Where to See Holiday Lights in Raleigh-Durham

Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, NC decorated for Christmas

 Bill Dickinson / Flickr / (CC BY-NC 2.0)

One of the best parts of the winter holiday season is the chance to see sparkling light displays, which bring a welcoming glow to the longest nights of the year. During the holidays, the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina is bright with Christmas lights (and the occasional Hanukkah or Kwanzaa display). There are some great places in the Triangle to see holiday lights in 2020, from tower lightings to tractor rides through winter wonderlands.

In 2020, the holiday light displays are still on, but the surrounding events and celebrations may look a bit different due to social distancing rules. Be sure to check the websites of the official organizers for the latest safety precautions.

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Lake Myra Christmas Lights

Christmas lights at Lake Myra

 Lake Myra

Lake Myra Christmas Lights is a spectacular 25-minute light show set to music, located in Wendell, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Raleigh-Durham. The display features more than 180,000 lights that are computer synchronized to "dance" in time to the music.

In 2020, the lights will be turned on daily from November 25 through December 31, weather permitting. The show is free, though donations are accepted. The show will play from 5:30 to 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Lights on the Neuse

Take a 30-minute tractor-drawn hayride through a light display and winter wonderland complete with holiday music at the Lights on the Neuse on Boyette Family Farms in Clayton, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Raleigh-Durham. After the ride, take some time to visit with Santa or enjoy some candy or hot cocoa from Santa's Sweet Shoppe.

Lights on the Neuse is open evenings starting November 27, 2020. You can attend on weekends through December 24, along with a few days during the week from mid-December on. Check the schedule for specific days that the attraction is open.

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Lights on the Meadow

Open nightly from December 5 to 31 in 2020, Lights on the Meadow in Raleigh is a joy for visitors and locals. Look for beautiful light displays and beloved characters like Mickey Mouse, Frosty, Rudolph, and of course, Santa Claus. If you tune into the radio station 88.3 FM, you can listen to the music that is synchronized to the lights. The lights will shine from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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American Tobacco Tower Lighting

Light Up Durham on the American Tobacco Campus

 American Tobacco Historic District / Flickr / (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The 16th annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting celebration in Durham will take place on December 1, 2020. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance, and you'll be entertained for free by local bands, and dance and theater groups. After the lighting, Oxente drummers and Paperhand Puppet Intervention will guide you from Blackwell Street to the CCB Plaza where festivities will continue.

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