NYC Traveler in NYC: Light Shows

March 24, 2021

NYC Light Shows: 

Not For Holiday Times Only

(Watch them year round on our YouTube Channel)


Having done the holiday light show circuit in NYC, I can honestly say that the "holiday" light shows in NYC are not for holiday times only. Change the music, and take away the Christmas trees, and the light shows could truly be year round. Plus, the bonus is that they are relaxing as well. But then, they wouldn't be special.

Many people experience a letdown after New Year's Day. These shows continue into January so that you can ease into winter and extend that holiday feel. Check them out. Save some dollars and buy your tickets in advance so that you have a "trip" to do.



1. Luminocity, Randalls Island. This lantern show is run by a company that might have shows in other cities, so this is not a NYC exclusive. But the expansiveness of Randall's Island along with local food trucks adds in a NYC feel you won't get anywhere else. According to the website, Luminocity is inspired by the ancient art of Chinese lanterns. The display includes plants and animals that invite your to walk through a story of mystique and fantasy. 

Luminocity, Full Show

Luminocity Highlights


2. The New York Botanical Garden, Glow. At first, it does not seem much. But, bear in mind a couple of factors. First, the show goes on regardless of normal weather. So, if it has snowed, you are literally in a winter wonderland. But if it has not, the garden is still "alive" with evergreens and other flora that makes the garden look green in winter. There are colored lights on the trees to add to the "Glow." Add in outdoor cafes with goodies to eat and drink, ice sculptures and live music and you may forget if it is really cold. Plus, you get an exercise bonus if you walk the entire route. The train show, below, is a separate fee, but they may run concurrently. So what is Glow? A light show placed throughout select spots in the garden. You might see a Hip-Hop version of the Nutcracker, since Hip-Hop was born in the Bronx. See our YouTube Channel for our firsthand experience. 

Glow, Full Show

Glow, Virtual Walkthrough, Evening Workout


Train Show

3. New York Botanical Garden, Train Show. Imagine taking bark, twigs, sticks and ferns and recreating major landmarks in and around New York City. Add in model trains and you have one of the most popular NYC traditions in November, December and January. You have to see it to experience the wow factor. Since the Train Show is at the same time as Glow, you can also see the Ice Sculpture, have special treats in the cafes and hear live music (if you get there at dusk or evening). Each event is a separate fee. NYC Traveler tip: you might see the Glow exhibits from outside of their areas while walking to the Train Show.

Train Show, Full Experience

Holiday Lights

4. The Bronx Zoo, Holiday Lights. The Zoo is open all year round. By day, the real animals are on display (might be limited in winter). But late November to early January, the animals transform into lanterns. Well, sort of. Along with the lights and lanterns of the animals, there are performances, character greetings, puppet shows, ice sculptures, Christmas tree synchronized music shows, indoor displays and separate areas representing the continents as well as treats sold in some of the cafes. 

Holiday Lights: Full Tour

Holiday Lights: Highlights


For more holiday events (posted year round), view out Holiday Playlist on our YouTube Channel.

What to do in NYC? Click the link and find out!


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This review is my personal opinion. I have Booking links.