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Best Public Holiday Lights Display (2019)

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Temperatures are dropping, snow is falling and the smell of turkey is in the air. The holidays are upon us. 10Best Local Experts and Editors have combed the nation for the 20 best, brightest and most beautiful holiday lights shows put on by neighborhoods, cities and parks, and our readers have voted for their favorites.

  • Bentleyville "Tour of Lights"

    Bentleyville "Tour of Lights"
    Duluth, Minn.

    Bentlleyville "Tour of Lights," America’s largest free walk-through lights display, invites visitors to walk amid more than 5 million lights spread across a 20-acre park on the shores of Lake Superior. Guests can get their photo taken with Rudolph, visit with Santa and enjoy free cocoa, cookies, roasted marshmallows and popcorn.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Duluth

  • Christmas Town USA

    Christmas Town USA
    McAdenville, N.C.

    McAdenville is nicknamed Christmas Town USA for a good reason. Every winter, this small town in North Carolina transforms into a festive, twinkling wonderland, dotted with thousands of lights, dramatic displays and a spirited Main Street. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Christmas Town USA every December to drive through the 1.3-mile-long route through breathtaking holiday displays. McAdenville’s Christmas Town tradition dates way back to the ‘50s. 
    Photo courtesy of STEVE RANKIN / CHRISTMAS TOWN USA

  • Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

    Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill
    Clifton Mill

    The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio lights up with over 3.5 million lights each holiday season. The historic mill, gorge, riverbanks, bridges and trees are covered in twinkling bulbs for the event, which includes a 100-foot "waterfall" of lights. The event also features an outdoor miniature Christmas village, Santa Claus Museum, a Toy Collection from holidays past and Santa's Workshop, where visitors can peek in on Mr. Claus as he checks his list and heads up the chimney to load his sleigh.
    Photo courtesy of Clifton Mill

  • Bright Nights at Forest Park

    Bright Nights at Forest Park
    Springfield, Mass.

    Bright Nights has been lighting up Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts since 1995, welcoming more than 5.4 million visitors along the way. In addition to enjoying the light displays, guests can decorate gingerbread houses, visit Santa’s cottage, listen to holiday carolers or take a tour by horse-drawn wagon or carriage.
    Photo courtesy of Bright Nights at Forest Park

  • Festival of Lights

    Festival of Lights
    Riverside, Calif.

    The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s Festival of Lights returns to Riverside for its 27th year with 5 million lights, 400 animated figures, a life-size gingerbread house, the world’s largest mistletoe, visits from Santa Claus and Sugar Plum Fairy ballerinas, live entertainment, all welcomed with a grand Switch-On ceremony complete with a Super Bowl-grade firework show.
    Photo courtesy of Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

  • Nights of Lights

    Nights of Lights
    St. Augustine, Fla.

    Historic Downtown St. Augustine gets decked in millions of tiny white lights during the holiday Nights of Lights celebration. The oldest city in the USA draws on the Spanish tradition of placing white candles in the window during the holidays, but takes it to new festive heights with more than 3 million points of light within the 144-square-block historic district during the free holiday event.
    Photo courtesy of FloridasHistoricCoast.com

  • Holiday Light Show

    Holiday Light Show
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

    The Holiday Lights Show, the nation's largest on-the-water lights display, illuminates Idaho's Coeur d'Alene Resort with more than 1.5 million bulbs from the end of November through early January. Aboard a Journey to the North Pole cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene, guests are transported to Santa's North Pole Toy Workshop, home to one of the world's tallest Christmas trees.
    Photo courtesy of The Coeur d'Alene Resort

  • Austin Trail of Lights

    Austin Trail of Lights
    Austin

    This holiday season, the Austin Trail of Lights takes over Zilker Park for the 55th anniversary of the popular Hill Country event. More than two million bulbs divided into over 40 light displays will illuminate the 1.25-mile trail, culminating in the 155-foot Zilker Tree, the world's tallest man-made freestanding holiday tree. Nearly three dozen area food trucks join the event to sooth those post-trail hunger pangs.
    Photo courtesy of Austintrailoflights.org

  • Balboa Park December Nights

    Balboa Park December Nights
    San Diego

    For two nights each December, San Diego's Balboa Park (and its museums) open free of charge for December Nights. This seasonal celebration attractions more than 300,000 visitors who come to enjoy live music and dance, traditional food from around the world, visits with Santa and a puppet performance of "A Christmas Carol." 
    Photo courtesy of Balboa Park December Nights

  • The Lights of Christmas Festival

    The Lights of Christmas Festival
    Stanwood, Wash.

    The Lights of Christmas in Stanwood, Washington features more than a million lights spread across 15 acres at Warm Beach Camp, hot donuts, live carolers, children’s activities and holiday shopping. It’s the largest holiday lights display in the Pacific Northwest.
    Photo courtesy of The Lights of Christmas Festival

The top 10 winners in the category Best Public Holiday Lights Display are as follows:

  1. Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” - Duluth, Minn.
  2. Christmas Town USA - McAdenville, N.C.
  3. Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill - Clifton Mill
  4. Bright Nights at Forest Park - Springfield, Mass.
  5. Festival of Lights - Riverside, Calif.
  6. Nights of Lights - St. Augustine, Fla.
  7. Holiday Light Show - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
  8. Austin Trail of Lights - Austin
  9. Balboa Park December Nights - San Diego
  10. The Lights of Christmas Festival - Stanwood, Wash.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning holiday events!

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo

 

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Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Joanne DiBona

Joanne DiBona

Joanne DiBona

Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson

Sharon Rigney

Sharon Rigney

Sharon Rigney

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

Corinne Whiting

Corinne Whiting

Corinne Whiting

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