Let’s take a trip, shall we? You don’t have to go far for cooler weather and Christmas cheer. In fact, you can take a quick 3-hour drive to Historic ancient city St. Augustine and enjoy all of the sights, lights, cool breezes, and history. With St. Augustine’s Night of Lights, you’ll be coming back year after year – trust us.
Updated November 2022 by Jenn Leonard
What is the Nights of Lights 2022?
Each year, the city of St. Augustine, Florida comes alive with the magical glow of millions of white lights during the Night of Lights celebration. This beloved holiday tradition, which typically runs from November through January, transforms the historic city into a winter wonderland. This year’s display runs until January 31, 2023.
Three Million Night of Lights’ Lights!
During the Night of Lights, the streets of St. Augustine are illuminated with more than three million white lights, creating a dazzling display that can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. The lights are strung up along the city’s buildings, trees, and waterways, creating a beautiful and enchanting atmosphere.
St. Augustine’s unique spanish architecture glows from the 3 million tiny white lights, from the downtown sidewalks to the rooftops, over the Bridge of Lions, along historic buildings, public spaces, hotels, restaurants, and inns throughout approximately 20 blocks of the Nation’s Oldest City’s historic district.
The lights just create a magical atmosphere.
Two great spots (and some of the best areas) to visit for the best views and Nights of Lights selfies with a magical backdrop are near the downtown area: 1. The Plaza de la Constitución Get the perfect holiday selfie in front of the Christmas tree in the center of the plaza. 2. The Bridge of Lions Walk the bridge to gaze back at the sparkling reflection of the lights along the water.
About the Night of Lights
The Nights of Lights is in its 29th year and was recognized for its award-winning holiday lights as one of the top ten Holiday Lights Displays in the world, as designated by National Geographic. Even repeat visitors will marvel at the beauty of these festive light displays: it’s just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit. St. Augustine Nights of Lights runs every night from November 19, 2022 – January 31, 2023.
This holiday tradition is world-famous, and completely FREE.
Here’s how to make the most of this magical, city-wide event!
One of the most popular ways to experience the Night of Lights is by taking a trolley or boat tour, or a walking tour. These guided tours take visitors through the heart of the city, allowing them to see the lights up close and learn more about the history of St. Augustine. The tours offer a unique perspective on the lights, as they pass through the narrow, cobbled streets of the historic district and along the picturesque waterfront.
Bring your cameras because there will be plenty of photo ops. “from the dazzling lights along the bayfront, to the Christmas tree placed in the center of the Plaza de la Constitución with holiday gifts surrounding it. From dusk until dawn, the lights bring holiday cheer to vacationers and locals in St. Augustine” (Visit St. Augustine).
We recommend you take a one of these special seasonal tours during the Night of Lights where you can see all of the glitz.
Check out this list of local tours to find the right variety of specialty tours for you:
- Old Town Trolley Famous Nights of Lights Tour
- Ripley’s Red Train
- Augustine Eco Tours
- Scenic Cruise Tours
- Florida Water Tours
- Augustine Sailing
Fun and Festive Nights of Lights Events
In addition to the stunning light displays, the Night of Lights also features a variety of fun and festive events. These can include live music, dance performances, and holiday markets, as well as special events like the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Lighted Christmas Night of Lights Parade
One of the highlights of the Night of Lights is the spectacular lighted parade, which takes place on the first Saturday of December. The parade features floats, marching bands, and other performers, all decked out in dazzling lights and colorful decorations. As the parade makes its way through the streets of St. Augustine, the crowds of onlookers are treated to a dazzling display of lights and music.
St. Augustine Nights of Lights Expert Tips and Info
Arrive early to secure parking. With so many visitors driving in and out of downtown, parking spaces are a hot commodity. Plan to get to town earlier in the day before the crowds, and you’ll have a better chance at a prime spot.
Make dining reservations before you go. This time of year is typically more busy than usual, and favorite restaurants fill up quickly. Enjoy a great dinner with a view of the bayfront.
Book tours and tickets ahead of time. Again, these reservations fill quickly, so if there’s a must-do experience on your list, lock it in, ASAP.
Prepare with your own glow necklaces and festive accessories. There are plenty of street vendors selling glow paraphernalia, especially on Light Up! Night, but you’ll save time and money when you bring your own to the party!
Bring your patience. Even with the best-laid plans, Nights of Lights can be busy, traffic-filled and crowded. Don’t let it get you down, take your time enjoying the beauty all around and awesome view of the lights and candles!
Shopping. Be sure to check out the shops of the decorated buildings!
Where to Stay
Come stay for the weekend at one of St. Augustine’s historic hotels. They’re rich in history, stunning, and decorated for the holidays too! Check them out!
- 44 Spanish Street Inn
- Casa Monica Resort & Spa
- Casablanca Inn On The Bay
- Bayfront Wescott House
- St. George Inn
- Historic Carriage Way Inn
- Casa De Solana Bed & Breakfast
Where to Eat
Of course when you travel…you must eat! Luckily, St. Augustine is full of delicious eateries with a rich history to really up the historic-ante.
- Michael’s Steak, Seafood, and Wine
- Catch 27
- Old City House Inn & Restaurant
- Columbia Restaurant
- C. White’s Restaurant
- Raintree Restaurant
- Café Alcazar
Shuttles and Parking
Daily parking is available at the St. Augustine Historic Downtown Parking Facility; overnight parking for guests is available at various hotels and inns with a downtown stay. During busy weekends, The City of St. Augustine offers additional parking and free Park and Ride shuttle on peak dates during Nights of Lights, starting on Light-Up! Night, Saturday, November 19. Free Park & Ride shuttle service will be available on Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend (November 25 & 26), the first three Saturdays in December, and the five days following Christmas, Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30. For more information, visit the City’s website.
What to Do Beyond the Dazzling light show
Of course, we understand that the seasonal display Night of Lights won’t be enough for an entire weekend of fun, so here are a few St. Augustine Must-Do’s for the rest of your holiday and Christmas stay in the historic city.
In addition to the events and activities that are organized as part of the Night of Lights celebration, there are also many other things to see and do in St. Augustine during the holiday season. The city is home to a number of historic attractions, including the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the Oldest House Museum, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. These attractions offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Christmas in St. Augustine
The holiday season is also a great time to visit St. Augustine’s many shops, restaurants, and cafes. The city is home to a thriving local food scene, with a wide variety of restaurants and bars offering everything from traditional southern cuisine to international flavors. The shops and boutiques in St. Augustine are also worth exploring, with many of them offering unique gifts and souvenirs.
Other St. Augustine Activities
St. Augustine also has many other great activities, so be sure to check them out!
- Castillo de San Marco
- Plaza de la Constitucion
- Anastasia Island
- Old Historic St. Augustine
- San Sebastian Winery
- Colonial Quarter
- Saint George Street
- Fountain of Youth
- Lightner Museum
- Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
We hope you will take a weekend and head up to St. Augustine for an awesome time full of holiday lights, Inns, and eats!
Overall, the Night of Lights in St. Augustine is a truly magical experience – but certainly not to be confused with the City of Raleigh’s Night of Lights or Wrals Nights. Whether you’re a local looking for a fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday season, or a visitor to the area looking for a unique and memorable experience, the Night of Lights is not to be missed. So why not plan a trip to St. Augustine this holiday season, and experience the magic of the Night of Lights for yourself?
Featured Night of Lights Image Credit: Visit St. Augustine