Winter is here and the night skies are getting brighter across New York State! So put on your favorite sweater and have your hot chocolate at the ready, because you won’t want to miss these magical winter lights festivals, lantern displays, and holiday light spectaculars.
Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.
Originally published 12/03/2021
Credit: @luminocityfestival on Instagram
When: November 9, 2023–January 7, 2024
LuminoCity Festival is returning to Long Island, with the 2023 event at Eisenhower Park! Celebrate the holiday season with glowing sculptures, magical winter lights, and immersive exhibits in a dazzling display of light and color. Go on a journey through shimmering lands as you explore this year’s theme, “Wonder Journey,” which brings art, light, and color to life through remarkable displays amid 17-plus acres. Prepare to be amazed in Butterfly Grove, visit royalty at the Queen’s Castle, gaze up at a giant Wonderland tea party, and more. This year Luminocity has teamed up with the Long Island Children’s Museum to help create exclusive new displays like Under Water World, a magical ocean of lights. East Meadow; November 9, 2023–January 8, 2024; timed ticketing; prices vary.
Credit: @shinybreathing on Instagram
When: Partial schedule November 24-December 10; Daily December 15-January 1, 2023
Head on down to the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival for a drive-thru holiday light show powered by Healey Brothers. Located at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in the scenic Sullivan Catskills, enjoy the holiday lights from the comfort of your car along a 1.7-mile route through new and returning themed areas, from Candy Cane Lane and Groovy Way, to the Enchanted Forest and Holidays Around The World. Double up on the holiday fun by pairing your light show experience with the Gingerbread Build & Sip (December 17), shop artisan goods at the Holiday Market (December 9, 16, 23), or indulge in a Sweets & Treats Box for four, available as an add-on with your purchase, excluding Mondays. Bethel; November 24, 2023–December 31, 2023; tickets start at $30 per car; one ticket per carload.
Credit: @storkesque9 on Instagram
When: November 9, 2023–December 30, 2023
See spectacular holiday lights and get up close with animals at the same time at Jungle Bells: Holiday Lights at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville. Marvel at over 1.5 million lights on display throughout the park, complete with the tallest fully lit tree in the area and live reindeer! Stop in at Santa’s workshop for photos with the man in red every Friday and Saturday. See and feed hundreds of animals, including resident giraffes Oliver and Johari! Jungle Bells: Holiday Lights is primarily a walk-through experience but a drive-thru only experience is offered on December 20, 2023. Harpursville; November 9, 2023–December 30, 2023; tickets range from $14.99-17.99 per person plus tax.
Credit: @fingerlakeswelcomecenter on Instagram
When: November 13, 2023 – January 12, 2024
This fantasy winter wonderland along Onondaga Lake is an awe-inspiring display of twinkling lights, colorful section arches, animated displays, and holiday cheer that goes for miles. One of the few drive-thru holiday light shows, you can enjoy two miles of beautiful holiday lights, including the Land of Oz and a twinkling fantasy forest, from the warmth and comfort of your car. Liverpool; November 13, 2023–January 12, 2024; tickets are sold by the carload and must be purchased in advance, with pricing at $10 Monday–Thursday and $20 Friday-Sunday.
Credit: @highpeaks_ai on Instagram
When: November 24, 2023 – December 30, 2023
Surround yourself in stunning natural beauty and colorful lights in this mesmerizing after-dark experience housed within the historic Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens! This year the event is adding a brand new installation called “Dimensions” that features reflective orbs and mirrors that complement the Botanical Gardens’ annual Poinsettia Exhibit. Enjoy their poinsettia collections and tropical gardens, with the aim of connecting people to the natural world in a new way, inspiring peace and calmness. Add a touch of romance to your garden experience with drinks, wine, cheese, and chocolate at the Gardens’ Thurs-Date Nights!, a separate ticketed experience. Buffalo; Select days on November 24, 2023–December 30, 2023; Thurs-Date Nights, December 14 and 21, 2023; ticket prices vary.
