Home Best of Guides 36 Holiday Light Displays to Visit in the Tri-State Area STAT

36 Holiday Light Displays to Visit in the Tri-State Area STAT

by Taylor Duncan
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. If you’re ready to feel merry and bright this holiday season, you’re not alone. All throughout the tri-state area, there are gorgeous holiday light displays that are now open to those in the holiday spirit. Attending a light display can illuminate even the heart of a holiday grinch to get into the spirit of the season – and we’re here for it. Read on for a roundup of the best places to see holiday lights in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

holiday lights displays new jersey new york pennsylvania 2021

New Jersey

Dasher’s Lightshow (A Christmas Drive-Thru) | Newark

Now – January 2

Visitors can still enjoy the season from the comfort of the car in Newark. Tickets for this drive-thru range from $30 to $35 per car depending on the date and time. Participants can drive through the route which takes about 20-25 minutes and listen to the car radio to hear the synced music.  

Orchard of Lights at Demarest Farms | Hillsdale

Now – January 9

Another drive-thru festival can be found about 25 miles north of Newark in Hillsdale, NJ. Take a guided tour across 32 acres filled with holiday light displays and make sure to turn the car radio to 107.9 to hear the matching music. Visitors can’t purchase tickets on-site, so reserve your ticket online at $35 per car. Attendees can also take pictures with Santa, make s’mores, visit the farm’s market, and more.

Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show | 94 Championship Place, Agusta

Now – January 9

This drive-thru lights show is 1-mile-long and features more than 2 million lights accompanied by music. Bonus: admission is free in the accompanying Christmas Village – where guests can ride a Ferris wheel, carousel, enjoy holiday food, take pictures with Santa, skate on an ice rink and stop by the Winter Beer Garden. Tickets for the Drive-Thru Lights Show must be purchased in advance, and are $29 per car.

Orchard of Lights at Demarest | 244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale

Now – January 9

Demarest Farms welcomes families to their 32-acre Orchard of Lights celebration. Visitors can take a guided tour from their own cars through the orchard, decked out with bright, colorful lights and pictures of a winter wonderland. After making your way through the drive-thru lights display, you can enjoy time around the fire pit roasting s’mores, sipping hot chocolate, and having your picture taken with Santa. You can also get some holiday shopping done at the country farm store on site. Reservations ($35 per car) are required in advance.

Holiday Lights Spectacular at Turtle Back Zoo | 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange

Now – December 31

A winter stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is exactly what the holidays ordered. Brightly-lit characters including winter and animal characters can be found at this winter attraction. In addition to the holiday features, the zoo also has an open-air train, a carousel, a reptile house, an aquarium, and pony rides for kids of all ages. Plus on weekends, expect a visit from Santa himself. Admission to the holiday lights spectacular is free, but bringing donations is recommended (can be non-perishable food items, new toys, or gently used coats).

Historic Smithville’s Light Show on the Lake | 615 E Moss Mill Road, Smithville

Now – December 31

With over 120 Christmas trees made from over 50,000 Christmas lights – guests will experience how they magically float on Lake Meone in the center of Historic Smithville. The lights are coordinated to the music being broadcast aloud for viewers, creating a magical experience. An easy-access lights show this display can be seen from both sides of the village and the bridge over the water. In addition to the floating display, children can chat with the talking tree that lives in Smithville and take part in other winter activities (such as a Smithville train ride).

Night of Lights at Creamy Acres Farm | 448 Lincoln Mill Road, Mullica Hill

Now – December 24

The whole family can enjoy the magic of all the Christmas lights while warm in your vehicle at creamy Acres Farm. Tune into the farm’s private radio station to listen to all your favorite Christmas songs while you drive through. It’s $30 per vehicle, and every vehicle must have its own ticket reservation. Parking is available for families to shop in the retail store, enjoy some festive food and sweet treats around the fire pits.

Palmer Square Holiday Lights | 40 Nassau Street, Princeton

Now – December 31 (Open skate runs through February 27)

The giant spruce tree with 32,000 lights stands in the middle of Palmer Square in Princeton – and it is definitely a sight to see. The synthetic ice skating rink is a recent addition that will be back this year, and perfect for little ones who might be newer to skating. Guests can also sing carols and check out the gingerbread display for added excitement to the holiday season.

Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy | 6415 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township

Now – December 30

The lights at Storybook Land are lit each night by none other than Santa himself. As he waves his magic wand, he turns on more than 1 million Christmas lights from the chimney of his house. Children can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus until the couple returns to the North Pole on December 23rd. Plus, if you bring an unwrapped, new toy (for Toys for Tots) – you’ll receive a coupon for a small popcorn at the event. In case you need more convincing to make the trip to South Jersey – it’s worth noting this Christmas tradition was featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express | 1151 South White Horse Pike, Hammonton

Now – December 30

Take a train ride through millions of Christmas lights at DiDonato’s Fun Center. Admission includes a meet-and-greet with Santa and his workshop elves, stories, a photo/chat with Mrs. Claus, a movie tent where you can have your picture taken with Frosty the Snowman, a walk-through holiday village, a present from Santa himself, and more. Purchasing a ticket online in advance is encouraged, as the event typically sells out.

Christmas Candlelight House Tours | 1048 Washington Street, Cape May

December 4, December 11, December 18

On three nights in December travel to homes, inns, B&Bs, churches, and hotels, stepping across the thresholds to take in interiors beautifully decorated for the holidays. Enjoy your evening in Cape May by taking the provided trolley shuttle that has a planned route with limited stops (maps are provided at the beginning of the tour). For the full experience, walking is encouraged. Masks are required in private properties, and while on the trolley shuttles.

Winter Wonderlights Spectacular | 655 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick

Now – January 2

This family-owned popular Old Bridge residential display has grown into an unforgettable experience at the Middlesex County FairGrounds. Winter WonderLights Drive Thru now has over 1.5 million lights animated to everyone’s favorite holiday tunes. The journey celebrates all of the season’s wonderful holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, and Kwanzaa). For $28 per vehicle, this light display is one of a kind. 

Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience | 1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson Township

Now – January 9

Six Flags Great Adventure is hosting its annual Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience again. From the comfort of your own car, experience different immersive scenes from one of the biggest attractions in New Jersey. And now for 2021, there will be a Merry Market Place Walk-Thru Experience that will include everything from Santa visits to Holiday Festivals. Reservations are required, so purchase your tickets in advance.

Magic of Lights New Jersey | 116 Garden State Pkwy, Holmdel

Now – January 2

Experience this – your radio is set to the Magic of Lights New Jersey radio station, and you’re driving through a merry arrangement of Christmas lights, trees, and decorations off the Garden State Parkway. The PNC Bank Arts Center is a go-to spot this season for some festive fun. It’s $25 per car if purchased online, and $30 per car if you purchase at the gate.

Sea of Lights | 300 Ocean Avenue, Point Pleasant

Select dates in December

Santa takes the Jersey Shore. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is not to be missed during the holiday season – The Holiday Lights Spectacular will take place on December 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 26th, 27th & 28th from 4-8PM each night (entertainment 5-8PM)! The winter wonderland includes treats, crafts, pictures with Santa, games, Diving Santa, and more holiday entertainment. Fun for the whole family.

Let It Glow – A Holiday Lantern Spectacular | Paramus

Now – January 30

Head to the Bergen County Zoo to see 30 lit scenes filled with hand-made artistic light displays of various animals. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children and include a train ride to show you even more light-up animals. Head to the website to get tickets, which everyone, including members, will need to purchase.

Holiday Adventure at Liberty Science Center | Jersey City

November 27 – January 3

The Liberty Science Center has created some holiday-specific exhibits to check out including a snowflake maze, synthetic ice rink, snowman riddle scavenger hunt, holiday lights and music show, and more. Make sure to bring proof of vaccination for anyone 12 and older, with adult tickets costing $27.99 and children tickets costing $22.99.

Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green | Morristown

November 28-December 19

Morristown can be fun to visit any time of year, but during the holidays the Morristown Green is transformed into a winter wonderland. Visitors can check out the holiday nights at night, take photos with Santa, see the ice sculptures, and on certain days hear live music in the heated tent. There are also various arts and crafts during select times, including creating holiday cards for children who will be spending their holidays at Goryeb’s Children’s Hospital. Check out the website for a complete list of activities.

New York

Shine Bright at Hudson Yards | 20 Hudson Yards

Now – January 1

The beautifully decorated plaza at Hudson Yards has let innovation take charge in this magical display. At one of NYC’s hottest destinations, you’ll find more than 2 million white lights illuminating The Shops, Public Square & Gardens, Edge and Vessel during the holiday season.

Rolf’s German Restaurant | 281 3rd Avenue

All year (no, that’s not a typo)

Every December the dining room at Rolf’s transforms into a must-see Christmas attraction. It goes beyond “decorated” and qualifies for “over the top” —in the best way. Twinkle lights, ornaments, dolls, and garland are stuffed into every nook and cranny so if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy holiday spot, this is it.

The Museum of Ice Cream | 558 Broadway Avenue

Now – January 9

Introducing, PINKMAS – The ever-popular Museum of Ice Cream has added a Christmas twist with their holiday exhibit. Visitors can walk through a pink winterscape with holiday-themed spaces and installations. At the attraction, you will experience multi-sensory installations with trained guides – where you may sing, dance, craft, swim, slide, climb, laugh, and most definitely EAT with treats included in your ticket. These tickets do sell out fast, so it is recommended to purchase in advance.

Holiday Under the Stars at The Shops at Columbus Circle | 10 Columbus Circle

Now – January 3

Overlooking iconic Central Park, this illuminated color mixing exhibit is one-of-a-kind. Featuring twelve 14-foot stars hanging from the ceiling in the main lobby of The Shops at Columbus Circle, this installation is a fan favorite each year. The stars continuously morph through a wide range of color combinations and every half hour the stars coordinate their colors with holiday music played through the shopping center.

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights | 2300 Southern Boulevard

Now – January 9

The holiday season at The Bronx Zoo is full of five brightly-lit animal safaris, beautiful ice-carving demonstrations, and delicious holiday treats. Guests can have their picture taken with costumed characters or stilt walkers, catch a show at the wildlife theater, see the decorated holiday tree, and more. The outdoor celebration is complete with festive entertainment, seasonal treats, and classic holiday music.

Luminaries at Brookfield Place | 230 Vesey Street

Now – January 2

Light Up Luminaries signals the start of the holiday season with an evening full of fun and holiday cheer as Brookfield Place celebrates the spectacular light installation and holiday tradition. The mesmerizing display of colorful lanterns returns (conceived and created by the LAB at Rockwell Group). Luminaries is a holiday ritual inspired by the season’s traditions of sharing, giving, community, and light. For each wish made and interaction with Maestro, Brookfield Place will donate $1 up to $25,000 to City Harvest – New York’s first and largest food rescue organization. After viewing the light display, make sure to stop by the winter garden and ice rink on the waterfront.

NYBG Glow | 2900 Southern Boulevard

Now – January 9

This holiday season, let it GLOW at The New York Botanical Garden in an outdoor experience like no other. The lively, festive nights return for their second year at NYBG with even more displays to wander through and explore. Colorfully lit paths and trees, countless dazzling LEDs, illuminated plant stories, and picture-perfect installations reflect the gardens and collections. Round out your experience with an after-dark visit to the train show under the glow of the Haupt Conservatory (this can be done with a combination ticket). Enjoy a drink, hot cocoa, and a bite to eat at one of our outdoor bars or the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up.

Peace, Love & Lights at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts | 200 Hurd Street, Bethel

Now – January 2

One of the area’s best and brightest socially-distant activities is the Peace, Love & Lights event. Held at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, guests can drive through 1.7 miles of illuminated light displays. Plus, after your drive head up to the Market Sheds for the Holiday Hub to warm up, unwind with seasonal refreshments, and be dazzled by the Musical Mega Trees light display,

Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show | 611 5th Avenue

Now – January 4

The time-honored tradition of decking the store windows along Fifth Avenue is alive and well in 2021 and The Saks Fifth Avenue lights are already in place. For those visiting, don’t miss the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and ice skating right across the street for more holiday fun. 

