5 Best Holiday Light Displays in the Greater Triangle
Were you wondering what the Triangle is? The Triangle, as us locals call it, is the greater Raleigh/Durham/Chapel-Hill area of NC. It forms a triangle when you connect all city centers, hence the name. Clever us. Now that the little geography lesson is done I should tell you that I should have married Santa. This is my favorite time of the year and one of my favorite things every holiday season is to grab a nonfat latte (has to be in a Starbucks holiday cup) and then drive around looking at light displays and decorations people have put up. There is something so magical and calming about the holiday spirit and the sheer joy I feel when I look at them. Between the crisp, cold air and the white lights, I can't even. Countless times, far more than I'd like to admit, I have had to Google where to go, only to be running around, back tracking and spending most of my time looking on the phone rather than at the lights. Don't be me. Map your assault on the city right now because I have already found the 5 best holiday light displays in the Triangle for you. The dirty work is done. Now you just need to pick the order best for you based off of your home base. (P.S. For your planning and something to note - if it rains or snows, the light shows are canceled for that evening)
5504 Huntingwood Drive in Raleigh | Hours are M-Th 6:30 pm to 10:00pm & F-Sun 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm
This holiday light display is like something out of Whoville. It's spectacular. Sadly they announced this will be their last year putting on a display this large - but some are saying another family member might be taking over. Fingers crossed because this is one for the books. They even counted everything they have this year and here it goes: 119 blow-molds, 50 inflatables, 25 wire sculptures, 63 basket trees, 50 figurines, 8 mannequins, thousands of string lights, 70 strobe lights, 3 fog machines, 2 snow machines and a partridge in a pear tree (haha). Now that you know about it or even if it has been a tradition, make sure to check it out just in case it really is the final year for Happyland.
620 Loop Road in Clayton | Click here for the hours and days open
For this holiday light display, you need to drive about a half hour drive or so from Raleigh but it is so worth it. As soon as you arrive, you park and then hop on a hay ride that takes you through a bevy of lights (think 360 degrees of lights just absolutely everywhere). This year they have a much anticipated 3D Santa house made entirely of lights, a sugar barn where kids, and technically even adults, can decorate cookies, photos with Santa and a shop where you can get coffee, hot cocoa and old-fashioned sweet treats. This straight up speaks to my soul.
10 S. Cypress Street in Wendell | Hours Sun-Th 6:00 pm to 10:00pm & F-Sat 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Lake Myra, oh how I love thee. For this holiday light display you'll head east of Raleigh a bit. I'd recommend bringing blankets to cozy up in and chairs for sitting. These are 30 minute all the way up to 90 minute light shows set to music they have playing all around the display areas. A charming little bonus is that they have a sweet little hot cocoa stand that serves free hot cocoa to visitors. Last time they counted, which was years ago, they had about 182,000 lights and each year since then it has gotten bigger so you'll be missing out if you don't add this to your holiday light 2016 bucket list.
703 Tarboro Road in Youngsville| Click here for hours and pricing
Talk about a winter wonderland! Now you do have to pay a small fee and travel about 30 minutes north of Raleigh to enjoy this holiday light display but this is another one that is well worth the money and the trip. They have a hay ride Festival of Lights attraction, a concession stand that serves hot cocoa, s'mores and apple cider, indoor dining at the Chuckwagon Grill, train rides, slides, barrel racing and so much more. The dollar goes a long way at this attraction. You also can get your photo with Santa but you have to make sure to get there early as they only give out passes to the first 250 kids each night. You think that sounds like a lot but they go very quickly.
Now somewhere out there a kind soul put together this entire list of single home light displays all over the Triangle. I'd like to think it was an elf spreading holiday cheer. If you want to just drive around close to home and gaze upon singular displays, this option is for you. Truth be told though, a lot of times neighbors get together and put on one heck of a display down an entire street. Those are the jackpot finds. One of my favorites every year has been the house on Crimmons in Cary. It is set to music and you can park for a few minutes to watch it in all of its glory. It gets packed on those tiny streets so be careful.
There is a lot of manpower as well as heart and soul that goes into conceiving and creating these holiday light displays for everyone to enjoy. All I can say is that I am so grateful that they do.
Happy holidays to you and yours!! Now go grab a Starbucks and plan out your holiday lights adventure!
(All photo credits for light attractions courtesy of respective Facebook pages.)