Merry & Bright (Where to See Holiday Lights Around Charleston)

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Happy Holidays, Moms of Charleston!

There are so many wonderful holiday events happening right now! Festivals, parades, and tree lightings in nearly every part of the Lowcountry, plus Santa sightings and holiday shopping events! Of all the holiday happenings, my family is most fond of driving around to look at Christmas lights

We tend to do this a few evenings per week throughout December. Sometimes we’ll go out for a half-hour before bed for a quick look. Other nights we’ll make it into a more lengthy and festive affair, complete with Christmas pajamas, hot chocolate, and holiday music on the radio. It’s easy, low-cost (or free) family fun!

Here is a list of our favorite hot spots and festive displays around Charleston, suggested by friends. Enjoy!

No-Cost Light Displays

Holiday Tree of Lights, Marion Square, Downtown Charleston

Details: This 64-foot display is the official City of Charleston Christmas tree. Walk under it, look up and feel the magic of the holiday season.

Dates: Tree lighting ceremony following the City of Charleston parade on Sunday, December 4, 2022, at 5 PM.


College of Charleston’s Cougar Night Lights, Corner of George & St. Philip Streets, Downtown Charleston

Details: Set in CofC’s Cistern Yard, this 30-minute show features lights set to well-known holiday tunes and was designed by alumnus John Reynolds, an Emmy award-winning lighting designer.

Dates: Runs December 1, 2022, to January 2, 2023, every half hour from 6-9 PM.


Walking in a Woodlands Wonderland, Morrow Lane, Wescott Plantation, North Charleston

Details: The homeowner has spent nine months creating three 15-minute light shows that synchronize to music and feature all handmade props. This is the third annual display for Walking in a Woodlands Wonderland. The brand new show occurs on the half hour; previous years’ shows rotate on the hour. Check out their Facebook page for additional information.

Dates: Runs November 24, 2022, to January 1, 2023, from 6 PM. Ends at 9:30 PM on school nights and 11:30 PM on weekends. 


Hidden Cove Neighborhood, Hidden Boulevard, Mount Pleasant

Details: This neighborhood off of Long Point Road goes all out for the holidays! Many homes set up elaborate displays with lights, music, and gigantic inflatables to compete in a neighborhood-wide decorating contest. Look for the yard signs indicating which decorating award each house won.

Dates: Ongoing.


3241 Morningdale Drive, Ivy Hall, Mount Pleasant

Details: Homeowner Kelli Frazier Miller is known for her amazing, elaborate Halloween decorations in the Ivy Hall neighborhood. She decorates for Christmas, too! She spends hours upon hours turning her front yard into a winter wonderland. Her display is a must-see in North Mount Pleasant! The entrance to Ivy Hall is across from the Market at Oakland shopping center.

Dates: Opens the first weekend of December.


Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

Details: The shopping center is beautifully decorated for the holidays with sparkling chandeliers, giant lighted reindeer, canopies of lights over the streets, and a lovely 40-foot tree. Get some holiday shopping done beneath the twinkling bulbs. Click here to learn about additional holiday happenings including photos with Santa and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Dates: Ongoing from November 25, 2022.


Park Crossing Drive & Sailmaker Street, Daniel Island

Details: Homes on these two streets put up elaborate displays for the holiday season. One friend remarked that the decorations are “movie set quality”. One home has a mailbox for letters to Santa so make sure your kids bring their wish lists along with them when you check out these DI gems.

Dates: Ongoing. 


Wonderland of Temuco Lane, 104 Temuco Lane, Plum Creek Neighborhood, Summerville

Details: Lights on Taggert has relocated to Wonderland of Temuco Lane. Set your car radio to 88.1 FM and watch as the lights flash and dance in time to the music. They have some new surprises in store for you this year including an interactive display. Please consider donating to Dorchester Paws in the donation box at the bottom of the driveway. Check out their Facebook page for more info and updates.

Dates: Runs November 25, 2022, to January 1, 2023, from 6 PM, weather permitting. Ends at 9 PM Friday & Saturday; 8 PM Sunday-Thursday.

Light Displays Requiring Paid Admission

Holiday Festival of Lights, James Island County Park

Details: This two-mile drive-through show is a must-see for my family every year. At night the county park transforms into a twinkling holiday fantasyland with displays that appeal to a variety of interests – dinosaurs, sea life, gardening, outer space, etc. Get out of your vehicle at Santa’s Village and explore the gift shop, check out the sand sculpture, and ride the carousel. Warm up with some hot chocolate and s’mores by the fire.

Dates: Through December 31, 2022; 5:30-10 PM nightly. $15+ per vehicle. Buy advance tickets for $5 off.


Aquarium Aglow, South Carolina Aquarium, Downtown

Details: The aquarium is hosting its second annual holiday light display! Come take in the magic of the season amidst the fish, sharks, and sea turtles who call the aquarium home. Food and beverages will be available for purchase and live entertainment is included, too. The aquarium suggests buying advance tickets to ensure availability for specific dates.

Dates: Runs select evenings through December 31, 2022, from 5:30-9:30 PM. $26.95-$32.95 for adults, $22.95-$27.95 for children.


Holiday Lights Driving Tour, One Riverwood Drive, Moncks Corner

Details: Holiday Lights Driving Tour is part of Celebrate the Season, a month-long charitable holiday event organized by Santee Cooper and powered by Berkeley Electric Cooperative. Families are invited to drive past displays made of thousands of Christmas lights at the 12th annual event. Proceeds will be donated to various local charities.

Dates: Runs November 25 to December 30, 2022, from 6-9 PM nightly; closed December 24 & 25. $5 per vehicle. 


Bee City Zoo Christmas Wonderland of Lights, 1066 Holly Ridge Lane, Cottageville

Details: Bee City Zoo will transition into a Christmas Wonderland of Lights after dark! Visit in the daytime to see the animals and at nighttime to see Santa and thousands of twinkling lights. Activities include a wagon pull, ornament decorating, animal feedings, and s’mores. Visits with Santa are included in the admission price.

Dates: Runs through December 30. See the website for dates/times as they vary. $12 per person for lights only; $20 per person for zoo admission & lights combo. 


Nights of a Thousand Candles, Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet

Details: For a classy holiday experience, walk the grounds of Brookgreen Gardens and see the 2,700 hand-lit candles and millions of twinkling lights while listening to holiday music. This rain-or-shine event has been named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by Travel+Leisure Magazine. A number of food options are available on-site including nightly food trucks, a Lowcountry buffet, a sit-down restaurant, and snack shop plus beverage stations throughout the property.

Dates: Open November 26-27, December 1-4, 8-11, 15-18 & 28-31, 2022, and January 1, 2023, from 4-9 PM. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $30-$35 for adults, $14-$17 for children. 


For even more holiday light displays all across South Carolina, check out this website.

Please comment below to suggest additional holiday light displays worth visiting!

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Jenna is a Maine native who moved to Charleston in 2006, moved away for a while, then moved back again in 2018. She just couldn’t stay away from this city that feels like home! She’d choose palm trees over pine trees any day of the week. Jenna and her husband of 12 years have two rambunctious sons, ages 10 & 6, and live in Mount Pleasant. A social worker and registered nurse by trade, she is passionate about maternal mental health and is currently a postpartum doula specializing in perinatal mood disorders (www.jennadoula.com). Jenna loves to read, kayak, paint in watercolor, and travel with her family. Visit her personal blog on all things motherhood at www.snarkmom.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. -Christmas lights on Twitchell St in Swygerts Landing neighborhood Johns Island
    -Freshfields Village Kiawah Island- letters to Santa box – Santa & carolers were there last weekend-could add to list next year

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