- Washington, D.C.
When it comes to Christmas and holiday lights, communities across the United States put on amazing displays, both public and private.
From friendly neighborhood competitions to see whose house shines most brightly to enormous public displays featuring millions of tiny twinkly lights, there are extraordinary sights to see. Here are six dazzling places around the USA to experience holiday lights.
Kansas City, Missouri
The KCP&L Plaza Lights
Inspired by the architecture of Seville, Spain, Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, opened in 1923 to much success. It’s a year-round destination, with wide boulevards and Spanish-style buildings hosting high-end shops and gourmet restaurants, but it really shines during the holiday season. Every year, on the last Thursday in November (Thanksgiving in the U.S.), all 15 blocks of the plaza are simultaneously lit up with thousands of multicolored lights, outlining every dome, tower and window. The lights stay on until mid-January. One of the best ways to take them in is via horse-drawn-carriage ride.
Fireworks kick off festivities at the KCP&L Plaza.
Austin Trail of Lights
In the heart of south Austin, Texas, the state’s capital, is the 1.5-square-kilometer Zilker Park, home to walking trails, a botanical garden, a theater, picnic areas and more. During the holiday season, the park hosts the Austin Trail of Lights, a 2-kilometer walk through dozens of brightly lit displays, including a rainbow tunnel, Arctic holiday, the Little Mermaid, Pooh Corner and, of course, the North Pole. Musical performances, food vendors and rides abound. Don’t miss the Zilker holiday tree, which shines with 3,309 lights. At 47 meters, it’s is the world’s tallest man-made freestanding holiday tree.