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See the Magic and Dazzle of a Holiday Light Show

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2021-11-23 19:39:00

The holidays are almost here, which means towns across Upstate New York are bringing out the decorations for their annual holiday light displays. Wherever you are in Upstate New York, you’re sure to find a drive-through (or walk-through) light show to explore. Bundle up and head out for one of these stops to take in the spectacular sights of the season!

In the Capital Region, Capital Holiday Lights in the Park is back for its 25th year in Albany’s Washington Park. From November 26 to January 2 this year, visitors can drive through the dozens of displays and soak up the holiday cheer in one of the region’s most beloved festive traditions. With special event nights dedicated to various charities, plus the chance to explore the light show on foot for one night during the “Walk Only” night on Dec. 11, there is plenty of time to enjoy this Capital Region staple. Kids can even drop off letters to Santa in a designated mailbox at the entrance. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance—no walk-ins are being permitted this year.

A little further north, in the Adirondack vacation town of Lake George, the annual Holiday Festival of Lights will be open from Nov. through Dec. 31 in the town’s Shepard Park. In addition to the chance to stroll through more than 20 displays of lights in the park, the storefronts along Canada Street will be decorated for the season. There are a number of standout events going on as well, including a Royal Snow Sisters show on Dec. 4, a comedy show on Dec. 10, and a Holiday Artisan Vendor Market with more than 50 booths on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18 and 19. The lights display and market are free to attend; you can buy tickets to the shows here.

To the south, in the Catskills, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is back with their Peace, Love and Lights drive-through show that puts a groovy spin on the traditional holiday lights. After driving the nearly two-mile path through the dazzling light displays, visitors can head to the Holiday Hub to enjoy food and drinks for purchase while taking in the sights of a series of Christmas trees decorated to light up in time with holiday music. Tickets can be purchased on their website.

In Central New York, the Utica Zoo is hosting their Bright Nights at the Utica Zoo event on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 19. While the animals are not the focus of the event—they’ll be asleep by then—there is plenty else to do; in addition to the light displays, the event features music, crafts, food trucks and hot drinks for purchase, and even a visit from Santa and a nightly reading of The Night Before Christmas. There will be a designated mailbox for letters to Santa as well. In Watertown, Zoo New York is also hosting a light show this season; Winter Wonderlights is in its second year, with light displays throughout the zoo on Nov. 26 and 27, Dec. 2-4, 9-12, 16-18, 23, and 26, and Jan. 2. Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Saturday nights. 

Syracuse’s festive Lights on the Lake is back to celebrate its 32nd year this season. Open seven nights per week until January 14, this two-mile-long drive through Onondaga Lake Park features an extensive collection of holiday lights and displays set to the sound of holiday music, and it has become a famous favorite in the region. Make sure to grab your tickets online in advance if you plan to stop by this year, as capacity is limited and tickets won’t be sold at the entrance.

Western New York will have their share of fun as well. Just outside of Rochester, in the town of Victor, the RocLights at Victor Hills drive-through event winds through a mile-and-a-half-long path through the Victor Hills Golf Club, with more than 20 light displays to enjoy; dates and tickets, which must be purchased online, can be found on their website.

And outside of Buffalo, the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights is back at the Fairgrounds in Hamburg from Dec. 1-31 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), with more than 70 light displays to drive through; you’ll have to get your tickets in advance for that one, too. There’s also the Holiday Light Show in Lockport, with dozens of displays, open select dates through Dec. 30, and the annual Zoo Lights at the Buffalo Zoo is back through January 2, with light displays, train rides, food and beverages, visits with Santa and the Ice Princesses, and more.

These are just a handful of the light shows popping up around Upstate New York this year, so don’t be afraid to go exploring. Make sure to check for any specific details before you head out—the majority of shows are requiring advanced ticket purchases, and some have designated nights for walkers only, no vehicle traffic. With a little planning, you’re sure to find a perfect holiday light show to get you into the festive spirit this year!


Capital Holiday Lights in the Park photo credit UpstateNYer
Lake George Grinch photo credit lakegeorge.com
Peace Love and Lights display photo credit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Utica lights credit Utica Zoo
Victor Hills lights photo credit ROC Lights at Victor Hills

Holiday Light Show photo credit Holiday Light Show

posted at: 2021-11-23 19:39:00, last updated: 2022-01-09 05:25:39

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