How to Enjoy Nights of Lights AFTER Christmas

nightsoflights-after-christmasSimply St. Augustine posts contain affiliate links.

I love hearing from readers! I read and answer every question I receive. The most recent one was about #NightsOfLights and I get it so regularly I thought I’d respond in a post for everyone! Sabrina will be visiting in January and asks:

“I love St. Augustine but have never seen the lights. Are the lights in one area or all thru the town? … should we be prepared to walk or take a tour? Thanks for the help.” ~Sabrina

St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights adorn the city until January 31, 2016. Visiting after the busyness of Christmas and New Years Eve is a totally different Nights of Lights experience! Quiet and romantic, it’s my favorite time to take in the millions of white lights and our temperate January weather.

To answer Sabrina’s questions {& a few others I’m asked regularly}:

  • Are the lights in one area? Nights of Lights encompasses all of the Historic District. This area is walkable but stretches over multiple blocks- a great opportunity for an evening stroll. Start or end in the Plaza de la Constitution at the foot of the Bridge of Lions and include some time along the bayfront as well to take in the best of the lights! Other highlights include the Lightner Museum (in the photo above) and St. George Street, Hypolita Street… oh, just walk all over town. 😉
  • Where should I park to see St Augustine’s Lights?  The easiest parking is in the Garage. If you’re a local or a regular visitor, buy a Park Now Card for discounted parking in the garage and at all the meters. Now that we’re in the New Year, the crowds are light and you are very likely to be able to score a parallel spot at a meter- free in the evenings.
  • How long does Nights of Lights last? This year, we’re keeping the lights on ’til 1/31/2016. They come on at dusk nightly.
  • How much is it? Nights of Lights is St. Augustine’s gift to locals & visitors! The only cost associated is if you choose to take a tour.

Walking vs. Paying for a Tour… I say do both! Strolling the streets after the crowds have dissipated is one of our family’s favorite things to do in town.

  • Walking: There’s nothing like a chilly night, a hot cup of Kookaburra Coffee and taking in the lights to make for an affordable but memorable date night.
  • PediCab: Last year, I was 9+ months pregnant so we found a great alternative… the PediCab! Hop aboard for a fun, affordable, personalized tour.
  • Carriage Ride: Horse drawn carriage rides are a fun option you can’t find in most towns. We always climb aboard a Southern Carriage buggy. This is a fun option for a group or a whole family as well!
  • Trolley Rides: Old Town Trolley is continuing their Holly Jolly Trolley Tours every weekend through the end of NoL with the last being 1/30. {2016: January 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. Continuous departures from 6-8 pm.} Personally, I’d save this for before Christmas next year. But the holiday vision glasses they give you make everything extra-sparkly and it’s a fun overall experience… this is a great option if you have older friends or family members in your party.
  • Tasting Tours: The Tasting Tours Nights of Lights Tour is a horse-drawn carriage ride + a bottle of wine and leaves from their adorable Cuna Street wine bar. Check for availability and make reservations- they stay pretty busy!
  • The Gold Tour: Mr. Gold himself will take you on a tour of St. Augustine in his electric cart. He has a brilliant {and authentic} British accent so the 45 minute tour is guaranteed to be pleasant! These tours are small and much quieter than the trolley rides! $100 for up to 6 people. Another great option for parties with folks who can’t do a lot of walking!

In summary, Nights of Lights is just as magical this time of year as it is before Christmas. The lighter crowds {none during the week} mean you can enjoy easy parking, no lines at dinner and peaceful strolls on moonlit nights right in the center of one of the 10 best light displays in the entire world! You’ll likely leave feeling like you just discovered St. Augustine’s best kept secret- Nights of Lights after the crowds leave. And you will be right.

Comments

  1. Kelley says

    I actually have a question. I want my 6 year old granddaughter to experience the festivities in St Augustine this year. I am trying to find out if the tour I believe it’s a VIP no waiting tour which includes a carousel ride will be taking place this Friday, Christmas night.

    • says

      Kelley- I believe you’re thinking of Ripley’s Red Train! They offer VIP lines. Last year, they had a carousel but this year it will be a s’mores pit, balloon animals and stories with Mrs. Claus! ~Allie O.

  2. says

    Love the Nights of Lights even more so this year since the United States Putting Association – USPA will be having its first Mini Golf Sport National “Open” Championship at Adventure Landing Family Entertainment Center SR 16 & I-95, St. Augustine, Florida USA December 16th,17th & 18th, 2016 and will be shot for TV by PGA Tour Entertainment headquartered at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida USA.

    • says

      That sounds like quite an event! Glad St. Augustine has the opportunity to host it! Stay in touch! ~Allie O

  3. Lauren says

    have any details on the free park n’ ride in town? running times? drop off location? last ride of the night? how often it comes to each location and leaves downtown again? Thinking of using it new years eve 🙂 thanks!

  4. says

    Gold Tours thanks you for the commendation but our price is $100 for up to six people this year and we are heavily booked.

    • says

      I’ve updated the post with this info, Mr. Gold! Thanks ~Allie O.

  5. Patty Butterfield says

    Hi Allie! I love your posts and read all of them but I’m hoping you can help with my dilemma: We are coming to town Jan 21-28, 2017 and I have no idea what to pack for clothes, weather=wise! Capris and long-sleeved tops? Sleeveless with a sweater and shorts? Flip-flops or all closed-toe shoes? Windbreaker or parka? Umbrella? Bathingsuit? I’ve read that the temps go from 67 down to 30 overnight but I don’t know what that means for clothes! Thank you!

    • says

      Patty- your question is every Floridian’s question this time of year! We never know exactly what the weather will be like during Jan & Feb. We TYPICALLY have very cold weather around the time of month you mentioned. But this is a pretty warm winter so I don’t know what to tell you.

      Where are you visiting from? That would help me answer your question. Cold to Floridians is different than cold to someone from North Dakota. LOL! You will not need a bathing suit. I’d pack jeans, long sleeved shirts, a Florida jacket (cute but not overly warm) and a scarf or two. Throw in a couple of cute layering Ts so if it’s cold you can double up and if it’s hot you can just wear the T!

      Regarding shoes, I’m in a light skirt, t & ballet flats today but it’s 73* now.

      Hope that helps! Feel free to pop over to our facebook group as you’re packing and ask again when it’s closer! ~Allie O

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