Since February we’ve done our best to stick to socially distanced activities while masking up. We have gone months without seeing family and close friends, navigated the world of online everything and missed out on some big life moments. The silver lining is that because of those choices a lot of us have remained safe and healthy. As we embark on the most magical time of year, pandemic fatigue becomes more and more real in our lives. At this point, all of us are so tired of everything being different, right? The good news? Holiday cheer is alive and well throughout the country and many seem to be doing it big this year when it comes to decorating the exteriors of their homes. Gather up the loved ones in your household and embark on a fun car ride around your neighborhood to explore all the Christmas lights and décor that line the streets. This is sure to be a tradition that lasts the ages. Check out our top picks for the best places to see over-the-top (in the best way possible!) Christmas lights.
Manhattan, New York
When we think iconic Christmas magic, NYC always tops our list. From the glorious and legendary Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center to ice skating and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, NYC never ceases to amaze us with their all-out Christmas celebrations. With the impact of COVID on NYC, and the country, the viewing of the famous tree is a bit different this year, but still very much alive. Take a stroll through the city, indulge in some decadent hot chocolate and take in all the glory that comes with Christmastime in the Big Apple.
If you’re in search of Christmas in the desert, look no further than Glendale, Arizona. Offering up nightly magic (until January 11th!) as part of their Glendale Glitters spectacular, Historic downtown Glendale is the place to be to take in all things Christmas cheer. Boasting over 1.6 million lights, this drive through display is sure to please everyone in your family. The best part? This is a socially distanced activity that can be enjoyed from the warmth and comfort of your car. Bonus points if you pack delicious themed snacks and play Christmas music as you ride through.
Los Angeles, California
The city where dreams take flight doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Christmas lights are abound throughout the city in both residential areas and famous shopping centers, so, pick your favorite area and explore. We suggest checking out one of the very prominent Candy Cane Lanes, appropriately named for the plethora of holiday cheer that can be found in these residential communities. You will be pleased to find neighborhoods, in these areas, with full streets on display. This option is free and can be viewed from your car. If you’re looking for a bit more structure, consider visiting LA’s zoo where they light up the entirety of the place with Christmas light displays. This option is also car-friendly, but an admission fee is charged.
Nothing screams Christmas quite like the falling snow that covers the ground in beautiful Denver, Colorado this time of year. If you’re in the area and looking for a spot to relish in the lights of the season, we encourage you to check out Denver Botanic Garden’s famous Blossoms of Light show. This glorious event runs from November to mid-January, transforming the garden grounds to a holiday light show spectacular. These are not your typical Santa-themed light displayed, but more of an ode to the beauty of all things floral and outdoors. The lights are fascinating to all ages.
There is a reason Branson coins itself, the “America’s Christmas Tree City.” When it comes to holiday spirit they are in direct competition with Santa and that’s kind of a big deal! From live shows to Christmas festivals and extraordinary light displays, Branson has it all when it comes to bringing the cheer. There are various holiday light displays that can be viewed via car or on foot. The most popular displays include those along Branson Landing, the Trail of Lights, Branson’s Light of Joy and the Let There Be lights guided tour. Explore to their Christmas heart’s content throughout the season and take in all that Branson has to offer.
Holiday lights are synonymous with Christmas cheer and a must-view when it comes to filling up our Christmas to-do list. Enjoy the lights in your neighborhood on foot or by car and consider exploring one of these fun cities to boost your holiday spirit and enjoy the most wonderful time of year in a safe and healthy way.