The 11 Best Christmas Light Shows In North Carolina

The Best Christmas Light Shows In North Carolina

Snow-capped mountains and sandy beaches provide the perfect backdrops for some of the best Christmas light shows in North Carolina. We've organized a list of impressive lights displays to captivate both the young and young at heart. From dates and ticket prices to special attractions, we've got all the details covered. All you have to do is bundle up and show up!

The Best Christmas Light Shows In Western North Carolina

While the snow often hits after the Christmas season, the falling leaves and cool mountain air should set the mood for your little one to meet Santa. Captivate the whole family with a weekend trip to see one or all of the best Christmas light shows in North Carolina.

Biltmore Candlelight Christmas (Asheville): One Of The Best Christmas Light Shows In North Carolina

Christmas at the Biltmore is more than an annual celebration of the season. It’s a completely magical Christmas experience for all ages in North Carolina’s mountainous backyard. Stroll around the grounds ooh-ing and aah-ing at expertly dressed, live Fraser firs, wreaths, and boughs. Enter the estate for a peek into the past of how “America’s Largest Home” would have been decorated.

The Biltmore sells tickets for two enchanting experiences: the Biltmore by day or in the evening by candlelight. In our opinion, neither is to be missed! This is easily the best Christmas light shows in North Carolina.

Location: One Lodge St., Asheville, NC 28803
Dates: November 3-January 6, 2023

Biltmore House

Biltmore House is a bucket list worthy Christmas experience!

Winter Lights At The North Carolina Arboretum (Asheville)

The North Carolina Arboretum is a celebration of the native species in the Carolinas and nature. What better place to watch the lights glow while teaching your children about the wonders of botany? This year, the event is organized as an open-air walk-through show, and the best place to view the displays is from the paved pathways that meander through the gardens.

For those with mobility challenges, the Baker Visitor Center loans wheelchairs on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Bring a thermos of cocoa and get ready to cruise slowly — you won’t want to miss a single moment at one of the best Christmas light shows in North Carolina.

Location: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way Asheville, NC 28806
Dates: November 17-December 31, 2023

Tweetsie Railroad Christmas (Blowing Rock/Boone Area)

The Old West-themed village of Tweetsie Railroad, nestled between the winter-loving towns of Boone and Blowing Rock, NC, offers the most well-rounded Christmas experiences for kids. Not only will your children’s eyes light up as they board the train that takes them through the Christmas light shows in North Carolina, but they’ll have a chance to meet Santa in a Gingerbread House and play with larger-than-life snow globes.

Location: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
Dates: Select evenings in November and December, 2023

Tweetsie Railroad

All aboard for family fun at Tweetsie Railroad.

The Best Christmas Lights Shows In And Around The Triangle

Busy parents won’t need to drive far to mesmerize their kids with dazzling Christmas light shows in North Carolina. Visit these unique and well-established festivals of lights in NC’s Piedmont area.

Chinese Lantern Festival (Cary)

For a unique Christmas experience, Koka Booth Amphitheatre hosts an absolutely dazzling display of creative paper lanterns. The Chinese Lantern Festival features colorfully crafted butterfly lanterns, dragons, and plants. Tickets are $9 and up, depending on the evening while children under two get in for free. Price discounts are available for college students, military personnel, and senior citizens (ages 55+). This event is a self-guided walking tour on paved walkways and is one of the best Christmas light shows in North Carolina for being wheelchair accessible.

Location: 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary, NC 27518
Dates: November 17-January 14

Chinese Lantern Festival - Dragon

Don't worry, this dragon only wants to be admired (Chinese Lantern Festival)

Meadow Lights (Benson)

Get the full North Carolina Christmas light show experience at the largest and oldest Christmas lights show in Eastern NC. At Meadow Lights, kids can snack on old fashioned candy as your family makes its way through 30 acres of light displays. Jump on the train to glide through an additional ten acres.

After riding the 16-horse carousel, kids can sit on Santa’s lap for a photo. This 40-year-old light show is especially popular among religious families as their light show “honors the true meaning of Christmas” with Christian displays. The best part? There's no admission! Meadow Lights is one of the most affordable Christmas light shows in North Carolina.

