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Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights (2020)

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Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us. Contact individual gardens for the latest updates. 

  • A Longwood Christmas

    A Longwood Christmas
    Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

    During A Longwood Christmas, Longwood Gardens celebrates the nostalgic traditions of the season. The outdoor gardens are sheer magic with more than half a million lights by way of illuminated trees to glowing orbs to dancing fountains. Outdoor fire pits and music add a note of holiday cheer. Inside, the celebration continues with elegantly adorned spaces featuring thousands of colorful poinsettias, living wreaths, and towering trees inspired by the horticultural grandeur of Longwood.
    Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens

  • Galaxy of Lights

    Galaxy of Lights
    Huntsville Botanical Garden - Huntsville, Alabama

    The 2020 edition of Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden will feature both walk-thru and drive-thru experiences with more than 2.5 miles of lights displays. Visitors can bring their four-legged friends on special dog-walking nights.
    Photo courtesy of Huntsville Botanical Garden

  • Gardens Aglow

    Gardens Aglow
    Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Boothbay, Maine

    Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay ranks among the biggest and brightest lights displays in New England, with more than 650,000 bulbs. The 2020 event has been transformed into a driving tour, so visitors can take in the holiday cheer safely.
    Photo courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

  • Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights

    Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights
    Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, Virginia

    Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond lights up with thousands and thousands of LED bulbs during the Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights, a holiday tradition kicking off Thanksgiving Weekend. All displays for the 2020 event are outdoors with safety measures in place.
    Photo courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

  • Winter Lights

    Winter Lights
    The N.C. Arboretum - Asheville, North Carolina

    During Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum, guests can take a drive through an illuminated enchanted forest of lights. Proceeds from the event support the Arboretum’s programming throughout the year.
    Photo courtesy of Cami Calnan / The N.C. Arboretum

  • Illuminations

    Illuminations
    Botanica - Wichita, Kansas

    Illuminations at Botanica in Wichita features nights illuminated with some two million twinkling bulbs, paired with thousands of luminaries to light the way. Carolers and live music set the scene each night, and Santa is on-site for visits with young visitors. The 2020 event will offer walk-thru and drive-thru options. 
    Photo courtesy of Botanica

  • Dominion Energy Garden of Lights

    Dominion Energy Garden of Lights
    Norfolk Botanical Garden - Norfolk, Virginia

    Visitors to Norfolk Botanical Garden can see more than a million dazzling LED lights during the 26th anniversary of this annual holiday event. Visitors can experience the lights from the comfort of their car during expanded Dominion Garden of Lights drive-through nights
    Photo courtesy of Norfolk Botanical Garden

  • Magic Christmas in Lights

    Magic Christmas in Lights
    Bellingrath Gardens - Theodore, Alabama

    Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, Bellingrath Gardens celebrates the holidays with Magic Christmas in Lights. Over three million lights illuminate 16 scenes arranged throughout the 65-acre historic garden. Nightly choral performances and holiday finery inside the Bellingrath home add to the holiday cheer.
    Photo courtesy of Bellingrath Gardens

  • Garden Glow

    Garden Glow
    Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis

    The 2020 Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden features more than a million lights and concessions selling s’mores, hot chocolate and traditional holiday treats. 
    Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

  • River of Lights

    River of Lights
    ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden - Albuquerque

    New Mexico’s largest walk-through light show, River of Lights at the ABQ BioPark Botanical Garden, features more than 600 displays made up of millions of lights. Other highlights of the event include a holiday-themed Garden Railroad model train exhibit, holiday nature crafts in the education building and visits with Santa aboard the Polar Bear Express.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Albuquerque

During the winter season, a different kind of color lights up botanical gardens across the United States. Instead of spring flowers, visitors find twinkling holiday lights, often accompanied by a range of other holiday activities and events.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights are as follows:

  1. A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
  2. Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden - Huntsville, Alabama
  3. Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Boothbay, Maine
  4. Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, Virginia
  5. Winter Lights at The N.C. Arboretum - Asheville, North Carolina
  6. Illuminations at Botanica - Wichita, Kansas
  7. Dominion Energy Garden of Lights at Norfolk Botanical Garden - Norfolk, Virginia
  8. Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens - Theodore, Alabama
  9. Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis
  10. River of Lights at ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden - Albuquerque

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning holiday lights displays!

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Marla Cimini

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