20 Magical Places To See Christmas Lights In The DC Area (updated for 2021!)
These Christmas Lights displays in the DC area are truly magical. Make plans to visit one today!
One of the most iconic and magical ways you can celebrate Christmas with your kids is to take them to see Christmas lights. Thousand (or hundreds of thousands) of twinkling lights in creative and playful displays. Some Christmas Lights are walking tours, some are drive through tours.
In the DC area there are so many great places to visit.. too many to see all of them each year. These 16 Christmas Lights displays are some of the best the DC area has to offer.
Check out these amazing Christmas Lights displays!
1. Brookside Gardens Garden of Lights
Step into a magical winter wonderland illuminated with more than one million dazzling colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements.
Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, sparkling fountains, and whimsical winter scenes. Since 1997, the Garden of Lights has been a Baltimore/Washington DC area family holiday tradition.
Garden of Lights | November 19- January 2, 2022 except 22-25 November and 24-25 December | Brookside Gardens | 1800 Glenallan Avenue | Wheaton MD 20902
The night wouldn’t be complete without a visit inside the Conservatory to enjoy watching G-Scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. Afterward, warm up inside the Visitor Center while you sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances.
Find out about advanced ticket sales here:
2. Symphony of Lights
The Symphony of Lights has been a time-honored Howard County holiday tradition enjoyed by many for over 25 years. Set in historic Merriweather Post Pavilion and made up of more than 300,000 bulbs, this family-oriented spectacular is a dazzling display of larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations.
With the addition of new lights and a refreshed course, your time through the twinkling, winding path will surely be a night to remember!
Symphony of Lights is not affiliated with the brand new walk through Ice and Fire event happening on the adjoining property at Symphony Woods produced by The Inner Arbor Trust. There is a separate admission charge for each event.
Address for Symphony of Lights!
Merriweather Post Pavilion
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland 21044
The price is $20 per vehicle, except for specialty nights
No limos, buses or dual axle vehicles are allowed
The drive through entrance is at the intersection of Broken Land Pkwy and Hickory Ridge Rd
All events occur rain, shine or snow
3. Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park
The City’s Winter Lights Festival is getting ready to welcome visitors for its 25th spectacular season. The wondrous display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park will be open nightly November 26 through December 31. Please note that the festival will be closed on December 25.
Important change for 2021! This year advanced ticket sales are required in order to manage the traffic flow! Click the link below to get more info and your tickets!
The 3.5 mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 450 illuminated displays and beautifully lit trees that light up the night. The park is located at 11950 Clopper Road, conveniently accessible from I-270.
- Cars, SUV’s, Mini-Vans, Limos Monday – Thursday: $15
- Cars, SUV’s, Mini-Vans, Limos Friday – Sunday: $25
- 15 to 30 Passenger Vehicles: $30
4. Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park
SPCA of Anne Arundel County is proud to announce the 25th annual Lights on the Bay holiday light show, open to the public on November 21, 2021 and run through January 2, 2022. Taking place at Sandy Point State Park, the event features a two-mile scenic drive along the Chesapeake Bay with approximately 70 animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway.
The 2021 displays range from holiday influenced designs to lights inspired by our very own historic Annapolis. Visitors are awed by the animated lights, including one of the USNA midshipmen tossing hats into the air.
Lights on the Bay has something for everyone in the family. Children can participate in a nightly scavenger hunt, challenging them to find items within the show, answer display-related questions and enter a drawing to win prizes. As always, Santa will make an appearance on Thanksgiving Day.
Sandy Point State Park is located off Route 50, at exit 32, near the Bay Bridge. The show is open to drivers each night, including holidays, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $20.00 per car. Large passenger vans, mini buses and trolleys are $30.00. Buses are $50.00. Discount coupons are available through local publications and at many retail locations.
Don’t forget to purchase your 3D glasses upon admission to the park to make the already magical light show come alive
5. 34th Street in Baltimore
Yes, there really is a Miracle on 34th Street.. and it is that this block in Baltimore puts on a dazzling lights display every holiday season. For 2021, the dates haven’t been announced yet but typically it runs from mid/late November through the New Year. they will be on from around 530 to 11 every night except Dec 24th and Dec 31st when they stay on all night.
