8 Doggone Beautiful Christmas Light Displays To Visit This Year

Posted by Billy Francis

This article was updated in November 2020.

Christmas light displays have delivered holiday cheer for nearly as long as lightbulbs have been around. Thomas Edison hung strings of electric lights outside his laboratory in New Jersey at Christmastime in 1881, just one year after he invented the incandescent bulb. To this day, bright lights on chilly winter nights can transform a regular neighborhood, forest or park into a Christmas wonderland. Let Fido ride shotgun and share in the magic at these eight pet-friendly drive-through exhibitions. If he prefers to stretch his legs, we’ve added two more for walkies.

1. Holiday Light Fantasia

Hartford, CT
“If the North Pole’s that way, where are we going?” Photo by @littlebellapuggle

Take a leisurely evening drive to Holiday Light Fantasia in greater Hartford. This 2-mile stretch of Goodwin Park becomes a drive-through wonderland during the season. From start to finish, you’ll gaze upon more than 1 million twinkling lights arranged in a variety of shapes, including holiday scenes, familiar characters and local tributes. There’s something for everybody, with 200 individual displays and animations for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s.

Holiday Light Fantasia will be held 5 to 10 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, from Thanksgiving Day through January 3. Tickets start at $15 per car. Spend the night in the comfort of a home away from home at one of these pet-friendly Hartford Airbnb rentals.

2. Jingle Beat

Nashville, TN
"These lights are more captivating than a squirrel with a tennis ball!" Photo by Facebook.com/eamotionlive

Rock around the Christmas tree lights at Jingle Beat. This outdoor drive-thru experience brings the holiday season to life with lights, action and sound all around. The no-contact, timed entry event allows you to sleigh the 2-mile fixed driving course with Fido in the front seat.

Jingle Beat is being held from December 1 through December 31. Tickets start at $50 per car.

3. Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, NV
There's a light at the end of the tunnel ... and at the start and in the middle. Photo by @glatin1982

Nevada’s largest drive-through holiday light show is coming to town again this year. Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 2.5-mile Christmas light display that will surely brighten up Fido’s night. Different exhibits along the route tell stories of Christmas past, as you and your pooch look forward to Christmas future. If you spot one of Santa’s elves along the way, they have been known to sneak treats out of his sleigh for dogs to munch on during the show.

Glittering Lights at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be held November 13 through January 10. Weekday value tickets start at $25 per car and $30 per car on weekends. When you're ready to turn in for the night, avoid the hectic Strip and choose the pet-friendly Best Western Plus North Las Vegas Inn & Suites, located near the Speedway.

4. Bright Nights at Forest Park

Springfield, MA
“Woooow, candles ... Next!” Photo by Facebook.com/brightnightsatforestpark

Since the first Christmas lights were strung in the trees for Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield, MA in 1995, more than 5 million people have gazed in wonder at the imaginative displays. The Victorian garden is transformed by 650,000 lights along a 3-mile driving route. The marvelous displays include Seuss Land, Winter Woods and Happy Holidays Springfield. One of the most intricate exhibits is a replica of Everett Barney's mansion, a local philanthropist who donated 178 acres of land to the park in 1884. Lucky dogs might meet a jolly greeter equipped with treats for pets at the entrance.

Bright Nights at Forest Park will be held from November 25 through January 6. Tickets are $23 per car. After Fido’s spellbinding drive through the park, spend the night at the nearby pet-friendly Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel.

5. Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights

Clemmons, NC
“Fashionable and practical.” Photo by @a.doberman.and.pitbull.life

Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights is truly a sight to behold. North Carolina’s most impressive Christmas light display invites people and their pups to trundle through the tunnel of lights, alongside illuminated golfers, Nativity sets and colorful arrangements. Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights is open 6 to 11 p.m. from November 13 through January 1. Tickets start at $15 per car. See the lights, and then cruise along to a pet-friendly room at the Quality Inn Clemmons just five minutes away.

6. Winter Festival of Lights

Wheeling, WV
Christmas lights are fun for the whole family. Photo by Facebook.com/Oglebay

Winter Festival of Lights in Oglebay takes the spectator experience to the next level. Human visitors are equipped with new 3D “Sleigh” Bans. These futuristic holographic glasses transform every point of light into a magical performance. One of the most popular light shows in the country, Festival of Lights welcomes more than a million people every year to marvel at 90 different exhibits. It’s also the longest on our list, encompassing 300 acres of twinkling lights over a 6-mile drive.

Winter Festival of Lights will be held from November 5 through January 10. A donation of $25 per vehicle is suggested. Take a break from driving at one of these cozy pet-friendly VRBO rentals nearby.

7. Lights Under Louisville

Louisville, KY
“Iguana go to the lights again!” Photo by @bearded_dragon_roxy

Most caves are full of history waiting to be discovered, but some contain stories yet to be told, like the Louisville Mega Cavern. Every year, Lights Under Louisville turns this former limestone mine into a twinkling underground spectacle. Enjoy a 30-minute, contact-less ride through part of the 17 miles of passageways. The display features 850 lit characters and a massive 3 million points of light, and is the only underground light show of its kind in the world.

Lights Under Louisville will be held from November 13 through January 3. Tickets start at $29.99 per car. Tour the cave for days with a stay at the Red Roof Inn Louisville. This pet-friendly budget hotel is located just across the road from the attraction.

8. Holiday Festival of Lights

Charleston, SC
“Just a few more feet and I can reach the bone!” Photo by @annbranhamsmith

Fido might already be familiar with the large off-leash area at James Island County Park in Charleston, but he may not recognize his favorite dog park covered in twinkling lights and Christmas decor at the Holiday Festival of Lights. Drive through a tunnel of lights and take in the sights of trees bathed in a warm glow and illuminated sculptures floating on the lake.

Holiday Festival of Lights is open 5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly, from November 13 through December 31. Tickets start at $20 per vehicle. See what else the historic city of Charleston has to offer by extending your stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott Charleston Downtown.

How are you celebrating Christmas with your pup? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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