How to Enjoy Tanglewood Festival of Lights near Winston-Salem (+ 10 Pro Tips)

Last Updated on December 15, 2021

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Tanglewood Festival of Lights is one of North Carolina’s brightest ways to celebrate the holiday season. Their dazzling lights display spans five miles, making them one of the largest and most spectacular Christmas lights shows in the state!

While the light display is mostly drive-thru, Tanglewood offers more things to do, including refreshments, a gift shop, and special events that make a trip here truly memorable!

Our guide covers each of those, and more, so you’re completely prepared to enjoy Tanglewood Festival of Lights.

Here’s how we’ve organized the guide:

  • Quick Facts
  • Dates and Admission
  • How to Enjoy Tanglewood Festival of Lights (Our Tips and Things to Do)
  • Things to Do Nearby (Winston-Salem)

You can keep reading some interesting facts about the festival or skip ahead to any of the above sections.

Read More: Christmas in North Carolina (Holiday Events, Lights, and More!)

Quick Facts about Tanglewood Festival of Lights

Tanglewood Festival of Lights

Tanglewood Festival of Lights is in Clemmons, just outside of Winston-Salem in Forsyth County. Every holiday season, Tanglewood Park transforms into a drive-thru display of magical winter lights.

The Festival of Lights is just off I-40 and accessible from exits 180 or 182. Its convenient location makes it a popular place to celebrate the holiday season in Central North Carolina!

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Tanglewood Festival of Lights Dates

For 2021, the Tanglewood Festival of Lights is open every night from November 12 to January 1, 2022 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The only exception to these times is New Year’s Eve, when the park closes at 10:00 pm.

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Admission

Ticket prices vary by vehicle. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Family Vehicles: $20 cash or $23 credit card
  • Commercial: $45 cash or $48 credit card
  • Motorcoaches and Buses: $115 cash or $118 credit card

There are also Discount Nights throughout the holiday season, usually in November.

In 2021, Discount Night dates were November 15, 16, 22, and 23. On Discount Nights, the rate for a family vehicle is $10 less.

How to Enjoy the Tanglewood Festival of Lights

Tanglewood Festival of Lights Drive Thru Christmas Lights NC

Some of these might be obvious to you, but we could always use a refresher before returning to experience this awesome event. Here’s how you can enjoy the Tanglewood Festival of Lights as we have.

Visit on a Weekday

When planning your trip, we recommend arriving on a weekday as the Festival of Lights will be much less crowded. Thursdays through Sundays are the busiest days, and Tanglewood officials warn of up to four-hour-long wait times in peak season.

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See the Lights (duh!)

Tanglewood Festival of Lights Clemmons North Carolina

First things first: once you’ve picked a day to visit and shown your tickets (or paid for them), it’s time to see the lights! Enjoy the colors, the whimsical environment, and the stories that the lights come together to tell.

You can also tune your radio to listen to holiday music that is perfectly aligned with the light show. In addition to viewing the lights, enhance your experience with the Festival’s other amenities.

Visit the Gift Shop

Pick up some holiday decorations and gifts from the Gift Shop as you make your way through the show!

The Gift Shop is halfway through your drive in the Festival of Lights in the Red Barn, a Tanglewood landmark. There’s something for everyone at the Gift Shop, which sells holiday cookies, candles, paintings, jewelry, and art pieces created by local artisans, to name just a few!

The Gift Shop closes at 11:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 12 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. On December 31, it closes at 10:00 pm along with the rest of the Festival.

S’moresville

As you leave the Gift Shop, you may notice the smell of chocolate and roasted marshmallows. This will lead you to S’moresville, an exciting family tradition sponsored by Lowes Foods.

At S’moresville, you can buy s’mores kits and enjoy the gooey and delicious snack under the backdrop of the glittering lights.

Meet Santa

In a typical year, Santa usually roams Tanglewood to bring an extra spark of magic to the experience! This year, he won’t be there, but your trip will be wonderful, nonetheless.

Carriage Rides

If you want to make your visit to the Tanglewood Festival of Lights truly special, consider reserving a horse-drawn carriage ride or hayride!

The horse-drawn carriage rides take up to four people on an engaging tour of the light show. Relax in a majestic white carriage and enjoy the sights!

Carriage rides cost $80 cash or check, and reservations can be made by phone at (336) 766-9540. The reservations go fast, so book a ride early.

Hayrides

Tractor-pulled hayrides are another fun way to enjoy the lights. This is a great option for large parties that wish to enjoy the show together.

Hayrides cost $150 cash or check, and reservations can be made at (336) 766-9540.

Special Events

The Tanglewood Festival of Lights also hosts a variety of special events throughout the holiday season.

  • In November 2021, the Festival supported the Manna Meals Soup Ministry with a Miles for Meals 5k. Tanglewood also hosted a “Toast” where visitors of all ages and abilities could enjoy the park, and a “Paws in the Park” day for people to bring their furry friends along!
  • On December 31, 2021, tune in for “Running of the Lights” to celebrate the new year. At midnight, there will be a race through the Festival of Lights! For residents of Clemmons, the race is a New Year tradition, and visitors from all over can sign up to participate here.

Stay in Tanglewood Park

Tanglewood Park is also home to Manor House Bed and Breakfast, a Victorian-style home that was converted into a bed and breakfast. Guests staying at the Manor House receive free admission into the Tanglewood Festival of Lights if you show your room key at the gates.

The Manor House has ten antique bedrooms and décor like crystal chandeliers that make it a beautiful place to stay.

Keep Coming Back

Tanglewood Festival of Lights North Carolina

Tanglewood Festival of Lights is one of many holiday traditions in this family. We like coming back to check out the new displays that pop up each year.

If you’re familiar with this awesome festival, we’d love to hear from you. Do you love coming to Tanglewood Festival of Lights, too?

Let us know here in the comments or by email. Before you do, here are some things to do in Winston-Salem, just around the corner from Clemmons.

Things to Do Nearby (Winston-Salem)

Tanglewood Park’s location a mere 10 minutes west of Winston-Salem! Before spending your night at the Tanglewood Festival of Lights, take an afternoon (or longer!) to explore Dash City.

  • One of the first things to do in Winston-Salem for many people is Old Salem. Old Salem is a historic district that commemorates the history and culture of Moravians that came to Central North Carolina. Look at the remarkable architecture, visit the museums and informative buildings, and take in all the history!
  • Foothills Brewing is one of our favorite breweries in Winston-Salem, and among the best in North Carolina. They have a tasting room downtown, which serves really good food to go with their great pints.
  • Finally, spend an afternoon at Reynolda House, one of Winston-Salem’s most interesting museums. It was briefly the historic home of tobacco tycoon RJ Reynolds and his wife Katharine. Today, Reynolda serves as a museum and beautiful garden in one space.

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