Where are 5 Great Places to See Christmas Lights in South Carolina? From the sea to the mountains, South Carolina knows how to celebrate Christmas with millions of shimmering, shining festive lights.  Make holiday memories and start a tradition by visiting these bright and very merry events.

29th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights

James Island County Park Festival of Lights

James Island County Park

Charleston SC

11/09/2018 – 01/01/2019

Starting at 5:30 pm daily


James Island County Park is a great place to see Christmas Lights in South Carolina. The beloved Holiday Festival of Lights features two million colorful lights throughout the three-mile driving tour. Hosted by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, the event offers more than just lights.

Attractions and activities include:

  • Santa’s Village
  • Enchanted Walking Trail
  • Old-Fashioned Carousel
  • Climbing Wall
  • Train Rides
  • Marshmallow Roasting
  • Santa’s Sweet Shoppe
  • Concessions
  • Gift Shops
  • Photo Opportunities
  • Entertainment – live music, storytelling, carolers, outdoor movies and more
  • Giant Greeting Cards created by local students

Every Monday through Thursday, help the Lowcountry Food Bank by bringing a canned food item (dog and cat food also accepted) and receive discounted admission. The festival is open every evening rain or shine. Admission is $20 per car.

Nights of a Thousand Candles

Brookgreen Gardens Nights of a Thousand Candles

Brookgreen Gardens

Murrells Inlet SC

Dec 6-9, Dec 13-16 and Dec 16-22

3 – 10 pm


See Brookgreen Gardens come to life amid the soft glow of more than 4,500 hand-lit candles and countless sparkling lights that illuminate the sculptures and gardens. From 3-10 pm walk the paths with a warm cup of cider, hear the sounds of holiday music, carolers singing and celebrate the season with family and friends.

Attractions and activities include:

  • Live Bands and Musical Performances from Local Groups
  • Indoor Displays of Trees, Wreaths and Holiday Decor
  • Roving Bagpipers
  • Holiday Tree Lighting nightly at 6:15 pm
  • Food and Refreshments

Named “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina” by Travel+Leisure Magazine. Winner of the Charles A. Bundy Award for Excellence in Tourism from South Carolina Parks and Recreation Tourism.

Tickets must be purchased BEFORE your arrival. Space is limited. Admission is $25 adults, $15 children.

Lights Before Christmas

Riverbanks Zoo Lights Before Christmas

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Columbia SC

11/17/2018 – 12/30/2018

5:00 – 9:00 pm daily (except 11/22, 12/24 & 12/25)


Enjoy warm memories and holiday cheer at Lights Before Christmas, Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition. Bring your kids and camera and see why this has been a family tradition for more than 25 years. The event features nearly one million twinkling lights, an animated story tree and countless decorative images.

Attractions and activities include:

  • Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Nightly Santa Visits
  • Hot Cocoa, S’mores and Other Festive Foods
  • Animated Story Tree
  • Holly Jolly Christmas Parade

All Riverbanks members receive one free visit. Admission is $12 adults, $10 children.

Upstate Holiday Light Show

Greenville Upstate Holiday Light Show

Greenville Pickens Speedway

Greenville SC

11/22/2018 – 12/31/2018

Opens at 5:45 pm daily


Greenville Pickens Speedway adds sparkle to the holidays with the Upstate’s largest Christmas light show.  Drive through a nighttime Christmas wonderland as 32 million colors set the sky ablaze, synchronized to the music of the holiday. Thousands believe this is the best place to see Christmas lights in South Carolina.

Attractions and activities include:

  • Petting Zoo with Horses, Ponies, Donkeys, Cows, Bulls and Goats
  • Santa Land (Dec 14-16 and Dec 21-23)
  • Ice Skating (Thursday – Sunday)
  • Interactive light show
  • Concessions

Admission is $20 per car.

Anderson Christmas Lights

Anderson Christmas Lights

520 Woodcrest Drive

Anderson SC

11/22/2018 – 12/25/2018

Open 5:30 – 9:45 pm daily


Anderson Christmas Lights is celebrating 25th years in 2018. The event started as a drive through Christmas light show to raise funds for Easter Seals of South Carolina. Although the Easter Seals office in Anderson closed 15 years ago, Anderson Christmas Lights co-founders Dennis Lavold and Ben Phillips continue to volunteer their personal time to keep the event going.

Attractions and activities include:

  • Santa’s Lodge featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus
  • Frosty’s Café with Hot Chocolate, Coffee and Snacks
  • The Fire Pit for Roasting Marshmallows
  • Broken Spoke Wagon Rides

Admission is $10 per car.

Riverbanks Zoo Lights Before Christmas

It’s not hard to find beautiful Christmas lights in South Carolina. This is just a few of the most popular destinations across our state.

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Read Tonya’s previous story on 10 Restaurants that serve Thanksgiving Dinner in South Carolina