‘Tis the season! The holidays are upon us, and with it comes all the essentials—hot chocolate, Christmas trees, the unending flow of cheery music. And it wouldn’t be a typical season without the annual battle we all face against our impossible tangle of Christmas lights. (I can see my dad struggling to unwind the knots now.) But whether you’re planning to wrestle with your lights this year or not, there are plenty of extraordinary displays across the state to give you an excuse to step outside your home and admire another’s handiwork. Check out 10 of the best places to see Christmas lights in New Jersey.
Sorry, Dad, our house did not make this list.
1. Orchard of Lights
Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, NJ
Demarest Farms welcomes families to their “Orchard of Lights” celebration from Nov. 24–Dec. 29. Visitors take a guided tour from their own cars through the 32-acre orchard, decked out with bright, colorful lights and holiday scenes. After making your way through the drive-thru lights display, you can enjoy time around the fire pit (with s’mores!), hot chocolate, and pictures with Santa. You can also get some holiday shopping done at the farm store, where gifts, trinkets, and decorations are for sale.
You must reserve tickets for the Orchard of Lights in advance of your visit.
2. Night of Lights
Creamy Acres Farm in Mullica Hill, NJ
Each holiday season, “elves” convert Creamy Acres from a dairy farm into a Christmas wonderland. The farm promises visitors a magical experience under their sparkling lights and a family-friendly atmosphere. From their Night of Lights Country Christmas hayride to their Barnyard Walk, Creamy Acres sets up its expansive property with bright Christmas lights everywhere. Families can enjoy the hayride, musical dancing tree light show, and “Who” Village with concessions and fire pits to keep warm!
Creamy Acres Farms’ Night of Lights is open on select days from Nov. 27–Dec. 26. Be sure to book your ticket in advance of your visit.
3. The Cook’s Christmas Lights
The Cook’s Christmas Lights are one of the most extravagant displays in all of New Jersey. This family’s set up incorporates more than 30,000 lights, a 20-foot spiral tree, and fun music for a nightly lights show that starts at the end of November and runs through Jan. 1. Beginning at 6 p.m. each night, the Cook family kicks off their show, with the lights twinkling in step to the music. The community is welcome to drive by and watch the show. The family also uses their famed lights display to raise awareness and funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Onlookers can join in on the season of giving and donate—100 percent of the funds raised by the Cook family’s project benefits the organization.
4. Christmas Fantasy with Lights
Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township, NJ
The Christmas Fantasy with Lights at Storybook Land began on Nov. 14 and continues through the end of December. The beloved amusement park offers rides in view of their beautiful holiday scene, sparkling with more than one million lights that are lit by Santa each night. You can also visit Santa’s House to say hello!
Guests must make a reservation before their visit to the lights at Storybook Land.
5. Christmas Lights Show & Village
Skylands Stadium in Augusta, NJ
The Christmas Lights Show & Village at Skylands Stadium boasts a mile-long, drive-thru display with dazzling lights and holiday scenes. The winding path of the lights show gives way to a winter village at the end, complete with carnival rides, a skating rink, and a live nativity scene. Families can tour the village and its extensive walk-through lights displays, while also picking up treats—from hot chocolate to ice cream, as well as craft beer for adults—along the way. Skylands Stadium is familiar with these fun drive-thru events after its success during the Halloween season, so this event is sure to please.
The lights display and winter village kicks off on Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 1. Book your ticket in advance of your visit (one car per ticket).
6. DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
DiDonato Family Fun Center in Hammonton, NJ
Christmas at DiDonato’s Family Fun Center | Video via @didonatofuncenter
The DiDonato Family Fun Center transforms their facility into a holiday wonderland in one of the most spectacular displays of Christmas lights in New Jersey. DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express offers a train ride through millions of lights or the chance to walk through the extravagant display. The holiday village includes a toy cottage and snack area, and families can also bring their kids to a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus. COVID-safe, each train car is sanitized after use, and Santa and Mrs. Claus wear face shields for their visits.
7. Magic of Lights
PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
The Magic of Lights at the PNC Bank Arts Center brings sparkling holiday scenes, seasonal characters, and digital animations to this drive-thru Christmas lights experience. From Nov. 2–Jan. 2, the Magic of Lights invites families to drive around the colorful path of lights and decorations. The lights display is open daily throughout the holiday season, but make sure to book your ticket before you make the drive (one car per ticket).
8. Christmas Lights Show Hayride
Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford, NJ
Johnson’s Corner Farm kicks off the holiday season Nov. 27 with a wide range of family activities, including their Christmas Lights Show Hayride. They also host a light show by the lake, with fire pits and marshmallows for roasting. The farm is decorated all around with thousands of colorful, sparkling lights to admire while you enjoy treats from the outdoor Christmas Cafe (including hot chocolate, cider, chili, and hot dogs) or decorate gingerbread cookies. Santa also makes drive-by visits on his tractor for the kids to wave hello and grab a gift from his red wagon!
Check out all the details of different ticket prices and availability here.
9. The Gress House Holiday Light Spectacular
Union Beach, NJ
The Gress home is known for their extraordinary Christmas set up. The family constructs an elaborate holiday scene, including thousands of colored lights, inflatables, plastic figures, and special effects. The family earned national attention when their house was featured on the “Great Christmas Light Fight” on ABC and has used the popularity of their “overly decorated home” for good. Through their Decorations for Donations initiative, the Gress family has raised thousands of dollars in support of the Children’s Miracle Network in Mountainside, NJ over the last several years.
Stay up to date with the Gress’ 2020 holiday lights preparations via Facebook.
10. South Jersey Holiday Light Show
Bridgeport Speedway in Logan Township, NJ
The South Jersey Holiday Light Show launches Nov. 19 on the race tracks at Bridgeport Speedway to bring brilliant holiday-themed displays in a drive-thru experience. Families can tour the mile-long route in their cars and take in these larger-than-life set ups to the tune of holiday music. With displays up to three stories tall and reaching 50 feet in length, the speedway is expected to be one of the most incredible displays of Christmas lights in New Jersey this season.
Book your ticket (one car per ticket) for the light show, open from Thursday–Sunday until Dec. 19, and then daily through Dec. 30.