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Best Public Holiday Lights Display (2021)

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For many, the holiday season isn't complete without at least one night spent driving around looking at light displays. Our contributors and editors combed the nation for the 20 best, brightest, and most beautiful holiday light shows put on by neighborhoods, cities, and parks, and then we invited you to vote for your favorites. 

  • Holiday in Paradise

    Holiday in Paradise
    West Palm Beach, Florida

    Sandi is a 35-foot-tall, 700-ton holiday tree made 100% out of sculpted sand in downtown West Palm Beach in Florida. The city’s annual holiday festival includes entertainment pop-ups, sing-alongs with Sandi, a spectacular light show, and a synchronized dancing water show.
    Photo courtesy of City of West Palm Beach

  • Lights on Jeater Bend

    Lights on Jeater Bend
    Celebration, Florida

    Eleven neighbors on Jeater Bend Drive in Celebration, Florida, coordinate their brilliant Christmas house decorations with music as a fundraiser for the homeless and hungry through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
    Photo courtesy of Justin Pickle

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Austin Trail of Lights

    Austin Trail of Lights
    Austin

    The annual Trail of Lights through Austin’s Zilker Park features more than two million lights, ninety lighted holiday trees, and over seventy other lighted displays and drive-through tunnels. The event attracts several hundred thousand cars full of wide-eyed visitors each year.
    Photo courtesy of Courtesy Austin Trail of Lights

  • 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

  • Natchitoches Christmas Festival

    Natchitoches Christmas Festival
    Natchitoches, Louisiana

    The annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival returns with a festive event featuring holiday lights, food vendors, 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

  • Light Up Cape May

    Light Up Cape May
    Cape May, New Jersey

    Cape May lights up each holiday season as residents and businesses compete for the best decorations in categories like Best Residence, Best Business, Best Window and Best Olde Fashioned Theme.
    Photo courtesy of Light Up Cape May

  • Winterlights

    Winterlights
    Stockbridge & Canton, Massachusetts

    This winter, the gardens at Naumkeag in Stockbridge, the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, and the Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in North Andover 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 Stephanie Zollshan Photography

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

  1. Holiday in Paradise - West Palm Beach, Florida
  2. Lights on Jeater Bend - Celebration, Florida
  3. The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill - Clifton, Ohio
  4. Christmas Town USA - McAdenville, North Carolina
  5. The Lights of Christmas Festival - Stanwood, Wash.
  6. Austin Trail of Lights - Austin, TX
  7. Lights Under Louisville - Louisville, Kentucky
  8. Natchitoches Christmas Festival - Natchitoches, Louisiana
  9. Light Up Cape May - Cape May, New Jersey
  10. Winterlights - Stockbridge & Canton, 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 holiday lights displays!

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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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