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The Best Places to See Christmas Lights in New York

The Best Places to See Christmas Lights in New York

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.

Updated Dec. 16, 2020: 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.

RELATED: Vote for your favorite holiday character to win $250!

Christmas Lights in New York City

Luminocity Festival

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.

Zucotti Park in Fidi

These lit up trees create a magical holiday forrest.

Shine Bright at Hudson Yards

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

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

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.)

New York Botanical Garden GLOW

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

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).

Seaport District

An already aesthetically pleasing part of the city, the Seaport District in the Financial District has a beautiful, 35-foot tall Christmas tree decorated with more than 10,000 LED lights. Located at 19 Fulton Street.  Ziggy, a rainbow lit up sculpture by Hou de Sousa, is on display at 200 Water Street, too. 

The Edge

In addition to panoramic views of the twinkling lights of New York City from 1,131 feet up, the Skyline Steps are now decked out in almost 50,000 holiday lights and garland. 

The Shops at Columbus Circle

The famous 14-foot stars light up in synchronization  with holiday music at 4pm each evening. These will be illuminated through Christmas Eve. 

Pulitzer Fountain

Across from the Plaza Hotel and East entrance to Central Park is the Grand Army Plaza fountain. It now has huge, glowing colorful ornaments and brightly lit trees. 

Brownstones on the Upper West Side

Stroll the streets on Manhattan's Upper West Side to see the beautiful holiday decorations done by NYC residents. Our personal favorites are those with garlands lining the stairs and bannisters. 

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

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.

Grand Army Plaza - Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah

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.

Brookfield Place Luminaries

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.

Saks Fifth Avenue

In addition to the beautiful (and world renowned) Christmas window displays at Saks, the storefront is decorated in colorful lights. The annual light show can be streamed on weekdays through Jan. 3. 

73rd Street

This street on the Upper East Side is lined with twinkling trees, making for a magical stroll through the neighborhood. 

Christmas Lights on Long Island

Magic of Lights Jones Beach Holiday Light Show

The Jones Beach Holiday Light Show returns Nov. 13 through Jan. 2, 2021 and is open Sundays-Thursdays, 5pm-10pm, Fridays-Saturdays, 5pm-11pm. You won’t even need to leave your car to see the amazing light displays lining the roads on the West End.

Brookhaven Holiday Light Spectacular

Last year, several thousand people walked through the winter wonderland of lighted, festive displays, before stopping to take their photos with Santa in his workshop. The light show will take place at the Holtsville Ecology Site at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville this year. A limited number of tickets will be available for pre-purchase for the indoor holiday light show this year. Stay tuned for 2020 dates.

Riverhead Holiday Light Show

The Riverhead Holiday Light Show begins Nov. 19 through Dec. 30. It features dozens of dazzling displays that the whole family will love! Tickets are on sale now.

Smith Point Light Show

The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County presents its annual drive-thru light show Dec. 1-30 in Shirley. The 1.5 mile trail at Smith Point County Park Campgrounds will be lit up with holiday light displays. Presale tickets are on sale now.

Christmas Lights in Westchester

North Kensico Christmas Light Show

For the last 13 years, the family living at 21 N. Kensico Ave. in White Plains has put on a free spectacular light show coinciding with the music broadcasting on 107.7 FM. This will be the last year of the light show, so you don’t want to miss it. Social distancing and masks are required when outside of your car and hot chocolate will be offered with COVID-19 safety precautions. Nov. 28 through Jan. 1, 5:30-11pm, daily.

Keeler Christmas Light Display

Nov. 28 at 6pm, the Keeler Christmas Light display at 16 Luigi Road in Putnam Valley will light up for the year. The display takes three months to prepare each year, including Santa on the roof, snowmen, Olaf, and a lit-up train. This year’s display is dedicated to Marvin Keeler who started the shows and passed this April.

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru Holiday Light Extravaganza

This year’s Westchester Winter Wonderland has been reimagined as a drive-through experience to keep families as safe as possible. It will feature 1.2 miles of lighted exhibits, costumed characters, music, and appearances by Santa. The tree lighting will be on opening night (Nov. 27) and the show will go on through Jan. 3.

Worldwide Light Celebration Car Parade

Stepping Stones Museum for Children (in Norwalk, CT) wants to bring joy to the community this holiday season with a free presentation of this year’s Worldwide Lights Celebration Car Parade. Treat your family to a spectacular holiday light display from the safe comfort of your car! Registered guests will enjoy a Luminescent Light Forest with nontraditional trees, a beautiful Evergreen display, plus hidden light treasures, sparkling presents and happy Santa sightings. A special looping light show, prepared by museum educators, will air on the museum’s indoor Light Gallery. All visitors will receive a Worldwide Light Celebration activity sheet and a special Stepping Stones at Twenty puzzle. Through Dec. 23, 5:30-7:30pm, nightly.

Wonderland at Roseville

Due to covid, Wonderland at Roseville hsa changed their display to a front yard drive-by display only. They will broadcast their music to you in the warmth of your car synchronized to the lights as you view the display from the street. Please stay in your car, and tune your radio station to 103.3 FM to enjoy the music. On display through Dec. 26, Sundays-Thursdays, 5-9pm and Fridays-Saturdays, 5-10pm.

Christmas Lights in Rockland County

Let There Be Light

GARNER Art Center's LET THERE BE LIGHT! is a drive-through art and light show. This COVID-safe, family-friendly, holiday season-themed attraction will safely guide you through the unique GARNER complex along a bright, inspiring and elegantly decorated art path, including illuminated window art, video projection mapping, music, sight specific installations, immersive light displays and more! Advance tickets only. 


Christmas Lights in Bergen County, NJ

Orchard of Lights

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.

Christmas Lights in Dutchess County

ERDAJT Holiday Light Display

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.

Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival

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.

Christmas Lights in Orange County

Watt Christmas Wonderland

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.

Bruschi Christmas

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.

Christmas Lights in Sullivan County

Bethel Woods Peace Love & Lights

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.

Christmas Lights in Ocean County, NJ

Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience

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.

Main image via Hudson Yards NYC Facebook

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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes is a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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