Lights, Trees and Gingerbread: Not-to-Miss Holiday Events
Lights, trees, gingerbread and the Grinch are among the Christmastime attractions on display around the country. Here are some details.
New York City's holiday traditions include the tree at Rockefeller Center, the Radio City "Christmas Spectacular" show, origami decorations on the tree at the American Museum of Natural History, the Neapolitan Baroque creche and tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and of course windows decorated with Christmas themes in stores around the city.
In the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden hosts its annual train show, with model trains winding around miniature replicas of New York landmarks made from plant materials like bark, leaves and nuts. At Grand Central Terminal, there are real trains, along with a light show each evening through Dec. 26 from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. And at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, an interactive exhibit called "The Grinch's Holiday Workshop" is up through Dec. 31, along with a synthetic ice rink where kids can skate in their socks.
In Florida, Universal Orlando offers the "Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular" show and re-enactments of New York's Macy's parade with balloons and costumed characters, Saturday (Dec. 7) through Jan. 4. At Walt Disney World, festivities include Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, the candlelight processional at Epcot, and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
There's no snow for Santa's sleigh in Florida's coastal cities, so he arrives by water, with Christmas boat parades held in harbors and on waterways around the state. Most take place the first two weekends of December.
Life-Size Gingerbread House
In Virginia, the Ice Palace, a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, a light show, huge snow globes and a 360-degree interactive exhibit on the Arctic, is on display through Dec. 24 at Norfolk’s MacArthur Center. The Dominion Garden of Lights, a 2-mile drive-through light show at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Hampton Roads, is held nightly through Dec. 31. Elsewhere in Virginia, Busch Gardens Williamsburg claims one of the largest light displays in the country, with 6 million lights covering the park.
Gingerbread displays include the Connecticut casino Mohegan Sun’s life-size gingerbread house, so big visitors can walk through it. In Honolulu, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel hosts a gingerbread village with creations depicting world landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Australia’s Sydney Opera House. And in New York City, Le Parker Meridien hotel is hosting a display of gingerbread creations by local chefs depicting city sights like Coney Island. Visitors can view the display for free but voting on a favorite costs $1, with proceeds going to City Harvest, a local food bank.
In Las Vegas, the Bellagio Resort & Casino’s winter display includes more than 32,000 fresh poinsettias and a 45-foot-tall tree, along with a chocolate reindeer and life-size candy house. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is hosting a nightly light show with 400 animated lights along the 2.5-mile racetrack. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has turned its Boulevard Pool into an ice rink, and there’s also a rink above the Grand Canal at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas. And while real snow is highly unlikely, Town Square Park hosts a show of artificial snowflakes falling at 7 p.m. nightly until Dec. 23, with a second show at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
One of the tallest decorated trees in the country is a live fir at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho. The tree stands more than 160 feet tall and is festooned with 40,000 lights. The resort’s holiday offerings include other lighting displays and animated figures.
In Western Massachusetts, Springfield hosts "Bright Nights" at Forest Park, a drive-through experience with nearly 3 miles (5 kilometers) of lighting displays depicting characters from Dr. Seuss, Jurassic World and more.
Gaylord Opryland in Nashville hosts "A Country Christmas" with 2 million twinkling lights decorating the resort’s gardens and waterfalls. Holiday shows include the Rockettes at the Grand Ole Opry reprising Radio City’s "Christmas Spectacular."
In North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate offers 56 decorated trees in the main house, 1,000 red and white poinsettias in the estate’s Winter Garden, and evening musical performances, along with classes on building gingerbread houses and caring for Christmas plants. The National Historic Landmark is located in Asheville, N.C.
In California, the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad has a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree created from 245,000 green Duplo bricks. Finally, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside is illuminated by 3.6 million lights and also hosts 400 animated characters, live reindeer and an outdoor skating rink.