7 Of Middle America’s Top Holiday Lights Displays This Season

Among so many favorite memories of bygone holiday seasons, cruising through local light displays stands out at the top. We’ve compiled a list of unique displays across the middle of America for you and yours to enjoy this holiday season.

1/ Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden — St. Louis, Missouri
Garden Glow at St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden is a holiday treasure. It focuses on the natural beauty of the season. The million-light spectacle features huge technicolor flowers, countless lit evergreens and a glowing labyrinth with a gazebo at its center. Enjoy food, drink and traditional holiday music as you wander.

2/ Christmas Nights of Lights on Coney Island — Cincinnati, Ohio
Coney Island has been an important tradition for many Ohio families for 130 years; this year, the iconic park is bringing a new tradition for the holidays with Christmas Nights of Lights. Over a million LED lights have been strung along a two-mile stretch for visitors to enjoy from their warm and cozy cars as they sing along to the synchronized holiday tunes.

3/ Christmas at Crossroads Village — Detroit, Michigan
Where most holiday displays have a festive little train made of wire and lights, Crossroads Village boasts an actual moving steam engine wrapped in lights. Visitors can hop aboard for a jaunt on the Huckleberry Railroad before perusing through Crossroads Village, which is populated by costumed villagers and live entertainment.

4/ CSE Winter Light Show — Minneapolis, Minnesota
The College of Science and Engineering students at the University of Minnesota have once again put their heads together for their sixth annual Winter Light Show. The 3D outdoor experience features over 250,000 lights set to music, “some of which,” according to the college’s Student News site, “is written and recorded by University of Minnesota students.” Catch the premiere party this Friday, Dec. 2 at 5pm for free hot chocolate and a peek at other projects the students are working on. The show enjoys a very limited engagement, though, so be sure to check the running dates before you visit.

ALIVE Magazine Tree Lights

Photo by Timothy Mossholder.


5/ A Country Christmas — Nashville, Tennessee

For a true holiday extravaganza, visit Gaylord Opryland’s Country Christmas. The stunning two-million-light display is only one part of the festivities offered, ranging from Rudolph’s story carved into two million pounds of ice and a Broadway rendition of Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to a tubing hill and ice skating.

6/ Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake — Kansas City, Missouri
Holidays in Kansas City aren’t complete without visiting the perennial local favorite Christmas in the Park at the Longview Lake campgrounds. The dancing figures feature traditional Yuletide favorites as well as more silly iterations, like a golfing Santa or a pond surrounded by flamingos. Admission to the over-300,000-light display is completely free with donations benefiting more than 35 local charities.

7/ Lights at the Brickyard — Indianapolis, Indiana
If you’ve ever wanted to drive on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this holiday season is your chance. For the first year ever, visitors will be able to drive their cars along a 1.7-mile path through over two million lights at the IMS’s Lights at the Brickyard, including crossing the famous, hallowed finish line. The spectacular display’s 40 different holiday scenes feature extensive vignettes, such as separate scenes depicting each of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Top photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.

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