15 Favorite Places to See Holiday Lights in and Around Charlotte

Whether you make it a dedicated mission or just want to take the most fun way home, here’s a list of some of the top spots sure to put you in the holiday spirit. (We’ve mixed in some commercial sites as well as residential so just click the the link for the address.)

Hillside Holiday Hunger Food Drive
A Charlotte holiday tradition to be sure… and one that has sent many Myers Park residents on the path to believe they can DIY their decorations. Remember stay safe but try to switch your headlights down to only fog. Bonus cheer if you bring a few cans of food to donate to the food drive (goes to Loaves and Fishes)… remember Santa is always watching.

Harbin Family Christmas Lights
Another great display doing it for a good cause; the annual display in Cameron Wood has raised more than $12,000 for Make-A-Wish Central & Western Carolina.

Garden Oak Holiday Lights
Also a non-profit fundraiser (for the National Foundation for Cancer research), this Indian Trail Home features thousands (yep, thousands) of lights choreographed to music.

Image: @GoHolidayLights

A Sweitzers Christmas
It’s opening weekend for this Matthews home – make sure to swing by with a Ho Ho Ho.

Image: @ASweitzersChristmas

Stafford Park Christmas Light Show
Stafford Park in Rock Hill is a collection of houses battling it out for Holiday supremacy and collecting food and unwrapped toys for non-profits. Dec 20 – 21.

Zimnowski Light Show
You may need to wear your sunglasses at night to view this Huntersville home, light shows repeat regularly and are set to music. Lots of neighbors have displays too – this Macaulay neighborhood is worth the drive.

Raz Lights
One of the big displays by the Lake (Coleman Lights) is not happening this year, but up the road in Iron Station you’ll find Raz Lights.

Holidays at the Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a magical wonderland with hundreds of thousands of lights and illuminated displays. There’s different activities on the weekends so make sure to check their calendar when planning a visit.

Image: @DanielStoweBotanicalGarden

Zootastic Park’s Christmas Wonderland of Lights
This Troutman park possibly has it all… a drive through reindeer forest, the Christmas Wonderland of Lights, a light show, and you get to walk around part of the zoo… now that does sound merry.

Image: @ZootasticPark

Celebration of Lights & Winterland Express
Step right up for some holiday fun in Kannapolis. It really is a winter wonderland with model train displays, a real train you can ride (the Express of course!), more than 250,000 lights… and as if that wasn’t enough there’s even a carousel.

Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show
This Thursday and December 12 only, it will snow at Phillips Place, with a visit from Santa and Mrs Claus and a 3-D light show… put us on that list! Check link for info about where to park and free shuttle.

Christmas Town USA
The small town of McAdenville is Christmas Town USA; drive through the two-mile route which is like no other.

Speedway Christmas
What’s better than a lap of lights – and like a lot of lights… more than four million lights decorate the 3.75-mile course that includes most of the oval as well as the infield. Don’t miss the Christmas village it’s worth getting out of the car for.

Lake Norman Lighted Boat Parade
Make sure to be by the shore December 14 for the boat parade. Boat owners go all out in their decorations in an effort to be crowned captain of the holidays.

Carowinds WinterFest
The state line shines bright with more than 5 million shimmering lights, a 70-foot tree and lavish displays. WinterFest is packed with all the sights, sounds, food and experiences of the holiday season.


Bek Mitchell-Kidd
Bek is an Australian native who has lived in the Lake Norman area for more than a decade.