The annual St. Augustine "Night of Lights" celebration (along the the start of the many festive activities that happen in this lovely town during the holidays). Each November - January, the "Nation's Oldest City" of St. Augustine becomes a must-stop trip for visitors far and wide. Besides having a beautiful city waterfront harbor, the city becomes even more beautiful with millions of little white lights adorning every building, storefront, palm and oak tree.
Continuing as a tradition now for about 15 years, the "Night of Lights" is advertised around the region months in advance and draws many visitors. The night which is especially exciting is the first night that the lights are switched on. This normally is accompanied by a performance of carols in the downtown plaza and a big announcement for the lighting of the tree which then in turn lights all the other buildings. Even some of the boats in the harbor get in on the fun and decorate as well.
As the parking fills up quickly all around town, the best thing is to get a spot EARLY, or if you're staying in downtown at a B&B or hotel, you probably will be guaranteed a spot with your lodging. Sometimes many people park on the Island side of the Bridge of Lions and walk over the bridge instead (which gives one of the best viewpoints nanyway for the lighting). As we live on the island, and normally ride our bikes from the beach to downtown because the parking gets so bad, we decided last year to do the same. Our itinerary filled up quickly and we ended up having an exciting, spontaneous night of activities! We met several people on the hill by the Castillo de San Marco Fort and had a picnic dinner with several thermos full of hot chocolate and apple cider. Next, it was on to walk through the masses of tourist on St. George Street to the downtown plaza which was full of vendors, a live Christmas band, and people, people, and more people. We waited until the countdown to when the lights all switched on - and listened to the "ooohhs" and "aahhhs" of the crowd.
If you can't make it to St. Augustine for the night of the initial lighting, don't worry, as long as you make it before the end of January, you'll see the lovely display nightly!