Your Guide to the 10 Best Christmas Displays in the United States
In the United States, and elsewhere around the world, Christmas lights have become a cultural icon. Over the course of the past century, these lights have significantly improved in quality (largely due to the introduction of LED Christmas lights) and current Christmas lighting displays are more dynamic than ever before.
A beautiful Christmas light display can help unite people from all walks of life and create a common community bond. With flashing lights, coordination with music, and countless other incredible features, modern displays can inspire awe and dazzle passersby.
As a nation with roughly 330 million people, there are plenty of places in the United States where you and your family can witness truly remarkable displays. From the east coast to the west coast, there is almost certainly an incredible Christmas light display well within driving distance.
In this article, we will list ten of our favorite Christmas light displays. These displays have each demonstrated a willingness to install new Christmas light features and attract the attention of all who visit. If any of these locations happen to be where you live, be sure to give these lights a visit.
The Denver Botanical Gardens—which is already interesting enough to be worthy of a visit as it is—puts on one of the most impressive Christmas light displays in the entire state of Colorado. Complete with a 360-degree immersive experience, these tastefully arranged light are sure to create a memorable evening. For three decades, this display has remained a local favorite.
The St. Louis Zoo is not only one of the best zoos in the entire nation, but it is also entirely free. Considered to be one of the most noteworthy attractions in the Midwest, the zoo’s beautiful lakes, gardens, and exhibits become completely covered in lights every winter. The widely praised penguin and polar exhibits help establish the winter theme even further.
San Antonio’s Riverwalk draws patrons from across the state of Texas and even elsewhere around the world. While you are enjoying the Riverwalk, be sure to take in the more than 100,00 LED Christmas lights covering the city’s breathtaking cypress trees. Afterward, treat yourself to some delicious Texas barbeque or a margarita on the rocks.
Though it is smaller than the Brookfield Zoo in the suburbs, the Lincoln Park Zoo offers a charming (and free) urban experience in Chicago. The zoo lights, many of which flash or move, create a fun experience for the entire family. We particularly enjoy the illuminated Ferris Wheel, which offers stunning views of downtown. While you’re in the neighborhood, we recommend also giving the nearby lights at the Botanical Gardens a quick look as well.
Columbus has humbly established itself as the largest city in Ohio—but that’s no surprise to those who live in the area. Designed by Dale Chihuly and Jen Lewin, the display at the Franklin Park Conservatory is one of the highlights of the season. You’ll also find a vast array of impressive gingerbread houses and works of art by local artists.
The Oregon Zoo is one of the best in the region and its light displays are truly remarkable. Supplied by Christmas Designers, one of the leading commercial LED Christmas light suppliers in the nation, you will find an impressive collection of multi-colored lights, flashing lights, snowfall lights, and many others. The Christmas trees and themed displays also add a very memorable touch.
While there are plenty of great lights in the major metro areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco, a quick trip to the central valley will let you see one of the coolest light displays in the Golden State. Christmas Tree Lane, which consists of more than 140 homes and 300 full trees, offers the perfect two-mile stretch of neighborhood holiday fun.
St. Augustine, located on what Floridians have dubbed “the first coast”, may be the oldest city in the nation, but it is certainly keeping up with the times. Catching a trolly and exploring St. Augustine’s uniquely Spanish historic district will make it easy to see an impressive array of LED Christmas lights and tastefully decorated palm trees. Best of all, the average high for the city in December is a pleasant 69 degrees.
As the home of the Grand Canyon, there is no surprise that seemingly everything in Arizona—including their Christmas light displays—is somewhat grand. The World of Illumination is one of the largest drive-through light displays in the country and, in 2019, was able to boast a collection of more than 2 million LED lights. You’ll find displays in both Tempe and Glendale, creating easy access for all residents of the greater Phoenix area.
Can someone say Aloha? As if anyone needed an additional reason to take a trip out to the beautiful island of Oahu, the Honolulu city lights display is certainly worth the voyage. The most notable features of this particular display are the fifty-foot tall Christmas tree and the fantastically illuminated parade. After a long day on Waikiki Beach, these lights will be the perfect way to wrap things up.
Christmas light displays create majesty and bring joy to all those who are willing to witness them. Across the United States, you’ll find plenty of truly dazzling displays, made possible by the development and proliferation of LED lighting technology.
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