30+ of the Most Festive Christmas Lights Displays in North Carolina (UPDATED for 2021)

Last Updated on March 16, 2022

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Seeing festive displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina is a winter tradition for us. While there are many to name, we thought you should know about a few that we keep in mind.

You may know about the bucket-list-worthy lights at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the famed Christmas Town USA in Gaston County, and the stunning sights at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. However, there are additionally awesome Christmas light displays waiting to be found, from the mountains to the sea!

Read More: Christmas in North Carolina (the Best Holiday Events)

Christmas Lights in North Carolina

As we’ve done with previous monthly roundups, we’ve ordered these Christmas Lights in North Carolina by starting date and alphabetized by place name.

For those ready to visit these displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina, our map includes the visual location of all of these places.

Also, a big thanks to readers and members of our Facebook Group for helping us keep an eye out for these amazing events!

Read More: The North Carolina Travel Map

Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore (November 5 to January 8)

First up is Christmas at Biltmore, which offers one of the largest displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina.

During its Candlelight Christmas Evenings, you’ll see a massive lit Norway Spruce on the front lawn and pathway luminaries to guide your walk.

Inside Biltmore House, you’ll find decorated Christmas trees all around and 135,000 LED and mini lights twinkling around the property. A visit to Antler Hill Village and Winery (one of the best in NC!) is included with admission, with more Christmas lights displays and wine tastings waiting.

Ticket Info
Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville

Winter Wonderlights at Greensboro Science Center (November 6 to January 2)

Watch as the Greensboro Science Center enchants with illuminating lights! Normal visits to this museum keep the GSC among our favorite things to do with kids in Greensboro.

During Winter Wonderlights, you can Walk through the zoo and see beautiful holiday lights, and a choreographed light show at the Dancing Fountains.

Rumor has it that Santa will also make an appearance in Greensboro!

Ticket Info
Read More: Fun Museums in Greensboro (Kid-Friendly, Contemporary Art, and More!)

Mike’s Farm Light Show Hayride (November 8 to December 23, December 26 to 28)

Christmas Lights in North Carolina

Enjoy Dinner and a Hayride at Mike’s Farm in Beulaville (not far from Jacksonville) for a beautiful Christmas light display. Give their homestyle restaurant, which has raving reviews, a try as well! It is available by reservation only. 

Reservation Info
Read More: Restaurants in Jacksonville and Onslow County

Tanglewood Festival of Lights (November 12 to January 1)

Christmas Lights in North Carolina Tanglewood

Tanglewood Festival of Lights is a Drive-Thru Christmas light display in Clemmons, near Winston-Salem. For this season, they are open nightly until New Years Day.

Rates start at $20 per family but check out their website for discounted rates on certain nights! If you’re looking for a special way to view the lights, then consider their Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides or Tractor Hayrides. 

Ticket Info
Read More: Delicious Winston-Salem Restaurants

Meadow Lights in Johnston County (November 19 to December 31)

There is no admission fee to see Meadow Lights in Benson, and a great way to enjoy them is via the Old Country Store. For $3 per person, you can take a train through the lights, which is something all of us train enthusiasts love.

An old-fashioned carousel adds to the fun, even though they had us at “train.”

Event Info
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Speedway Christmas (November 19 to January 16)

Christmas lights in North Carolina Speedway Christmas

Charlotte Speedway Christmas is back for another season of Christmas light displays in Cabarrus County! Enjoy over 4 million lights on a 3.75-mile course that incorporates music if you tune in to the local Christmas radio station.

Ticket Info
Read More: Restaurants in Concord and Cabarrus County

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum (November 19 to January 1)

Held nightly from November through New Year’s Day, Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum makes Asheville shine a little brighter! Enjoy this light display of thousands of lights stretching for over a mile of the gardens campus.

Ticket Info
Read More: Unique Airbnbs in Asheville

Mangum Family Christmas Lights (November 22 to December 31)

Christmas Lights in North Carolina Mangum Family Lights Durham

Technically in Hillsborough, this amazing collection light show sits just outside Durham at 7510 Guess Road and is totally worth the drive. We stay tuned to the Mangum Family Christmas Lights Facebook Page throughout the year for that announcement of when they’ll be starting.

This year, it begins at 5:30 pm each evening and ends at 10:00 pm on Sundays through Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, it ends at 11:00 pm.

An added bonus is the radio station (90.3 FM) that plays along with some of the brightest Christmas lights in North Carolina.

Event Info
Read More: Things to Do in Durham

McLaurin Farms (Select Dates from November 26 to December 26)

Christmas Lights in NC McLaurin Farms

Open Dates: November 26 to 28 and December 2 to 5, 9 to 12, 16 to 19, 20 to 23, & 26

McLaurin Farms is best known for their spooky Woods of Terror in October, but the family-owned farm in Greensboro also turns into a family-friendly walk-through light display during the Christmas season.

Take the magical hayride or walk through one million-plus lights. While there, you can also sy “Hello!” to the Grinch, Santa, and more recognizable characters!

