The 30th Annual Nights of Lights dazzles with more than three million lights adorning every corner of the historic district for two months.
This award-winning holiday lights display runs from Saturday, November 18, 2023, to January 28, 2024, in historic St. Augustine. During the seasonal display, businesses downtown stay open later, letting you dine in view of the lights and browse the shops of the decorated buildings.
The trains and trolleys offer special seasonal tours that take you through the best areas, and there are also a variety of specialty tours — everything from walking to electric cart tours, and even tours to see the lights from the water and from the air.
There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the downtown area, from the dazzling lights along the bayfront, to the Christmas tree placed in the center of the Plaza de la Constitución with holiday gifts surrounding it. From dusk until dawn, the lights bring holiday cheer to visitors and locals.
The City of St. Augustine offers a Free Park and Ride Shuttle Service for Nights of Lights from November 18 to December 28, 2023. For information about operating times as well as pick-up and drop-off locations, visit here.
The annual Light-Up! Night begins at 4:00 p.m. with a performance by Showtime USA presenting a wide variety of holiday musical favorites. Showtime's performance will be in front of St. Augustine's City Hall, 75 King Street. At 5:30 p.m., the All Star Orchestra takes the stage with great swing and big band sounds in grand holiday style at the historic Plaza de la Constitución Gazebo. During the Light-Up! Night ceremony, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Plaza, the switch to the Nights of Lights is flipped on to illuminate the city. The concert continues after the ceremony until 7:30 p.m.
This is the local winter holiday celebration in St. Augustine where each historic downtown business and many residents participate by lighting up their buildings. The celebration was chosen in 2011 and 2012 by National Geographic as one of the top 10 dazzling holiday lighting displays in the world. The dazzling display continues to dazzle, becoming more and more popular each year as a holiday destination for vacationers from all over the world.
Some of the most elaborate light displays can be seen at Flagler College, the Lightner Museum, and on side streets such as Cordova and Orange streets. The main plaza, called the Plaza de la Constitución, features lights draped around every tree, with a huge Christmas tree in the center where photos can be taken. The pedestrian-only main shopping area, St. George Street, is also beautifully lit up.
A frequent award winner for their light display is the Tini Martini Bar inside the Casablanca Inn. Visitors and locals can dine on their outdoor patio among the glowing bulbs. The view of the bayfront from the Bridge of Lions is a favorite for many, and a guaranteed photo opportunity.
Nights of Lights in St. Augustine traces its origins back to the traditional Spanish practice of displaying a white candle in windows during the Christmas holidays. Candles in the window allude to the fact that Mary and Joseph could find no inn that would give them shelter. When the Spanish put candles in their windows, they were symbolically making room in their homes and hearts for Jesus.
It also reflects the welcoming attitude of the holiday season, showing that guests are welcome to the home. The stunning lights reflect the city's more than 450-year history and illuminate the beautiful cityscape for lasting holiday memories.
Things to Do
Looking for things to do in St. Augustine during the celebration of lights? This event features millions of tiny, white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the nation's oldest city. From roof shingle to doorway entrance, the downtown buildings are a glow in holiday cheer.
Vacationers can walk through the Plaza de la Constitución during Nights of Lights and stare up at the glowing lights in the trees, and wander through downtown's brick streets while taking in the beautiful and magical sights. Visitors can snap photos with outdoor displays, like the holiday tree in the center of the town plaza, or grab some hot cocoa from a local restaurant.