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights | Dyker Heights Boulevard, 83rd Street to 86th Street

Now – January 1

Some 300,000 people usually flock to the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn to see the extravagant Christmas displays. The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights display has become one of the best New York attractions during the holiday season. The neighborhood is home to some of the greatest Christmas light decorations in the area – with life-size Santas, snowmen, and some houses even playing Christmas carols from speakers. It is a must-see if you haven’t been. Many houses turn off their lights before 9PM, so make sure to get there on the earlier side.

Pennsylvania

Koziar’s Christmas Village | 782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville

Now – January 1

Koziar’s Christmas Village is decorated with more than 1 million lights, covering trees, buildings, and barns. A reflective lake adds to the natural beauty of the lights. This beautiful holiday experience has grown into an attraction that draws visitors from great distances. Guests can enjoy the experience of walking along a footpath and wrap up the night with a visit to see Santa.

Christmas in Hershey | 100 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey

Now – January 1

Hersey Park Christmas Candylane has decked the halls with 5 million Christmas lights. Enjoy your favorite rides and coasters, a visit with Santa, festive Hershey Character experiences, and more. Rides include Sidewinder, Wild Mouse, Cocoa Cruiser, and more.

Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Winter Spectacular | 5150 Game Preserve Road, Schnecksville

Now – January 1

For children interested in meeting winter wonderland characters, this is the go-to place. Featured in USA Today and featuring breathtaking holiday displays, the Winter Light Spectacular is back for the 2021 season. Geakers Tacos on the glowing picnic patio is a new addition to the experience this year. Plus you can stop by the Spirit Station for delicious hot chocolate and cider with spirits (parents, we understand you might need a little extra boost to get you through the holiday season). The Spirit Station is open Friday and Saturday nights, plus December 15-23.

A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens | 1001 Longwood Road, Kennet Square

Now – January 9

About an hour outside of Philadelphia sits the magical winter wonderland of Longwood Gardens. This dazzling display features candy canes, pine cones, and snowflakes. You can stroll along the path and enjoy the orbs, shimmering trees, and glowing light tunnels. You won’t want to miss the display at the Main Fountain Garden and the large lake where the music is synchronized with the lights show.

Christmas Magic “A Festival of Lights” | Rocky Ridge County Park

Now – December 30

The entire family will enjoy the lights at Rocky Ridge County Park. The half-mile trail has about 600,000 lights with candy canes, gingerbread men, and lanterns added throughout for a little holiday whimsy. The event will also feature Friends of the Parks’ cookie and hot chocolate stand as well as Susquehanna Valley Garden Railway Society’s gorgeous train display.

Shady Brook Farm’s Holiday Light Show | 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley

Now – January 10

For over 30 years, the team at Shady Brook Farm has hosted a holiday lights show. With over 3 million lights, the experience at this farm is a show indeed. A great option for kids of all ages, guests can save themselves from tired feet by driving the 2 mile-long trails which take about 20 minutes from start to finish. Guests can have hot chocolate by the bonfire to warm up on a cold night and find the perfect Christmas treat to take home.

Holidays in the Village at Peddler’s Village | 2400 Street Road, New Hope

Now – January 9

The most festive season of the year arrives with Peddler’s Village’s “Holidays in the Village,” a month-long celebration featuring 1 million twinkling lights, holiday shopping, a gingerbread house decorating competition, social distance visits from Santa, and much more. The surrounding area also has many local businesses and restaurants to check out if you’re looking to make a day out of it – all with festive decor.

Winter in Franklin Square | 200 North 6th Street, Philadelphia 

Now – December 31

Winter in Franklin Square is back – for its longest season ever. From spectacular lights to warming winter treats and plenty of holiday cheer – historic Franklin Square is electric all winter long. Two other attractions available in the Square are mini-golf on the Chilly Philly Mini Golf course and a Kwanzaa celebration later in December by The African American Museum.

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