6 Great Places to See Holiday Lights

6 Great Places to See Holiday Lights

It’s becoming more and more of a problem every year and something has to be done about it.  Christmas decorations are showing up far too early.  Late October in some major department stores. Really?!!  I firmly believe that holiday lights should not be seen until the day after Thanksgiving, but then should be seen and experienced as much as possible.  There’s not much time left so I’m busy thinking about some of the great places around the country that really pull out the stops when it comes to holiday decoration.  Here are my top picks that you are sure to enjoy this holiday season:

Legendary Christmas Lights at Clifton Mill, Ohio

The lights at Clifton Mill are quite an attraction and a local favorite.  Located to the east of Dayton near Yellow Springs, the amazing display takes 6 men about 3 months to assemble and is one of the biggest with over 3.5 million lights.  As you would expect, kids can peek into Santa’s Workshop to see how Santa is progressing toward the big night.  There is a 100 foot waterfall of lights, a Miniature Village and Santa Claus Museum.  My favorite is the old covered bridge.  If you arrive in the evening, the lights go out every hour on the hour and then with the flip of a switch, all 3.5 million lights come back on at once for a spectacular show!

Web Clifton Mill 013

Dyker Heights in Brooklyn

One of the most over the top displays of Christmas lights I’ve ever seen is practically in my backyard.  Every year the residents of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn spare no expense (especially when it comes to  their electric bills) to put on a stunning display of lights, statues and daring feats of electrical engineering.  Each house is a separate treat and there is clearly some brinkmanship between neighbors to pull off the biggest display of the year.  Some of you might think this looks a little familiar, you might be right!

Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore, Maryland

Another neighborhood famous for making a bright spectacle of itself every holiday is located in Baltimore, Maryland.   Residents living along East 34th Street in the charming neighborhood of Hampden decorate to the 9’s and there are some real bragging rights to those that can generate the biggest wows.  The show goes on for blocks and blocks along what locals call “The Avenue” and is celebrated as “The Miracle on 34th Street.”  Just so your warned, Hampden is ground zero for celebrating Baltimore’s famous  “Hon” culture,  so you’ll be in good company if you break out your cat eyeglasses, pile your hair as high as it can go and wrap yourself in as much metallic tinsel as you can manage.

Flickr Image by Phillywrite

Lights Under Louisville in Kentucky

Every year the Louisville MEGA Cavern is lit up in spectacular style for the holiday season.  Located southwest of Louisville in a 100-acre cavern that used to be a quarry, this man-made underground adventure land now lies under numerous roadways. Your family will take a 30-40 minute ride through underground passages that are full of colorful characters and over 2 million lights.  There are over 850 different displays to see as you drive your own car through this one-of-a-kind holiday experience.  If you can, go during the week, it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.  It’s one of the most unique holiday light displays you’ll ever see.

Lights Under Louisville

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Walt Disney World

Located at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, this awesome display of many millions of lights is the result of an Arkansas man’s gift for his 6-year-old daughter that kept growing bigger and bigger every holiday season.  Eventually, the Osborne family’s holiday lights were so big and elaborate that eventually Disney had to step-in and give the display a permanent home.  This exceptional holiday experience is synchronized to music and you can even buy a set of mouse ears that glow in sync with the dancing lights.  It’s very cool to become part of the light show with your glowing ears!

osborne Family

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Some people living in the southern and western parts of the U.S. sometimes complain that the warmer temperatures make it hard to feel festive.  Perhaps this year’s 41st Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights might help to jazz things up?  Every year, more than 100 boats are adorned with thousands of blinking lights, ornaments and on-board revelers before parading along the San Diego waterfront.  The boats are judged in a variety of competitive classes, so some lucky skippers will be getting bragging rights for Christmas!  This party is so big, they have it twice, so be sure to partake in the holiday fun on either the 9th or 16th of December.

Flickr Image by San Diego Shooter

I know there are thousands and thousands of other destinations that I missed.  Why don’t you tell us where you go to see holiday lights?

Read more:

Holiday Spirit in NYC

Top Picks for Travel Gifts

My Holiday Survival Guide

How to Avoid Travel Rage


  1. Maria December 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    La Salette Shrine in North Attleboro, Massachusetts! Thousands of lights and Christmas scene displays on acres of Land. Absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Kelli Bosarge December 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Magic Christmas In Lights at Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile County, Alabama is a place that no Christmas light lover should miss!

  3. Shaboopi December 13, 2013 at 1:15 am - Reply

    Rock City on Lookout Mountain, GA

  4. RobRob December 14, 2013 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Oh, Samantha, we are totally with you! Every season, I have a Banned for the Holidays list. If a store has too much up before Thanksgiving week, I won’t be back until after the holidays. It’s my own little protest with my wallet. (Craft type stores excluded because, well, you have to get an early start on those.) Who knows? Maybe it will catch on and stores will feel it. I’m afraid only then will they back down.

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