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Best Public Holiday Lights Display (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 event organizers for the latest updates. 

  • Natchitoches Christmas Festival

    Natchitoches Christmas Festival
    Natchitoches, Louisiana

    The 94th annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival returns in 2020 with a limited entry event featuring holiday lights, food vendors and fireworks and live music on Saturdays. Visitors can enjoy some 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces on display along the Riverbank. "Louisianians come from all over the state to tiny Natchitoches–best known for its yummy meat pies–to enjoy Cajun-accented revelry," says 10Best contributor Gerrish Lopez.
    Photo courtesy of Karen Hoyt / Natchitoches Christmas Festival

  • The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill

    The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill
    Clifton, Ohio

    The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio lights up with over four 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

  • Lights of the Ozarks

    Lights of the Ozarks
    Fayetteville, Arkansas

    Fayetteville’s Downtown Square lights up the night during the holiday season wit the annual Lights of the Ozarks festival. Visitors enjoy festive music, hot cocoa and other winter treats while taking in the views. Bring letters to Santa to drop off at a special mailbox in front of the Visitors Center.
    Photo courtesy of USA TODAY

  • Christmas Town USA

    Christmas Town USA
    McAdenville, North Carolina

    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 – a tradition that dates back to the ‘50s. 
    Photo courtesy of STEVE RANKIN / CHRISTMAS TOWN USA

  • Austin Trail of Lights

    Austin Trail of Lights
    Austin

    This holiday season, the Austin Trail of Lights takes over Zilker Park for the 56th anniversary of the popular Hill Country event. The 2020 installment will be a drive-thru event featuring more than two million lights, 90 lighted trees and some 70 other seasonal displays and tunnels.
    Photo courtesy of Seymour Lacey / Austin Trail of Lights

  • Winterlights

    Winterlights
    Stockbridge & Canton, Massachusetts

    This winter, the gardens at Naumkeag in Stockbridge and the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton will light up with thousands of twinkling holiday lights during the Winterlights event. Timed tickets give guests a one-hour window to enjoy the display while enjoying some seasonal foods and refreshments.
    Photo courtesy of Trustees of Reservations

  • Lights on the Lake

    Lights on the Lake
    Liverpool, New York

    During Lights on the Lake, visitors can hop in their cars for the 2-mile drive-thru light show. The 2020 event features a fantasy forest, animated scenes and an illuminated Land of Oz, among other festive displays.
    Photo courtesy of Lights on the Lake

  • Lights Under Louisville

    Lights Under Louisville
    Louisville, Kentucky

    Attendees of Lights Under Louisville head underground into the passages of Louisville Mega Cavern for this holiday tradition. The popular attraction transforms into a spectacle of more than five million lights with over 850 lit characters. Visitors take their own cars on the 30-minute ride through the world's only fully underground drive through holiday light display for a totally contactless experience.
    Photo courtesy of Louisville Mega Cavern

  • Nights of Lights

    Nights of Lights
    St. Augustine, Florida

    "America's oldest city comes alive every holiday season, enchanting visitors looking to enjoy warm-weather festive fun," says 10Best contributor Eric Grossman. St. Augustine 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 three million points of light within the 144-square-block historic district during the free holiday event.
    Photo courtesy of FloridasHistoricCoast.com

  • Bright Nights at Forest Park

    Bright Nights at Forest Park
    Springfield, Massachusetts

    Bright Nights has been lighting up Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts since 1995 with more than 675,000 lights along a three-mile drive-thru route. 
    Photo courtesy of Bright Nights at Forest Park

Temperatures are dropping, snow is falling and the smell of gingerbread is in the air. The holidays are upon us. Our readers have voted for the 10 best, brightest and most beautiful holiday lights shows put on by neighborhoods, cities and park across the United States.

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

  1. Natchitoches Christmas Festival - Natchitoches, Louisiana
  2. The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill - Clifton, Ohio
  3. Lights of the Ozarks - Fayetteville, Arkansas
  4. Christmas Town USA - McAdenville, North Carolina
  5. Austin Trail of Lights - Austin
  6. Winterlights - Stockbridge & Canton, Massachusetts
  7. Lights on the Lake - Liverpool, New York
  8. Lights Under Louisville - Louisville, Kentucky
  9. Nights of Lights - St. Augustine, Florida
  10. Bright Nights at Forest Park - Springfield, Massachusetts

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 public lights displays!

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo

 

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AlertThe Experts

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Joanne and Tony DiBona

Joanne and Tony DiBona

Joanne and Tony DiBona

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes
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