Take a Drive and See the Holiday Lights

The WRAL Nights of Lights holiday light show is back at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh.

The holidays wouldn’t be the same without elaborate light displays, and we want to help you get ready for the sparkle and shine! Most of these local installations open on or before Thanksgiving, so pile the family in the car and take a drive to see the annual spectacle! 

Several of the larger events require tickets, but we’ve included some free sparkle-fests as well. Get ready to be dazzled by these twinkling showpieces.

Ticketed displays

Magic of Lights at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

3801 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh

The mile-long drive-through experience features themed light displays using the LED technology and digital animations, including the new Blizzard Tunnel as well as returning favorites 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland and The Night Before Christmas. 

Magic of Lights is open daily through Jan. 2, 2022. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Advance tickets are $20-$32 per vehicle; tickets at the gate are $30-$40, depending on the date. More details, including complete schedule and ticket information, is at magicoflights.com.

WRAL Night of Lights, 75 Hunt Drive, Raleigh

WRAL and the City of Raleigh have partnered again for the Night of Lights Drive-Thru Lights Show at Dorothea Dix Park. Visitors can drive a 1.3-mile path with views of illuminated trees and festive lights until Dec. 24. This year, in addition to brand-new light displays, look for a new art installation from local neon artist Nate Sheaffer. Visitors on Dec. 17 can donate five cans of food to Food Lion Feeds in support of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and receive a $20 Food Lion gift card. Hours are 6-9:30 p.m. nightly, and the event is closed Nov. 22-25, Nov. 30 and Dec. 6. Tickets are $15 per vehicle and must be purchased ahead of time. More information, including where to buy tickets, is at wral.com/WRAL-presents-Nights-of-Lights-at-Dix-Park.

Hill Ridge Farms Festival of Lights, 703 Tarboro Road, Youngsville

Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville will again host a mile-long Festival of Lights where families can immerse themselves in the holiday spirit.  The lights can be enjoyed beginning on Thanksgiving Day and continuing to Jan. 2. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. nightly, and tickets are $20 per car upon arrival. For more information, visit hillridgefarms.com/festival.

NC Chinese Lantern Festival

Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary

Get out of your car to walk through the annual display of gorgeous lanterns. The 2020 season was canceled, but the lantern festival is back with new displays and more attractions. It continues through Jan. 9, 2022. Thursday through Sunday evenings, enjoy the lanterns as the sun sets. Twilight tickets are $15 per person, and regular tickets are $20-25 for everyone 3 and older. boothamphitheatre.com

Free displays

Here are some of the most elaborate holiday lights displays in Western Wake. These are private residences, so it’s best to check social media before you set out. Also, while there is no cost to admire the twinkling lights, most ask for donations to a charity or two. 

MG’s Vision & Lights on Holt Road, 1012 Holt Road, Apex

Since 2010, Miguel Guerra and Dawna Hogan-Guerra have opened their Apex property to the public to drive through thousands of lights strung around their property. This year, the light show will include several designated days for first responders and families who have children with special needs. On those days, the display will be closed to the public. 

There is no cost for entry to the drive-thru lights show, instead, organizers encourage donations to its nonprofit partners, Western Wake Crisis Ministry and Saving Grace NC. 

The lights display is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day, and it will continue intermittently until Dec. 26. Before you get in the car, check MG’s Vision & Lights on Holt Road Facebook page for more information, including a traffic map of the property.

Edward’s Battle Haunted House, 9401 S. Mere Court, Cary

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 1, and continuing until Friday, Dec. 31, you can drive by to see the lights. For years, the family has created a haunted house in the front yard to bring attention to childhood cancer. Now there’s a holiday display as well. The display is free, but donations to Make A Wish Eastern NC are encouraged. 

Lights on Waverly, 416 Waverly Hills Drive, Cary

The holiday light show is synchronized to music. Check the Facebook page for the schedule and any other updates.


1 Comment

  • Al Parker says:

    The most extreme, most beautiful, and most over-the-top home Christmas displays are all ready for you to view. Raleigh Area’s Best Christmas Light tours on the Built Story App will guide you using your smartphone’s GPS to each stop. There are over 50 houses on the tours!!! Download the free Built Story App to your phone, then search for “Raleigh Christmas”. The displays are organized into two tours – South and West (Morrisville, Cary, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, and West & South Raleigh) and North and East (North & East Raleigh, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Wendell, and Zebulon). Tours go on sale Thanksgiving Day, and you get access to start / stop / retake as many times as you want for 30 days. A portion of the proceeds to go The Hope Center which helps young adults who are aging out of the foster care program become successful, self-sustaining adults.

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