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 sparkling amusements parks to glowing gardens, these 10 destinations are all home to great holiday light displays and they’re all within a day’s drive.
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 or, for an additional fee, hop a horse-drawn wagon or carriage ride. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop to get a photo with Santa.
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. Save 15% on a Dyker Heights Christmas lights tour with AAA.
Edaville USA, Carver, Mass.
Edaville USA gets in the holiday spirit with its annual Christmas Festival of Lights. The grounds are decorated in the spirit of the season, and vintage amusement rides are open, including the site’s popular train trip. Hop aboard and enjoy the festive lighting. For an additional fee, families can opt for an extended “Polar Express” trip. Operating on select days in December (reservations recommended), the ride features hot chocolate and cookies.
Heritage Museums and Gardens, Sandwich, Mass.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 30, children can visit with St. Nick in a Model T as part of this site’s annual Gardens Aglow. The manicured grounds are decorated with lights and, along with music and dance performances, families can enjoy marshmallow roasting, holiday crafts and carousel rides.
Koziar’s Christmas Village, Bernville, Pa.
What started 70 years ago as a home display at a working dairy farm has become an expansive holiday attraction. Walk around 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.
Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn.
This theme park takes on a slightly different look around the holidays. Lake Compounce’s annual “Holiday Lights” event is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through Dec. 23. A light display runs every half-hour at the main gate, choreographed to holiday tunes, and “Kiddieland” and family-themed rides will be in operation. Ice carvers, strolling carolers and story time with Mrs. Claus are some of the other festivities on tap.
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. 4. 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
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 at the end of November, it will stay illuminated through 9 p.m. on Jan. 7. The Rink at Rockefeller Center is a popular way to mark the season and the ice is limited to 150 people at a time. 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.
Did we miss a destination that is one of your favorites? Tell us in the comments.
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