Nights of Lights in St. Augustine: A Magical Holiday Tradition

by Cassie

St. Augustine, Florida, holds a special place in the hearts of many as the nation's oldest city, rich in history and charm. However, during the soon to be upon us holiday season, this historic gem transforms into a winter wonderland that captivates the hearts of all who visit. The award-winning annual "Nights of Lights" celebration in St. Augustine is a cherished tradition that illuminates the city with millions of twinkling lights, turning it into a magical destination that you won't want to miss.


The "Nights of Lights" tradition in St. Augustine dates back to 1993 when the city decided to decorate the Plaza de la Constitución with twinkling white lights as a way to commemorate the holiday season. Over the years, this modest display grew into a city-wide extravaganza featuring millions of lights and countless festive events. This year, the festival begins with Light-Up! Night on November 18, 2023, and runs to January 31, 2024.


At the heart of the celebration, the historic Plaza de la Constitución is draped in a breathtaking display of lights. The giant Christmas tree is a colorful focal point, and visitors as well as locals gather around it for memorable photos.


The majestic Bridge of Lions, adorned with sparkling lights, connects the historic district to Anastasia Island and it's a sight to behold, especially when the lights reflect off the Matanzas River.


St. George Street, the charming, pedestrian-only thoroughfare is lined with shops, restaurants, and galleries. During the Nights of Lights, the street comes alive with a warm, welcoming glow.


Horse-drawn carriage tours are a popular way to experience the magic of St. Augustine's lights. Snuggle up and take a cozy ride through the beautifully lit streets.


For a unique perspective, consider taking a boat tour on the Matanzas Bay. The lights shimmering on the water create an enchanting ambiance.


Throughout the "Nights of Lights" season, St. Augustine hosts various events to enhance the festive atmosphere. The annual Light-Up! Night event marks the official start of the season, with the mayor flipping the switch to illuminate the city. There are also parades, musical performances, and tours that offer historical insights into the city's holiday traditions.


St. Augustine boasts a vibrant culinary scene, and many restaurants offer special holiday menus during the Nights of Lights. From cozy pubs to upscale eateries, you can enjoy a diverse range of cuisine. Be sure to make reservations in advance, as this is a busy season for local restaurants.


Shopping in St. Augustine's historic district is a treat as well. You'll find unique boutiques and gift shops that offer the perfect opportunity to find one-of-a-kind holiday presents.


St. Augustine's Nights of Lights is a cherished tradition that has turned this historic city into a must-visit holiday destination. So, if you're looking for a truly enchanting holiday experience, make your way to St. Augustine and become a part of the luminous wonder that is the Nights of Lights.


With beautiful oceanfront views, your stay at Barefoot Trace only enhances this magical time of year! Come and enjoy the natural beauty and December traditions of this delightful town. Make your reservations now!