Whether it’s Rockefeller Center or your next door neighbor’s lawn, here’s where you can see some of the best Christmas lights in New York.
Despite everything our families are facing these days, one thing is for sure this winter: We’re all in need of a little Christmas magic. Luckily, Christmas lights displays are an easy and exciting way to get into the holiday spirit, especially in New York. Whether it’s the Rockefeller Center Tree or the decorations on your neighbors’ front lawn, there are plenty of places to see Christmas lights in New York. And here’s the added value: It’s a holiday activity you can enjoy while social distancing.
Christmas Lights in New York City
The holiday lights festival returns to Randall’s Island on Nov. 27 and will be on display through Jan. 10. This year, you’ll walk through a 45-minute, narrative journey surrounded by beautiful lights and mesmerizing LED sculptures, reports Time Out New York. Each “land”—including Mysterious Forest, Dangerous Dunes, Forgotten Ruins, Hidden Land of Hria, and Mystical Moon Land—has its own set. The festival will take extra safety precautions to keep you and your family safe.
Experience one of a kind set pieces and over two million lights illuminating all of Hudson Yards along with contactless holiday shopping, seasonal flavors and don’t forget to bring the kids to the Santa Station for a virtual visit at the North Pole. On display through Jan. 3
The Bronx Zoo is bringing back its holiday lights tradition from Nov. 20 through Jan. 10. It will encompass a larger area of the zoo to accommodate social distancing. Entertainment at this year’s Holiday Lights Festival will include holiday music, ice carving, costumed characters, stilt walkers, souvenirs, and seasonal treats (think hot chocolate and s’mores.)
The botanical garden is offering an exciting new holiday event for the public to enjoy: NYBG GLOW. An all-new nighttime, outdoor experience, NYBG GLOW will illuminate the landscape and Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden on select evenings this holiday season, from Friday, Nov. 27 through Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. Because this is an all-outdoor event, there is plenty of room for visitors to spread out and maintain social distance while exploring a glowing world of color and light. Thousands of dazzling LED lights and installations will fill the Visitor Center Reflecting Pool and bring the surrounding gardens and collections to life—plus, the Haupt Conservatory will serve as the centerpiece of the whole experience with its iconic exterior serving as a canvas.
Dyker Heights is home to some of the most over-the-top Christmas lights in New York. Displays spill over homes, roofs and gardens each year. You can take a drive (or walk) through the neighborhood to feast your eyes on the displays, or even sign up for a guided walking tour or bus tour (which originates at Bryant Park Winter Village).
Rockefeller Center is home of the most famous Christmas tree in NYC. While information and details regarding this year’s tree lighting is not yet available, we know that it will be happening. Check back here for updates on the tree lighting.
The largest menorah in Brooklyn is lit throughout the 8 nights of Chanukah (Dec. 10- Dec. 17) at Grand Army Plaza. This year, the first night will commence with a live kickoff concert beginning at 4:30pm.
Luminaries, designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, features a canopy of colorful lights from hundreds of lanterns suspended among the palms at Brookfield Place. Touchless wishing stations on the ground allow visitors to send a motion-activated wish to the canopy of lanterns, prompting a mesmerizing display of colorful lights. The display is live from Nov. 27 through Jan. 8, 8am-10pm.
Christmas Lights in Staten Island
There are spectacular lights to see all over Staten Island. The Facebook group Staten Island Christmas Houses posts an annual list of the brightest and most beautifully decorated homes in Staten Island. Their list, categorized by zip code and featuring a thread of photos, is updated regularly throughout the season.
Christmas Lights in Bergen County, NJ
Drive through a guided tour of 32 acres of brilliant holiday light displays. Enjoy hot cocoa in the retail farm market, take pictures with Santa, make s’mores, and more! Nov. 24 through Dec. 29.
The ERDAJT Holiday Light Display (8 Patrick Drive in LaGrangeville) has been featured in the Guiness Book of World Records as well as on dozens of news broadcasts. The light display will begin on Nov. 26 this year.
This year’s display will be all outdoors and masks will be required. More details regarding the walk through event will be coming soon. The event will begin Nov. 27 this year at 38 Sheafe Road, Wappingers Falls.
Every year, the Christmas display at 420 Scotchtown Road, Goshen grows larger and people drive from further and further to see it. 2020 details to come.
The light display at 5 Madre DeCristo in Walkill boasts over 25,000 lights set to music to bring Christmas joy to all visitors. The show begins Nov. 27 through Dec. 29 this year, 5-11pm every night.
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Though a bit further away, the drive-thru holiday light show in the Sullivan Catskills is worth the trip. The completely contact-free mile of illuminated lights will feature a 120-foot Twinkle Tunnel, themed areas, and so much more. The show begins on Nov. 23 and lasts through Jan 3, 2021, 5-10pm daily.
After the success of its drive-thru safari, Six Flags Great Adventure is expanding its Holiday in the Park offerings to include a weeknight drive-thru light experience. It includes 12 immersive areas throughout the 140-acre theme park (yes, you drive through the amusement park!), full of twinkling lights, live entertainment, and festive music. Plus, guests will receive socially distanced holiday greetings from beloved holiday characters.
Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits.
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