The Best Drive-thru Christmas Light Shows in America

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The Best Drive-thru Christmas Light Shows in America

Watching the spectacular drive-thru Christmas light shows that come out just before Christmas time has been a favorite holiday tradition for years. But that tradition doesn’t have to be canceled.

The Christmas season is a special time of the year! We have some great ideas on what you can do during the holidays:

The drive-thru light shows across the country will ensure the safety of you and your quaranteam over the Christmas season. Check out our list of the best drive-thru Christmas light shows in America.

World of Illumination  

Glendale, Arizona, Marietta, Georgia, and Tempe, Arizona

Image from Phoenix

For more details: Visit World of Illumination

The World of Illumination, the world’s largest drive-thru light display, features three locations, each displaying 2 million lights. 

Rocking Christmas, a symphony of holiday tunes, thousands of lights, and hundreds of musical notes dancing to the rhythm of the music, can be found in Glendale, Arizona, at the Westgate Entertainment District. 

In Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Arizona desert becomes a magical winter wonderland thanks to The Arctic Adventure. Candy Rush in Georgia’s Six Flags White Water boasts of candy canes that are more than 40 feet tall, unicorns, and rainbows.  

Speedway Christmas 

Charlotte, North Carolina

Image from Southern Living

For more details: Visit Charlotte Motor Speedway

This Christmas, the Charlotte Motor Speedway also welcomes Santa, his reindeer, snowmen, and gingerbread men. Speedway Christmas is a 3.75-mile-long drive that transcends through the raceway’s oval, pit, and infield track. The path has more than four million lights featuring dancing trees and tunnels. 

Go on a drive-in movie date with the entire family featuring Frozen 2 and A Christmas Story. Feeling a bit adventurous?  

You may also get out of your car and skate around the 5,400-square-foot outdoor ice rink, practicing social distancing with your face mask on, of course. 

Glittering Lights 

Las Vegas, Nevada

Image from Fox 5

For more details: Visit Glittering Lights Las Vegas

Best known for its neon-lit Strip, it makes perfect sense for Las Vegas to have its own Christmas lights show.  

With a 2.5-mile route of dazzling lights and sounds, Glittering Lights takes over Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Take a road trip with your family, friends, and even your dog, and journey through the magic of lights extravaganza! 

There also might be a chance for the children to snap a socially distant selfie with Santa himself. 

Gardens Aglow 

Boothbay, Maine

Image from Maine Gardens

For more details: Visit Maine Gardens

The largest botanical gardens in New England, in Boothbay Harbor, are one of the winter highlights of Coastal Maine. 

Gardens Aglow, Maine, has the region’s largest and brightest light show. So it’s definitely worth taking a drive to the spectacular Gardens Aglow light holiday display on the Boothbay peninsula and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. 

This show will feature two luminescent holiday light displays. Start by wandering through the botanical gardens and gaze at the magical and festive scenes such as gingerbread houses, snowmen, reindeer, and sleighs. 

Afterward, drive through the peninsula to enjoy the community lighting contest Gardens Aglow where over 50 local businesses and homeowners participate to be crowned the Christmas lights champion.

Winter Wonderland 

Portland, Oregon

Image from Travel Portland

For more details: Visit Winter Wonderland Portland

Portland’s most popular Christmas lights show, Winter Wonderland, has been putting smiles on people’s faces since 1993. 

Every holiday season, the Portland International Raceway transforms into the biggest light show extravaganza West of the Mississippi. Long, shimmering tunnels that represent The Twelve Days of Christmas stretch above the racetrack.

All of the famous Christmas song’s main characters will make an appearance in fun, unimaginable ways to greet you with a happy holiday. Hundreds of animated colorful light displays are easily accessible for guests to enjoy from the comfort of their own vehicles.

Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights 

Irwindale, California

Image from SGV Tribune

For more details: Visit Santa’s Speedway

Irwindale Speedway is well known for its speed racing, but Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights Drive-Thru event turns things up a notch. 

This hour-long experience includes the world’s tallest digital Christmas tree, Santa and his reindeer, themed landscapes, a massive candy forest, and so much more. 

