Taking the Kids Logo
November 21, 2014
Time to light up your holidays!




Dear Family Travelers:



You're in luck.  No matter where you find yourself this holiday season, you'll be able to forget the holiday drudgery - for a while anyway - when you take the kids and grandkids to check out the holiday lights.  Many towns and cities light up by or before Thanksgiving.


We list more than 50 fantastic displays in our new Taking the Kids Lighting up Your Holidays section that appears on my site and Family Travel  Forum .  Make it a new tradition! Here's a sampling of what's fun around the country:

  1. BOSTON, MA is home to the largest Christmas tree in New England, and the 72nd annual lighting ceremony will take place on November 15. Take a Freedom Trail Holiday Stroll with a costumed guide, learn how Christmas and holiday traditions evolved in Boston, and end your tour with hot chocolate or tea with Boston Cream Pie at the Omni Parker House Hotel. This tour is offered at 3:30 P.M. Thursday through Sunday from November 14-January 31. 
  2. CHICAGO, IL hosts "The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival" with a tree-lighting parade on November 22 featuring giant helium balloons, marching bands, and classic characters from Walt Disney World. The Museum of Science and Industry celebrates "Christmas Around the World" and "Holidays of Light" with more than 50 trees decorated to represent various cultures and holiday traditions from November 13- January 4. "Christkindlmarket," a German-American holiday market, will set up shop for its 19th year in Daley Plaza from November 21-December 24.
  3. ORLANDO, FL - Orlando has it all - glittering trees, fireworks, and more from Disney World at "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" (select nights November 7-December 19); cSea World's "Christmas Celebration" (November 22-December 31), and Macy's Holiday Parade and "Grinchmas" at Universal Studios as well as Christmas Bricktacular with a huge LEGO Christmas tree and Kids' New Year's Eve at LEGOLAND FloridaThink ahead and save with great deals on attraction tickets through UndercoverTourist.com.
  4. GRAPEVINE Texas. They don't call this little Wild West town near Dallas the "Christmas Capital of Texas" for nothing; Grapevine goes all out for the holidays with 1400 events along Main Street, at its wineries, the vintage railroad, malls and at its Great Wolf Lodge and Gaylord Texan resorts.
  5. NEW YORK, NY has not only the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree but, at 32 feet tall, the world's largest menorah at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The Big Apple is also home to New York Botanical Garden's "Holiday Train Show" in the Bronx with miniatures of NYC landmarks made entirely out of plants on display November 16-January 12. GingerBread Lane - a 1.5 ton, 300-square-foot village made entirely of edible gingerbread, royal icing, and candy - returns to the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in Queens on November 13.
  6. PHILADELPHIA, PA -Franklin Square welcomes Electrical Spectacle, a new holiday light show featuring thousands of lights choreographed to seasonal music. The show will run every half hour between 4:30-8 P.M. from November 13-December 31.  Philadelphia will be all aglow this holiday season-from the classic Holiday Light Show, Dickens Christmas Village and daily organ concerts at Macy's in Center City; A Longwood Gardens Christmas with colorful light displays and decorated trees; the Independence Seaport Museum's fourth annual Parade of Lights; and two New Year's Eve fireworks displays.
  7. PIGEON FORGE, TN puts up more than five million holiday lights in gigantic displays during "Winterfest." Enjoy them from the comfort of a heated trolley ride November 11-January 9. Additionally, the Dollywood theme park celebrates with four million lights and festive shows during its Smoky Mountain Christmas from November 8-January 3.  
  8. SAN FRANCISCO touts 49 square miles of holiday cheer, whether you want to eat, see a holiday performance or holiday lights. Towering lighted trees are found outdoors from the waterfront (PIER 39's Tree Lighting Celebration includes Disney Pals on Nov 22-23) to Nob Hill and the Castro.  All four towers of the Embarcadero Center are outlined with lights for six weeks, while the palm trees at Union Square are wrapped in lights. The historic Path of Gold streetlights on Market St. bear lighted snowflakes.   The city's cable cars are festively decorated too and are available for holiday lights tours.  
  9. SYRACUSE, NY - "Lights on the Lake" returns to Onondaga Lake Park this year from November 14-January 4 (closed New Year's Eve). This two mile drive-through extravaganza features several themed scenes including Land of Oz, Fantasy Forest, and a Fairytale Grand Finale that your family is sure to love.
  10. VIRGINIA - Visit the Historic Triangle and travel back in time to learn how the holidays were celebrated in the 17th and 18th centuries. . At nearby Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, enjoy special holiday shows, six million twinkling lights, and themed attractions as part of the Christmas Town celebration  Virginia Beach is one of several Virginia cities participating in the annual "100 Miles of Lights" holiday event which also includes displays and activities in Richmond, Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. "


And from our partners at Family Travel Forum


 Find out what local and visiting kids have to say about nine great American travel destinations through our Kids' Guides Series from Globe Pequot Press. San Francisco and Denver just joined New York, Orlando, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and San Diego.


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