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30+ of the Most Festive Christmas Lights Displays in North Carolina

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on April 22, 2024.

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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 also awesome Christmas light displays, from the mountains to the sea, waiting to be found!

  • 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.

  • Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore
  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden Holiday Lights
  • Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular
  • Chetola Resort Festival of Lights
  • Christmas Lights on the Farm
  • Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Christmas Lights
  • Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
  • 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
  • Holland Road 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
  • The Farm in Dobson
  • Tanglewood Festival of Lights
  • Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

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!

Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in North Carolina and are wondering, “What are the best Christmas lights near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!

Read More: The North Carolina Travel Map

Western NC Christmas Lights

  • Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore
  • Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular
  • 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

Read More: 50+ Great Things to Do With Kids in Asheville (and Nearby!)

Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore

2023 Dates: November 3, 2023 to January 6, 2024
Ticket Info

large displays of Christmas lights in North Carolina at the Biltmore Estate

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 Asheville’s finest and among 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

2023 Dates: November 17 to December 31
Ticket Info

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

Held nightly from November through New Year’s Day, Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum helps 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

2023/2024 Dates:  November 16, 2023 to January 1, 2024
Ticket Info

LIVE performance at the Tryon Equestrian Center

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

This awesome event in the nearby town of Mill Spring is one of our favorite things to do in Tryon!

Read More: Pearson’s Falls

Chetola Resort Festival of Lights

2023 Dates: November 24, 2023-January 28, 2024
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. Over 30,000 lights around Chetola Lake transform it into a Winter Wonderland during the Festival of Lights!

the historic Chetola Resort

Admission is free to the public. We highly recommend making dinner reservations at Timblerlake’s beforehand or stopping in for a cocktail at the bar! Chetola is beautiful all year round, but it is extra special around the holidays.

Read More: Restaurants in Blowing Rock

Forest City Christmas

2023/2024 Dates: November 23, 2023-January 1, 2024
Event Info

Christmas Light display near Asheville

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 and are bookable from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Read More: Ski Resorts in North Carolina

Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular

2023 Dates: December 7-December 30
Event Info

If you are looking for Christmas lights near Charlotte, the Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular in Ballantyne’s Backyard is an excellent choice.

More than a million lights are spread across a half-mile walking trail and interactive activities for the whole family.

Go zipping down the Alpine Avalanche Snow Tube Slide, live entertainment, ballet performances, face painting, and food trucks. Parking is free, but advanced tickets are suggested.

Read More: 20+ Awesome Museums in Charlotte and Nearby!

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden Christmas Lights

2023 Dates: November 24-December 23
Event Info

Head 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

2023 Dates: December 1-December 26
Event Info

Downtown 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’s common areas as well as the homes, free of charge.

The action starts with a tree lighting ceremony on December 1st that officially switches on the month-long lighting display. This is considered one of the best ways to enjoy Christmas lights in North Carolina!

Read More: Day Trips from Charlotte

Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries

2023 Dates: December 1 to 2 and December 8 to 9
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

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
  • Holland Road Lights
  • Kersey Valley Christmas
  • Piper Lights
  • The Farm in Dobson

Tanglewood Festival of Lights

2023/2024 Dates: November 17, 2023-January 1, 2024
Ticket Info

Tanglewood Festival of Lights

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

2023 Dates: November 22-December 31
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!)

Christmas at The Farm in Dobson

2023 Dates: November 24-26 & December 1-3, 8-10, 15-23, 26-28
Event Info

The Farm is a family-owned agritourism spot close to Pilot Mountain and Elkin. It boasts an impressive 750k Christmas Lights inside a hayride and light maze. Enjoy 30+ kid-friendly activities, including bounce houses, playground, tractor pull, pedal bikes, farm animals, and more!

Christmas on the Farm in Dobson

We were really impressed with how organized these NC Christmas Lights were. Tickets must be purchased in advance online, and your hayride time is determined by your arrival time. Get a hot cocoa or coffee from What-a-latte food truck and watch the kids as they have a grand time making memories on The Farm!

Mangum Family Christmas Lights

2023 Estimated Start Date: Thanksgiving Week
Event Info

light show just outside Durham NC

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.

While the team hasn’t yet announced 2023 start dates, they have indicated that light set-up will commence in September, and we should be in for another fantastic show! Stay tuned for official dates and times on the Magnum Family pages.

