30+ of the Most Festive Christmas Lights Displays in North Carolina (UPDATED for 2022)

Last Updated on December 8, 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!

  • List of Christmas Lights Displays
  • Map of Christmas Lights in NC
  • Western NC Christmas Lights
  • Central NC Christmas Lights
  • Eastern NC Christmas Lights

You can skip ahead to any of these sections or continue reading for our alphabetized list of places to see Christmas lights in North Carolina.

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

List of Christmas Lights in North Carolina

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

However, this list is in ABC order so you can quickly jump to the event that you’re looking for:

  • Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore
  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden Holiday Lights
  • Chetola Resort Festival of Lights
  • Christmas Lights on the Farm
  • Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Christmas Lights
  • Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
  • Dix Park Nights of Lights
  • Drive Through Christmas Village at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum
  • Drive-Thru Lights at Highlanders Farm in Carthage
  • Electric Light Fantasy
  • The Elizabethan Gardens WinterLights
  • Enchanted Airlie
  • Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms
  • Forest City
  • Holiday In the Hills
  • Holland Road Lights
  • JIRDC Lights
  • Kersey Valley Christmas
  • Lake Myra Christmas Light Show
  • Lights on the Neuse
  • Mangum Family Christmas Lights
  • McAdenville Christmas Town USA
  • McLaurin Farms
  • Meadow Lights in Johnston County
  • Mike’s Farm Light Show Hayride
  • Piper Lights
  • Sweet Valley Ranch Christmas Lights
  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tryon Equestrian Center
  • Speedway Christmas
  • Tanglewood Festival of Lights
  • Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum
  • Winter Wonderlights at Greensboro Science Center

Map of Christmas Lights in NC

Map of NC Christmas Lights Displays

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

Western NC Christmas Lights

  • Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore
  • Chetola Resort Festival of Lights
  • Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Christmas Lights
  • Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
  • Forest City
  • McAdenville Christmas Town USA
  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tryon Equestrian Center
  • Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore

2022/2023 Dates: November 5, 2022 to January 8, 2023
Ticket Info

Christmas in North Carolina Biltmore

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.

Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

2022/2023 Dates: November 18, 2022 to January 1, 2023
Ticket Info

Winter Lights at NC Arboretum green tree

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.

Read More: Unique Airbnbs in Asheville

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tryon Equestrian Center

2022/2023 Dates:  November 17, 2022 to January 1, 2023
Ticket Info

Tryon Equestrian Center Lights

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!

Read More: Pearson’s Falls

Chetola Resort Festival of Lights

2022/2023 Dates: November 29, 2022-January 29, 2023
Event Info

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. 

Read More: Restaurants in Blowing Rock

Forest City Christmas

2022 Dates: November 25-January 2

Forest City Christmas Lights

Voted as the #1 Christmas Light display near Asheville, Forest City is a must for those looking for a free Christmas Light experience in Western North Carolina. 

The holiday season kicks off on Thanksgiving with a tree lighting and live music. Over 1 million lights line historic Main Street, and carriage rides are a popular way to get in the holiday spirit. 

Carriage Rides must be reserved in advance. The town is lit up from 5p-11:30p from Friday, November 25-Monday, January 2nd. 

Read More: Ski Resorts in North Carolina

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Christmas Lights

2022 Dates: November 25-December 31
Ticket Info

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. 

Read More: Things to Do in Gastonia and Gaston County

McAdenville Christmas Town USA

2022 Dates: December 1-December 26
Event Info

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!

Read More: Day Trips from Charlotte

Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries

2022 Dates: December 3 to 4 and December 10 to 11
Event Info

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.

Read More: Bear Lake Reserve in Jackson County

JIRDC Lights

2022/2023 Dates: December 2, 2022-January 1, 2023
Event Info

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. 

Read More: 25+ Amazing Restaurants in Morganton and Nearby! (Map Included!)

Central NC Christmas Lights

  • Speedway Christmas
  • Tanglewood Festival of Lights
  • Winter Wonderlights at Greensboro Science Center
  • Mangum Family Christmas Lights
  • McLaurin Farms
  • Drive-Thru Lights at Highlanders Farm in Carthage
  • Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms
  • Lake Myra Christmas Light Show
  • Dix Park Nights of Lights
  • Holland Road Lights
  • Kersey Valley Christmas
  • Piper Lights
  • Holiday In the Hills

Tanglewood Festival of Lights

2022/2023 Dates: November 11, 2022-January 1, 2023
Ticket Info

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 Year’s 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. 

Read More: Delicious Winston-Salem Restaurants

Winter Wonderlights at Greensboro Science Center

2022/2023 Dates: November 17, 2022-January 1, 2023
Ticket Info

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!

