30 jaw-dropping holiday light displays from around the world
- Across the globe, people love to celebrate the winter holidays by viewing festive Christmas lights.
- While some cities go more over-the-top than others with their decorations, these extravagant holiday light displays are sure to make any viewer's jaw drop.
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Even the most bitter of Scrooges can't resist the allure of these gorgeous holiday light installations.
Countries across the globe have their own traditions when it comes to celebrating the holiday season, from a 279-foot-high tree made of lights to lantern festivals.
While many holiday traditions have been canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, some are still going ahead as planned, with added safety measures in place.
Here are 30 jaw-dropping photos that show what famous holiday light displays look like around the world.
The Zilker Park Trail of Lights has been a tradition in Austin, Texas, for more than 50 years.
The walk features 90 lighted holiday trees, more than 70 displays, and 2 million lights that provide festive fun for the whole family. However, this year the trail of lights will be held as a drive-thru event.
Around Christmastime and the holiday season, the streets along Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, Germany, are lit up with trees, stars, and other beautiful lights.
Berlin, Germany, also holds multiple Christmas markets that sell artisanal goods, gifts, and traditional foods like roasted almonds, making this city the perfect destination for locals looking to get into the festive holiday spirit. However, this year, all Christmas markets must remain closed until December 22, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bruges, Belgium, also hosts one of Europe's most exciting and festive Christmas markets, though it'll be closed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In normal times, the historic city center of Bruges is completely transformed with vendors and activities for visitors.
The Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is held on the full moon of the 12th lunar month every year, which usually falls during November.
The Lantern Festival holds great significance in Thailand, and Buddhists in the country believe that making a wish before releasing the lantern will make it come true. This year, the festival fell on October 31.
This year marks the 26th year of the annual ZooLights display in Chicago, Illinois.
The display is set to feature 2.5 million lights, which are free for the public to view. ZooLights also offers incredible 3D displays, socially distanced photos with Santa, holiday snacks, and gift shopping.
The Città dei Balocchi festival in Como, Italy, has been enchanting visitors for the past 25 years.
During the Magic Light Festival, which illuminates the Piazza Cavour and Teatro Sociale, images are projected onto historical buildings in a light show that is both beautiful and shares a slice of Italian history.
During Edinburgh, Scotland's Christmas Market, visitors can view the beautiful holiday lights and the lit-up Ferris wheel at the center of the celebration.
Every year, people can also wander the streets and shop for goods from dozens of vendors. However, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's market will be held online.
The Kobe Luminarie light festival in Japan has been operating each year for over 20 years.
The festival is held in memory of the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, which killed 4,571 people in Kobe alone, according to Britannica. However, the event has been canceled for this year.
Lapland, Finland, is known for its dedication to celebrating the festive Christmas season.
Each year, the town is completely lit up with lights, and visitors can even hand-deliver their letters to the town's resident Santa at the Rovaniemi Santa Claus Village. If artificial light shows just won't cut it, you can also view the incredible Northern Lights from this area of Finland.
The holiday season is a wonderful time to visit London.
One of the most popular Christmas markets in Russia's capital city, Moscow, is the Christmas annual fair in Red Square, right in front of the GUM department store.
The market features dozens of vendors selling decorations, Russian treats and food, and souvenirs. There's also a skating rink for ice skating under the gorgeous lights of the fair.
The port city Malaga, Spain, puts on an astonishing display of lights and music in the street Calle Larios every year.
This year's theme is "Christmas Forest," the same as in 2019, and decorations adorn nine main streets in total, including the famed Calle Larios. Visitors can enjoy the music show and make their way over to the illuminated Christmas tree that stands within the Plaza de la Constitucion.
Remedios is a small town in Cuba known for its Christmas festival, Las Parrandas Christmas de Remedios.
The festival is considered the oldest in the country, dating back to the 18th century. The tradition started when the priest of the Grand Cathedral of Remedios would hand out spoons and bowls to children, encouraging them to run through the streets to encourage people to come to midnight mass.
