The 23rd annual Nights of Lights festival begins in St. Augustine this Saturday, November 19th. The annual festival runs from November 19th-January 31st. Nights of Lights has been selected by National Geographic as one of the 10 best holiday lighting displays in the world. About 3 million lights adorn the city for 2 months and there is no shortage of things to do in St. Augustine during Nights of Lights.
The tradition of Nights of Lights comes from the Spanish practice of displaying white candles in home windows during the holidays. The candles would refer to Mary and Joseph who could find no inn to stay in. By putting candles in their windows, the Spanish were symbolically making room in their hearts and home for Jesus. It also represented welcoming atmosphere to those traveling during the holiday season. This is fitting for St. Augustine and her 450-year history. If you are thinking about coming to St. Augustine, now is the time to visit. With lots to see and do, you’re sure to create lasting holiday memories. Here are just a few things you can do and see while visiting the Nation’s Oldest City.
Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour
Every year the Saint Augustine Historic Inns come together to create a holiday tour that is sure to please. Every year they choose a theme and decorate accordingly. This year’s theme is Christmas Through The Years. It is a two-day self-guided tour. It runs from December 10th -11th. Every inn has partnered with a local restaurant to give you a taste of St. Augustine. For those who do the tour they will be give a tour package as well as a detailed map to navigate around the city. Tour participants may begin at any inn on the designated day and see the inns at their own pace. You will not want to miss out on this local St. Augustine Tour. For more info, or to buy tickets, check out the Bed & Breakfast Holiday Tour website.
Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour
What can be better than seeing the annual Nights of Lights? Not having to walk while doing so. The Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour allows visitors and locals to see the lights via trolley. The trolley offers free cider, homemade cookies and caroling. Guests will also receive free magical viewing glasses to see the lights. Old Town Trolley says, “These amazing glasses will enhance the twinkle and glimmer of the lights, making this ride even more special.” For more info, check out their website.
While the town illuminates on November 19th, the St. Augustine Lighthouse illuminates December 7th. Guests of the Lighthouse gain free admittance on Luminary Night. They have crafts for kids as well as warm refreshments, and live musical performances. The Lighthouse Museum is of course decorated in their finest Christmas decorations. Luminary Night runs from 6-9. For more info, check out their website.
Annual Holiday Regatta of Lights
This year the St. Augustine Yacht Club presents the 36th Annual Holiday Regatta of Lights. Each year, boat owners decorate their vessels in the most festive of ways. All boat owners are invited to participate. The parade will start north of the Castillo de San Marcos and move south towards Matanzas Bay via the Intracoastal. They will circle in a counterclockwise direction and make two laps. A reception and awards ceremony will follow the parade. The event is free and open to the public and starts at 6pm, December 10th. For more info, check out their website.
Each year as the lights are illuminated, the city stands to welcome those near and far to come and make memories in the Nation’s Oldest City.