Here are 10 of the best Christmas lights from across the country.
Billings’ Scavenger Hunt
Starting with the most traditional of all the entries here for best Christmas lights, we begin in Billings, Montana. At first glance, this town seems to be like many others with the usual neighborhood competition for the best display.
However, this is a much broader community working together for a big town-wide display. This means that visitors and local people can spend the season exploring and comparing the different homes.
The best part is the downloadable scavenger hunt where players hunt for weird and hidden items among the displays. This adds a sense of wonder to the new designs.
Chandler’s Tumbleweed Tree
The town of Chandler, AZ, consistently proves that you don’t need a traditional Christmas tree for the best Christmas lights. In fact, 2016 was the 60th anniversary of this brilliant tradition.
Instead of typical evergreen pine, the town stack up tumbleweeds into a pyramid. They then spray them with paint and glitter for the sense of a snowy, sparkly tree and add lights. That’s roughly 1000 tumbleweeds in a 25ft tall frame, 20 gallons of paint, 65 pounds of glitter and 1,200 lights. It is something to see to believe.
Telluride’s Norse Ritual
The next example of the best Christmas lights in the US is an unusual tree of an entirely different variety. Locals construct the Telluride Ski Resort Ski tree entirely from unwanted skis.
The curved wooden boards replicate the shapes of the branches pretty well. With the light and the star on top, it is hard to tell the difference from a distance.
The high point with this fun Colorado tradition is the ceremonial burning for the Norse god Ullr – who happens to be the patron god of skiers. It is an excellent way to bless the new year for keen skiers.
Yuletide at Winterthur
Sometimes it is not the outdoor lights that capture the interest of visitors but the indoor ones. Some of the best displays at stately homes mansions are the ones where the owners have taken just as much care inside.
An excellent example of this is the “Yuletide at Winterthur” display at the DuPont mansion in Delaware. The lights are pretty, but it is the way they complement the dried flower arrangements that set them apart.
It is a more traditional approach that is a nice change to the bright lights.
Brookgreen Garden’s Nights of a Thousand Candles
On the subject of traditional lights, they don’t get more old-fashioned than candles. This is precisely what visitors will find at Brookgreen Garden’s Nights of a Thousand Candles.
The 2016 display saw 5,500 candles in the grounds to complement the 80ft tree. The Victorian vibe gets enhanced by the carolers and complimentary cider.
It is a nice break from the excessive displays and common themes of many towns. It goes to show that South Carolina still know how to do Christmas right.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s Light-Up Animals
Other times, it is all about the location. Many places make use of the fact that they can create an impressive display in an unusual setting.
One of the best Christmas lights displays in an unusual setting has to be Lincoln Park Zoo in Illinois. The highlight here is the menagerie of illuminated animals, but there are other activities to enjoy and musical light shows.
Plus, there is something special about being in a zoo so late, seeing Santa with the animals.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Glittering Lights Display
Another unknown location is the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This may not sound like the most obvious place to find the best Christmas lights. However, the place transforms in the winter time.
The Glittering Lights display covers the track with string upon string of LED lights for a circuit with a difference. Drivers are strongly advised to take their time and admire the display like a drive-thru, rather than a race.
Last year, the facility added to the festivities with the Santa Tram to diversify the experience.
Louisville Mega Cavern’s Underground Treat
Clearly, there is a lot of fun in driving around to see these displays and creating something of a tour. This is where Louisville’s Mega Cavern, KY, is out to prove it has the best Christmas lights for motorists.
The cavern is a network of 17 miles of passages, which means a 30-minute ride past some impressive displays. There are over 2 million lights involved, and the darkness of the cavern just makes them shine even brighter. It is a Christmas tour with a difference.
Coeur d’Alene’s Journeys To The North Pole Cruise
In case drive-thru displays and tunnels are the norms for some festive travelers, there is always the option to leave the land behind.
The Coeur d’Alene cruise vessel is a whole other way to see some of the best Christmas lights on offer in Idaho. This tour travels past little islands covered in lights, with the displays beautifully reflected in the water. There is also the chance to make a night of it and book a cabin.
Huckleberry Railroad’s Polar Express Tour
Alternatively, festive visitors to Michigan can take a more traditional mode of transport in the form of the Polar Express locomotive. The train travels past Christmas lights on a magical journey for a new way to see these decorations. The final destination if Crossroads Village, where Santa awaits beside a brilliant craft market.
This last option is the sort of treat that is more of a day out than some of the other events. It is sure to provide plenty of fond memories for kids of all ages. Now if you still want more options there are more places in the United States that have spectacular light display just research and plan your trip.