Each year, historic St. Augustine is awash with a sea of twinkling lights, millions of them from the streets to the rooftops. National Geographic has even listed it among the top ten holiday light displays in the world.

The 26thAnnual Nights of Lights begins this Saturday, November 23, and continues nightly through February 2, 2020. The first night, aptly named Light-Up Night, is sure to attract a huge crowd with live holiday music in the Plaza de la Constitución and an elaborate lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

Since its such a big deal, it’s a huge draw for tourists and locals alike. So, we’ve pinpointed some of the best ways to see the Nights of Lights without all the stress of weaving through crowds.

1.) Head across the water -The Bridge of Lions (by itself one of the historic district’s most beautiful sights) is a great place to get a panoramic view of the lights. Park on the other side of the bridge (near Edgewater Inn or Marker 8 Hotel) and enjoy the great photo opportunities as you take a relaxing stroll over the bridge into the historic district.

2.) Hop aboard a trolley -If you have young kids or older family members who may find the excessive walking a challenge, opt for a trolley ride. Skip the line by reserving online, which is easy at most trolley companies like Old Town Trolleyor Ripley’s Big Red Christmas Train Nights of Lights Tour.

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St. Augustine’s signature nautical event, Regatta of Lights, will set sail this Saturday, December 8. The parade will kick off at 6 p.m. and be viewable from anywhere along Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and the Castillo de San Marcos (“the fort”).

 

Find a cozy spot along the bayfront (or grab a seat at a waterfront eatery like Harry’s Seafood or A1A Ale Works) and take in the show of brilliantly festooned boats of every shape and size. Personal fishing boats, yachts, commercial shrimping boats, sailboats—spectators will be treated to a bevy of decorated vessels. Participating boats will make two laps around the bay so don’t worry if you miss the first pass!

 

This is the 38thyear of the annual parade. According to event host St. Augustine Yacht Club, the Regatta of Lights “reflects the maritime roots and rich nautical heritage of St. Augustine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening caps off with awards for best theme, most colorful, best in class and best overall (award winners will be posted on St. Augustine Yacht Club’s Facebook page).

 

Regatta of Lights accompanies St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, the award-winning holiday lights display currently illuminating historic downtown. Nights of Lights runs until February 3, 2019.

 

For more information on the Regatta of Lights, call (904) 824-9725 or visit here.

 
 
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