Christmas decorations don’t get much flashier than this.
The holidays are my favorite time of year. I try to act like they’re not, so as to avoid clichés (not sure why), but it’s time I faced the truth: I love the festivities that have come to be associated with Christmas (sans capitalism). These, in large part, include bright, colorful lights that bounce off of pillowy snow in the night sky. While this year will be a little different in terms of gathering together with friends, family, and other spectators to view such sparkly sights, we’ve rounded up a few incredible light shows around the world that are still (safely) happening, despite a certain global pandemic.
Top Picks for You
Blossoms of Light
WHERE: Denver, Colorado
The Denver Botanic Gardens are stunning at all times of the year, but especially around the holiday when they roll out their legendary light show titled Blossoms of Light. For more than three decades, the institution has been offering up breathtakingly extravagant lights (that adorn the already-stunning flora) in the York Street location for families to gawk at and snap pictures under while sipping hot chocolate or soup.
When: November 20-January 16
Christmas in Tivoli Gardens
WHERE: Copenhagen, Denmark
This holiday season, amusement park Tivoli Gardens (also recognized for its gardens!) is decorated with 1,000 (yes, one thousand) Christmas trees complete with lights and a large projector showing “charming Christmas stories.” This year, though, the already-well-recognized park is going a step further and sending out one of the above-mentioned Christmas trees out on Tivoli Lake to beguile visitors even more.
When: November 13-January 3
INSIDER TIPKeep in mind that it’s necessary to book tickets before your time of arrival.
The Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center
WHERE: New York City
The Christmas Tree Lighting and the surrounding decor at 88th Rockefeller Center this time of year has become synonymous worldwide with the kicking off of the holiday season. Since December 1931—though it was considerably less flashy then—the decorations have brought viewers warm fuzzy feelings, and this year, despite there being a lack of public access courtesy of COVID-19, the lighting occurred via a live national broadcast titled, Christmas in Rockefeller Center.
Fun fact: Also this year, a little baby owl was discovered in the branches of the tree as it was being delivered to NYC. Since then, he was taken to Ravensbeard Wildlife Center for precautionary treatment.
While a street party and concert are typically part of these festive proceeds, COVID-19 has led to the canceling of both. Fear not though, not all physical holiday cheer is lost—the iconic Christmas lights—in Malaga—we’re talking two million LED bulbs—will still be draped over a few of the city’s streets (most notably, Calle Larios), making you feel like Alice in (Winter) Wonderland. Additionally, five giant trees throughout the city—one of which you can go inside—will surely reassure visitors and residents that magic is enduring despite The State of Things.
When: November 27-January 5
Fantasy in Lights
WHERE: Callaway Resort & Gardens, Georgia (U.S.A.)
A dazzling illuminated forest that stretches 2,500 acres with a two-story-tall Christmas tree? Check. Fantasy Lights has been recognized as one of the country’s (and globe’s!) most eye-popping holiday light shows. While you can enjoy this year’s bright celebrations via the “Jolly Trolley” (the most popular option), driving through and gawking from the windows of your own vehicle is also an option.
When: November 20-January 4
INSIDER TIPTo save time and money, buy tickets in advance!
The Lights of Envigado
WHERE: Medellin, Colombia
Holiday spirit means a lot to the residents of this Colombian city. So, it should come as no surprise that grand decorations—the types that elicit warm sensations in your tummy—can be found throughout Envigado come Christmastime in several of its most notable parks. Wholesome figurines of cartoon families and bright, pop-up neon arches you can skip through can also be found under the multitude of draping lights, which are designed to look like snow.
When: Early November-early January
Melbourne Christmas Festival
WHERE: Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne pretty much goes all out with its light displays this time of year. Among them (in 2020), is palatial, lit-up ornaments and a 52-foot tall LED Christmas tree in the city’s center; and state-of-the-art projections that cover the State Library Victoria and Melbourne Town Hall in Christmas scenes, which run nightly.
When: November 27-December 25