Stockholm switches on one million LED lights in over 40 streets across the city, to get locals and visitors in the holiday spirit.
Enormous displays of reindeer and pine trees line the city squares, making for a great evening stroll of the city.
The Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza is on display every year in the South Torrance neighborhood of Torrance, California.
New York City features a host of holiday light displays, from the giant tree in Rockefeller Plaza to the lights on the front of Sak's Fifth Avenue.
Glowing window displays at all of the biggest department stores are another big draw for visitors and locals alike year after year.
Each year the Old Town in Nuremberg, Germany, is turned into a "Christmas City" filled with more than 180 market stands.
Traditional foods like prunes, bratwurst, and roasted almonds, toys, crafts, and more are sold. This year, however, the festive tradition is canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Around the holidays, Paris, France, is completely lit up.
Catholic traditions are strong in Brazil, so it may come as no surprise that the Christmas celebrations in Rio are bigger and brighter than in many other countries.
Every year, the city lights a 279-feet-high floating Christmas tree in the center of the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, the largest floating Christmas tree in the world. However, this year the tree will be lit in an all-new location, at the Igreja do Outeiro da Glória church.
The Luci d'Artista Light Show in Salerno, Italy, attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Every year, the light show varies slightly, but always features breathtaking light installations and shows along the streets of the beautiful Italian town. This year, the light show has been effectively canceled — only normal Christmas lights will be installed in the plaza this year in order to prevent large crowds from gathering.
Each year, San José, Costa Rica, hosts a week-long festival of lights.
The festival includes a light parade filled with different illuminated floats, concerts, and fireworks after dark.
The Seoul Christmas Festival in South Korea features gorgeous holiday light displays.
Known as the Christmas Wonderland at the Garden by the Bay, this gorgeous light installation usually attracts visitors from all across the world to Singapore.
The light display features luminarie light sculptures handmade by Italian craftsmen, a luminarie mirror maze, and Asia's tallest luminarie Christmas tree. Visitors to the installation can walk through the lights, but there's also a virtual edition available no matter where you are in the world.
The annual Nights of Lights display in St. Augustine, Florida, turns the area into a beautiful winter wonderland.
During the holiday display, businesses and restaurants stay open later, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful lights late into the evening while dining or shopping in view of the lit-up buildings. The display carries on into the new year and doesn't end until January 31, 2021.
The annual Medellín Christmas lights in Colombia are quite a sight to behold.
The Lights of Christmas at St Mary's Cathedral is regarded as Sydney's most popular Christmas lights show.
Each year, images relating to the winter holidays are projected onto the face of the historic St. Mary's Cathedral. The show is usually commenced with a choir performance, and viewers can also enjoy holiday treats like churros and artisan gelato while gazing up at the beautiful light show. However, this year no food vendors will be allowed in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.
The Tokyo, Japan, illuminations are known worldwide and attract more than 7 million visitors each year.
There are multiple installations across the city around the holidays, including Roppongi, which features a display of roughly 190,000 LED bulbs.
While many of this year's light installations have been canceled, some including Marunouchi, Roppongi Hills, and the Tokyo Midtown lights are still going ahead.
Vienna is regarded as one of the most naturally stunning cities in Europe, but the city really comes alive around the holidays.
Visitors to Warsaw, Poland, around the holiday season won't be disappointed by the capital city's bustling Christmas market and beautiful light displays.
Warsaw's main Christmas market is located in Castle Square in front of the Royal Castle, in the historic Old Town section of the city. Plus, in addition to being a festive destination, Warsaw's main Christmas market was selected as one of the 15 safest Christmas trips during the coronavirus by European Best Destination.
All across the city of Yokohama, Japan, visitors can enjoy splendid Christmas and holiday illuminations.
Two of many of the city's light displays are located at Isezaki Mall and at Yokohama Landmark Tower's Dockyard Garden, where the trees are lit up with gorgeous twinkling lights.