St. Augustine Nights of Lights 2017

Nights of Lights 2017 is here and we couldn’t be more excited!

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Night of Illumination
November 18th (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. If you’re taking kiddos, read my 10 Ways to Enjoy Light-up Night Without Getting Lost in the Crowd… but everyone needs this tip: arrive early!

Black Friday Hours at St. Augustine Outlets
If you live for Black Friday, 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
When I was a kid, I loved arts & crafts festivals. St. Augustine has a long-running festival featuring 150+ Artists. This Thanksgiving-weekend tradition is located at Francis Field next to the visitor’s center in the Uptown Arts district. $1 donation gets you in & supports the St. Augustine Art Association programs. Nov 26 & 27, 2016, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4:30pm

All Season Long…

Old Town Trolley’s Nights of Lights Trolley
Holly Jolly Trolleys
run nightly from November 20 through January 2, 2017. Additionally, it runs January 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28. Explore St. Augustine’s famous Nights of Lights in the cozy comfort of the Holly Jolly Trolley and don’t forget the fun glasses that turn Christmas lights into snowmen, candy canes or stars! They are so fun!! Trolleys depart every 15 minutes from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Adult tickets: $12.99, Child ages 6-12: $5.99 

Ripley’s Christmas Tour Train
Ripley’s Big Red Christmas Train
is a great way to turn a Christmas light ride into a memory-making experience! The train runs nightly from November 20 through January 5 except December 14 & 25 but the real magic happens on Friday and Saturday nights while you’re waiting for your turn to ride the train. This year’s Christmas Magic includes stories with Mrs. Claus, Sparky’s amazing balloon creations and a family-safe s’mores pit!

This is our favorite St. Augustine Holiday Tradition- we’ve been going for years! The kids love the magical viewing glasses that make lights extra-twinkley. Adult tickets are $10.99, Child (3-11) $5.99 VIP tickets allow you to skip to the front of the line… $14 for adults & $7 for kids. WORTH IT!

Tasting Tours Wine & Lights Carriage Ride
Lights, Carriage and Holiday ‘Cheer’ are promised when you 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 – you get to choose red or white.  {Read my Tasting Tours of St. Augustine Review}

A December to Remember at the Amphitheatre
The amphitheater 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! Details & 2016 dates to be announced

Sunset +Christmas Lights 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 pm and return at 6:15 pm. The $45 charge includes soda, water, beer and wine. Reservations: 904-810-1010

#NightsOfLights Boat Tours
From November 19th to January 31st, St. Augustine glows with holiday magic from the ground to the rooftops. One by one, tiny white lights make the oldest city twinkle in the night. Children 3 and up are welcome at the 6:00 launch. Adults only for the 7:45 and 9:30 cruises- BYO beverages! For a limited time, use the code HOLIDAYS at checkout for a 50% discount on Nights of Lights Cruises!


Annual Reindeer Run
December 3 at 9:55 am – just before the Christmas parade! The entire family can join in on this one-mile run along the St. Augustine Christmas Parade route just before the parade begins. It’s sure to bolster your Christmas Spirit and stamina as you run past cheering crowds then catch your breath as the parade rolls in. Race start is on Castillo Drive near Ripley’s. $10 entry fee. More info: 904-669-0107

Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade
December 3rd at 9 am Locals converge downtown with floats, marching bands, horses and the arrival of Santa. This parade starts at the Mission of Nombre de Dios and continues through downtown, ending behind the Visitor’s Information Center. Traffic will be interrupted but it’s worth it for this fun family event!

Colonial Night Watch
December 3rd Watch history come to life! This event will be Colonial in nature representing a period from 1739 to 1785. Living history displays will take place from 9am-4pm. The colonial watchnight parade begins at 7pm!

Garden Homes of St. Augustine Christmas Tour of Homes
Sunday, December 4th 12 – 5pm 48th Annual Garden Club of St. Augustine Christmas Tour of Homes! A walking tour of six homes will be featured plus tea and boutique at Trinity Episcopal Church. Tickets are $25 & sales are already open. This event always sells out! Buy your tickets early!

St. Augustine Lighthouse Luminary Night
December 7th from 7-9pm, admission to the St. Augustine Lighthouse grounds is free! Enjoy Christmas music, cider & a view of the city from the top of the lighthouse! My kids will often climb twice in one visit- that means an easy bedtime routine so I’ll definitely be there!!!

Santa Suits On The Loose 5k
Dec. 10, 2016 at St Augustine Beach Pier & only $30 to register ($35 day of race). Put on your best Santa suit and tie on your running shoes to run/walk for St. Augustine Youth Services. Guaranteed good time!

Holiday Regatta of Lights
December 10, head to the St. Augustine Bayfront early or dine upstairs at Harry’s, A1A or Meehans for a great view of the Boat Parade! 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

20th Annual Holiday Tour of Bed & Breakfast Inns
View 24 beautifully decorated Bed & Breakfast Inns and sample some of St. Augustine’s best Eats by local restaurants! December 12 & 13, 2015, 1-5 pm each day. Tickets sell out every year- you can purchase yours now! $30 admission for both days.

Las Posadas del Viejo San Augustin
December 17: A 400-year-old colonial Hispanic Christmas tradition is continued in historic St. Augustine. This night-time, torch-lit procession through the Oldest City is for children of all ages, re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodgings (Spanish: “posadas”) in Bethlehem on the first Christmas Eve. 7:00 – 9:00 pm St. George Street

The Nutcracker Ballet
December 17-18 at the Lewis Theater downtown. This Christmastime staple is a don’t miss event featuring a local and international cast. Tickets range from $25 – $30. Shows at 2:00 & 7:30 both days.

Navidad en el Viejo San Agustín
2016 date to be announced. 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 loved it the year we went & hope it’s running again this year!! I’ll update this as soon as I hear anything.

New Year’s Eve Beach Blast Off
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, live music and St Augustine New Year’s fireworks at 8:30pm!


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

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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 2015-2016 fun!!


Other great St. Augustine sites…

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!