St Augustine Nights of Lights
Light-Up! Night in St. Augustine
Kick-off the holidays with Light-Up! Night, a St. Augustine tradition.
Light-Up! Night is the most anticipated holiday celebration in Florida. In fact, the Nights of Lights festival, lasting from November 18th to January 31st, was voted by National Geographic (in 2011 and 2012), as one of the top 10 places to see holiday lights in the world and in 2017 AARP voted it as the best holiday display in America! Naturally, every November 18th, thousands of people gather downtown to watch the lighting of St. Augustine's Christmas tree and the famous light display turn on, better known as Light-Up! Night.
Crowds gather around the Gazebo in the Plaza de la Constucion as live festive, holiday music is performed by The All Star Orchestra starting at 5:30pm. Arrive early with your blankets and lawn chairs and get comfortable or dance the night away until the countdown begins. At 6:30pm, all eyes turn to the Christmas tree and the countdown begins, “Ten, nine, eight…” And on the count of one, the tree is lit. The countdown begins again, and one “one”, the switch is flipped and jaws drop as the city comes to life under millions of twinkling lights. The illuminated town instantly spreads holiday spirit throughout St. Augustine. They say the cheers can be heard all the way to the St. Augustine Lighthouse!
Once the city is aglow, you can stay in the Plaza and dance under the sparkling lights as holiday music fills the air. If you choose to venture around downtown, there are countless ways to spend your evening. As you wander down some of the most historic streets in the country, you’ll find great places to dine on local fare, imbibe in the best craft cocktails, view art in the many unique galleries hidden around every corner, and peruse one-of-a-kind local shops.
Light-Up! Night is a popular southern tradition and great way to celebrate the holiday's in Florida. To optimize your Light-Up! Night, it is important to keep a few things in mind like parking and how you want to experience the first night of Nights of Lights.
St. Augustine Parking During Light Up! Night
Use these tips for parking in St. Augustine during Light Up! Night.
• Light Up! Night starts at 4:00 pm but many residents and tourists arrive in the morning.
• Park your bicycle, along the bay front or one of the dozen of bike racks in downtown St. Augustine.
• Do not park next to a yellow curb.
• Historic Downtown Parking Facility costs $15 for entry or $3 with a ParkNow card. It accommodates 1,200 vehicles.
• Time limit: on-street: 3 hours/parking lots: 4 hours
• Trinity Episcopal Church is parking cars on Light Up! Night only, for a $15 donation to their youth group.
Free Park & Ride Shuttle Information
The City of St. Augustine is offering Free Park & Ride Shuttle service again this year. There will be two pick-up location; the St. Johns County Health Department at 200 Sebastian View Way and the North San Marco lot at 301 San Marco Ave. Shuttles from these areas will drop off passengers at the Visitor Information Center.
Shuttles will run from 1:00pm to 11:00pm, approximately every 15-20 minutes on the following days:
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Friday, November 24, 2017
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Saturdays in December; 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2017
Light-Up! Night service along Anastasia Blvd.
The shuttle service will include several park and ride locations along Anastasia Blvd. on Light-Up! Night only. Shuttle service will be available from 4:00pm-11:00pm from these parking locations to the east end of the Bridge of Lions:
North Florida’s Winter Wonderland
Nights of Lights holds the distinct honor as one of the 10 Best Holiday Displays in The World by National Geographic – but it is so much more than millions of adorning lights filling the Ancient City. It is a community-strengthening event that is only possible because each business in the historic district participates. Thanks to those businesses, our residents, and beloved visitors, it has become the most harmonic, romantic, and joyful time in St. Augustine - as well as a sacred tradition of North Florida.
There are many ways to partake in the Nights of Lights fun, the most popular tour is self-guided, on your own two feet! Hot cocoa, a scarf, and a pair of mittens is all you need for a cozy viewing of the Ancient City in all its glory. However, if you are looking for an “off the beaten path” tour, St. Augustine offers viewing by Land, Sea, and Air! Regardless of how you spend your night – be sure to take a ride over the Bridge of Lions, from Anastasia Island. The view of the Bayfront lit with thousands of bulbs flickering in the wind is one of St. Augustine’s most memorable images!
The Christmas Light Bandit – A St. Augustine Holiday Mystery
The Christmas lights downtown are meant to be white only. However, with a keen eye and dedication – you can spot a few bulbs varying in color. There is no insight as to who is responsible for the colored bulbs – it is a mystery! Chris Fitts, owner of Angels in the Architecture, is to thank for the displaying of lights on businesses downtown, he also has no idea where they come from! From time to time he spots an off colored bulb and takes it down. At first, he thought someone was pulling his leg – but in recent years, he has gotten quite a laugh over the ordeal. So, keep an eye out for a red, blue, or green bulb and the light bulb-bandit!
