Bright lights, big city indeed! Treat your family to a night at one of New York City’s best holiday lights displays
The beloved New York City holiday season is here! That means lots of festive light shows, Christmas displays, and decorations galore! Walk or drive through spectacular light sculptures, with miles of displays and millions of lights to marvel at. Whether you plan to travel to the light shows outside of the city, or stick to one of NYC’s classics—like Macy’s famous department store windows, botanical gardens and zoos, or, of course, Dyker Heights in Brooklyn—there’s something for everyone on this list of holiday lights in NYC in 2022.
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Walking Holiday Lights Displays in and around NYC
Winter Lantern Festival
The Winter Lantern Festival will be in four locations this year, including two in NYC, and each has something a little different to offer. For instance, head to Queens County Farm for a dazzling display of over 1,000 handmade Chinese Lanterns, or visit the Smithtown Historical Society to see these hand-crafted lights in the shapes of animals, flowers, and much more.
Dates: Nov. 11-Jan. 8
Queens County Farm
73-73 Little Neck Parkway
Glen Oaks, NY
Dates: Oct. 21-Jan. 8
SIUH Community Park
75 Richmond Terrace
Dates: Nov. 3-Jan. 8
Nassau County Museum of Art
One Museum Drive
Note: the Nassau County exhibit is a drive-thru event.
Dates: Nov. 4-Jan. 8
Smithtown Historical Society
239 East Main St.
Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights
This popular animal-themed light and lantern display returns to the zoo starting Nov. 18. See 360 lanterns representing almost 90 animal and plant species from around the globe. This year, 70 new lanterns representing 30 new animal species will make their debut at the zoo. Also new this year is an enhanced light show for dazzling photo-ops, a holiday tree show that features synchronized musical lights, and a walk through an animal-themed Light Tunnel for more light shows.
But the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights is more than a display: activities and entertainment include ice-carving demonstrations, stilt-walkers, puppet shows, a holiday train. and even treats like s’mores.
Dates: Nov. 18-Jan. 8
2300 Southern Blvd.
New York Botanical Garden Glow
This walk-through light experience debuted in 2020, and it’s back and bigger for the 2022 holiday season. Glow is billed as “an outdoor color and light experience," and has expanded its space to encompass even more of the NY Botanical Garden's grounds. Expect washes of brilliant color, thousands of dazzling LEDs, illuminated plant stories, ice-carving demonstrations, and whimsical, picture-perfect installations that reflect the surrounding gardens and collections. Make it a double feature and check out the popular New York Botanic Garden Holiday Train Show while you’re there. (The garden offers a combo ticket.) Or stop by the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up for a snack and some hot cocoa.
Dates: Nov. 18-Jan. 14
2900 Southern Blvd.
Lightscape at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Back for a second year, this after-dark, illuminated spectacular lightscape celebrates the beauty of nature in winter. Follow a festive one-mile trail winding through the garden’s 52-acre landscape, animated by dazzling light, color, and sound. Over a million lights and more than 18 distinct works of light art will be on view, among them the Cathedral of Light tunnel and a Fire Garden on Lily Pool Terrace. Lightscape was launched at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London in 2014, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the show’s only U.S. East Coast venue. The event sold out last year, so get your tickets early!
Dates: Nov. 16-Jan. 8
150 Eastern Pkwy.
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
LuminoCity Festival at Eisenhower Park
The LuminoCity Festival, a spectacular display of larger-than-life figures lit from within is back, touching down in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, NY for the 2022 holiday season. "Pure Magic" is the theme of the event, which features exhibitions of spectacular light art display designed to spark joy and wonder. This year, the festival has partnered with Nassau County to bring displays that are bigger and even more awe-inspiring, spanning over 17 acres. “Lumio,” the LuminoCity Festival mascot serves as your guide through the fantastical landscape, which features a wildlife safari, dinosaur adventure, an Alice in Wonderland inspired exhibit, plenty of wintery and holiday themed light sculptures, and much more.
Dates: Nov. 9-Jan. 8
1899 Park Blvd
East Meadow, NY
Lumagica Light Show at Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
Celebrate a good harvest with a gorgeous light show at the Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard. Lumagica is a spectacular display of over 750,000 lights forming whimsical creatures and themed light sculptures. This year's show is themed around an Enchanted Forest, and will take you through six spaces, including magical trees and treats and sweets. Look for the 20 foot reindeer, a flying parrot, light tunnels, dancing light displays, and more.
