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. Here is a list of some of our favorite hot spots and festive displays around Charleston. Enjoy!

No-Cost Light Displays

Holiday Tree of Lights, Marion Square, Downtown Charleston

Dates: Tree lighting ceremony following the City of Charleston parade on Sunday, December 3, 2023, at 5 PM.

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.


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

Dates: December 5, 2023 – January 1, 2024. The show runs nightly every half hour between 5:30 & 9:00 PM.

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


Walking in a Woodlands Wonderland, Morrow Lane, Wescott Plantation, Summerville

Dates: Runs through January 1, 2024. Sunday-Thursday, 6-9:30 PM; Friday & Saturday, 6-11:30 PM. Weather permitting.

Details: This display features two light shows set to music and has new props and effects this year. Shows start on the hour and the half hour.


3241 Morningdale Drive, Ivy Hall, Mount Pleasant

Dates: The Christmas display runs 24/7 in December then switches over to a Winter Wonderland in January.

Details: Homeowner Kelli Frazier Miller is known for her amazing, elaborate Halloween decorations in the Ivy Hall neighborhood. She decorates for Christmas, too! Her display is a must-see in North Mount Pleasant.


Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

Dates: Ongoing

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. Check out their other offerings such as photos with Santa and horse-drawn carriage rides.


The Lights Around Park Circle, 4800 Park Circle, North Charleston

Dates: Through New Year’s Day

Details: Walk or drive around the circle to see this festive display of lights. Come during the daytime to play on the newly opened world’s largest inclusive playground


Park Crossing Drive & Sailmaker Street, Daniel Island

Dates: Ongoing

Details: Homes on these two streets put on 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 with them when you check out these DI gems.


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

Dates: Runs through January 1, 2024. Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-8 PM; Friday & Saturday, 5:30-9:30 PM. Times are approximate.

Details: This family is partnering up with Lowcountry Food Bank. Don’t forget to bring some non-perishable food items with you to leave in the donation box at the end of the driveway when you come by to see their wonderful show. 


Santa on Santino, 105 Santino Court, Goose Creek

Dates: Ongoing

Details: Check out this display with thousands of twinkling lights, blow-ups, and a lighted arch over the driveway. The arch features 334 feet of PVC pipe, 250 zip ties, 72 feet of rebar, and 1800 lights! Selfies with the display are encouraged.


MarshWalk Wonderland of Lights, 4025 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet

Dates: Through December 31, 2023. 5-11 PM nightly.

Details: This walk-through display is a bit of a drive from Charleston but worth it. It features thousands of lights, archways set to music, and a 20-foot Christmas tree at the end of Veterans Pier. MarshWalk has eight restaurants, a live music scene, and a Santa’s Village for kids on weekends leading up to Christmas (except for December 9).


Check out these other festive neighborhoods:

  • Brickhope Plantation, Goose Creek
  • Crowfield Plantation, Goose Creek
  • Cooper’s Landing off of Whipple Road, Mount Pleasant
  • Hidden Cove off of Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant
  • Hobcaw Point off of Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant
  • Carolina Bay, West Ashley

Light Displays Requiring Paid Admission

Holiday Festival of Lights, James Island County Park

Dates: Through December 31, 2023; 5:30-10 PM nightly. $15+ per vehicle. Buy advance tickets for $5 off here.

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.


Aquarium Aglow, South Carolina Aquarium, Downtown

Dates: Runs select evenings through December 30, 2023, from 5:30-9:30 PM. $23.20-$30.95 tiered pricing depending on date/time of entry. Aquarium members enjoy 20% off tickets.

Details: The aquarium is hosting its third 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.


Holiday Lights Driving Tour, One Riverwood Drive, Moncks Corner

Dates: Runs through December 30, 2023, from 6-9 PM nightly; closed December 24 & 25. $10 per vehicle, cash only.

Details: The 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 13th annual event. Proceeds will be donated to various local charities.


Bee City Zoo Festival of Lights, 1066 Holly Ridge Lane, Cottageville

Dates: Runs through December 30, 2023. See the website for dates/times as they vary. $13-$18 per person for lights only; $21-$27 per person for zoo admission & lights combo. Children under two are free.

Details: Bee City Zoo will transition into a Festival 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.


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

Dates: Open December 1-3, 6-10, 13-17 & 27-31, 2023 from 4-9 PM. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $30-$35 for adults, $14-$17 for children.

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 a snack shop plus beverage stations throughout the property.


Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Holiday Events Around Charleston 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 Arsenault
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.

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