displays have been bringing visitors back year after year. Some are classy, others tacky -- but each one sparkles with unmatched holiday cheer.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
This residential Christmas light display in Fort Lauderdale has its own Ferris wheel, a 30-foot Christmas tree, and collections of snowmen, penguins and reindeer. Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs make an appearance amongst the palm trees and lights at Hyatt Extreme Christmas, along with some Disney and Loony Tunes characters. The Hyatt's have also built Santa's Workshop and a nativity scene, all of which were bathed in 150,000 lights last year-and this year promises to be bigger and better!

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Washington, DC
Although not the most spectacular with it comes to glitz and glamour, one classic Christmas light display is the National Christmas Tree in Washington DC. A large tree near the White House is lit up during a televised event, and a path featuring other lighted decorations that leads up to the National Christmas Tree is dubbed the "Pathway to Peace." The event started in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a 48-foot fir tree decorated with red, white and green bulbs as a quartet from the U.S. Marine Band performed. Today it is just one way our nation's capital gets ready for the holiday season.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri
Just in time for the holiday season, this theme park near Branson, Missouri is transformed into a dazzling holiday wonderland. The light and sound show begins with a daily tree lighting ceremony at the central square, where a five-story Christmas tree that flickers to the beat of holiday songs is lit. The rest of Silver Dollar City glows in over 4 million dazzling lights. The twinkling floats of the Gifts of Christmas Holiday Light Parade also pass by twice each evening.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Florida
What began in Arkansas as a family home's annual Christmas light display has gone Disney. Since 1995, the Osborne family has been blanketing Disney's Streets of America in glittering lights. Every ten minutes or so the lights dim and then dramatically spring back to life, flawlessly choreographed to holiday music. Sometimes the show is even capped off with a flurry of snow. Couple the light show with Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade at the Magic Kingdom, and visitors will have a very merry holiday season indeed.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Huntington Beach, California
This cruise along the waterways of Huntington's man-made islands showcases the Christmas light displays of multi-million-dollar homes. Estates decked out in every type of Christmas light display imaginable can be seen; from simple strands of white lights to professional grade lighting spectacles. All the glittering lights are reflected in the water, making this Christmas light display double the fun. Anyone with access to a boat can enjoy the show, or you can hop on the Huntington Harbor Cruise of Lights for the night.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

New York, New York
Tens of thousands of people crowd the streets for the lighting of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a Norway Spruce illuminated by 30,000 lights and crowned with a Swarovski crystal star. This Christmas lighting display tradition has been going on since 1931, when Depression-era construction workers strung cranberries and a few tin cans on a small tree. Today, the entire plaza around the Rockefeller Center is decked out in Christmas cheer, including the famous ice rink.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

West Knoxville, Tennessee
Shadrack's Water Sports in West Knoxville, Tennessee, has transformed the hillside behind their boat showroom into one of the most marvelous Christmas light displays in the country. As part of the spectacle, hundreds of thousands of twinkling Christmas lights dance to synchronized music. Visitors just drive up to Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland, flip the radio channel to a special station, and enjoy the show.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Baltimore, Maryland
Now in its 62nd year, thousands of people descend on this block of row houses to witness the fantastic lighting display known as "Miracle on 34th Street." Christmas light displays on 34th Street-unofficially dubbed "Christmas Street" during the holidays-are as quirky as Baltimore itself. Each house is different, including one with trains circling the rooftop and another with Christmas trees made from hubcaps. A true labor of love, residents light up the street on their own dime and also perform their very own ball drop on New Year's Eve.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

Wheeling, West Virginia
For Oglebay's Winter Festival of Lights, a six-mile drive through the hillsides of the resort is decorated in one of the largest and most famous Christmas light displays in the country. As part of the drive, visitors pass through a tunnel with thousands of twinkling snowflakes, a nearly sixty-foot tall poinsettia wreath, and even Snoopy and the gang-the Peanuts have been making an appearance since 2000. The gardens area features 150 hanging baskets of light, a few dozen lighted trees, and a life-size Nativity scene.

10 Best Christmas Light Displays in the US

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what about koziars christmass villiage in PA? people come from all over the world to see that display!

Hersheypark in PA has a great christmass time light display too, with nice family christmass stuff like hot cocoa and train rides and whatnot!

