St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city, is just a short drive away from metro Jacksonville. With a true sense of history throughout the city thanks to historical architecture, brick-lined roads and a history that stretches back 450 years, seeking out the Christmastime events and displays in St. Augustine is something locals and visitors are always excited for each December. From the gorgeous Nights of Lights that stretches from November through January, to special tours scattered throughout the city, the holiday season is one of St. Augustine’s most magical times of year.
St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights event, going into its 27th year, has become well-known throughout the country. Slated as one of the top 10 holiday light displays by National Geographic, Nights of Lights brings three million sparking white lights to the nation’s oldest city. The event is free of charge, and the lights will be on every night from Nov. 14 to Jan. 31 of next year. Walking through the city at night is one of the best ways to catch sight of the magical white lights that blanket palm trees and ancient oaks, historic buildings and national landmarks. Check out a train or trolley tour to see everything (and save your feet for shopping at the St. Augustine Outlet Mall).
Want to take some incredible holiday photos while you visit St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights? Stop by the Plaza de la Constitución for a selfie in front of the Christmas tree. If you’re there on a weekend, take in a live music performance. To see a stunning view of the whole sparkling historic city, walk halfway across the Bridge of Lions and turn around. You won’t regret it!
Held every year in early December, the St. Augustine Christmas Parade is a favorite among locals and visitors. Starting at the Mission of Nombre de Dios, the parade rolls through St. Augustine featuring floats and carriages adorned with lights, decorations and other holiday spirit! Ending at the St. Augustine Visitor’s Center, the floats and lights offer up plenty of excellent places to watch from as well as the potential for some great photos. Keep the date in mind for this year’s parade on December 5, 2020.
Agustin Inn (found at 29 Cuna Street St. Augustine, FL) is one of the most romantic hotels in the city. Nestled right in the middle of the historic district where visitors will be able to see Night of Lights every evening during their stay, Agustin Inn has a host of amenities and special packages available. A private garden offers seating outside where you can enjoy the city nightlify and different packages offered range from a “Welcome Back” option, “Birthday Bash” option, to more romantic options!
An annual holiday parade hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club, the Holiday Regatta of Lights is completely water-based. Owners of sailboats, shrimp boats and trawlers adorn their sea vessels with fantastic light displays. As they sail down Matanzas Bay, passing under the historic Bridge of Lions and right by the Castillo de San Marcos, the parade brings seafaring holiday spirit right to the historic district. Reflecting the nautical heritage of the Oldest City, this parade starts at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2020.
With a plethora of parades and light displays to go around in St. Augustine, there’s a wide variety of holiday events and displays to see. From booking a stay in one of the many inns and hotels that are in the center of the city for your visit to taking a night walk through the beautifully lit city, you’ll find plenty of Christmas spirit nestled in St. Augustine. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or a night out on the town, St. Augustine has you covered.