Top 7 places to see holiday lights

Every year Jacksonville lights up during the holiday season.

Despite our warm Florida weather, Jacksonville knows how to celebrate the holidays. Tons of family-friendly events keep the city bustling as we wrap up the year. These 7 holiday light extravaganzas are a must see before ringing in the new year.

1. Zoo Lights

At the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the holidays are a time for magic! Thousands of LED lights will transform the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. In addition to walking among the thousands of lights strung throughout the Zoo and listening to spirited holiday music, guests can enjoy a unique view of ZOOLights by boarding the Zoo Express illuminated train, watch Swingin’ at Santa’s Place (a fun holiday review style show) on the Great Lawn, and take pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and other characters.

2. Girvin Road

Voted one of “Jax Best”, Girvin Road is iconic during the holiday months. The Blackhawk Bluff subdivision comes together to put on a dazzling display. On any given December night, crowds of people drive through this light display and turn up holiday music on their car radios.

3. Jax Illuminations

Bring the family together for this fun Jacksonville Tradition. Load up the family and tune your car radio to our special radio station. Listen to your favorite holiday tunes as you drive through a Million lights that dance, twinkle and sparkle to the music. The one-mile drive thru features two mega trees, a 300 ft tunnel of lights, custom Christmas scenes and much more.

4. Deck the Chairs

More than forty American Red Cross lifeguard chairs will be decorated in coastal-themed designs and lights in Downtown Jacksonville Beach. This free event is a great way to experience the culture of Jacksonville Beach while enjoying the holiday spirit. Watch the sun set and enjoy the display near the Seawalk Pavilion.

5. Christmas Tree in Hemming

Take the Skyway across the river to Hemming Park to check out the 56-foot-tall energy-efficient tree features over 78,000 L.E.D. lights and more than 100 ornaments.

6. Downtown (Laura St)

While downtown, walk the illuminated streets of the Urban Core. The city has decked out the lights and trees with lights of all colors. Grab a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) from Vagabond Coffee, Chamblin's or Urban Grind and take a stroll around Laura, Adams and Bay Streets.

7. Luminaria

Experience a bit of history this holiday season with the Riverside-Avondale Preservation Luminaria. This event celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2019 and has celebrated the night of lights in the historic Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods. At dusk, the luminaries are lit and live bands, hot chocolate and caroling begins. Families have a chance to meet Santa before the sun goes down at Memorial park.

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