Drive-Through Holiday Light Display FAQ
When do Christmas drive-through light shows start each season?
Drive-through holiday lights shows start on different dates.
Many are open by mid-November, but some wait until just after Thanksgiving.
But you can certainly expect them to be open by December 1st.
How long do Christmas drive-through light shows go on?
Nearly all holiday drive-through light shows last through at least New Year’s Day.
But many stay up a little longer, through Epiphany (January 6th) or roughly the first week of January.
How long does it take to drive through a holiday light show?
While it’s highly dependent on the light show, you can get through most drive-through holiday light displays in less than an hour.
For more extensive shows that cover more acres, it might take a little longer, but you’ll almost certainly be through in less than two hours.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t include your waiting time to get in, which can add just a few minutes or hours onto your visit, depending on how popular and how well-organized the show is.
When is the best time to go to a drive-thru light show?
For light shows that are up by mid-November, the earlier in the season you go, the less busy they’ll be.
Drive-through holiday lights get more and more popular starting right after Thanksgiving through the week of Christmas/New Year’s.
If it’s a light show that stays open the first week of January, you can catch a bit of a break from the crowds in that final week too.
As for times, right after they open (right after sunset, typically) or in the last hour of operation are the best times of day. (Though, that last hour can get sketchy if the cars before you have gotten backed up throughout the night.)
How much do drive-thru light shows cost?
Drive-through holiday light displays might charge by the car or by the person.
Depending on how many people you have in your party, either of these might be the better deal.
While prices vary considerably, generally speaking you can expect to pay at least $20/car at most for-profit drive-through light shows.
What should I know about driving through a drive-through light show?
When it comes to drive-through light shows, the lights are the main attraction and the driving is kind of a side note for most.
Which is how drive-through light shows can end up so irritating.
People get boggled by the pretty lights and forget they are also on a road with other vehicles.
So, here are a few tips to help you not be that driver.
1 – Keep moving.
It might be tempting to stop and look at the pretty lights along the route.
But if you want to do stop completely, you should go to a walk-through display instead.
If you stop, everyone behind you also has to stop and the whole system backs up.
So, go the low speed limit provided by the light show and get your looks in while moving.
2 – Go the speed limit.
The people who design the light show provide a speed limit for a reason.
This speed limit is meant to keep everyone moving forward at a reasonable pace, while providing plenty of time to take in the light displays from the comfort of your vehicle.
If you heed this speed limit, and everyone else heeds it, it’s amazing how easily you’ll all keep rolling along.
If you don’t heed it, and no one else does either, it’s amazing how easily you’ll end up in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
3 – Leave space.
Speaking of bumper-to-bumper traffic, try not to be the cause.
If you start creeping up on the car in front of you, back off.
By keeping an assured distance, you can avoid a potential fender bender and help keep everyone in the holiday spirit.
4 – Check your headlights. (And turn them off if you can!)
Many drive-through light displays cast enough light onto the road that you won’t need your headlights.
Or at least not all the time.
If you can drive safely without them, it’s best to turn them off and cut down on light pollution along the route.
This makes it easier for those in the cars around you (especially in front of you) to see.
If you can’t drive safely without your headlights, keep them on low and leave even more space from the car in front of you.
Its passengers want to see the lights too!
5 – Get your seasonal road tunes on.
Many drive-through holiday light displays have their own radio stations, outfitted with songs they think go best with their displays.
So, make sure to check the official website for your particular show.
And if your show doesn’t have its own music, make sure you build that playlist before you go!