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

2023 Start Date: November 24
Ticket Info

spooky Woods of Terror in October

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 24-25
  • December 1-3
  • December 8-10
  • December 15-23
  • December 29-30

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

The Christmas lights at McLaurin Farms

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

2023 Dates: November 17- January 7, 2024
Ticket Info

The speedway Christmas lights at Charlotte

Charlotte Speedway Christmas has historically been an incredible Christmas light display in Cabarrus County! The long-standing tradition lights up the Charlotte Motor Speedway with 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

2023 Start Date: November 24
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 in Moore County has strung up more than 500,000 lights and will keep them on (Tuesday to Saturday) through December 31.

We’re waiting to hear about 2023’s ticket prices, but last year, admission was $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

2023 Dates: November 23, 2023-December 30, 2023 (Closed November 27-30)
Ticket Info

Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville

Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville (Franklin County) has transformed its Festival of Lights into an all-new drive-thru Christmas light display! Lights, characters, and unique landscapes create a cruisy drive through a winter wonderland.

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

Read More: Day Trips from Durham

Lake Myra Christmas Light Show

2023 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

Holland Road Lights

2023 Start Date: November 25
Event Info

If you are looking for Christmas lights in Fuquay Varina, Holland Road is the spot! With over 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

2023 Start Date: November 25
Event Info

The lights at Kersey Valley Christmas in Archdale

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.

A $20 admission gives you full access to the lights as well as a zipline tour, escape game, outdoor laser tag, indoor and outdoor axe throwing, and bomb bowling. Line up your trip just right, and you might even get a chance to see Santa!

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

2023 Dates: to January 1, 2024
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

ELJ Farms Christmas Town

2023 Dates: November 15 to December 29
Reservation Info

The tractor ride at ELJ Farms

ELJ Farms in Jacksonville is one of the best NC Christmas light experiences. This family-friendly, animated collection of lights allows you to take a tractor ride or drive 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

2023 Dates: November 16-December 30th, except on holidays
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. The homestyle restaurant has rave reviews and is worth a try! It is available by reservation only. 

Read More: Restaurants in Jacksonville and Onslow County

Meadow Lights in Johnston County

2023 Dates: November 17-December 31
Event Info

Meadow Lights in Benson

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 all of us train enthusiasts love.

An old-fashioned carousel adds to the fun, even though this Johnston County Christmas lights display had us at “train.”

Read More: The Best Day Trips from Raleigh

Christmas Lights on the Farm

2023 Dates: November 24-25, December 1-2, December 8-9, December 15-16, December 22-23
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

2023 Dates: November 24-25 and December 1-21

The Enchanted Airlie Christmas light display at Wilmington

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

Enchanted Airlie

Tickets for Enchanted Airlie go on sale in October and often sell out quickly. To grab a ticket for 2024, make sure to follow Airlie Gardens for the most up-to-date info on ticket information.

Read More: 50+ Awesome Things to Do in Wilmington

Lights on the Neuse

2023 Dates: Select Dates Starting November 24
Event Calendar

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

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

Sweet Valley Ranch Christmas Lights

2023 Dates: Select Dates Starting November 24
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!

Load up the car with the whole family, as Sweet Valley Ranch offers discounts if you bring more people. Military, first responders, and senior citizens also receive discounted admission. 

Read More: Restaurants in Fayetteville

The Elizabethan Gardens WinterLights

2023 Dates: Select Nights from November 17-December 30
Ticket Info

WinterLights at the 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 the Gatehouse and Reception Hall trees.

WinterLights starts in Manteo on November 17, and here are specific dates when it will be open:

  • November 17-22, 24-26, 28-30​
  • December 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-23, 26-30

Read More: Things to Do in the Outer Banks

Cape Fear Botanical Garden Holiday Lights

2023 Dates: December 1-21
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.

Last year, Santa Claus made an appearance, and s’mores, entertainment, and more were available. We can’t wait to see what they cook up this holiday season!

Read More: Things to Do in Fayetteville

Electric Light Fantasy

2023 Dates: December 7-9 and 14-16 from 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm
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

 A house in McAdenville aka Christmas Town USA
McAdenville a.k.a. Christmas Town USA

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

If you plan 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 can enjoy some festive cheer wherever you call “home.”

More Things to Do (Beyond Christmas Lights!) in North Carolina

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