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Christmas is a time of celebration, family, and, of course, holiday lights. And North Carolina is home to some of the best holiday light displays in the country. From the Biltmore in Asheville to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina has several wonderful light attractions to share with family and friends. As you decide which holiday light attractions to visit, here are a few of the state’s best choices.
Covid-19 alert: Before visiting an attraction, check its website or Facebook page for requirements and restrictions.
Biltmore Christmas – Asheville
With its majestic spruce and luminaries lighting the path, the Biltmore in Asheville is North Carolina’s largest home featuring a beautiful Christmas light display. With three visitation levels, the Biltmore has something for everyone. Your Biltmore admission includes a day tour of the grounds, garden, and winery. Explore the estate at your own pace with an evening self-guided tour. Make a day of it and upgrade to the Exclusive Experience, which gives you all-day access to 8,000 acres of Gardens and Grounds. Daytime tours of the mansion offer amazing views of its holiday décor, as well as learning about the history of the Biltmore. The holiday season runs Nov. 6 through Jan. 9.
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Tanglewood Festival of Lights – Clemmons
With more than 80 illuminated displays, celebrate the holiday season with the drive-thru Tanglewood Festival of Lights. The annual attraction celebrates its 29th season Nov. 13-Dec. 31. As you enjoy the views of displays such as a tunnel, ships approaching a lighthouse, a wreath arch, and more, listen to seasonal tunes on your radio. Open 6-11 p.m., the park can become terribly busy Thursday-Sunday, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. The Tanglewood Festival of Lights accepts cash or credit/debit cards.
Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens – Manteo
With several acres of the botanical garden decorated with lights and displays, Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens celebrates the season Nov. 29-Jan. 16 (check website for specific dates). Colorful lights are wrapped around trees, covering plants and bushes, as you walk along the attraction’s pathway. Look for holiday displays, such as poinsettias, snowflakes, and Christmas trees.
Holidays at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden – Belmont
Featuring a smaller show in 2020, Holidays at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont still features the rolling lights at Piedmont Prairie. You can enjoy a walk through the holiday decorations among the cherry trees, as well as enjoy seasonal music at the topiary exhibit. You can grab a bite to eat at any of the food trucks on hand, roast marshmallows over an open fire, and enjoy a warm or cold beverage. Open Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 27-Jan. 3, advanced tickets must be purchased, with arrival times at 5 and 6:30 p.m.
Speedway Christmas – Charlotte
Rev your engines and get ready to explore Christmas at the racetrack. From Nov. 21 through Jan. 17, the Charlotte Motor Speedway becomes home to the drive-through Speedway Christmas. With more than 4 million colorful, twinkling lights illuminating the night sky over a 3.75-mile-long route. The colorful tunnels leading to displays of holiday-themed displays featuring animals, Christmas trees, poinsettias, and elves, as well as racing cars (after all, it IS a race track), your holiday will be enhanced by this visit. FM station 101.3 will provide the holiday tunes. Advanced tickets can be purchased online.
A visit to a holiday lights attraction can brighten your holiday season. Bring along some hot chocolate or cider and tasty treats as you explore North Carolina’s Christmas lights. Enjoy your outings, and have a safe and Merry Christmas season.