There are plenty of activities for young kids here, including a jump pad, playground equipment, and even farm animals!

Christmas Lights in NC McLaurin

Watch Christina’s TikTok from her visit and you’ll see why we think McLaurin Farms is where you can find the most family-friendly Christmas lights in North Carolina!

Ticket Information
Read more: Restaurants in Greensboro

Drive-Thru Lights at Highlanders Farm in Carthage (November 23 Start)

Highlanders Farm in Carthage (near Southern Pines and Pinehurst) has launched its own drive-thru Christmas Lights Show and the response has been great so far! The farm has strung up more than 500,000 lights and will keep them on (Tuesday to Saturday) through December 31.

Admission is $20 per car filled with up to 8 people. If you’re in the area, support this family-owned farm and see some awesome Christmas lights in North Carolina’s Sandhills at the same time!

Read More: 11 Great Weymouth Woods Trails (and More Things to Do)

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tryon Equestrian Center (November 23 to January 2)

Drive through and even enjoy a LIVE performance at the Tryon Equestrian Center! On select evenings, there are performances including Christmas character favorites like The Grinch, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown!

Ticket Info
Read More: Pearson’s Falls

Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms (November 25 to January 2)

Christmas Lights in North Carolina Festival of Lights Hill Ridge Farm Youngsville NC

Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville (Franklin County) has transformed their Festival of Lights to an all-new drive-thru Christmas light display!

For $20 per vehicle, your family can view the over one-mile-long light display that is bigger and better than ever before.

Ticket Info
Read More: Day Trips from Durham

Lake Myra Christmas Light Show (November 25 to December 31)

Visit Wendell for another amazing collection of Christmas lights in North Carolina that you can experience for FREE! Donations are accepted at Lake Myra Christmas, and will help keep this popular light show one of the best in the Triangle.

Event Info
Read More: Things to Do in Raleigh

Chetola Resort Festival of Lights (November 26 to January 30)

Chetola Resort in the lovely mountain town of Blowing Rock is transformed to host a most beautiful collection of Christmas lights in North Carolina. During the Festival of Lights, Over 30,000 lights around Chetola Lake transform it into a Winter Wonderland!

Chetola Resort winter lights

Admission is free to the public. 

Event Info
Read More: Restaurants in Blowing Rock

Christmas Lights on the Farm (November 26 to December 23)

Closed November 29 and December 6 and 13

Head out to Middlesex (near Rocky Mount) for Christmas Lights on the Farm. During this event, you can enjoy a hayride through Christmas Town to their Field of Lights display.

During Christmas Lights on the Farm, you can also watch live music and make s’mores by the fire pit. Santa will be there for pictures, too.

Event Info
Read More: Restaurants in Rocky Mount

Christmas with the Kringles at Millstone Creek Orchards (November 26 Start)

Millstone Creek Orchards hosts one of the most popular displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina, accompanied by Santa, and more! During their “Christmas with the Kringles,” your little ones (and you) can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and have professional photos taken.

After that, hop on a Christmas hayride for the light show. There will also be a Reindeer Food Creation Station, Christmas cookie decorating, hot cocoa, and more!

Reservations are required and in high demand, so grab your tickets ASAP or plan for next year.

Ticket Info
Read More: The NC Zoo in Asheboro (ALL The Tips!)

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Christmas Lights (November 26 to January 2)

Head over to Belmont for the annual Holiday in the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. These Christmas lights in North Carolina are just a day trip away from Charlotte and the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit.

For $14.95 per adult, you can enjoy topiary displays, Piedmont Prairie, and cherry blossom trees illuminated for their Christmas light display. Also available is a food truck, s’mores roasting pit, and warm or cold beverages. 

Ticket Info
Read More: Things to Do in Gastonia and Gaston County

Dix Park Nights of Lights (November 26 to December 24)

Christmas lights in North Carolina’s Dorothea Dix Park return for residents and visitors to Raleigh! The 1.3-mile route will showcase illuminated trees, light displays, and local art installations throughout Dix Park.

Ticket Info
Read More: Museums in Raleigh

Enchanted Airlie (November 26 and 27 & December 3 to 22)

Christmas Lights in North Carolina Enchanted Airlie Wilmington NC

The Enchanted Airlie Christmas light display in Wilmington is an annual walk through a beautiful garden. Stroll through and enjoy a self-guided tour surrounded by festive sights and sounds.

Event Info
Read More: 50+ Awesome Things to Do in Wilmington

Holland Road Lights (November 26 Start)

If you are looking for Christmas lights in Fuquay Varina, Holland Road is the spot! With more than 25,000 lights, tune your radio to 90.9 for a synchronized show.

For a special show, drive-by on New Year’s Eve!

Event Info
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Kersey Valley Christmas (November 26 start)

Christmas lights in NC Kersey Valley

Kersey Valley Christmas in Archdale is one of the most unique displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina!