Credit: @nyc.super.mom on Instagram
When: November 24, 2023–December 31, 2023
Get ready for a 1.2-mile drive-thru holiday light extravaganza filled with thousands of lights in Valhalla! Classic displays and attractions return this year, including favorite elves Ned and Albert, glittering angels of peace, a candy cane lane, dancing trees, a 50-foot dove, and a spectacular 100-foot light tunnel. This year, make friends with the new elf Snowball in the Ice House and explore new attractions including the glowing 175-foot Transporter Tunnel, and Rudolph’s Runway with colorful lights ushering you in and out of the north pole, and even more electrifying lights surrounding the largest holiday Christmas tree in Westchester! For the grand finale, guests can make a New Year’s wish upon a 30-foot glistening star located at the end of the interactive show–all right from your car. Valhalla; November 24, 2023–December 31, 2023; tickets start at $35 per car.
Credit: @rickgodinproductions on Instagram
When: November 24, 2023 – February 24, 2024
Experience the Wild Center’s Wild Walk after dark as you wander through an enchanted and illuminated wonderland. The 115-acre campus will be transformed with thousands of twinkling lights and a magical soundtrack. The Forest Music experience will also be decorated for the occasion with a dazzling light display and accompanying music that blends with the forest. Tupper Lake; November 24 – February 24, Friday – Saturday, 5pm – 8pm. Open nightly December 26 through December 31 and February 16 through February 24. Wild Lights tickets are not included in regular admission and cost $10 for adults, $5 for youth, and free for children 4 and under.
Credit: Winter Cathedral by Mandylights. Copyright Sony Music. Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden
When: November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Wander through an enchanting illuminated trail of over one million lights at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s after-dark spectacular! Along this mile-long trail, discover light installations by local and international artists, including the monumental Winter Cathedral Tunnel, Fire Garden, and more. In the mood for hot chocolate, or perhaps some holiday snacks for your journey? The Gardens has you covered, with food concessions dotted throughout its dazzling illuminated pathway. Brooklyn; November 17, 2023–January 1, 2024; ticket prices vary.
Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
When: November 17, 2023–January 7, 2024
During the evenings, the Bronx Zoo shines bright with holiday cheer amid this walk-through experience full of immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns, and animated light shows. This outdoor celebration includes festive entertainment, seasonal treats, a holiday train, and classic holiday music. Sensory friendly nights are scheduled for December 7 and January 5, plus special events including ice carving demonstrations, illuminated performers, and a holiday train.The Bronx; November 17, 2023–January 7, 2024, excluding December 24 and 25, 2023 and January 1-4, 2024; tickets are adults, $41.95 children ages 3-12, $26.95 and seniors, $36.95.
When: November 17, 2023 – December 30, 2023
Stop by Jones Beach State Park for a dazzling drive-through holiday lights experience. Pile the whole crew into the car and journey through more than a mile of spectacular multi-colored larger-than-life displays like the enchanted tunnel, winter wonderland, and even a holiday Barbie exhibit. Even better, tickets are priced by the carload, making it the perfect family-friendly holiday experience. Jones Beach; Sunday – Thursday 5pm-1pm and Friday – Saturday 5pm-11pm. $25 per vehicle.
When: December 1-2 and 9, 2023
Celebrate the winter season with two weekends packed with ice, lights, and family fun at Downtown Ithaca’s Ice & Lights festival. Stroll through festive holiday light art, wonder at ice carving demonstrations, dance at the silent disco, and more. There will be all kinds of local food and beverage vendors to sample and be sure to stick around for Santa’s arrival. Ithaca; December 1-2 and 9, 2023.
When: December 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024
Share moments of joy at Lake George’s newest winter experience! This magical multimedia installation featuring dazzling lights and original music is held at the historic Fort William Henry. Create lasting family memories as you stroll through the grounds of a historical fortress and embrace all that this winter wonderland has to offer. Lake George; Wednesday – Monday, December 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024 from 6pm-10pm. Closed December 25 and January 1-2, 2024. Ticket prices to be announced.
Credit: @calendarkiddo on Instagram
When: November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Create some core family memories at the Queens County Farm Museum’s stunning Winter Lantern Festival. This whimsical walk-through light experience is sure to warm you up with over 1,000 handmade Chinese lanterns, bright magical creatures, interactive experiences like the bounce house and sugar paintings, dazzling walkways, delicious food vendors, and more. Don’t forget to snap a pic for Instagram from the glowing light swing before you leave. Queens; November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024, Friday – Sunday, various times. Adults (13+): $25.99, Children (4-13): $17.99, Senior (65+), students, and military: $20.99.