6. Watkins Regional Park Festival of Lights
Bring a little twinkle to your holidays at the Annual Winter Festival of Lights. This spectacular holiday drive-through event features more than one million twinkling lights, wonderful themed displays, and one of the tallest tree displays in the state. Don’t forget to make a difference this season! Please bring canned goods/non-perishable items for donation to local food banks.
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
On Christmas Day the festival is FREE.
November 26th to January 2nd.
7. Annmarie Garden in Lights
Our award-winning holiday light show is getting a makeover in light of COVID-19 guidelines. Everything is going OUTSIDE to keep everyone safe, including admissions, the holiday market, charming photos opps, food & daink, and of course, the light show! Bundle up for the most magical holiday experience in Maryland!
We’ve transformed the grounds of Annmarie Sculpture Garden into an outdoor twinkling wonderland! Annmarie Garden In Lights will transport you and your family to an enchanted world where they will discover glowing “light sculptures” and wondrous light installations. Discover wild animals, wintery wonderlands, musical holiday scenes, deep sea treasures, magical creatures, glowing trees, and so much more! NEW THIS YEAR! Bundle up to enjoy our outdoor Holiday Market with shopping, music, fun holiday photo opps, and food and drink. Hardesty Haven Holiday Cafe will be open nightly!
This is a MASK ON event – all guests over the age of 5 are highly encouraged to wear their mask at all times, unless you are seated and eating. In light of the need for social distancing, guests will purchase their timed-entry tickets online.
8. Jeff’s Christmas Light Show Spectacular
9. Brad Paulsen’s Light Show
10. Sailing Through the Winter Solstice by Color on the Creek
11. 42nd Annual Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Mormon Temple (this event will not be running in 2021 due to renovations at the Temple)
The Festival of Lights is one of the D.C. area’s great community traditions. Beginning November 30th, the Festival features free performances nightly in the comfortable, state-of-the-art theater located in the Visitors’ Center.
A different performing artist or group is showcased each night, including bell ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and more! Each performance is presented twice nightly.
The Visitors’ Center of the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Temple grounds glow with over 650,000 lights, November 30th through December 31st
- Nightly performances in indoor theater
- Christmas trees decorated in international themes
- Exhibit of crèches from around the world
- Life-sized outdoor nativity
Everything about this festival is FREE. However, some events are ticketed (still free).
12. Ellicott City Lights
This residence in Ellicott City, MD is amazing. Bryan Bartlett decks out his home and synchronizes the lights to an amazing soundtrack. You will oooh. You will ahhh.. you will want to dance. And you can because a lighted dance floor in part of the lights extravaganza!
4802 Red Hill Way
Ellicott City, MD 21043
13. ZooLights DC Zoo (This event will not be running in 2021 due to COVID)
November 29th to January 1st (except 24, 25, 31 December): Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music!
14. Zoo Lights Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
15. Bull Run Festival of Lights
Every year from Thanksgiving until just after New Year’s Day, you can experience the Bull Run Festival of Lights, 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car; turn out your headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus (holiday village open select nights). The festival happens annually at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Virginia.
Bull Run Festival of Lights is open seven nights weekly, from November 11, 2021 to January 2, 2022
Monday – Thursday nights
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holiday nights
5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
(Holidays include November 26, December 24, 25, 31, and January 1).
Admission Fee: between $30-$40/car depending on when you go.
16. Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights
Bring your family and friends to be dazzled by the magical Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Every year from mid-November until just after New Year’s Day, the garden is transformed into a half-mile, walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the animated Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk – and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows and sipping on hot beverages by the fire. (Available for purchase at S’more Snacks Shop).
The Winter Walk of Lights is held every evening beginning November 11, 2021, through Sunday, January 2, 2022, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s too! The Walk of Lights runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. (last tickets sold at 9:30 p.m.).
Admission: $16-$18 depending on when you go.
