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4 Drive-Thru Holiday Light Displays in North Carolina

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Christmas lights are one of the most festive parts of the holiday season. But tackling the cold, winter weather just to see the lights isn’t always the most fun approach. Instead, consider a drive-thru light display. The Tarheel State has plenty of these to go around. With millions of lights on display, you can cruise through the parks, gaze at the beautiful lights, and listen to Christmas music from the comfort of your own car radio.

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Tanglewood Park Festival of Lights

Tanglewood Festival of Lights


The Piedmont Triad is a popular destination for those in North Carolina during the holiday season. Tanglewood Park’s Festival of Lights is open from mid-November through the new year, displaying more than one million LED lights in a variety of holiday-themed displays. These displays span nearly five miles; admission is per vehicle and based on the type of vehicle you drive. Traditional cars, vans, and trucks make it through the gate for $15.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Christmas

If you’re a NASCAR junkie, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the holiday season, the NASCAR track turns into an intricate drive-thru holiday light display. The course is 3.75 miles long and, in addition to the lights, you can listen to Christmas music on a conveniently-synced local radio station. At the end of the display, you can watch your favorite Christmas classics at the drive-in movie theater. Simply pull up your car, tune into the proper radio station, and enjoy.

Christmas Town USA

Christmas Town USA

Photo: Kreg SteppeThe city of McAdenville, North Carolina is nicknamed “Christmas Town USA,” as it’s known for its extravagant Christmas light displays. You can choose to drive through the town or park your car and take to the streets on foot. Houses and lawns throughout the town are decked to the nines, and there’s no admission charge.

Piper Lights

Piper Lights

Photo: Piper Lights (Facebook)The city of Wake Forest goes big for the holiday season, with a seven-acre light display at Piper Lights. In addition to driving through the extravagant light display, you can take a train ride, take pictures with Santa, and visit the candy store on the grounds. Admission to the light show, as well as photos with Santa and the train ride, is completely free. However, donations are accepted to help keep the light show up and running.


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Sources: Festival of Lights, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Christmas Town USA, Piper Lights (Facebook)