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

Mangum Family Christmas Lights (Thanksgiving Week)

2022 Start Date: Thanksgiving Week
Event Info

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.

Read More: Things to Do in Durham

McLaurin Farms Christmas Festival

2022/2023 Start Date: November 25, 2022
Ticket Info

Christmas Lights in NC McLaurin Farms

McLaurin Farms is best known for its 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 say “Hello!” to the Grinch, Santa, and more recognizable characters!

Open Dates:

  • November 25-26
  • December 1-4
  • December 8-11
  • December 15-23
  • December 30

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!

Read more: Restaurants in Greensboro

Speedway Christmas

2022/2023 Dates: November 18, 2022-January 8, 2023
Ticket Info

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.

Read More: Restaurants in Concord and Cabarrus County

Drive-Thru Lights at Highlanders Farm in Carthage

2022 Dates: November 24 to December 31 (Tuesdays to Saturdays)
Event Info

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)

Festival of Lights at Hill Ridge Farms

2022/2023 Dates: November 24, 2022-January 1, 2023 (Closed November 28-December 1)
Ticket Info

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

Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville (Franklin County) has transformed its Festival of Lights into 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.

Read More: Day Trips from Durham

Lake Myra Christmas Light Show

2022 Dates: November 24-December 31
Event Info

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.

Read More: Things to Do in Raleigh

Dix Park Nights of Lights

2022 Start Date: November 25
Ticket Info

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.

Read More: Museums in Raleigh

Holland Road Lights

2022 Start Date: November 25
Event Info

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!

Read More: 50+ Easy Day Trips from Fayetteville (Great Getaways!)

Kersey Valley Christmas

2022 Start Date: November 25
Event Info

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.

Read more: Things to do in Asheboro and Randolph County

Piper Lights

2022/2023 Dates: November 26, 2022 to January 1, 2023
Event Info

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

Eastern NC Christmas Lights

  • ELJ Farms Christmas Town
  • Mike’s Farm Light Show Hayride
  • Meadow Lights in Johnston County
  • Christmas Lights on the Farm
  • Enchanted Airlie
  • Lights on the Neuse
  • Sweet Valley Ranch Christmas Lights
  • The Elizabethan Gardens WinterLights
  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden Holiday Lights
  • Electric Light Fantasy
  • Drive Through Christmas Village at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum

ELJ Farms Christmas Town

2022 Dates: November 4 Starting Date
Reservation Info

NC Christmas Lights ELJ Farms Jacksonville NC

ELJ Farms in Jacksonville is one of the best NC Christmas light experiences. This family-friendly, animated collection of lights offers you the option of taking a tractor ride or driving through with your own car.

Either way, you’ll pass through a myriad of Christmas lights, giant toy soldiers, and more!

Read More: How to Visit Lejeune Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville (+ 5 Powerful Monuments)

Mike’s Farm Light Show Hayride

2022 Dates: November 17-December 23 and December 26-28
Reservation Info

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. 

Read More: Restaurants in Jacksonville and Onslow County

Meadow Lights in Johnston County

2022 Dates: November 18-December 31
Event Info

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.”

Read More: The Best Day Trips from Raleigh

Christmas Lights on the Farm

2022 Dates: November 25-27, December 1-4, December 7-11, and December 14-23
Event Info

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.

Read More: Restaurants in Rocky Mount

Enchanted Airlie in Wilmington

2022/2023 Dates: November 25-26 and December 2-22
Event Info

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.

Read More: 50+ Awesome Things to Do in Wilmington

Lights on the Neuse

2022 Dates: Select Dates Starting November 25

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
Read More: Eastern North Carolina (and 100+ Awesome Places to Visit)

Sweet Valley Ranch Christmas Lights

2022 Dates: Select Dates Starting November 25
Ticket Info

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. 

Read More: Restaurants in Fayetteville

The Elizabethan Gardens WinterLights

2022 Dates: Select Nights from November 25-December 30
Ticket Info

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 26, 27, 29, and 30
  • December 1 to 4, 6 to 11, 13-18, 20-23, 27-30
  • January 2, 7 to 9, 14 to 16

Read More: Things to Do in the Outer Banks

Cape Fear Botanical Garden Holiday Lights

2022 Dates: December 2-22
Ticket Info

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.

Read More: Things to Do in Fayetteville

Electric Light Fantasy

2022 Dates: December 1-3 and December 8-10
Ticket Info

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.

Read More: The North Carolina Bucket List

Drive Through Christmas Village at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum

2022/2023 Dates: TBD
Event Info

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!

There is usually 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.

Enjoy Christmas Lights in North Carolina This Year and Beyond!

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

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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