Last Updated on October 14, 2021
Last Updated on October 14, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
Seeing festive displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina is a must-do family 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 Gaston County‘s Christmas Town USA 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: The Best Things to Do in North Carolina
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.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore (November 5 to January 8)
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.
Winter Wonderlights at Greensboro Science Center (November 6 to January 2)
Watch as the Greensboro Science Center enchants with illuminating lights! Walk through the zoo and see beautiful holiday lights as well as a choreographed light show at the Dancing Fountains.
Rumor has it that Santa will also make an appearance in Greensboro!
Mike’s Farm Light Show Hayride (November 8 to December 23, December 26 to 28)
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.
Tanglewood Festival of Lights (November 12 to January 1)
Tanglewood Festival of Lights is a Drive-Thru Christmas light display in Clemmons, North Carolina. 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.
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.
Speedway Christmas (November 19 to January 2)
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.
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!
Fieldstream Farm Christmas Lights (November 25 to December 31)
Located at 8008 Old Stage Rd in Raleigh, this light display has been illuminating the Triangle since 1996! Lighting up every evening from November 21 to December 31, Fieldstream Farm offers more than a million lights and a 40-foot Santa.
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.
McAdenville Christmas Town USA (December 1 to December 26)
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!
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.
Mangum Family Christmas Lights (November TBD to December 31)
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.
Lake Myra Christmas (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.
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!
Admission is free to the public.
Enchanted Airlie (November 26 and 27 & December 3 to 22)
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.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden (TBD)
Santa Claus will be making an appearance and s’mores, entertainment, and more will be available.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden (TBD)
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.
The Elizabethan Gardens (TBD)
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.
Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms (TBD)
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.
Holiday In the Hills (TBD)
Holidays In the Hills kicks off in the woods of Shakori Hills Community Arts Center in Pittsboro. Tickets will be limited to keep you from waiting in long lines in your car, and also, to manage the area’s traffic flow.
For more info and updates, follow the event’s Facebook Page.
Holland Road Lights (TBD)
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!
Piper Lights (TBD)
Drive through seven acres of Piper Lights in Wake Forest! Admission to these drive-through Christmas lights is free. In typical years, there is a train and a candy store, but things have been adapted for 2020.
Sweet Valley Ranch (TBD)
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.
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.”