Whether you visit St. Augustine on Light-Up! Night or any other night during Nights of Lights, there are plenty of unique ways to make memories this holiday season. A timeless way to experience Nights of Lights is via the Ripley’s Red Train, or Old Towne Trolley (a.k.a. Holly Jolly Trolley). There is something about riding through town while chanting Christmas Carols with your family and strangers, that is untouchable to any other St. Augustine experience. One thing is certain, you are sure to make vivid memories and new friends on the land train tours – perhaps you’ll even catch a ride with Santa!
Famously romantic, viewing the lights from the Matanzas River has been a long-time favorite of St. Augustinian’s and tourists alike. The gentle Winter breeze, calm rocking of the ship, and informative guide is the perfect equation for an intimate Florida experience. Schooner Freedom Charters and Florida Water Tours, offer sailing on Kick-Off night, and each night following until the end of Nights of Lights.
For the adventurous soul – there is even a way for you to experience Nights of Lights! Old City Helicopters has been showcasing St. Augustine’s skyline of lights since the very first Nights of Lights. A flight over St. Augustine is exactly the kind of thing you would see on one’s Bucket List, and is well worth the journey! But be sure to make your reservation ahead of time!
Nights of Lights Trolley Entertainment Schedule
During the Nights of Lights Celebration, enjoy listening to holiday entertainment from St. Johns County school groups and local musical acts while waiting for the famous Nights of Lights Trolley at the Visitor Information Center located at the corner of W. Castillo Dr. and San Marco Ave. This is the 5th year that Old Town Trolley has partnered with the performers to provide "music while you wait" or if to stop and listen to if you happen to be passing by. Performances are on select nights usually from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
November 19 – St. Augustine High School Guitar Group
November 24 – Florida Brass Quintet
November 25 – Florida Brass Quintet
December 1 – Landrum Middle School Jazz Band
December 2 - Nease High School Chorus
December 8 – Anastasia Baptist Church
December 9 – Fruit Cove Middle School Jazz Ensemble
December 14 – Gamble Rogers Middle School
December 15 – Nease Advanced Chorus
December 16 – St. Augustine High School Band
December 17 – Pedro Menendez High School Band
December 18 – St. Augustine High School Chamber – Mixed Chorus
December 19 – Sebastian Middle School String Orchestra and Guitar Ensemble
December 20 – Skin & Bonz
December 21 – Ancient City Brass Band
December 22 – St. Augustine Community Band
December 23 – Ancient City Brass Band
December 26 – Ancient City Brass Band
December 27 – Ancient City Brass Band
Schedule of Events during Nights of Lights 2017-2018
November 25 -- 1:00pm St. Augustine Holiday Shopping & Wine Experience
November 25 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
November 29 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 2 -- 9:00am 64th Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade
December 2 -- 1:00pm St. Augustine Holiday Shopping & Wine Experience
December 2 -- 5:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 2 -- 7:00pm St. Augustine Winter Spectacular
December 2 -- 7:00pm Colonial Night Watch & Torch Parade
December 3 -- 12:00pm Garden Club Tour of Homes
December 3 -- 2:00pm St. Augustine Winter Spectacular
December 6 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 6 -- 7:00pm Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse
December 8 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 8 -- 8:00pm St. Augustine Orchestra Concert 'Sounds of the Season'
December 9 -- 8:00am Santa Suits on the Loose 5K
December 9 -- 1:00pm 24th Annual St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour
December 9 -- 1:00pm St. Augustine Holiday Shopping & Wine Experience
December 9 -- 6:00pm Holiday Regatta of Lights
December 10 -- 10:00am Holiday in the Gardens
December 10 -- 1:00pm 24th Annual St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour
December 10 -- 5:30pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 11 -- 1:00pm 24th Annual St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour
December 11 -- 7:00pm The Spirit of the Holidays Concert
December 12 -- 1:00pm 24th Annual St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour
December 13 -- 1:00pm 24th Annual St. Augustine Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour
December 13 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 15 -- 5:00pm A Seussified Christmas Carol
December 16 -- 1:00pm St. Augustine Holiday Shopping & Wine Experience
December 16 -- 1:30pm & 7:00pm St. Augustine Ballet "Nutcracker" Performance
December 16 -- 5:00pm A Seussified Christmas Carol
December 16 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 17 -- 11:00am A Seussified Christmas Carol
December 17 -- 7:00pm The Posadas of Old St. Augustine
December 16 -- 8:00pm St. Augustine Community Chorus Christmas Concert
December 17 -- 1:30pm & 7:00pm St. Augustine Ballet "Nutcracker" Performance
December 17 -- 2:00pm St. Augustine Community Chorus Christmas Concert
December 20 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 22 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 23 - 1:00pm St. Augustine Holiday Shopping & Wine Experience
December 27 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 28 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 30 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
December 31 -- 4:00pm Beach Blast Off 2018
January 1 -- 5:30pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour
January 6 -- 6:00pm Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour