5 Best Places to Look at Holiday Lights

A favorite family holiday tradition is bundling up in jackets, scarves and hats, piling into the car and driving around the neighborhood to view festive light displays. It’s always fun to see what decorations the folks on your block have come up with, but wait ’til you gaze upon the vibrant and vivacious illuminations found at these five holiday light displays. Best of all, many of these experiences feature additional holiday activities for making spirits even brighter.

Million Bulb Walk 2016 and Dominion Garden of Lights
Norfolk Botanical Garden

For the 21st year, Norfolk Botanical Garden will be transformed into a winter wonderland. From Nov. 24–Dec. 31 guests can drive through the light display and purchase hot chocolate, popcorn and other warm treats to enjoy while light-gazing. Prices vary. There are discounts for military members, city of Norfolk employees and Norfolk Botanical Garden members.


Celebration in Lights
Newport News Park

Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light event returns for its 24th season this year in Newport News Park. Over 800,000 lights will be used to construct holiday scenes along the 2-mile drive on the park’s main road. More than 300 display pieces, 43 arches and 3 miles of rope lighting will guide drivers through the park. The celebration is open daily from Nov. 24–Jan. 1, 5:30–10 p.m. The cost is $12 per car and $60 per bus.

mcdonalds lights at the beach virginia beach boardwalk

McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

If you’ve ever wanted to drive along the Oceanfront boardwalk, this is your chance. Every year, the boardwalk is transformed into a nautically-themed holiday celebration. This year’s display will include animated fish, dolphins, Santa and his elves and a glowing 40-foot tall Christmas tree. Drivers will also see a “12 Days of Christmas” display and hear holiday music by tuning in to a radio station set up for the light spectacle. The display is open daily from Nov. 18–Jan. 1. Times vary. Tickets can be purchased online.

Ever wonder how those animated light creations are made? Read about it here.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Starting Nov. 25 and running through the New Year, Busch Gardens transforms its countries into Christmas Town—a holiday tradition that boasts live shows, holiday dining and Christmas shopping underneath more than 8 million twinkling holiday lights. Christmas Town also features the North Pole, where you can meet Santa, visit his workshop and dine at his fireside feast while he tells classic Christmas stories. Christmas Town is open on select days from 2–10 p.m., and tickets are $38. Busch Gardens pass members can purchase discounted tickets online.


43rd Street
Virginia Beach

If you’re set on checking out a neighborhood light display, this residential street along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront takes lights to a whole new level. Many residents adorn their homes in thousands of sparkling lights with festive displays covering their lawns. Visit this street for some decorating inspiration and a healthy dose of holiday cheer.

43rd Street was featured as one of Coastal Virginia’s 25 Hidden Gems. See the complete list here.

Amy Poulter
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