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5 Ways to See St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights

Looking to stay in the holiday spirit a little longer? You can do just that at St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, which runs until January 31st, 2023.

What is St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights?

Named one of the top holiday light displays in the USA by National Geographic in 2011 and 2012, Nights of Lights is an award winning holiday light display where the city of St. Augustine decorates the nation’s oldest city in tiny white lights. You’ll find public spaces, historic buildings, hotels, shops, stores, and more covered in lights.

Why do they decorate? The annual tradition started in 1993, and is rooted in the past traditions of the Spanish placing white candles in each of their windows – a nod to Mary and Joseph not being able to find an inn to give them shelter.

5 Ways to See St. Augustine's Nights of Lights - Plaza de la Constitución -
The Plaza de la Constitución is filled with white lights during St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights.

5 Ways to See St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights

There are a number of ways to see St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights.

  • On foot: The most economical way to see St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights is parking and walking the area. You’ll want to make a stop at the Plaza de la Constitución, the Bridge of Lions, Flagler College,
  • Trolley Tour: St. Augustine’s hop on, hop off trolley tours offer tours with holiday magic. We recommend Old Town Trolley’s Nights of Lights Tour – and don’t forget to indulge in the sugar cookies and apple cider!
  • Horse Drawn Carriage: Take an old fashioned horse drawn carriage ride to see the dazzling lights. Consider Country Carriages.
  • Boat Tour: See the sparkling white lights from the Schooner Freedom or the aboard a yacht with Florida Water Tours.
  • Helicopter Tour: Get a bird’s eye view and a completely different perspective of Nights of Lights with First City Helicopters.
5 Ways to See St. Augustine's Nights of Lights - Trolley Stop -
St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights can be seen via trolley.

What You Need to Know About Nights of Lights

  1. Event Start. Nights of Lights begins each night around dusk and stay lit throughout the night.
  2. Bring Fido. St. Augustine is one of the most dog friendly cities in Florida. Nights of Lights is no exception. If you are traveling with your pet, bring him or her.
  3. Parking. If you are driving, you’ll have a few options.
    • The City of St. Augustine is offering a free park and ride shuttle on select nights. See the schedule with locations.
    • The Historic Downtown Parking Facility costs $15 per day and is located at 1 Cordova St, St. Augustine, FL.
    • Street parking. If you are lucky, you may be able to find a street parking, but these spaces go fast.
    • Private lots. There are a number of private lots that will be selling spaces for the event.
  4. Crowd levels. Crowd levels are the highest at the beginning of the event and the days before and after Christmas. Remember to bring your patience, or visit at a less popular time.
  5. Arrive early in the day or later in the evening. When we arrived around 5pm, traffic was heavy around the Historic Downtown Parking Facility. In fact, we waited 45 minutes to get in the garage and spent 20 minutes driving around looking for a spot. Friends told us they had no problem getting in the garage around noon and had lunch before the lights. Similarly, when we left at 9:00pm, the garage was half empty.
  6. Specials. Keep an eye out for special offerings during Nights of Lights from local retailers.
5 Ways to See St. Augustine's Nights of Lights - Horse Drawn Carriage Ride -
One of many horse drawn carriages we saw during St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights.

However you decide to experience St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, make sure to get there this holiday season – it’s truly a magical atmosphere whether you are 1 or 100.

Planning a trip to St. Augustine? View our article on 14 Things to Do in St. Augustine.