Cake icon

We’re celebrating 10 years of Wanderu by giving away $10,000 in free travel!  See details ››

Get Glowing to These 10 Sparkly Displays of Holiday Lights

It’s time to light it up! Everything gets a little brighter this season as displays of holiday lights begin to glow. Here’s where you can find some of the most spectacular sparkly attractions across the country!

Blink! – Boston, MA

Photo Courtesy Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Photo Courtesy Faneuil Hall Marketplace

The lights turn on early at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Blink! began the weekend before Thanksgiving with a Tree Lighting Spectacular, and the light and sound show continues nightly through January 1st. Shows run every half hour from 4:30 to 9:30 pm, so you have plenty of chances to bask in the glow of over 350,000 LED lights while being serenaded with the sounds of the Holiday Pops.

The holiday tree at the center of Blink! is actually the largest in the Northeast – even bigger than the one in Rockefeller Center!

How to get there: Book a trip to Boston from New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and beyond!

Rockefeller Center – New York City, NY

Photo by Anthony Quintano / Flickr
Photo by Anthony Quintano / Flickr

Though Boston’s tree might be bigger, Rockefeller Center is still iconic in its celebration of the season! The tree was lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 30 in a spectacle live in NYC and broadcasted around the world. The tree stays aglow, presiding over the ice rink and 30 Rock Plaza, until January 7th.

How to get there: Grab a ticket to NYC from Boston, Philly, Washington, DC, and anywhere around the country for this famous celebration!

LA Zoo Lights – Los Angeles, CA

Courtesy the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
Courtesy the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association

In Griffith Park, the second year of LA Zoo Lights replaces the old drive-through DWP Holiday Light Festival with a fun walk through the zoo. Playful monkeys made out of lights lead you around to visit other glowing animals including elephants, a rhino, and a giant snake. Putting the Hollywood spin on the scene is the ultimate attraction – animals sparkling on a red carpet! The show will be open through January 8th.

How to get there: Take a ride to LA from San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and so many more cities!

Celebration in the Oaks – New Orleans, LA

Photo Courtesy New Orleans City Park Archives
Photo Courtesy New Orleans City Park Archives

With lovely lagoons, oak groves, and cypress trees, New Orleans City Park provides a gorgeous backdrop for twinkly lights! From the dripping snow tree to the floating pirate ship to the glowing unicorn, you can find displays to make anyone smile. If you’re lucky, you might even spot Mister Bingle, the merriest part of the holidays in New Orleans! You can visit this holiday attraction until January 1st.

How to get there: Make your way to New Orleans from Houston, Dallas, Austin and lots of other cities, too!

Glittering Lights – Las Vegas, NV

Photo by David Tingey (Shots Fired Photos)
Photo by David Tingey (Shots Fired Photos)

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway turns into a spectacle of lights from November 18th to January 7th. Instead of watching race cars, you can drive your own car through Glittering Lights! Over 3 million LED lights make up 500 displays, with a spectacular view of the Vegas strip behind them.

How to get there: Take a ride to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and then rent a car to take your turn on the speedway!

ZooLights – Chicago, IL

Photo Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago turns the holiday lights through January 1rd (Fri-Sun only until December 9th). And while the animals are sleeping, you can party at some of the special events!

They even offer an Adults Night Out so you can get your fix of festive lights – and warm spiced wine! – without tripping over toddlers.

How to get there: Book a trip to Chicago from Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Detroit, Grand Rapids, MI and more, then make your way to Lincoln Park on the CTA (and you might even catch the holiday train or bus)!

Trail of Lights – Austin, TX

Photo by Maggie Boyd
Photo by Maggie Boyd

Running through Austin’s Zilker Park, the 1.25-mile Trail of Lights is a beloved holiday tradition in the city. Each night December 10th through December 23rd, you will be able to stroll at your own pace and appreciate the splendor of the lights in one Austin’s most beautiful parks.

How to get there: Arrive in Austin with a ticket from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and outside Texas, too!

Blossoms of Light – Denver, CO

Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin
Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin

The Denver Botanic Gardens is always full of gorgeous plants, but from November 29, 2019 through January 1st, 2020, the Blossoms of Light are in bloom! Thousands of lights illuminate the Gardens, and, if you purchase special 3D glasses, these lights transform into different holiday shapes right in front of your eyes!

How to get there: Snag a ticket from Salt Lake City, Oklahoma CityAlbuquerque, and even more cities!

ZooLightsWashington, DC

Photo by S Pakhrin / Flickr
Photo by S Pakhrin / Flickr

Find lights galore at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC! ZooLights features over half a million LED lights which transform the zoo into a sparkly wonderland from November 25th to January 1st (except December 24th and 25th). Also, even though they’re not lit up, the Gin-GRR-bread Small Animal Habitats are completely adorable!

But the most fun might be found on Lion/Tiger Hill where you can go ZooTubing on 150-foot long snowless tracks!

How to get there: Book a trip to DC from Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and beyond!

Garden Lights – Atlanta, GA

Photo by Lindsay T / Flickr
Photo by Lindsay T / Flickr

Garden Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is celebrating its year of delighting with light! From November 12th through January 7th, you can wander in awe through the Tunnel of Lights, the Glittering Galaxy, the Radiant Rainforest, and many more displays. One of the coolest features is the Orchestral Orbs, glowing shapes which light up in rhythm to holiday music.

How to get there: Make your way to Atlanta from Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh and other places around the country!

Book a ticket now on Wanderu to make your holiday season shine bright!

Like what you read?
Spread the word:

About the author
Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski is on a mission to spread delight while inspiring and encouraging people to travel. Her favorite travel companion is her teddy bear, and her favorite souvenir is the scar from the broken nose she got in a snowball fight in Québec City.

Wander with us!

No monkey business, just cheap deals on bus & train travel, straight to your email inbox

Come wander with us!

Follow us for travel hacks, inspo, and deals right in your feed: