It’s no surprise that community holiday celebrations will be making big changes this year to help keep attendees safe. Many annual events were canceled, including downtown Lancaster’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, home tours across the county and events hosted by historical sites like Landis Valley Museum and Ephrata Cloister, which both remain closed. In theme with the rest of 2020, most festivities that aren’t canceled will transition to outdoor, socially distanced gatherings; therefore, it’s time to shine for outdoor light displays which can be easily adjusted to limit crowds and contact. Fortunately, Lancaster County and surrounding areas have plenty of options for viewing dazzling light displays this holiday season.
Christmas Spirit Light Show, Clipper Magazine Stadium, Downtown Lancaster. Drive through Clipper Magazine Stadium’s mile-long track and enjoy hundreds of thousands of lights from the comfort of your vehicle. The display will be open nearly every day through December 31. Check their calendar for specific information on dates and times. Visitors are encouraged to pre-purchase tickets online in an effort to reduce contact at the entry booth. By pre-purchasing tickets, you can show the attendant your QR code right through your car window for contactless entry. A portion of profits will be donated to Clare House.
Outdoor Christmas Festival, Marietta. What would have been the 55th Annual Candlelight Tour has been transformed into an outdoor Christmas festival. The entire town is encouraged to decorate the exteriors of their homes and businesses to create a festive environment for the December 6 event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Drive or walk through town to find beautiful lights and decorations, delicious food, garden tours, outdoor vendors, art exhibits, music and fun activities like a tree lighting and an appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event will honor first responders and front-line workers. The event is free, but donations will be accepted.
Light Up Lititz: Holiday House Decorating Contest, Lititz. Residents of Lititz will be getting creative with colors, lights, music, greenery and other special touches to compete for best decorated house in town. Registration is over, but online voting begins December 11. Take a drive through town and vote for your favorite home (Don’t miss the light display on Laurel Avenue). Voting will close December 24 at midnight and the winner will be announced December 26.
Ziplines and Christmas Lights, Refreshing Mountains, Stevens. Refreshing Mountains is offering three ways to enjoy their lights. You can zipline through a lit-up forest, drive through their half-mile display or stay in one of their cozy cabins decked out in festive lights. Their drive-through experience supports local nonprofits through attendees’ donations. Be sure to book your tickets in advance through their website.
Christmas Light Drive-Through, Stone Gables Estate, Elizabethtown. Experience their 2.6-mile path featuring over 600,000 lights and beautiful views of the Star Barn Village. The drive-through will be offered every Friday and Saturday from 5-9 p.m. except Christmas and New Year’s Day. Additional weekday dates are also available. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. One ticket per vehicle.
Holiday Lights Drive-Through Experience, Dutch Wonderland, Lancaster. Take a 1.5-mile journey through Old Mill Stream Campground and experience thousands of twinkling lights and surprises from your car. Also included in admission, take a ride aboard Dutch Wonderland’s Wonderland Special train. The light show will be open 5 to 9 p.m. from December 2-31, excluding December 24 and 25. After you view the lights, stop by the Dutch Wonderland castle for some holiday shopping, a cup of hot cocoa and a socially distanced photo with Santa. Tickets can be purchased online or at admission.
Messick’s 2020 Christmas Light Show, Elizabethtown. Messick Farm Equipment will be hosting a light show every day between December 4-30 from 6-9:30 p.m. The show synchronizes tractors and equipment with music to create a Christmas light show. Donations are collected at the end of the show and will directly support the needs of local families.
Just Outside of Lancaster County
Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, Hershey. Enjoy more than 5 million lights, your favorite rides and coasters, visits with Hershey’s famous characters and the all-new Hershey’s Chocolatetown decorated for the holiday season. Also, meet Santa and his nine reindeer who will be making a special stop at the park. Visit through January 3 (the park will be closed Christmas Day). Pre-purchasing tickets online is recommended.
Hersheypark Sweet Lights, Hershey. Drive through two miles of wooded trails while enjoying lights and animated displays. Wear a complimentary pair of Holospec glasses to make the lights even more interesting. Visit the display through January 3. Click here for hours. Tickets are sold by car and start at $22.
Christmas Magic, Rocky Ridge County Park, York. Purchase a timed-entry ticket online to stroll through the half-mile, ADA-accessible trail filled with nearly a million Christmas lights and holiday scenes. The show will be open through December 31, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Visit Monday through Thursday from 6-9 p.m. or Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $5 for anyone over the age of 3 and must be purchased in advance here.
Herr’s Christmas Lights Display, Nottingham. Enjoy the free show from dusk to dawn. Drive around their corporate campus and gaze at their over 600,000 dazzling lights from your car. The display will remain up through January 2.
Holiday Lights, Reading. Take a trip into Berks County for a day and walk through the beautiful lights strung in Gring’s Mill Recreation Area. The display will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 4-20 and the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Christmas. There will be free parking and refreshments available from Beansie’s Mobile Espresso Café.
Koziar’s Christmas Village, Bernville. Over a million lights illuminate this village dedicated to the holiday season. Enjoy shops, holiday displays, train displays and more. The village will be open through January 2, including all holidays. Timed-entry passes will be required for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and the week of Christmas. Reservations for passes can be made here.
Make It a Day/Overnight Trip
A Longwood Christmas, Kennett Square, Chester County. Up until January 10, visit the botanical garden to enjoy unique displays of plants and holiday lights, cozy fire pits, a ride on the Garden Railway and live music (weather permitting). Gardens open daily at 10 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Be sure to pre-purchase your tickets here as they are limited and often sell out.
Look for the Light: Odessa at Night, Odessa, Delaware. The Historic Odessa Foundation is shifting their annual home tour to an outdoor event this year. They invite you to stroll through the historic center of town and enjoy thousands of lights adorning the Historic Houses of Odessa. The lights will be on every night from 5-10 p.m. until January 3. The foundation will also offer Candlelight Walking Tours of the foundation’s museum properties every Tuesday and Thursday for $15 and will include a drink at Cantwell’s Tavern. Guests will learn about the family, architectural and local history. To schedule a tour, call Jennifer Cabell Kostik at 302-378-4119.
Winter Light Spectacular, Lehigh Valley Zoo, Lehigh County. Walk through the zoo and enjoy 1.2 million twinkling lights, holiday displays, photo opportunities and holiday treats. Check their calendar for nightly live performances featuring princesses Belle, Cinderella and Elsa and Anna. The display is held Wednesday through Sunday evenings up until January 2 (the display will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve). Reserve your tickets online.
A Very Furry Christmas, Langhorne, Bucks County. Join Sesame Place through January 3 for a family-friendly holiday celebration with millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations, music, dancing, train rides and the famous Sesame Street cast. You can also enjoy the experience as a drive-through on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through December 23. Drive through a variety of holiday displays, including Candy Cane Lane, a 50-foot tunnel made up of millions of twinkling lights and much more. An appearance from Santa Claus will cap off the drive as he wishes everyone a happy holiday season. Online reservations are required. Click here for specific dates and hours. Buy tickets here.