The family-owned farm is well known for its Spookywoods production in the Fall, but they have transformed their 80 acres to include unlimited train rides, snow tube tract, caroling tractor pull, and so many more hands-on activities.

Watch Christina’s Tiktok about Kersey Valley Christmas

When you arrive at Kersey Valley you’ll be put on a virtual queue to meet Santa so you and your family can go out and enjoy the farm instead of waiting in line all night for your magical moment.

Event Information and Tickets
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Lights on the Neuse (Select Dates Starting November 26)

Open Dates: November 26 and 27 and December 3 to 5, 10 to 12, 17 to 19, and 20 to 24

Lights on the Neuse in Clayton is a great way to celebrate the holiday season in style. An old-fashioned hayride will show you some of the best Christmas lights in North Carolina.

Ticket Info
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Piper Lights (November 26 to January 1)

Drive through seven acres of Piper Lights in Wake Forest! Admission to these drive-through Christmas lights is free.

Event Info

Sweet Valley Ranch Christmas Lights (November 26 Start)

Sweet Valley Ranch‘s Christmas light display is the first of two ways we’ll mention celebrating the season outside in Fayetteville. This beautiful farm is transformed into a glowing wonderland, perfect for your family to visit!

Prices start at $7 per person with discounts available if you bring more people. Military, first responders and senior citizens also receive discounted admission. 

Ticket Info
Read More: Restaurants in Fayetteville

The Elizabethan Gardens WinterLights (November 27 Start)

WinterLights in Manteo’s Elizabethan Gardens on the Outer Banks is back again for another year! Enjoy a walkthrough of the grounds and take in the Christmas light displays of the gardens, festive décor and trees of the Gatehouse and Reception Hall.

WinterLights starts November 27 and here are specific dates when it will be open:

  • November 27, 28, and 30
  • December 1 to 5, 7 to 12, 14 to 19, 21 to 23, 26, 28 to 30
  • January 2, 7 to 9, 14 to 16

Ticket Info
Read More: Things to Do in the Outer Banks

McAdenville Christmas Town USA (December 1 to December 26)

Christmas Lights in NC McAdenville

Visit the Christmas light display affectionately known as Christmas Town USA in McAdenville, over in Gaston County. For 65 years, people have traveled from across North Carolina (and beyond) to view displays in the town common areas as well as the homes, free of charge.

This is considered one of the best ways to enjoy Christmas lights in North Carolina!

Event Info
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Cape Fear Botanical Garden Holiday Lights (December 2 to December 23)

Fayetteville’s Cape Fear Botanical Garden welcomes you to their Holiday Lights in the Garden. Enjoy their Christmas light displays as the entire gardens are lit up for your enjoyment.

Santa Claus will be making an appearance and s’mores, entertainment, and more will be available.

Ticket Info
Read More: Things to Do in Fayetteville

Electric Light Fantasy (December 2 to 5 and 9 to 12)

Electric Light Fantasy is the first-of-its-kind drive-in event at Wilson‘s Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum. Lights will surround the iconic whirligigs, along with holiday music, and a festive atmosphere.

Ticket Info
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Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries (December 3, 4, 10, & 11)

Visit this Christmas light display in Dillsboro (one of Jackson County’s finest towns) to see the entire town decked out in over 2,500 lights leading to shops and studios!

Hot cider and cocoa will be served by shopkeepers and carolers, Santa, and Mrs. Claus will be making an appearance.

Event Info
Read More: Bear Lake Reserve in Jackson County

Drive Through Christmas Village at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum (December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18)

The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly (Johnston County) is bringing back its Drive Through Christmas Village, which mixes holiday magic and a truly historic setting!

On December 3, there will be a special free walk-through preview as part of a larger holiday kick-off weekend

The other nights listed will be vehicle-only from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Admission is $10 per car for this amazing display of Christmas lights in North Carolina’s Johnston County.

Food will be for sale, too, served by the Kitchen of Ahhz food truck.

Event Info

JIRDC Lights (December 7 to January 1)

The J Iverson Riddle Developmental Center in Morganton typically starts its annual Christmas lights on the evening after the annual Christmas parade. You can enjoy the lights every night until New Years’ Day. 

Event Info
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Holiday In the Hills (Hopefully Next Year?)

Holidays In the Hills usually kicks off in the woods of Shakori Hills Community Arts Center in Pittsboro. We hope to see them in action next year, but understand the event has been postponed for the time being.

For more info and updates, follow the event’s Facebook Page.

Christmas Lights in NC McAdenville private homes
McAdenville aka Christmas Town USA

Enjoy Christmas Lights in North Carolina This Year and Beyond!

We understand that getting in the holiday spirit is much harder this year. But hopefully, these festive Christmas lights in North Carolina will brighten your season!

If you’re planning to visit any of these displays, we’d love to know which ones and why. Plus, if you know of one (or more) that belongs on this list, we’d always love to learn more about them, too!

Happy holidays and we hope you’re able to enjoy some festive cheer, wherever you call “home.”

More Things to Do (Beyond Christmas Lights in North Carolina

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