St Augustine Nights of Lights
Celebrating 25 Years
Nights of Lights – Celebrating 25 years in the 2018-2019 season. Experience the City’s famous display which is rated one of the best holiday displays in the world. There are so many special events taking place during the holiday season and Nights of Lights in St. Augustine, Florida. You’ll want to make a list to be sure you don’t miss any of it. Navigate this page for tips on things to do and where to park in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights celebration.
Nights of Lights
Light Up! Night is November 17, 2018. Nights of Lights runs nightly from Light Up! Night through February 3.
Nights of Lights – Celebrating 25 years in the 2018-2019 season. Nights of Lights holds the distinct honor as one of the 10 Best Holiday Displays in The World by National Geographic. But, this holiday tradition is so much more than millions of adorning lights filling the Old City. It is a community event that is only made possible by each participating business in Historic Downtown. Thanks to those businesses and the City of St. Augustine, thousands of people gather downtown and enjoy the holiday display with their families and friends.
Light! Up Night
This year, Light Up! Night is on November 17, 2018. This famous Christmas event beckons thousands of people each year to travel to Historic Downtown and watch the lighting of the City in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Light Up! Night activities begin at 4:00 pm, but people begin to arrive early that day.
4:00 pm – Gather in front of the Lightner Museum for a St. Augustine Light Up! Night tradition. A grand performance by Showtime USA, a local hip-hop dance team that sings and performs.
5:30 pm – Make your way to the Gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion for a performance by the All-Star Orchestra singing in grand holiday style.
6:30 pm – At approximately 6:30 pm, the Christmas Tree in the Plaza de la Constitucion comes to life. Following is a ten-second group countdown that ends in the flick of a switch that turns on millions of decorative lights strung about the city.
Free Shuttle Information
Light Up! Night Park & Ride Shuttle
On Light Up! Night skip the traffic and hassle of parking by using one of two free shuttles scheduled to run. Riders can either park on Anastasia Island and get dropped off on the east end of the Bridge of Lions, or park in town and get dropped off at the Visitors Information Center.
Anastasia Island Shuttle (4:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- Pick-up: TBA for Light Up! Night, 2018.
- Drop-off: East end of the Bridge of Lions
Historic Downtown Shuttle (1:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
Nights of Lights Park & Ride Shuttle
The Free Shuttle Service for the 2018 – 2019 Nights of Lights Season will start on November 17; it will run on November 23-24 during Thanksgiving weekend; it will also run every Saturday in December. On these days, the shuttle is in service from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Every 15-20 minutes it will pick riders up from two locations in town and drop them off at the Visitor Information Center.
Parking in St. Augustine
Parking spaces are far and few in between. Here are a few tips:
- Commute via the Old Town Trolley, or Ripley’s Believe it or Not Red Train. One vehicle downtown costs close to $20.00 to park – about the same as one adult ticket for a train/trolley ride.
- Pay attention to parking spaces monitored by parking meters and NEVER park by a curb marked in yellow.
- Historic Downtown Parking Facility, near the Visitors Information Center, costs $15 for entry or $3 with a ParkNow card and can accommodate 1,200 vehicles
- Time limit: on-street: 3 hours/parking lots: 4 hours
Explore the Nights of Lights
There are many ways to partake in the Nights of Lights fun, the most popular way is to walk around with good company, enjoying the display and bayfront location! Hot cocoa, a scarf, and a pair of mittens are all you need for a cozy viewing of the Ancient City in all its glory. However, if you are looking for an offbeat tour, St. Augustine offers fantastic tours 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!
A timeless way to experience Nights of Lights is via Ripley’s Red Train, or Old Town Trolley (known as the Holly Jolly Trolley during the holidays). 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 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 a perfect setting for a Florida holiday experience. Schooner Freedom Charters and Florida Water Tours offer sailing tours on Light Up! Night, and each night following until the end of Nights of Lights on February, 2019.
Adventurers, there is even a way for you to experience the city-wide holiday display! 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 a Bucket List and is sure to be a memory you’ll never forget! Be sure to make your reservation ahead of time.
The Christmas Light Bandit – A St. Augustine Holiday Mystery
By no mistake is the Christmas light display made up of white lights only. However, with a keen eye and a little dedication, you can spot a few bulbs varying in color. There is no insight as to who is responsible for the colored bulbs and even Chris Fitts (the owner of the company that puts the lights up each year), 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.