Dates: Nov. 18-Dec. 31
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
A Very Furry Christmas Celebration at Sesame Place
Celebrate the Sesame way with A Very Furry Christmas Celebration at Sesame Place. At this festive, family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends, the park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations all around. The park’s 1-2-3 Christmas Tree show features a 30-foot, fully-illuminated tree that projects festive animated images to the sound of a festive holiday soundtrack—dancing encouraged! You can also take a photo with Santa, visit the Christmas Family Fun Zone, watch an interactive Christmas show featuring your favorite Sesame Street characters, and more. Plus: Celebrate Hanukkah on the Street on Dec. 18-24 and Kwanzaa on Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
Dates: Nov. 19-Jan. 1
100 Sesame Rd.
Shimmering Solstice at Old Westbury Gardens
Old Westbury Gardens is transformed into a field of festive lights and sounds this holiday season. Follow the illuminated path down through the Garden's beloved Walled and Rose Gardens, the South Lawn, and more, all while enjoying a seasonal soundtrack to set the mood. End the walk with a fantastic finale featuring a light show projected onto one side of Westbury House. This year's Shimmering Solstice has three new exhibits on display, even more lights, an illuminated water feature on the West Pond, and a transformed Garden of Appreciation where visitors can warm up and get something to eat or drink.
Dates: Nov. 25-Jan. 1
71 Old Westbury Road
Old Westbury, NY
Related: Fir Real! Where to Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Near NYC
Drive-Thru Holiday Lights Displays near NYC
Magic of Lights
You don’t even need to get out of your car for this one! Magic of Lights is a drive-through exhibit with over a mile of light displays featuring beloved characters and holiday scenes at Jones Beach State Park. Highlights include a huge sparkling Barbie, a Bigfoot Monster Truck, and life-sized light-up dinosaurs all decked out to celebrate Prehistoric Christmas.
Insider tip: Jones Beach not convenient? You can also catch the Magic of Lights in New Jersey at the PNC Bank Arts Center.
Dates: Nov. 18-Dec. 30
Jones Beach State Park
150 Bay Parkway
Jones Beach, NY
PNC Bank Arts Center
116 Garden State Pkwy
Riverhead Holiday Light Show at Long Island Sports Park
The Riverhead Holiday Light Show is a drive-through light show over a mile long in Suffolk County, with dozens of dazzling displays, including plenty of new additions for 2022. Turn your car radio to a special frequency and watch the lights “dance” in time with festive holiday music. To bring the festive cheer into the car, you can also purchase a Santa hat, light-up necklace, candy cane, and special glasses that make viewing the lights even more spectacular.
Dates: Nov. 18-Dec. 31
149 Edwards Ave.
Smith Point Light Show
The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County have one spectacular light show for you, located at the Smith Point County Park campground! Drive through one and a half miles of lights and light sculptures, featuring over 100 holiday displays (including five new ones), designed by the Girl Scouts themselves. This year, refreshments will be available to purchase at the show. Proceeds benefit programs for girls and families across Suffolk County, so you can enjoy the show and give back to the community all in one. Plus, girl scouts get a discount on tickets, and two badges!
If you prefer to leave the car, a new walking section has been added this year. Stop by the Enchanted Forest Walk-thru at Southaven County Park to take a walk through a magical world of glowing trees and animals, hot cocoa, and a photo-op with Santa in a heated tent.
Dates: Nov. 26-Dec. 30
Fire Island Beach Rd.
Peace, Love & Lights at Bethel Center for the Arts
Relive the magic of Woodstock with Peace, Love & Lights, a beautiful drive-through light show located on the grounds of the famous festival. Drive through over a mile of light displays, including a 120-foot "Twinkle Tunnel," the fun 70's-themed Groovy Way, an Enchanted Forest, Santa's Workshop, and more. For additional fees, you can have a buffet-style dinner with Santa (plus snag a selfie!), watch ice carving demonstrations, toast s'mores, visit the Woodstock museum, and build some gingerbread houses with adult refreshments for the over-21 members of the family.
Dates: Nov. 25-Jan. 1
200 Hurd Rd.
Related: NYC Holiday Hit List: Things to Do with Kids This Season
Department Store Holiday Window Displays
It’s a New York Christmas tradition to head to the big department stores to not only shop, but to check out the festive displays, which draw crowds all season long.
