Think holiday light in these parts are pretty cool? Cheapflights.com recently came out with their list of the top 10 places with Christmas displays. On their roster (in no particular order):
The annual Cavalcade of Lights marks the official start of the holiday season with music, skating, dancing and a whole heap of Christmas lights. The event is held this weekend, but the lights at Nathan Phillips Square – and on its giant Christmas tree, lit with more than 300,000 LED lights – are turned on at dusk through Jan. 1. Details: www.seetorontonow.com.
Every evening through Jan. 2, Orchard Road and Marina Bay in Singapore are lit up in full-on seasonal splendor with its Christmas in the Tropics light display. The island-nation’s famous shopping district celebrates with twinkling street lights, dressed-up shop windows, concerts, musicals and exhibitions. Details: www.yoursingapore.com.
During the day you’ll come across the usual bustle of tourists at the iconic sites in the “City of Lights,” and at night, sparkling Eiffel Tower, glitzy Champs-Élysées and side streets give the city a fairy tale feel. Details: http://en.parisinfo.com.
In December, the city’s thoroughfares, roads and parks are covered in thousands of lights, with the most impressive displays found in Avenue la Playa and the Medellín River – where thousands flock to gaze at million-dollar displays, sample food and enjoy street performances. Details: www.medellintraveler.com.
After the Kobe earthquake of 1995, Italy donated thousands of hand-painted bulbs to the city and these were transformed into intricate, gothic-style luminaries designed by Valerio Festi and Hirokazu Imaoka. The tradition continues, and every Dec. 1-12 near Higashi-Yuenchi Park, around 4 million locals and tourists celebrate Japan’s enduring resilience. Details: www.feel-kobe.jp/_en.
The “Christmas Street” light display, now in its 62nd year, attracts thousands of visitors to the unassuming 34th Street neighborhood to view fantastic, quirky lights. Each house on the block is decorated in the owner’s style; some include toy trains on rooftops and/or hubcap Christmas trees. Details: www.baltimore.org.
Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius gets covered in colorful garlands of electric lights and the country’s largest Christmas “tree” (the Vilnius television tower, under a vale of lights) is lit up.
In the Old Town Christmas Markets, taste festive treats and mulled wine; listen to carols in one of the city’s many churches. Check out the popular Magic Christmas display – the city’s cathedral transformed into a colorful storyboard with a “4D” projection of light, sound, and scent. Details: www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/tourism.
Berlin’s illuminations – light-strung trees; decorated historic buildings – are such a draw that visitors with a passion for photography can sign up for special guided tours of the lights.
Within the city squares and boulevards nearly 60 different weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas markets) provide even more glistening sights along with all the shopping, food and glühwein (mulled wine) you’d expect from a Christmas market. Some of the best illuminations are at the 368m Fernsehtur (TV tower), Alexanderplatz Market, Opera Palace, National Opera and the Brandenburg Gate and Charlottenburg Palace. Details: www.visitberlin.de/en.
Ten of Vienna’s city squares are transformed into beautiful Christmas markets decorated with trees and with strings of twinkling lights hanging from every available surface. Top this off with stalls selling crafts, gifts, local produce, season foods and festive drinks. Details: www.wien.info/en.
Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.)
Classic rides such as It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion are given luminous festive makeovers, while Main Street is decked out in Christmas trimmings. The Main Street Christmas Fantasy Parade – with trumpeting toy soldiers, prancing reindeer, gingerbread men and skating snowflakes – also features Disney’s most popular characters dressed in their holiday best. The centerpiece? Sleeping Beauty’s Castle covered with snow-capped turrets, shimmering icicles and twinkling lights. Everything is topped off by dazzling fireworks. Details: http://disneyland.disney.go.com.