Gather your little elves in the backseat, warm up the hot cocoa and get those candy canes ready because we’ve got the run down of the best lighting displays to drive to see this holiday season. Whether it’s a neighborhood that goes all out, the traditional Christmastown USA or a synchronized display tucked in a residential area, we’ve scoped out all the brightest holiday lights for you to enjoy all season long.
Residential Light Displays
A few of the annual displays are taking a break this year, so if we haven’t included them below that’s probably why!
The Myers Park Light orbs on Hillside Drive have become a Charlotte holiday tradition. These neighbors do it bigger and better every single year. Turn off your headlights and use the fog lights as you drive down the street and be sure to bring a few cans of non-perishable food items to donate (or donate cash). On the weekends donors get free hot chocolate!
Sherwood Forest Drive (off Colony Road)
Another Charlotte holiday traditions, South Charlotte Santa is a must visit. Each night Mr. Miller dresses up as Santa and hands out candy canes to the thousands of people who line up to see his light display. Even the neighbors have gotten in on the light action! Any donations go to the St. Jude’s Cancer Research Hospital.
Head down Park Road to Cameron Wood where you’ll find several families that do Christmas lights right. Each year the neighborhood hosts a contest for best light displays and these 3 homes duke it out for first place. 10223 Summer House Ct, 9103 Covey Hollow Ct, and 9245 Deer Spring Ln.
Location: 10223 Summer House Court, Cameron Wood
Accepts donations for Make-A-Wish
4026 Garden Oak Drive, Indian Trail, NC 28079
Brandon Oak Subdivision
Donations collected for The National Foundation for Cancer Research
1001 Sunnyview Circle Matthews, NC 28105
Callonwood Christmas House
1100 Arringill Lane
Stallings, NC 28104
Donations collected for Levine Children’s Hospital
Brookhaven Light Show Display
1010 Elsmore Drive
Matthews, NC 28104
Shows at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30pm tune to 88.1 for the music
Stafford Park Neighborhood, Keswick Lane, Rock Hill, SC
When: December 14-15
1028 Fountainbrook, Indian Trail, NC
Starts December 9th
Location:1001 Rosewater Ln, Indian Trail, SC
Only a static display this year, but be sure to support these guys! (see the 2016 display video here)
Tentatively starting Tuesday, 12/4
Location: 15419 Hugh Mcauley Rd. Huntersville, NC
Coleman Lights 10th Season
Location: 7661 Natalie Commons Dr. Denver, NC 28037
Show Times: December
Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 9pm
Friday – Sunday: 5pm – 10pm
Bargar Family Lights
7829 East Berkley Rd. Denver, NC 28037
Fay Family Lights
7662 Natalie Commons Dr. Denver, NC 28037
315 Ramano Dr Iron Station, NC 28080
Other fun stationary displays if you’re in the area:
Corner of Weddington Ridge and Oakton Ridge Ct.
Matthews, NC 28104
Corner of Endhaven Lane and Misty Ridge Rd (just off Johnston), Charlotte NC 28277
Holiday Lights Events
Holidays at the Garden 2018 – Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Dates: through January 6, 2018 (closed Christmas Day)
Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont, NC
Get into the holiday spirit at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. The garden is transformed into a winter wonderland, with more than 600,000 lights and illuminated displays, along with live music, model train displays, roasted marshmallows and holiday shopping at The Garden Store.
Dates: Now through January 1
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
$7.00 per person.
448 Pilch Road, Troutman, NC, 28166
The price is $7 a person which includes a drive through light show, a moving light show, and a special part of the walk around zoo. Carousel rides, Ferris wheel rides, train rides, pony rides, tiger feeding, giraffe feeding, barn feeding, and a s’mores pit. Santa will be taking photos until Christmas Eve. You can purchase photos with Santa and BABY KANGAROOS or take your own photo with Santa ONLY at no additional charge.
Date: Now through 12/30 (closed Christmas Eve and Day)
Time: 6 – 9 PM Sunday – Thursday and 6 – 10 PM Fridays & Saturdays
Cost: Admission to the park and viewing of the lights is free; tickets to ride the train and carousel are $2.00 per person per ride
The Celebration of Lights boasts more than 250,000 lights. Walk through the park and enjoy the many light displays, ride the carousel or ride the Winterland Express and see if you can find all 12 Days of Christmas! Roast marshmallows and make s’mores or visit with Santa in his studio. Stop by and watch a performances from the Kannapolis Singing Bears as they entertain the family with a 30 minute Christmas Carol performance each hour on the hour.
The Winterland Express takes riders through the lights at the park from 6 – 9 PM Sunday – Thursday and 6 – 10 PM Fridays & Saturdays. Admission to the park and viewing of the lights is free; tickets to ride the train and carousel are $2.00 per person per ride.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show at Phillips Place in Southpark
Dates: December 6 & December 13
Show times: 6:30pm and 7:30pm
6800 Phillips Place Ct, Charlotte, NC, 28210
Please bring a toy for Toys for Tots, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves will have goodie bags for kids, and there is a 100% chance of SNOW!
Shows start at 6:30p and 7:30p on December 6th and 13th, with shuttles running every 15 minutes from the Morrocroft parking deck (located at 4064 Colony Road, Charlotte NC 28211) starting at 5:00p and ending at 9:30p.
Dates: through January 1, 2019 (select nights)
Cost: As Low As $25
Carowinds has transformed into a Winterfest for their 2nd holiday season, including more than 5 million lights, a 70-foot tree, lavish displays, live shows, strolling performers and special holiday dishes and desserts. Plus select rides will be open throughout the event. We went last year, it was a lot of fun!
Christmas Town USA
Dates: Now through December 26
The small town of McAdenville is transforming in Christmas Town USA for its 63rd year! Walk or drive the two-mile route at no cost and enjoy more than 400 decorated tree, festive wreaths, and of course, Santa and his sleigh.
Location: 4330 Westmont Drive
Dates: Now through December 22nd
Times: Christmas activities are Mondays through Thursdays, from 5pm to 9pm, and Friday and Saturday, from 5pm to 10pm. Closed Sundays.
Cost: Admission and parking is free
Enjoy a live nativity scene, along with Christmas light displays and carolers. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available through the light displays for an additional cost.
Dates: Now through December 31 (closed Christmas Day)
Speedway Christmas returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a ninth year. The 3-mile Speedway Christmas and all-new Boulevard of Lights is one of the largest holiday light shows in the region with over 800 displays totaling over 3 million lights. The Christmas Village will be open Thursday through Sunday each week, plus all Christmas week, with the exception of Christmas Day. The hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.