Location: 4061 Clemmons Rd., Clemmons, NC 27012
Dates: November 17-December 31

Tanglewood Festival Of Lights (Clemmons/Winston-Salem Area)

Drive through the Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights, an amazing Christmas lights display adored from the comfort of your own vehicle. Alternatively, book a horse-drawn carriage or tractor-pulled hayrides to view the splendor of these lights. Your children will not only love the light show, but they’ll get a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their helpers. Perhaps most exciting of all – kids can visit S’moresville next to the gift shop for a marshmallow roasting experience worthy of the North Pole!

Location: 4061 Clemmons Rd., Clemmons, NC 27012
Dates: November 17-January 1

Tanglewood Festival of lights - drive through

Too cold to be outside? Don't worry, many light displays are drive-through – like the Tanglewood Festival of Lights.

Hill Ridge Farms Festival Of Lights (Youngsville)

Food, music, and a winter wonderland light show in NC? Hill Ridge Farms makes it happen. Your kids are guaranteed to exhaust themselves. With a covered wagon hayride through the Festival of Lights, bonfires with s’mores and hot chocolate, American food at the Chuckwagon Grill, a giant slide, cornhouse, jumping pillow, slide house, roller slight , web and pipe swing, and train rides available, there’s no shortage of Christmas spirit here.

Location: 703 Tarboro Rd., Youngsville, NC 27596
Dates: November 23-26 and December 1-30, 2023

The Best Christmas Lights Shows in Charlotte

Christmas Town USA (McAdenville)

Affectionately known as Christmas Town USA, McAdenville, NC, has been making Christmas bright since 1956. Located between Charlotte and Gastonia, McAdenville’s lights were heralded as the #2 Christmas lights display in the nation, according to a national survey by USA Today. Best of all, you can park and walk, or drive through this Christmas light show for free!

Location: McAdenville, NC 28101
Dates: December 1-26 (5:30 PM-10:00 PM)

Christmas Town USA puts on one of the best Christmas light shows in North Carolina

Small town charm meets an extravaganza of Christmas lights.

Speedway Christmas (Concord)

Drive through nearly four miles of lights at Speedway Christmas, the holiday light show at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. This is the 13th year of the drive-through Christmas lights show, a display of more than four million lights. The 3.75-mile course includes most of the oval as well as the infield.

On the weekends, you can enjoy movies on the Speedway’s giant screen (Thursday-Sunday). The Speedway Christmas display is open rain or shine. Given the show’s popularity — especially on weekends — Speedway Christmas organizers recommend a mid-week visit if your schedule permits. For the best experience, plan to arrive early.

Location: 5555 Concord Pkwy S., Concord, NC 28027
Dates: November 17-January 7, 2023

Zootastic Christmas Wonderland Of Lights (Troutman)

Best known as a drive-through animal park, Zootastic brightens holiday evenings with Christmas light displays along the 100-acre park route. Here, you can treat the family to evening animal encounters, Christmas lights, and even an area where you can stretch your legs and walk around animal enclosures. 

Location:  Zootastic Park, 385 Ostwalt Amity Rd.,Troutman, NC 28166
Dates: Check website for dates 

The Best Holiday Light Shows in Coastal Carolina

In North Carolina, the coast exchanges snow for white sand beaches. But that doesn’t mean Christmas cheer is in short supply. Check out these Christmas light shows for a truly memorable holiday.

WinterLights At The Elizabethan Gardens (Manteo)

Visit the WinterLights at the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo to impress your children with ten acres of an enchanted garden wonderland. Depending on the night you visit, you may spot Santa or have the chance to enjoy face-painting, songs from the Outer Banks Choir carolers, and holiday sessions at the firepit. 

Location: Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, 1411 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954
Dates: November 17-December 30, 2023 (select nights from 6-9 PM)

Did we miss any of the best Christmas light shows in NC?

Where does your family make their holiday memories? Tag us @carolinatravelr on Instagram to let us know!

Related Story:
Top Christmas Light Displays in South Carolina


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