On even the coldest of winter nights, the glow of festive lights can help you feel warm. If you’re looking to enjoy some seasonal illuminations this year, the region has a lot to offer. From elaborately lit neighborhoods to glowing gardens, these 11 destinations are home to great holiday light displays and they’re all within a day’s drive.
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Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please check official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Bright Nights, Springfield, Mass.
This drive-thru attraction offers 3 miles of twinkling colors. Forest Park is decked out with about 650,000 lights, including themed displays such as Seuss Land, inspired by renowned author and Springfield native, Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss. Dial your radio to a musical simulcast accompanying the ride. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop to get a photo with Santa. This year, check out the live webcam or virtual tour if you can’t make it in person.
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Few places celebrate the holidays like Dyker Heights. Focused primarily from 11th through 13th avenues and 83rd through 86th streets, the neighborhood’s eye-catching home decorations have featured everything from vibrant lighting to massive toy soldiers and motorized displays. The lights usually come on nightly following Thanksgiving and last until the new year. Parking can be tricky, so a drive-by or a stroll from the nearest subway station or bus stop might be your best bet.
Heritage Museums and Gardens, Sandwich, Mass.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 27, children can visit with St. Nick on an outdoor stage and participate in a reindeer scavenger hunt as part of this site’s annual Gardens Aglow event. The manicured grounds are decorated with lights and include a new model train display, “The McGraw Family Garden of the Senses.” Families can also enjoy roasting marshmallows and visiting the Holiday Pop-Up Shop, Magnolia Café and Cape Cod Donuts Truck.
NYBG GLOW, Bronx, N.Y.
This year, visitors can attend an all-new outdoor light experience at the New York Botanical Gardens. The NYBG’s landmark landscape and Enid A. Haupt Conservatory will be decorated and aglow with thousands of lights from 5 to 10 p.m. on various dates until Jan. 9. Enjoy the illuminations along with ice sculpting, music, roving dancers and more.
Koziar’s Christmas Village, Bernville, Pa.
What started over 70 years ago as a home display at a working dairy farm has become an expansive holiday attraction. Drive through the winter wonderland at Koziar’s Christmas Village to explore a mix of holiday displays ranging from Santa’s Post Office to Christmas Beneath the Sea. Model trains add to the sights and visitors are welcome to visit Santa on Santa Claus Lane.
Magic of Lights, various locations
This dazzling drive-through light experience can be found at several locations across the region, including Holmdel, N.J., Jones Beach, N.Y., Wallingford, Conn. and Foxborough, Mass. See holiday scenes and iconic characters and immerse yourself in a tunnel of lights from the comfort and safety of your car.
National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, Attleboro, Mass.
In operation for over 60 years, the annual Festival of Lights has grown into a display that spreads 350,000 lights across 10 acres. There is no charge to enter, though donations are accepted. The display is lit from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly through Jan. 3. The shrine is also home to an international museum featuring crèches from around the world.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
You’ll probably never grab the checkered flag at this track, but you can enjoy a seasonal driving experience during the holidays. The speedway’s annual Gift of Lights provides drivers with a 2-mile course including 400 light displays and 60 holiday scenes. The 250-foot tunnel of lights is one highlight, as is the chance to traverse a portion of the track’s road course.
Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y.
There aren’t many sights that symbolize the holiday season as emphatically as the massive tree in Rockefeller Center. After it’s extravagant lighting ceremony in early December, it will stay illuminated through 9 p.m. on Dec. 31. The Rink at Rockefeller Center is a popular way to mark the season and the ice is limited to 150 people at a time. Just up the block, the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park also offers free skating, about 100 vendors and it’s own illuminated tree. Get a whole new perspective of the holidays in New York with $3 off tickets to the Top of The Rock Observation Deck.
World’s Largest Menorah, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The World’s Largest Menorah, located in Grand Army Plaza, couldn’t be any larger. At 32 feet, it’s the tallest allowed under Jewish law. The massive structure stands so high that a cherry picker is used to light it. During Hanukkah, the menorah lighting is celebrated with music, gifts for children and latkes. Another 32-foot menorah is also lit in Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.
Peace, Love and Lights, Bethel Woods , N.Y.
Visit the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival for this drive-through, socially-distant holiday attraction. The light show, totaling just over one mile in length, runs nightly (including all holidays) from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. through Jan. 3.
Did we miss a destination that is one of your favorites? Tell us in the comments.
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