7 great places to see Christmas lights in the USA

Heading to the USA this Christmas holiday? There’s nothing better to get you feeling festive than a show of cheery seasonal lights. Here’s our pick of some of the best holiday light shows in the USA.

Night of Lights, Mammoth Lakes, California

Set in the snowy, mountain resort of Mammoth Lakes, in California, Night of Lights is a free, fun, family-friendly evening for all ages based at Canyon Lodge. Expect live music, a torchlight parade, kids activities including snowmobile rides, tubing, face painting, balloon artist, Letters to Santa writing, followed by a spectacular firework show and the first ever screening of “Fire on the Mountain”, a film project created by local Mammoth athlete Chris Benchetler and filmed partly at Mammoth Mountain. Visitors can watch the show by the roaring bonfires or opt for the VIP package for an outdoor viewing experience five stories above the crowds. 

Botanical Night of Lights, Paradise Coast, Florida

You can get into the Christmas spirit on a winter sun beach holiday if you head to Florida’s Paradise Coast for a Night of Lights at the Naples Botanical Garden. You’ll find palm trees covered in thousands of lights and enjoy performances from the Opera Naples Youth Chorus, Naples Ballet and other local artists. 

Lighting of the Snowmen, Sonoma County, California

The holiday light show in Sonoma County comes in the form of smiling snowmen. At the annual Lighting of the Snowmen ceremony on 7 December at Cornerstone Sonoma, hundreds of smiling snowmen are arranged in a different way every year. After the festival, the lit snowmen remain on display until the end of December, creating a unique wine country backdrop for the holiday season. There’s a festive atmosphere during the holiday season throughout this county, known for its excellent wines, with events and colourful decorations at local wineries.    

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, Orlando, Florida

For five weeks in the run up to New Year, SeaWorld in Orlando turns into a sparkling winter wonderland, illuminated with more than 3 million twinkling lights. There are showstopping lights at the Sea of Trees, too, where 100 twinkling Christmas trees sparkle to music as they light up the water, including a giant shimmering centrepiece that towers 70 feet above the water. You’ll also experience a whole raft of award-winning entertainment, from the brand new Sesame Street Christmas Parade to seasonal shows like O Wondrous Night. There are plenty of fun experiences for kids - they can  rub noses with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or head to Wild Arctic and visit Santa Claus. This year for the first time, visitors can even have a festive meal with Santa Claus, served by his Kitchen Elves.



Tropical-themed Christmas parade, Santa Barbara, California

More than 65,000 spectators will line the streets of Santa Barbara for the city’s only night-time parade, on 6 December 2019. Expect a lively and memorable event, with high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday-themed floats, spectacular performance groups and local celebrities. This year’s theme is ‘Tropical Holiday’, so visitors will be decked out in colourful Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts and leis.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town, Tampa Bay, Florida  

The holiday lights at Busch Gardens reach new heights this year, with millions of Christmas lights sparkling beneath them as they coast by on some of Florida’s best thrill rides. The park’s newest addition, Tigris - Florida’s tallest launch coaster - is also decorated for Christmas with light displays inspired by the attraction. Near Tigris, guests can stroll through another holiday highlights: the new Luminosity Lane – an immersive light tunnel synchronised to favourite festive tunes.


Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia 

Orchestral Orbs glow in time to classic holiday tunes during Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Georgia. Visitors are invited to take a magical walk through a sparkling Tunnel of Light, from the radiant Ice Goddess to the Glittering Galaxy. This epic light show in the centre of Midtown Atlanta was named one of the top 10 holiday light shows in the country by USA Today. Until 11 January. 

Posted on: 01/12/2019

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