The festive Nights of Lights honor the Spanish tradition of placing white candles in windows to welcome guests throughout the Christmas season. You can enjoy making your own pilgrimage around the city lights, or take a guided tour to be sure you see all the highlights. Nights of Lights tours offer many different options, from walking tours to carriage rides to sailing along the shoreline. Some tours are offered nightly, while others are weekends only or on special nights. Here are a few of these special tours:
Nights of Lights Historic Walking Tour includes historical and cultural traditions associated with the Nights of Lights as well as highlighting the spectacular lighting displays. The hour and a half walking tour departs at 6:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and includes hot chocolate (or ice cream on warm nights). Cost: $20, Advance registration required.
For guests who would rather enjoy some bars and taverns among the lights, St. Augustine Historic Walking Tours offers their Nights of Lights Pub Crawl. The tour highlights the history of the holidays in St. Augustine, and guides guests among the lighted streets with stops at several pubs. The two and a half to three hour tour departs at 5:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Cost: Adults ages 21+, $44.00.
Guests also can choose to enjoy the Nights of Lights on a Wine and Carriage Ride or Rockin’ Red Roadster Ride. Tasting Tours offers these tours, lasting about 45 minutes, nightly during the festival. Wine and Carriage Rides include both group tours (up to 12 people) and private tours (2 – 4 people). Both tours include a bottle of wine and souvenir glasses. Cost: Adults $49 (21 years+) for the Group Tour; Private Tour $159 for two; $229 for four. The Rockin’ Red Roadster Rides are a family-friendly alternative with holiday music and sometimes the Grinch in the driver’s seat. Cost: Adults $25, children under 12, $15. Visit the website for reservations.
Ripley’s Red Trains Nights of Lights Tour specialize in “lightseeing” tours, where guests can use 3-D glasses to see unique effects from the millions of lights. Nightly tours are offered November 18, 2018, to January 6, 2019, and then on Fridays and Saturdays only from January 11 to 26, 2019. Hours: 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Sundays through Thursdays and 6:00 – 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Cost: Adults, $12, kids $6. VIP reserved seat tickets ($15 and $6) are available Fridays and Saturdays only. Friday and Saturday evenings from Thanksgiving through Christmas, Ripley’s also hosts a free Christmas party on the grounds of the Believe It or Not! Museum with holiday movies, live entertainment, and a giant marshmallow pit.
Old Town Trolley offers its 30 minute Nights of Lights tour from November 18, 2018 to January 31, 2019. Tours depart several times each hour between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm each evening. No reservations are accepted. Their Fast Track Pass, available at limited times, offers guests the option of a reserved tour time and priority check-in. Cost for General Admission tours: Adults: $14, children 3-12: $6. Fast Track Pass: Adults: $17, children 3-12: $9.
In addition to these tours, many other Nights of Lights tours are offered, including ones to see the lights from the water including night sails and cruises (often limited to adults), or from the air in a bi-plane or helicopter.
Nights of Lights create a special magic during the holiday season in Saint Augustine. National Geographic named it as one of the top ten cities in the world for holiday lighting displays.To create your own magical memories this year, just give us a call at (904) 824-3555, or go online to reserve your stay at our bed and breakfast in the heart of the historic district. It’s the perfect place to stay for Nights of Lights!
Photos by Brigitte Thom and KT Photography on UnSplash