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Winter Getaway Packages

Biggest Light Festivals for the Holidays

November 28, 2017 -

With the holidays right around the corner, destinations are stepping up their game with over-the-top light displays to attract new visitors, Instagrammers and locals alike. Simply going to see decorated store windows doesn't quite cut it anymore.

Options range from twinkling Parisian displays in the “City of Light” to a four-mile driving tour of illuminated lights in a Kentucky horse park, or fireworks lighting up an entire Danish lake and a Floridian city that boasts three miles of two million shimmering lights.

Here are seven of the most outrageous holiday light displays across the world:

Paris, France – Christmas Lights: From November until January, Paris embraces its name as The City of Light, adorning the streets with sparkling illuminations, twinkling trees and bright archways. To soak up the best of the city’s lights, travelers can book a sightseeing coach tour through Paris Cityvision, which shows off Paris’ most iconic streets and monuments – including the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées Avenue, and Opéra Garnier – dressed up in their finest holiday lights.

St. Augustine, FL – Nights of Lights: During St. Augustine’s annual Nights of Lights, one of the most anticipated holiday lights show in the country, millions of white lights sparkle across the every corner of the nation’s oldest city from Thanksgiving through January. Located in the heart of action on the Nights of Lights trolley tour path, guests at the new Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens (opened in March) will find themselves immersed in a winter wonderland, as the property will offer its own illuminating lights, and a special Nights of Lights offer featuring two trolley tickets and two complimentary cocktails at The Well Bar.

Lexington, KY – Southern Lights: Featuring tens of thousands of shimmering lights, Southern Lights is Kentucky’s largest light festival – on display nightly at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY from November 17th through December 31st. Visitors are awed at the park’s four-mile route, watching animated scenes including “horses of light” racing or clearing steeplechases in the famed Bluegrass pastures. The experience also includes interactions with Santa, his reindeer and elves, along with a model railway exhibit.

Finger Lakes, NY – Lights on the Lake: One of the gateways to the Finger Lakes region, Syracuse celebrates the holidays with Lights on the Lake, a two-mile, drive-through holiday light show in Onondaga Lake Park. Featuring towering holiday displays, a larger-than-life land of Oz, twinkling fantasy forest, Victorian villages and a variety of animated scenes, driving through the Lights on the Lake is a top Syracuse holiday tradition.

Charleston, SC – Holiday Festival of Lights: After 28 years of Charleston’s beloved Holiday Festival of Lights, the annual event at the James Island County Park remains one of the South’s most sought after attractions from November through January. Featuring two million shimmering lights, an enchanting three-mile driving tour with interactive lakeside lights and a dancing display, marshmallow roasting and an old-fashioned carousal, guests staying at the historic Andrew Pinckney Inn can enjoy complimentary admission and shuttle service to the festival through the property’s 12 Days of Christmas program.

Orlando, FL – Lights Over Water: Those staying at the Hilton Orlando can revel in the breathtaking light display at the neighboring SeaWorld Orlando. Renowned for their annual Holiday celebrations, a sea of lighted trees sparkle over the lake in a wintery, watery wonderland, while world-famous skaters twirl on ice nearby.

Copenhagen, Denmark – Tivoli Lake: Locals and tourists alike gather annually to view the breathtaking Christmas lights and fireworks show that illuminate Tivoli Lake the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Located nearby Copenhagen's renowned Tivoli Gardens, this historical two story redbrick villa – complete with a lovely garden and balcony – is the ultimate place to stay and play in the quaint Scandinavian country. By using home swapping sites such as HomeExchange, firework fanatics can choose from 350,000+ listings without ever exchanging money.


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