17. Longwood Gardens, A Longwood Christmas
From the Longwood Gardens website:
Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice
This holiday season, wrap yourself up in the warmth—and the chill—of A Longwood Christmas as we showcase the dramatically beautiful contrast of fire and ice.
Inside, set your spirits ablaze with towering trees adorned in amber to fiery red tones, flickering flame lanterns, and an inviting mountain retreat, complemented by icy-hued plantings, a “frozen” succulent fountain, and a refreshing alpine waterway that is the ultimate winter wonderland.
Outdoors, cozy up to inviting fire pits, cool off with a stroll through half-a-million lights that dazzle and delight, and relish in the splendor of the season.
This Christmas, opposites attract.
On View November 19, 2021–January 9, 2022
Timed Admission Tickets Required.
18. Koziar’s Christmas Village
Driving through the darkened countryside and coming over that last hill on the unlit country road is like driving into a fairyland. When you suddenly find yourself in a dazzling valley set aglow with more than one million Christmas lights adorning buildings, gift barns, and landscape. A reflective lake adds to the stunning beauty of this magical place.
Celebrating 72 years of Season’s Greetings, Koziar’s Christmas Village has grown to a mammoth and extraordinary seasonal attraction drawing visitors from great distances as well as local families who have made Koziar’s part of their Christmas tradition for three generations.
PRIME NIGHTS REQUIRE RESERVATIONS/TICKETS
Open ALL major holidays!
1ST SAT. IN NOV. TO THANKSGIVING:
FRI. 6 PM – 9 PM
*SAT. 5 PM – 10 PM
SUN. 5 PM – 9 PM
STANDARD (WALK UP) | *PRIME NIGHTS
THANKSGIVING THRU JAN. 1:
MON. – THUR. 6 PM – 9 PM
*FRI. 5:30 PM – 9 PM
*SAT. 4:30 PM – 10 PM
*SUN. 4:30 PM – 9 PM
*Prime Nights Require Reservations/Tickets + additional $5 per ticket
HOURS MAY BE EXTENDED AS NEEDED
782 Christmas Village Rd. Bernville, PA 19506
19. Christmas Magic- A Festival of Lights (York, PA)
Christmas Magic is a 0.5 mile long walking trail (accessible to anyone) that meanders through 600,000 Christmas lights, holiday scenes and five enclosed heated pavilions. The spirit of the Holiday is displayed by using animation, displays, Santa Claus, food from Brown’s Orchards at the Friends Food Stand & Brickers, G-gauge train display, and a second train display. The trail sits among a mature oak forest nestled on a quiet mountaintop.
Admission to Christmas Magic on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays is by timed tickets only, which can be purchased HERE. Reservations will be required, no walk-ins will be permitted Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Timed admission limits the number of people attending Christmas Magic, providing a better visiting experience and less waiting in traffic and lines. Walk-ins are not permitted Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays. Tickets for Monday-Thursday are available online and at the admissions window. Tickets purchased at admission window must be with cash. ATM’s are onsite. Buying your ticket online will allow you to bypass the ticket purchase line and go directly to the timed ticket entry window.
Timed tickets will be able to be purchased in person at John Rudy- Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30 pm or over the phone at 717-840-7440.
20. Hersheypark Sweet Lights
A winter wonderland awaits at Hershey Sweet Lights®! Enjoy nearly 600 illuminated, animated displays from the comfort of your car as you drive through 2 miles of wooded trails.
Likely from 11 November through 2 January
Admission Fee: $19-$27/car depending on the time you drive through
Christmas lights aren’t the only way to make Christmas magic with your kids. Check out these ideas too!
Once Your Kids Have Helped Decorate For Christmas, Check Out These Christmas Traditions Your Family Will Cherish Too!
Christmas traditions are some of the most powerful bonding opportunities for your family. I know the memories I made as a kid at Christmas-time are a strong anchor for me as an adult.
There are so many ideas though. It’s hard to keep track, isn’t it? Well, these Christmas family traditions are fantastic. Hope you like these ideas!
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