St. Augustine Nights of Lights

There is always a lot happening in St. Augustine. Ramp it up 1,000 times and you have St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights Festival- 2 months of 2 million Christmas lights, magical memories and a heckofalotta fun!! This year’s dates are November 22, 2014 to February 1, 2015.

Lights will come on at 6:30 pm Saturday, November 22  with festivities centered in the plaza. It packs out… arrive EARLY!

St. Augustine is home to so much fun, it’s hard to keep track of!! This page offers some highlights I’m excited about and other local sites I like to check out when our family is looking for something special to do during Nights of Lights 2014 as well as memories from past Nights of Lights events.

 *** I’ve updated these dates but if you see any errors or want your event added, please email me! SimplyStAugustine at gmail dot com! ***

November

Night of Illumination Nov. 22nd (always the Saturday before Thanksgiving) is when it begins… over 2.5 million Christmas lights will transform the nation’s oldest city to the most charming Christmas destination in the states! The lighting ceremony starts at 6:30 at the Plaza. {arrive early!}

Black Friday Hours at St. Augustine Outlets If you’re one of the Black Friday crazy shoppers, the St. Augustine outlets want your business!  Most stores open at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day and stay open until 10 pm Friday.  Extended hours  continue throughout the season- check stores for details.

48th Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Festival
Growing up, I loved arts & crafts festivals.  St. Augustine has a long-running festival Thanksgiving weekend on the grounds of the Castillo de San Marcos. $1 donation gets you in & supports the St. Augustine Art Association. Nov 29 & 30 at the fort.

All Season Long…

Holly Jolly Nights of Lights Begins Sunday, November 23, and continues nightly through January 4, 2014. It’s our favorite St. Augustine Holiday Tradition- we’ve been going for years! Explore St. Augustine’s famous Nights of Lights in the cozy comfort of the Holly Jolly Trolley. More info on their website.

Ripley’s Big Red Christmas Train is much like the Holly Jolly Trolley- enjoy the lights of historic St. Augustine at Christmas!  Make sure to stop at Prancer’s Putt Putt- oldest putt putt in the state!

Lights, Carriage and Holiday ‘Cheer’!
Step aboard an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage and meander the historic streets on this 45 minute tour with Tasting Tours of St. Augustine. While enjoying the spectacular light display, indulge in a bottle of delicious boutique wine (red or white). $46 per person {my Tasting Tours of St. Augustine Review}

A December to Remember at the Amphitheatre 
The amphitheatre brings old fashioned Christmas fun to St. Augustine with free drive-in movies, concerts and food drives.  Enjoy culture & family Christmas classics like Charlie Brown’s Christmas!

Nights of Lights Sunset Sail on the Schooner Freedom
Sail out during sunset holding a glass of wine in one hand and your love with the other.  After a breathtaking sunset, see St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights from the water for a whole new perspective.  These nightly sails depart from the City Marina at 4:15 p.m. and return at 6:15 p.m. The $45 charge includes soda, water, beer and wine. Reservations: 904-810-1010

Jax Water Tours Nights of Lights Cruise
Easy, free parking! Board at the Vilano Beach Pier, and enjoy a slow ride and scenic view along the Matanzas River. Rates: $39.00 weekdays & $49.00 weekends. Book your seats early as they tend to sell out quickly.

December

St. Augustine Lighthouse Luminary Night
December 3 from 6-9 admission to the lighthouse grounds is free!  Enjoy Christmas music, cider & a view of the city from the top of the lighthouse!  I haven’t climbed to the top in years, I’ll definitely be there!!!

British Night Watch – A Grande Illumination December 6 at 8:00 pm, but I suggest arriving in the plaza at 7:00.  This “marching parade” memorializes the brief period St. Augustine was under British rule- bring cash to buy a candle or BYO lantern. You can visit the encampment Dec 5 & 6 at St. Francis Field & talk to soldiers as well.

Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade Dec 6
10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Locals converge downtown with floats, marching bands, horses and the arrival of Santa. Starts at the Mission of Nombre de Dios and continues through downtown and will end behind the visitor’s center. Call (904) 825-1004 to confirm.

Garden Homes of St. Augustine Christmas Tour of Homes Sunday, December 7 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 45th Annual Garden Club of St. Augustine Christmas Tour of Homes! Six homes will be featured plus tea and boutique at Trinity Episcopal Church. Tickets are $20, in advance, $25 day of. {usually sells out!}

20th Annual Holiday Tour of Bed & Breakfast Inns December 13 & 14 View 23 beautifully decorated Bed & Breakfast Inns and sample some of St. Augustine’s best Eats by local restaurants!  1-5 pm each day, $25 admission for both.

Santa Run Christmas 5K $35 to register after 10/31 This is the only race where you run in a Santa suit! Guaranteed good time.

Holiday Regatta of Lights December 13 Head to the St. Augustine Bayfront early or dine upstairs at Harry’s, Acapulco, A1A or Meehans for a great view of the Boat Parade!  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Nutcracker Tea & Ballet at Palencia Seatings are at 1:00 & 4:00 pm and include snippets of the ballet, tea & light bites. $25

Downtown Bazaar- December 20 – 7:00 pm til late – Shop LOCAL as you stroll through the Colonial Quarter. Live music, local artists, great times!

St. Augustine Ballet The Nutcracker December 20 & 21 This Christmastime staple is a don’t miss event.  Tickets range from $15 – $30 and the show is performed at multiple times.

Navidad en el Viejo San Agustín December 20, 2012 I am so excited about this “Christmas in Old St. Augustine” at the Mission of Nombre de Dios.  This is a celebration of Christmas in “the old ways” of Colonial San Augustin.  I love it! 7:00 pm at the Mission.

Beach Blast Off is a great way to wrap up the Christmas season- 4:00 on Dec 31 head to the St. Augustine Beach Pier for a chili cook-off, ice sculptures and St Augustine New Years fireworks at 8:30!

________________

Want to always know what to do in St.Augustine?

your email, pretty please:

________________

On blogging this year’s amazingness…

I’m blogging this year’s experiences in my Nights of Lights blog category.  Click on that link to read lots of 2014-2015 fun!!

________________

Other great St. Augustine sites…

St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra, Florida’s Historic Coast has the most up-to-date St. Augustine calendar, in my experience.

OldCity.com you can search their calendar by date, they include available tours- not just Christmas events- in St. Augustine.

Augustine.com also has a calendar feature that’s searchable.

I didn’t try to duplicate these sites’ calendars on this page- instead I posted some personal favorites & things our family wants to do this year.  For even more events, tours and the stuff that happens year round {like cannon firings, farmers markets, etc} go check out their calendars!

________________

Memories from past Nights of Lights in St. Augustine

 By now, I’m sure you can see Nights of Lights is a favorite time of year for our family every year!!  We love celebrating Christ’s birth and the hope He brings us today.  When I see all the brilliant lights, I’m reminded He’s the light of the world & to shine with His love – hopefully encouraging everyone I bump in to.

Here are a few holiday memories from Nights of Lights 2011 & St Augustine Nights of Lights 2012 (each title is a link):

Villa Zorayda Candlelight Tour

 Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley

 Santa’s Red Train

Timeless ways to celebrate Nights of Lights

A few must-do’s to celebrate this Christmas season & enjoy Nights of Lights to the max!

 Columbia Restaurant at Christmas

 Bed and Breakfast Tour, part 1

 Bed and Breakfast Tour, part 2

Bed and Breakfast Tour, part 3

Bed and Breakfast Tour, part 4

There’s always more to love here in St. Augustine!!  Want to know how to enjoy everything “the local way”?  Click here to receive our newsletter in your inbox!