Also, the whole family can have a chance to enjoy a fun, interactive Christmas scavenger hunt! Get ready to be swept up in the holiday spirit.

Celebration in the Oaks

New Orleans, Lousiana

Image from My New Orleans

For more details: Visit Experience New Orleans

The most spectacular holiday lights festival in the country is held in City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks. 

Over a million twinkling lights are draped around City Park’s famous oaks, and breathtaking light displays can be found throughout the Park’s 2.25-mile driving tour. 

With over 165,000 visitors pouring into the Park in previous years to see the magical winter spectacle, City Park is planning a special event with a Driving Tour this year!

Celebration in the Oaks raises money for the upkeep, care, and beautification of New Orleans City Park. 

Christmas Night of Lights 

Cincinnati, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana

For more details: Visit Christmas Nights of Lights

It’s time to turn off your headlights and let the over one million lights that are set up at the Christmas Nights of Lights lead you and your family to a magical holiday season. 

The rainbow light carpets, toy soldiers, shooting stars, and falling snowflakes found in both Cincinnati and Indianapolis will make you press your face against the car glass window. 

These two beautiful light shows both boasts to be the biggest in their region. See for yourself while you listen to a soundtrack of classic carols and modern Christmas songs.

Austin Trail of Lights 

Austin, Texas

For more details: Visit Austin Trail of Lights

For more than fifty years, the Austin Trail of Lights has captivated locals and tourists in the city of Austin in unimaginable ways possible. 

This year, the 351-acre Zilker Park will feature a one-of-a-kind dazzling drive-thru experience. The route is draped in over 2 million beautiful displays of lights that are used to form 90 stunning Christmas trees and other spectacular displays. 

Hershey Sweet Lights 

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Image from Hershey

For more details: Visit Hershey Park

Hershey Sweet Lights is a must-see for you and your family if you want to enjoy a spectacular light display drive-thru this holiday season. 

Hersheypark is just a short drive away from the magical drive-thru experience, which includes miles of fields and wooded roads with about 600 animated and illuminated shows made from approximately two million LED lights. 

As soon as you are greeted by the Hershey Sweet Lights sign, you enter a fantasy land of merry, chocolate-themed animations. 

Hersheypark’s five million twinkling holiday lights of the Christmas Candylane are certainly worth a look, too. It would help if you watched out for fluorescent Hershey Kisses and a fountain with popular Hershey characters.  

Christmas in Color

South Jordan, Utah | Morrison, Colorado | Federal Heights, Colorado | San Dimas, California | Shakopee, Minnesota | Garden City, Idaho

For more details: Visit Christmas in Color

The Christmas in Color multi-sensory experience is available in several states where millions of lights dance in sync with the music that is being broadcast through your car’s radio. 

It’s as if you’re traveling to the future in a time machine with light tunnels, enormous candy canes, and dancing Christmas trees, illuminated in such a way that it looks like you’re driving into a world where it’s always winter. 

This spectacular drive-thru light show will be in Colorado, Idaho, California, Utah, and Minnesota. The Make-A-Wish Foundation receives a cut of all ticket sales.

Final Thoughts

From the comfort of your car, you can get into the holiday spirit. Although the holidays will undoubtedly be different this year, a dazzling display that glistens, glows, and lights up the night can still be enjoyed.

Put on your pajamas, fill your thermoses with hot chocolate, and pile the comforters in the car before entering one of these ten incredible illuminated wonderlands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which city has the most beautiful Christmas lights? 

New Orleans goes all out for almost every occasion, and the holidays are no exception. Over 165,000 people visit the park for the Celebration in the Oaks, a magical winter spectacle in which trees are covered in over a million twinkling colored lights across the park’s 25 acres. 

When is the best time to put up Christmas lights?

As early as the second or third week of November, Christmas lights can be hung. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Christmas light decorations, but you should wait until after Halloween to hang any.

What can I do to make my visit more enjoyable?

If possible, dim your lights. Keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you’re in a hurry, move to the right so that the vehicle behind you can pass.

Is it okay if I take my dog with me in the car?

Dogs are welcome to attend as long as they remain in the vehicle.

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