Nights of Lights has been listed among the top ten holiday light displays in the world by National Geographic. And for a good reason. During Nights of Lights, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic – from the ground to the rooftops. St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights features millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s Oldest City.
When is Nights of Lights?
Nights of Lights traditionally begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and continues nightly through January 31st. The 2019-2020 Nights of Lights will take place from November 23, 2019 to February 2, 2020.
Where can you see the lights?
White lights drape the city’s unique Spanish Colonial architecture and glow from the 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 top two spots to visit for the best views and Nights of Lights selfies are:
1. The Plaza de la Constitución
Get the perfect holiday selfie in front of the Christmas tree in the center of the plaza. There are also live music performances in the plaza on weekends and throughout the holidays.
2. The Bridge of Lions
Walk the bridge to gaze back at the sparkling reflection of the lights along the water.
What are the best ways to tour the light displays?
Since Nights of Lights covers such an expansive area of St. Augustine, there are plenty of ways to view the lights. Here are 7 brilliant ways to see Nights of Lights.
1. Tour the Lights by Trolley
Climb aboard the Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour. Tours depart nightly beginning at 6 p.m. from the Visitor Information Center. New this year is a Fast Track Pass for priority check-in. The Fast Track Pass costs $16.99 for adults, $8.99 for children 3-12, and children under age 3 are free. General Admission costs $13.99 for adults, $5.99 for children 3-12 and children under age 3 are free.
2. Tour by Train
Get on track for Nights of Lights on the Ripley’s Big Red Christmas Train Nights of Lights Tour. New this year is the VIP Nights of Lights pass available Fridays – Sundays for priority check-in. VIP tickets are $14.99 for adults and $7.99 for children. General admission tickets are $11.99 for adults and $5.99 for children. The tour begins at Ripley’s Museum.
3. See the Sparkle from the Water
Nights of Lights shines from the water, too. St. Augustine Eco Tours harbor tour of the Nights of Lights provides a peaceful way to experience the illuminated city aboard 6 or 12-passenger boats. Take in the view of Nights of Lights from the sea aboard the Schooner Freedom on the ship’s Sunset Sail. Florida Water Tours also offers Nights of Lights boat cruises, and the Black Raven offers light show views plus an entertaining pirate show.
4. Enjoy A Wine & Carriage Tour
Lights, Carriage and Holiday ‘Cheer’! Join us for the Social Event of the Season! Bring your friends or make new ones! Step aboard an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage and meander the historic streets on this 45-minute group ride. Enjoy the sparkling scenery as well as a bottle of delicious boutique wine to share! Ride Includes: VIP Boarding, complimentary wine to enjoy on the carriage ride and souvenir wine glasses. The Tasting Tours offers nightly excursions starting at $49 per person. Private Carriage Rides are also available, as well as ‘family oriented’ Roadster Rides with the Grinch!
5. Go On a Guided Tour
Each Sunday in December and January, Tour Saint Augustine guides lead a 90-minute walking tour where participants can enjoy St. Augustine’s history while learning about unique colonial folklore and holiday traditions amid the backdrop of the glow of the city’s white lights. Sites include the opulent Lightner Museum courtyard, Plaza de la Constitución, and the enchanting Bayfront. Beginning with homemade hot chocolate or ice cream, the tours start at 6:30 p.m. and are $20 per person.
6. Take A Group Tour by Luxury Golf Cart
Small groups can book a Nights of Lights tour with St. Augustine City Tours. Enjoy St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights in the comfort of a luxury 8-seat golf cart, attended by a knowledgeable tour guide. Appreciate the sights and sounds in a personal and interactive manner. $15 over 12 years of age, $5.99 ages 5-12, free under 5 years old.
7. Cuddle Up For A Romantic Ride
Enjoy a romantic horse and carriage tour. Tours depart from the Bayfront near the Castillo de San Marcos daily. Rates vary from $125 for a group of 4 and up. Reserve your carriage with Southern Carriages or with Country Carriages.
From the City of St. Augustine
Free Nights of Lights Park and Ride Shuttle returns
Service begins on Light-Up! Night, November 23
The free Nights of Lights Park and Ride Shuttle returns for another year offering transportation into the heart of downtown during one of the busiest seasons of the year.
The shuttle runs from two parking areas north of downtown to the Visitor Information Center which is within easy walking distance to San Marco Ave., St. George St., The Bayfront and Avilés St.
Departing from the St. Johns County Health Department off U.S. 1 North and from a lot on north San Marco Ave., the shuttle will operate from 8:00am until 11:00pm on Saturday November 23, Friday and Saturday, November 29 and 30, and every Saturday in December.
There is also a special island shuttle only on Light-Up! Night, November 23, from 4:00pm until 11:00pm. It will operate from two island locations: the St. Augustine Beach City Hall and Anastasia Baptist Church. Passengers on the island shuttle will disembark at the east end of the Bridge of Lions and enter the city by strolling along the historic bridge. View a Google map of parking and drop-off locations online here.
The shuttle is made possible by the City of St. Augustine with the cooperation of St. Johns County and funding support from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. The special island shuttle on Light-Up! Night is made possible with the support of Historic Tours of America and Ripley’s Red Train Tours.
Light-Up! Night Special Island Shuttle
DATE: Saturday, November 23 Only
TIMES: 4:00pm – 11:00pm
WHERE TO PARK: Anastasia Baptist Church, 1650 A1A South
St. Augustine Beach City Hall, 2200 A1A South
DROP-OFF/PICK-UP: Bridge of Lions (east end)
Free Nights of Lights Park & Ride Shuttle
DATES: Saturday, November 23; Friday, November 29; Saturday, November 30 and
Saturdays in December
TIMES: 8:00am – 11:00pm
WHERE TO PARK: St. Johns County Health Department, 200 San Sebastian View
The San Marco Lot, 301 San Marco Ave.
DROP-OFF/PICK-UP: Visitor Information Center, 10 S. Castillo Dr.
Detailed information about Light-Up! Night is available online at www.CityStAug.com/LightUpNight