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America's Best Christmas Light Displays

10. Louisville Mega Cavern's Lights Under Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

The Louisville Mega Cavern has a lot of neat things to do, but one of the standouts is "Lights Under Louisville." Drive your car through the underground cavern's 30-minute trail of underground passages filled with over 2,000,000 points of light. There aren't any neighbors to complain down here, so they're free to go berserk with the display.

(image via VideoMitch)


9. Christmas on Main Street at Silver Dollar City

Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri, isn't known for subtlety. It's about as big, gaudy, and ridiculous as they come. But sometimes, more is more, and that's certainly the case for Christmas on Main Street. The display promises a "5-story special effects Christmas tree" covered in 350,000 LED lights. Whatever a special effects tree is, it sounds awesome. And that's just the centerpiece.

(image via Branson Christmas)


8. Trail of Lights at Zilker Park

Austin, Texas

For 50 years, Zilker Park has been the site of a winter wonderland. The home of ACL instead hosts the Trail of Lights, which winds for over a mile through lit, festive scenes and 100 lighted trees, including a 155-foot artificial tree, a fun run, and a stage for live entertainment (it is Austin, after all). This year there will be a $3 fee during the last week, but in addition to the lights, there's also a carousel, a Ferris wheel, and more.

(image via Eugenia Farrell)


7. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Orlando, Florida

Aside from being a mouthful, this massive light show at Disney's Hollywood Studios boasts some five million lights, all synchronized to cheerful holiday music. The lengthy name actually references the fact that his massive display started in a private home. Jennings Osborne and his family adorned their Arkansas home with an ever-growing collection of lights, until deciding they needed a more public home. The one downside is that, in order to see them, you do have to pay entrance to a Disney park, which can get pricey fast.

(image via Disney Parks)


6. Chris Birkett's Winter Wonderland

Scottsdale, Arizona

Maybe this should've been on our day trip to Scottsdale, but it's a pretty seasonal attraction. We've talked before about Chris Burkett's display of 250,000 lights—a complaining neighbor more or less drove him out of the neighborhood—but he moved out to a place where he could set up his Christmas lights in peace, and it's a thing of beauty.

(image via Cliff Gaines)


5. Festival of Lights at Mission Inn

Riverside, California

Duane and Kelly Roberts have run the Mission Inn after saving it from destruction in 1992. They consider this massive display of over 4 million lights to be their gift to the community. In addition to the plethora of lights, there's also carriage rides, visits from Santa Claus, and the world's largest manmade mistletoe.

(image via alphaba2 ANN SUNDE)


4. Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Glittering Lights is a pretty unique event. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway runs about 2.5 million lights over a 2.5-mile course with gleaming tunnels made of lights, and animated patterns and displays along the road. It costs $20 per car to visit, though discounts are made for online ticket purchases and for bringing a bag of donations for Goodwill. There's also a pajama run for charity, a live nativity, and more.

(image via Jazzy Jeff)


3. Tacky Lights Tour

Richmond, Virginia

The city of Richmond really loves a good light display. Every year, dozens of homes across the entire city try to out-gauche each other with the biggest, brightest, most festive lights displays in town. The event encompasses so many neighborhoods that the local paper runs guides on how to plan your route, and it's such a big deal locally that they have a mailing list just for Tacky Lights news. Local limos and buses have special pages on their websites just for the Tacky Lights Tour. Stuff like this is always more fun when the whole town gets in on it, and Richmond sure seems to know it.

(image via christmasonwendhurst)


2. Hyatt Extreme Christmas

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We've mentioned the Hyatt's before, although their story didn't have the clean resolution that Chris Birkett got. Still, whatever the neighbors may say about it, 200,000 lights and a Ferris wheel make for a heck of a display when they're in one private plot of land, and they take the opportunity to raise money for local charities. Just try and keep the lawsuits out of your mind as you walk down the closed roads to see the show.

(image via Hyatt Extreme Christmas)


1. Night of Lights

St. Augustine, Florida

A more sanctioned Floridian display is St. Augustine's Night of Lights. St. Augustine's lights are actually part of their rich Spanish heritage. Tradition had locals place a white candle in the window at Christmastime. That tradition has blossomed into a display with some two million lights. There's no ticket required to take in the city's beauty, but they do recommend that you stay overnight to make the most of it. You can drive or walk, but there are also pedicabs and carriages, as well as the Old Town Trolley and Ripley's Red Train.

(image via Rico Jurawan)