Where to find holiday lights in Charleston, SC

Here are seven ways to light up the season this year.

Ravenel Bridge display at the Festival of Lights

We love this Ravenel Bridge display at the Festival of Lights.

Photo by @charlestoncountyparks

Looking to brighten your holiday season? While you might still be in Thanksgiving recovery mode, we can’t help but look forward to the twinkling holiday tradition that is lighting up the Lowcountry.

From drive-through light displays to parades and candlelight events, we’ve rounded up a guide to some of the brightest holiday lights around Charleston.

Holiday Festival of Lights | Thursday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 31 | 5:30-10 p.m. | James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Dr. | $15+ | Buckle up for a three-mile drive-through light display featuring an estimated two million lights.

Aquarium aglow

Check out the aquarium in a whole new light.

| Photo by CHStoday

Aquarium Aglow | Thursday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 31 | Entry times vary | South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf | $26.95+ | Immerse yourself in tens of thousands of lights displayed throughout the SC Aquarium + enjoy interactive displays, live music, and refreshments.

Light the Lake | Friday, Dec. 2 | 5-7 p.m. | Colonial Lake, 46-54 Ashley Ave. | Free | RSVP to ring in the holiday season at Charleston Parks Conservancy’s annual family-friendly celebration featuring 1,000 luminaries, jingle bell jewelry making, and letters to veterans.

Candlelight Tours of Drayton Hall | Friday, Dec. 2-Saturday, March 4 | 5:30 + 6 p.m. | Drayton Hall, 3380 Ashley River Rd. | $50+ | Explore this eighteenth-century historic house by candlelight + enjoy a warm seasonal beverage afterward.


This local spot feels magical.

| Photo by @melaniecoolhogan

Cougar Night Lights | Friday, Dec. 2-Sunday, Jan. 1 | 5:30-9 p.m. | Cistern Yard, 66 George St., College of Charleston | Free | Head to the college’s annual light display featuring 30-minute programs set to holiday tunes for the ultimate seasonal experience.

27th Annual Christmas Light Parade | Sunday, Dec. 11 | 5:30-8 p.m. | West Coleman Boulevard, Mt. Pleasant | Free | Celebrate the holiday season with a light parade + Pyrotecnico fireworks show.

Nights of a Thousand Candles | Sunday, Jan. 1 | 4-9 p.m. | Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Dr., Murrells Inlet | $35 | Visit this award-winning annual display featuring 2,700 hand-lit candles + enjoy millions of other sparkling lights, live music, and seasonal sips. This is the only night with tickets still available.

Heads up: This isn’t a comprehensive list. Have a favorite holiday light show? Share it with us — or better yet, send us your photos.