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The Best Drive-Thru Christmas Lights in the US

I’m all about the drive-thru Christmas lights.

The holidays are upon us. It’s normally a time of tradition, celebration and travel. But this year? Not so much. We’re being encouraged to cancel the big family dinners, cocktail parties and group gatherings. It’s sad, and it’s necessary. That’s why I am committed to finding safe ways to partake in the season. What better way to do so than checking out drive-thru light displays? Here are a handful from across the country. What am I missing? Share in the comments!

Elf on the Shelf Drive-Thru Magical Journey

Where: Pomona, CA
Dates: Now through January 3, 2021

Drive thru christmas lightsCome Christmas, there are two kinds of parents: The ones who really get into the Elf on the Shelf thing, creating elaborate schemes and scenes… and then there’s the rest of us. Either way, kids and adults alike will love LA’s all-new, one-of-a-kind immersive experience with The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey. Drive-thru the quest to build more Christmas Spirit, as you and your crew magically shrink down to elf size, enjoying a dazzling light spectacle with toy-repair workshops, gingerbread villages, and all the sights and sounds of the holidays.

 

Trail of Lights

Where: Austin, TX – Zilker Park
Dates: November 29 – January 3

drive thru lights
The 56th annual Trail of Lights celebration will be a drive-thru experience this year. It’s just as magical as ever, with two million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees, and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. You pay by the car load, with a few different ticket options available to best fit your needs (PS one includes Christmas cookies, so you know which one I’d be picking).

Fantasy of Lights

Where: Lighthouse Point Park – New Haven, CT
Dates: November 20 – December 31

drive thru christmas lightsFor 26 years, Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven hosts the Fantasy of Lights, an LED-fueled holiday extravaganza. In this drive-thru event, cars travel through more than a mile of colorful holiday lights. Each display is sponsored by a local area business, corporation, individual or organization. Entry ticket is per car, so pack up the minivan, stock up on snacks and hot cocoa, and let yourself be magically whisked away to a winter wonderland.

 

Lights on the Lake

Where: Liverpool, New York
Dates: November 16 – January 10

Lights on the Lake - Christmas drive thru lightsSay hello to one of the largest and longest light displays in New York State! Lights on the Lake is a two-mile long drive-thru show featuring towering holiday displays, larger-than life Land of Oz, a twinkling fantasy forest, impressive colorful arches, animated scenes and a grand finale that I will not spoil for you.  Set your radio to Sunny102 and let the Christmas carols fly.

GLOW Holiday Festival

Where: Minnesota State Fair Grounds – St Paul, MN
Dates: Nov. 19 through Jan. 3

GLOW holiday festival - Christmas drive thru lights

The Great Minnesota Get-Together gets a Holiday makeover in 2020. This drive-thru experience features a one-mile route through the fairgrounds, which will be decked out with more than 1 million lights, a 100-foot illuminated tree, icicle and art installations, a gingerbread house and more. There’s a food court onsite, with a handful of delicious sweet and savory items, which will be packaged up to be eaten either in your car or off-site.

 

The Holiday Fantasy of Lights

Where: Tradewinds Park – Coconut Creek, Florida
Dates: Nov. 25-Jan. 2

CHristmas Drive thru lightsThis year marks the 26th time Tradewinds Park morphs into a winter wonderland…well, as close as you can get to winter wonderland in the state of Florida. The park is decked in a fantasy of color, lights and design this holiday season. Drive through three miles of giant animated holiday displays and illuminated trees.


World of Illumination

Where: Six Flags in Marietta, Georgia,
2 more locations in Tempe, AZ and Glendale, AZ
Dates: November 20 – January 3

World of Illumination - Drive thru christmas lights

Live near in the Atlanta area? You must’ve been good this year, because the World of Illumination, the world’s largest drive-through animated light show, is coming in as hot as Santa’s sleigh with a new holiday theme park called Candy Rush. Located at Six Flags White Water in Marietta, the Christmas and candy-themed attraction features millions of lights that are fully synchronized to popular holiday music. In addition to the RGB LED lights, which are customizable to up to 16 million different shades of color, World of Illumination’s Candy Rush also showcases hundreds of animated displays. When completed, it will be the largest candy-cane structure in the world.

Christmas in Color – 6 Locations!

Where: South Jordan, UT; Morrison, CO; Federal Height, CO; San Dimas, CA; Shakopee, MN; Garden City, ID
Dates: Vary by location

drive thru christmas lightsThis one’s got it all– giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways… and 6 locations across the country. Drive through millions of lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music played right through your car’s radio. Take your time enjoying this lighting extravaganza, and be prepared to wipe smudges off the interior windows from everyone pressing their hands and faces to get a better look.

Where are you going to check out the holiday lights? Share in the comments!

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The holidays are upon us. We’re being encouraged to cancel the big family dinners, cocktail parties and group gatherings. It’s sad, and it’s necessary. That’s why I am committed to finding safe ways to partake in the season. What better way to do so than checking out drive-thru light displays? Here are a handful from across the country.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I live not too far from Liverpool, NY and I have to agree that the Lights on the Lake Christmas display is wonderful and worth a trip. The grandkids love it!

  2. Samantha – Here in the Detroit area, we’ve had two drive-thru light displays for years with more being created this year. You can check them out If you look for Downtown Rochester Lights and Wayne County Lightfest at Hines Park.

    Love all your Places to Love episodes. Followed all of your recommendations on our trip to Key West last Spring.

    Hope you and your family have a great holiday season.
    Tim Adamski

  3. Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo has the best of both worlds ~ some nights are walk through (with cleaning and social distancing) and others are drive through. Absolutely terrific either way!

  4. I remember in the 60s in So Cal. Santa Clause lane. There was a street with an island in the middle strechingbthe length and every house decorated to the teeth and the center showing the manger story. Every year.

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