Glow To-Go: Fun Holiday Lights Drive-Thrus From Around The U.S

Wayne County Lightfest, Michigan

Every year, the Wayne County Lightfest transforms Hines Drive into the Midwest’s longest drive-through holiday light display. The four-mile extravaganza contains more than a million twinkling lights and starts at Hines Drive & Merriman in Westland, then proceeds one-way to Warren Avenue finishing in Dearborn Heights. Sledding, ice skating, food concessions and photos with Santa (until 12/23) take place at Warrendale Picnic Area. Open daily 7-10pm through 12/31/11 (closed 12/25), $5/carload donation. For more info: 734.261.1990 or waynecounty.com

Enter Lightfest at Hines Drive off N Merriman Rd., Westland: Map

Country Club Plaza Lights, Missouri

What began with “a single strand of lights over a doorway in 1925” has turned into a Kansas City tradition with a spectacular 15-block display at the Country Club Plaza, which features thousands of festive, glittering colored lights that frame and illuminate every building, dome, tower and window in the entire district. Now in its 81st year, Plaza Lights are free and on daily display from 5pm-3am through January 15th. For more info: 816.753.0100 or countryclubplaza.com

4750 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City: Map

Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights, West Virginia

Featured on the Travel Channel’s Extreme Christmas Celebrations, the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights in Wheeling spans more than 300 acres over a six-mile drive through the Oglebay Resort’s hillside grounds. Now in its 26th year, the festival features more than a million lights and 70+ whimsical displays, like the “Snowflake Tunnel,” a brilliant passage through hundreds of tiny, twinkling LED snowflakes. After the drive, take a stroll through the life-sized Nativity scene, Christmas Tree Garden and lavishly decorated Mansion Museum and Wilson Lodge. Also onsite, the show at Good Zoo features a light show choreographed to holiday music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Holiday Laser Shows at the Benedum Theater and Model Train Displays. Open daily through 1/8 until 10pm on Sun-Thurs & 11pm Fri-Sat. Per car donation requested and valid for entire festival season. Zoo admission is $7.50/adults and $5.50/kids (3-12). For info and special event listings: 800.624.6988 or oglebay-resort.com

465 Lodge Drive, Wheeling, West Virginia: Map

Speedway in Lights, Tennessee

Now in its 15th season, the Speedway in Lights display returns to Bristol Motor Speedway with a 4.5-mile drive route through millions of luminous holiday lights and hundreds of displays—like the 12 Days of Christmas, a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex and erupting volcano—on a lap around the dragway, through the legendary Thunder Valley and the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.” The main attraction is the Symphony of Lights, which illuminates three acres of aluminum grandstands with 300,000+ dancing LED lights that are synchronized to a 20-minute holiday music show. At the infield Christmas Village, families can roast marshmallows, visit with Santa, ice skate in a covered rink or take a turn on the HVAC Chill Hill Tube Slide and Santa’s open-air sleigh ride. Open daily 6-10pm through 1/7/12, $10/carload donation, Sun-Thurs; $12 on Fri & Sat. For more info: 423.989.6900 or bristolmotorspeedway.com

151 Speedway Blvd. Bristol, TN: Map

Celebration of Lights, Arizona

Arizona’s largest drive-thru display is the Celebration of Lights Festival in Glendale, with a mile-long showcase of 7 million lights in more than 300 animated displays. On weekend nights, revelers can also visit Santa’s Village with food and family holiday activities. Open daily from 5:30pm to 9pm, Sun-Thurs, until 10pm on weekends & holidays through 1/1/12. $15/car Mon-Thurs; $20/car Fri-Sun. Discounted tickets with advance purchase online or receive $2 off with holiday donation of 3 cans of food or new toy. For more info: 888.926.7404 or arizonacelebrationoflights.com

2209 North 99th Ave., Phoenix: Map

Jubitz Winter Wonderland, Oregon

Get revved up for the holidays with a drive through the 18th annual Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway, which boasts the “largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi” with more than 250 colorful displays and 40 fully animated scenes, like the 12 Days of Christmas, Dinosaur Land and a 200-foot-long Tunnel of Lights. Open from 5-9pm Sun, Wed & Thurs; 5-11pm Fri & Sat. Closed Mon & Tues, except for 12/21-22 during Christmas week. $16/carload, cash or check only. For more info:
503-232-3000; winterwonderlandportland.com

1940 N. Victory Blvd., Portland: Map

Was your favorite local or neighborhood display not listed here? Be sure to add it in the comments below for others to discover and enjoy this holiday season.

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4 Responses to “Glow To-Go: Fun Holiday Lights Drive-Thrus From Around The U.S”

  1. Angela says:

    A great drive through Christmas Lights display just outside Tyler Texas on I20.

  2. ALR says:

    Thanks for the list, enjoyed looking. But, we are pretty sure the detroit picture you show is actually a picture of downtown Rochester, Michigan. Which is an incredible display to see.

  3. Chrystal says:

    Jacksonville, Florida has a new Drive Thru holiday light display. Half a million lights synchronized to your favorite holiday music. It’s located at The Morocco Shrine Center. Right around the corner from the big Saint Johns Town Center Shopping. http://www.jaxilluminations.com

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