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8 of the Best Christmas Light Displays Across the U.S.

Because experiences are lifetime gifts

The Vacationeer
Close up shot of a woman in gloves taking pictures of a Christmas light display with a smart phone.

‘Tis the season to bundle up, sip hot cocoa and soak in the sparkle of over-the-top holiday light displays.

Whether you embrace the falling temperatures or prefer to escape them, there are can't-miss light displays across the country and plenty of the Hilton portfolio of brands from which to choose for your holiday adventure. 

Here are just a few of the best Christmas light displays sure to add a little extra cheer to your season. 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

For more than 20 years, Winterland, Inc., has created an incredible drive-thru light park with millions of glittering lights outside the glitz of the Las Vegas Strip. If you’re traveling to Vegas without a car, not to worry; you can join one of the Speedway’s driving tours.

Where to stay in Vegas: Choose from many merry Las Vegas Hilton Grand Vacation resorts.

Holiday Lights on the River Walk

San Antonio, Texas

Each year, the day after Thanksgiving, the city of San Antonio gets a little brighter thanks to the famous holiday lights on the River Walk. Locals and visitors alike enjoy them from dusk until dawn daily through the New Year.

Enjoy this spectacular display of stringed lights draped over the towering bald cypress trees that line the River Walk. View the lights by foot, or sign up for a romantic boat tour.

Where to stay in San Antonio: Hilton Palacio del Rio

Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver, Colorado

Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Light, an annual holiday lights extravaganza going strong for more than three decades.

Watch as York Street transforms into a twinkling winter wonderland each year with fresh and exciting new features. Seasonal carolers, holiday treats and warm drinks will get you in the holiday mood while you wander through the interactive light display.

This family-friendly event is a holiday tradition for locals and visitors alike.

Where to stay in Denver: Drive into Denver from the Valdoro Mountain Lodge in Breckenridge, or enjoy the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown Convention Center

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Washington, D.C.

Little girl looking up in awe at Christmas lights.   

Add a visit to Washington D.C.’s ZooLights at the Smithsonian National Zoo to your travel bucket list. The free event includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping.

More than 500,000 lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. While you're there, climb aboard the Zoo Choo-Choo that whisks guests around the Great Cats exhibit and features gorgeous views of the holiday light displays.

Where to stay in D.C.: The District by Hilton Club

Silver Dollar City

Branson, Missouri

For the ultimate holiday lights display, travel to Branson, Missouri, to see an awe-inspiring display of more than 6.5 million lights. Surround yourself with the magic and glow of the season with the stunning Christmas in MidTown Light Spectacular, a five-story Special Effects Christmas tree, a nightly light parade featuring Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and much more.

If you’re looking for an old-fashioned Christmas filled with warmth, smiles and plenty of holiday cheer, Branson checks off your holiday wish list.

Where to stay in Branson: Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing

New York Street Lights

New York City, New York

Grab a hot apple cider, a bag of roasted chestnuts and get into the holiday spirit in midtown Manhattan. 

Happy couple window watching during Christmas in New York City.   

New York City is well-known for its holiday light displays. Besides the lights of Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, plan an evening of display window watching to see what retailers along Madison and 5th Avenues. It’s free and gets better and better each year.

Add luxury retailers like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue to your NYC window watching shortlist for an evening of holiday eye candy. 

Where to stay in New York City: Choose from various Hilton Grand Vacations New York City properties.

Honolulu City Lights

Oahu, Hawaii

Christmas lights on a palm tree at sunset on the beach.    

Kick-off the holiday season under palm trees and watch in awe as the city becomes aglow with the Annual Honolulu City Lights event. This family-friendly event features Honolulu’s official tree lighting ceremony and a downtown parade.

City Lights features Christmas trees, larger-than-life Hawaiian-style Santa displays and the Honolulu City Lights Trolley Tour.

Where to stay in Honolulu: Choose from our Hilton Grand Vacations Oahu resorts.

The DELights

Hotel Del Coronado, California

The famous Hotel del Coronado put San Diego on the map in 1904 with the first electrically lit, outdoor Christmas tree.

The DELights holiday show features 100,000-plus twinkling lights and an incredible indoor Christmas tree that is perfect for a holiday photo opp.

Not many people can say they've gone ice skating while watching the waves crash ashore. However, the holiday festivities at The Del make the once-in-a-lifetime experience a reality with its Skate by the Sea outdoor ice skating rink. Make your holidays unforgettable with this truly magical experience. 

Where to stay in San Diego: The Hotel Del Coronado, of course. It’s part of the Hilton portfolio of brands.

Read The Hilton Grand Vacations Complete Holiday Gift Guide for more holiday inspiration. 



The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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