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Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights (2021)

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Throughout the holiday season, spectacular light shows brighten up botanical gardens across the United States. Instead of spring flowers, visitors find twinkling holiday lights, often accompanied by a range of other festivities. Which botanical garden puts on the best seasonal lights show?

  • 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

  • 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 over a million LED bulbs during the Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights.
    Photo courtesy of Tom Hennessy

  • Nights of a Thousand Candles

    Nights of a Thousand Candles
    Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, S.C.

    On select nights in December, Brookgreen Gardens celebrates the holiday season in the glow of more than 2,800 hand-lit candles and countless more sparkling lights. Visitors can walk through the display with a warm cup of cider, cocoa or wine in hand to the sounds of live holiday music.
    Photo courtesy of courtesy Brookgreen Gardens, by Wayne's View Photography

  • 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. 
    Photo courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

  • 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. 
    Photo courtesy of Rick Mcpherson

  • Dominion Energy Million Bulb Walk

    Dominion Energy Million Bulb Walk
    Norfolk Botanical Garden - Norfolk, Virginia

    Visitors immerse themselves into a magical holiday wonderland as they walk the garden of lights under the Norfolk Botanical Garden’s canopy of trees. A million dazzling LED lights create an experience like none other in Coastal Virginia.  
    Photo courtesy of Credit: Norfolk Botanical Garden

  • Galaxy of Lights

    Galaxy of Lights
    Huntsville Botanical Garden - Huntsville, Alabama

    Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden features 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

  • Lights in Bloom

    Lights in Bloom
    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - Sarasota, Fla.

    More than 2 million lights illuminate Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota during Lights in Bloom. Walkways become sensory light tunnels, and the garden comes alive with illuminated flowers, rainforest butterflies and dragonflies. Santa visits nightly.
    Photo courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

  • Garden Glow

    Garden Glow
    Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis

    The 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 Ning He

  • 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

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

  1. A Longwood Christmas - Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
  2. Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, VA
  3. Nights of a Thousand Candles - Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, S.C.
  4. Gardens Aglow - Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Boothbay, ME
  5. Illuminations - Botanica - Wichita, KS
  6. Dominion Energy Million Bulb Walk - Norfolk Botanical Garden - Norfolk, Virginia
  7. Galaxy of Lights - Huntsville Botanical Garden - Huntsville, AL
  8. Lights in Bloom - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - Sarasota, FL
  9. Garden Glow - Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis, MO
  10. River of Lights - ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden - Albuquerque, NM

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 botanical gardens!

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo

 

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nikky J

Nikky J

Nikky J
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