July 15 2011 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Orlenda's comment
Michael A. Simmons

Check out the Simmons Family’s Dancing Christmas Lights Show located at 68000 Estio Road in Cathedral City, CA (only a few miles from Palm Springs). Recently named Best Christmas Lights Display in America by The Early Show on CBS, the show is one of the largest and #1 rated computer-controlled and animated Christmas lights shows in the country. The show for 2011 boasts more than 110,000 eco-friendly LED lights, five miles of cabling, over 350 independent lighting channels, 24-foot tall Mega Christmas Tree, Leaping Light Arches, Shooting Stars, and much more!

The show's lights are synchronized to holiday music via special computer hardware and software, which makes the lights "dance" to the music. The music is broadcasted via short-range radio from the Simmons home on 107.5 FM "The Icicle" and features popular holiday hits. Television and radio personality Rich Fields, provides the narration. Rich is the former show announcer for game shows "The Price Is Right" and "Wheel of Fortune."

For more information and details, please visit www.MyDesertLights.com.

December 08 2011 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All I can add is that it's comforting and heartwarming to know that so many people still decorate and embody the light and spirit of Christmas. Our Pledge of Allegiance is under attack, our public places being banned from displaying Christmas or any mention of God, under Whom this country based its foundation, but at least private businesses and homes alike can still celebrate the season of His birth. Let's keep America free and in the good graces of God who has so generously allowed us to thrive. One nation under God!

December 02 2010 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a great article and set of pics to kick off December! I've been to two of these 10. Wouldn't it be fun to try to see all 10? Like trying to visit all the National Parks. It's great to see people's comments about good displays in their neck of the woods too. Thank you.

December 01 2010 at 5:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan IN Salisbury NC

You left out the most awesome display of CHRISTmas decorations anywhere! That's at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. I sat in a line(actually lines) of cars for 2 hours to get in Saturday night. I believe the drive is 2 1/2 miles long...weaving all over the track, including pit road, the infield, even the stands are spectacularly decorated......with a musical light show to boot. They also added a petting zoo, carnival rides, and a bazillion trees decorated to the hilt......if you're within 100 miles, it's worth the drive. I'm going back....but on a week night...hoping for shorter lines ;)

December 01 2010 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wishing for a change

I am seriously beginning to doubt the credibility of whoever writes these articles.

Point 1. In my few travel I have whitnessed many light displays that blow the ones on this list out of the water.

Point 2. Most of the places on this list were picked solely because of where they are instead of how specatular they actually are... or are not I should say.

Point 3. I have been noticing these kinds of problems vastly increasing in the aol news articles.

My last point is this- I don't complain to start comment wars or get people upset or in trouble. I just really want to see the aol news articles improve in their accuracy and research department.

Oh and if anyone wanted to know, New Orleans city park has an awesome drive through tour and walking tour of their lights displays.

The Gatliberg area is lovely to drive around in this time of year as well.

December 01 2010 at 1:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What on earth was the author of this article thinking?? Evidently, they are very easily impressed by junk. I am afraid I must wholeheartedly agree with epihanyy Huntington Beach Harbor Lights?? Give us a break. The picture looks like any other photo of a bay city at night. Having dual residence in Florida and Missouri, what on earth were you thinking with Branson, MO. Big deal, they have a few lights up--good for them and no disrepect intended for those who worked on that project. However, the author missed the boat on Christmas light displays by omitting the Kansas City Plaza Lights. This is a nationally known display and merits mention more than our little backwater "Nashville" wanna be of Branson. AOL--please, check up on your writers. It was good to see that this one atleast had the common sense to remember the Washington DC Tree, and Rockafeller Center. Let's try to be more accurate on your reports. Not just someone out joyriding around the country spending their expense account. And yes, Disneyland rocks at Christmas!

December 01 2010 at 1:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Check out 34th Street and surrounding streets in Hampden, Maryland - rowhouse neighborhoods where everyone on the block decorates. It's great, hon!

December 01 2010 at 1:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are you kidding me, The Country Club plaza in Kansas City has to be on this list.

December 01 2010 at 12:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Libby - your article is seriously lacking research if the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA is not in it.

December 01 2010 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steamer Grady

Christmas Tree Lane in Fresno, CA. Started in the 1920's because of the death of a youngster. People started decorating their houses in the neighborhood and it just grew. Think it's about five miles long now...really miss that since we moved to Idaho.

December 01 2010 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply