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5 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. Located to the east of Dayton near Yellow Springs, the amazing display takes six men about three months to assemble. It’s one of the country’s biggest, with over 3.5 million lights. 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!

5 Great Places to See Holiday Lights

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 every holiday is located in Baltimore, Maryland. Residents living along East 34th Street in the charming neighborhood of Hampden decorate to the nines. There are some real bragging rights to those that can generate the biggest wows.  he 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.

5 Great Places to See Holiday Lights
Flickr Image by Phillywrite

Lights Under Louisville in Kentucky

Every year the Louisville MEGA Cavern lights 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 full of colorful characters and over 2 million lights. See over 850 different displays 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.

5 Great Places to See Holiday Lights

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 the 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 check the calendar.

5 Great Places to See Holiday Lights
Flickr Image by San Diego Shooter

I know there are thousands of other destinations that I missed. Tell us where you go to see holiday lights!

Opinion: Christmas decor shouldn't be seen until after Thanksgiving. At that point, I say game on! Here's my favorite places to see holiday lights.

Read more:

Holiday Spirit in NYC

Top Picks for Travel Gifts

My Holiday Survival Guide

How to Avoid Travel Rage

This Post Has 12 Comments

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

  2. 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.

  3. Unfortunately, this is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Walt Disney World, due to the construction of the new Star Wars Land, that will take over the area where the Lights are now.

  4. So Sad this is the last year for the Osborne Lights at Disney. Just another sacrifice in the name of progress. Was a fantastic choice Samantha for you to include. We will be celebrating in the World for Christmas so we can experience this one last time on Christmas Eve.

  5. Celebration in the Oaks. City Park New Orleans Louisiana. So beautiful to see all the displays and the decorated Oaks. You can take a Carriage Ride through the park.

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