Macy's Herald Square
The holiday windows at Macy's feature a little blue reindeer named Tiptoe, who needs a little help learning to fly. Follow the journey of discovery and triumph as this very special reindeer takes to the sky to help Santa Claus bring joy to millions of children.This year, Macy's is also celebrating the return of Toys"R"Us to select Macys. The windows will feature scenes of how we celebrate the holidays with our loved ones, as well as toys magically brought to life through animated displays. SantaLand also returns to Macy's Herald Square on November 25, so once you're done admiring the windows outside, step inside to be transported to a world of holiday cheer and perfect presents for your loved ones.
Dates: Nov. 17-Jan. 1
151 W 34th St.
Herald Square, Manhattan
This year, the Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship holiday windows promise to be the Best Holiday Ever, as the year's theme is a pure celebration of the spirit of the holiday, gift giving, and memory making. The windows will be bringing plenty of magical holiday elements to life, including giant wrapping paper, scissors, and champagne glasses, a toy workshop, and an animated 3D camera. The windows will be unveiled with a performance by Billy Porter, which you can also watch from home on the Bloomingdale's website.
Dates: Starting Nov. 17
1000 Third Ave. at 59th St.
Upper East Side, Manhattan
Shine Bright at The Shops at Hudson Yard
Hudson Yards brings back the “Shine Bright” display for the 2022 season. The holiday décor includes over two million twinkling lights, or 115 miles of string lights! The whole complex shimmers inside and out, with The Vessel, Edge, The Shops, and The Public Square and Gardens adorned in lights. In the midst of it all is a 32-foot hot air balloon suspended inside The Shops at Hudson Yards. Plus: Every Day at 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy a light show synchronized to holiday music.
Dates: Starting Nov. 14
10th Ave. & 34th St.
The Windows at Saks Fifth Ave
Saks puts on a huge light show every 10 minutes. Using LED lights and 3D projectors, a two-minute show plays out across the building’s 10-story facade. The music accompanying the light show is a medley saluting different holiday traditions, including José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” the theme from holiday film favorite Love Actually, Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and more. This year, the store is partnering with Sir Elton John to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation: The store will donate $1 million to the foundation, and Sir John will perform at the unveiling of the store's holiday lights.
Dates: Starting Nov. 22
611 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street
More Places to See Holiday Lights Displays in NYC
The public lighting of the 82-foot tall, 14-ton Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree from Queensbury, NY takes place on November 30 this year. You can catch the lighting on NBC from home, or visit the tree during its stay in NYC from 6 a.m. to midnight (though it'll be lit up for 24 hours on Christmas Day and 6 a.m.-9 p.m. on New Years Eve).
Dates: Nov. 30-Jan. 15
30 Rockefeller Plaza
This southern Brooklyn neighborhood goes all out with what at this point, are world-famous Christmas displays. You can visit on your own and stroll the blocks from (roughly) 83rd to 86th Street, or sign-up for a tour from A Slice of Brooklyn. The company is now in its 13th year of guiding people through the lights, with buses leaving from Union Square in Manhattan. Word to the wise: If at all possible, go on a weeknight to avoid huge crowds.
81st through 86th Streets & 11th through 13th Avenues (approximately)
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Luminaries at Brookfield Place
Create your own light show with Luminaries, the annual interactive light show at Brookfield Place. Designed and created in collaboration with the LAB at Rockwell Group, the display features colorful lanterns suspended in the enclosed Winter Garden public courtyard. View a special light show at the top of every hour, set to the holiday songs “Winter Wonderland” by Michael Bublé, “Silver Bells” by Tony Bennett, “Carol of the Bells” by The Bird and The Bee, and “Let It Snow” by Pentatonix. Or, make your own light show by making a holiday "wish"—donate $1 or more to light up the canopy in a motion-controlled show, or use the "Maestro!" feature to conduct the lights in a pattern that's unique to you. Donations this year will be benefiting behavioral health services for youth and adults in NYC and on Long Island who are struggling with substance and alcohol abuse.
Dates: Nov. 25-Jan. 6
230 Vesey St.
Battery Park City, Manhattan
Santa’s Corner in Whitestone
This awesome Queens house is at it again. Put together by retired firefighter Kevin Lynch and his family, the light display is amazing to behold in person. Lynch once claimed that his goal is to be seen from the moon—he might not be quite there yet, but it certainly comes close.
23rd Ave. & 166th St.