30 Years of Nights of Lights!

November 14, 2023

Posted by in Events, News

For new or prospective residents, there’s nothing quite as exciting or memorable as your first Nights of Lights festival! Now entering its 30th year, what started as a small business initiative to drive visitation during the slow season is now a globally-recognized phenomenon. Downtown St. Augustine glistens as small businesses, private homes and municipal buildings and structures are draped in millions of white twinkly lights, beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving through the end of January. We’ve got the best ways to experience this unique festival of lights.


Nights of Lights kicks off Saturday, November 18th, with Light Up! Night. Wander through downtown with a warm drink from The Kookaburra Coffee, then join the crowd of excited holiday-goers in the Plaza de la Constitución as the light switch is flipped to kick off the start of the festival. Light Up! is a free event beginning at 6pm. The City of St. Augustine offers a free Park & Ride Shuttle for Light Up! night, and during peak days throughout the Nights of Lights season. Multiple pick-up and drop-off locations are available.


Nights of Lights is the perfect time to walk throughout the historic district and see all of the lights and architecture. The festival encompasses over 20 blocks of the historic district – don’t miss the view from the apex of the Bridge of Lions, and be sure to include the picturesque Lightner Museum and Flagler College. Those who prefer a guided walking tour can join Ancient City Tours, full of local history and mystery!


If your group would rather view the lights from a conveyance, you’ll be pleased to know there are some great options! The two most popular tour operators are Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Tour and Ripley’s Red Train Nights of Lights Tours. Both tours depart nightly at 6pm, the Trolleys from the St. Augustine Visitor’s Center and the Trains from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage with The Tasting Tours, offering private, group, and family-friendly rides or with downtown-staple Country Carriages for intimate and group rides. Boaters can enjoy the view from the water with various power and sail options, including St. Augustine Sailing, Schooner Freedom Charters, Florida Water Tours, St. Augustine Scenic Cruise, St. Augustine Boat Tours, St. Augustine Eco Tours, Pia & Me Charters and Red Boat Tours.


Foodies can take in the view over a delicious meal at one of the historic district’s many restaurants with a view. Situated on the waterfront, River & Fort Restaurant and Rooftop Lounge, Meehan’s Irish Pub, Casa Reina Taqueria & Tequila and A1A Aleworks Restaurant & Taproom all boast rooftops, balconies and patio spaces with spectacular views.


We promise you won’t forget your first Nights of Lights experience in your new hometown!

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