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All is calm, all is bright. In some cases, really bright.

Here are seven of some of America’s most over-the-top holiday light displays.


St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights. Photo courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau.

St. Augustine, Florida: During Nights of Lights, the 450-year-old city illuminates its landmarks with white lights in a display that’s been called one of the world’s 10 best. The festivities include a bunch of special events, such as carriage and boat tours, outdoor concerts and more.

Blossoms of Light in Denver, Colorado

Blossoms of Light in Denver, Colorado | Flickr Creative Commons: Amy Aletheia Cahill

Denver, Colorado: Denver Botanic Gardens sets the scene for a classy holiday with Blossoms of Light. The flora becomes even more inviting when it’s illuminated with thousands of lights, including a spot named the Romantic Gardensfull of aromatic plants and plum trees. (Can you say marriage proposal spot?) There’s also live entertainment on select nights, and visitors can purchase 3-D HoloSpex glasses to enhance their view of the lights.

Tacky Lights Tour in Richmond, Virginia

Tacky Lights Tour in Richmond, Virginia | Flickr Creative Commons: Taber Andrew Bain

Richmond, Virginia: On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s annual list lovingly named the Tacky Lights Tour. Houses must have at least 40,000 lights to make the list; some are tasteful, some downright tacky. The newspaper alerts homeowners that they’ll be included, so when you embark on a self-guided tour of the eyesores, you’ll be laughing with them—not at them.

Glittering Lights | Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Glittering Lights | Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada: There are drive-through light shows… and then there’s Glittering Lights at Sin City’s Motor Speedway. Roll down your windows, turn up your windows and cruise around the 2.5-mile track that proves the Vegas Strip isn’t the only part of town that glistens.

Christmas in Los Angeles

Christmas in Los Angeles, California | Flickr Creative Commons: Loren Javier

Los Angeles, California: Come to see the stars, but stay to see the lights. Downtown L.A. Walking Tours offers a nightly Holiday Lights Tour showcasing how the City of Angeles celebrates the season. Stops include the Broad Museum, Grant Park with its illuminated fountain, Nutcracker Village at California Plaza and more.

CheapTickets-Clifton Mill-Ohio-Christmas-lights

The lights of Ohio’s Clifton Mill combine old-school technology with new-school glitz. Photo by Tina Lawson/Flickr Creative Commons.

Clifton Mill, Ohio: Millions of lights brighten up this 19th-century the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges. The decor includes a Santa Claus Museum, light show synchronized to music on the old covered bridge, 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights and more. Legendary Lights is located about 40 miles southwest of Columbus.


Everything’s bigger in Texas, even the holiday lights. Photo of Austin’s Trail of Lights by Mark Scott/Flickr Creative Commons.

Austin, Texas: The city’s Trail of Lights gets more elaborate every year. Zilker Park’s display now includes a 155-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree, ferris wheel and carousel. It’s one of the largest holiday events in Austin, with live performances, a lighted tunnel and more.

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Tagged: City, Family, Festivals, Florida, Holidays, L.A., Las Vegas, Seasonal

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Cheap-denver-hotel This week's travel deals include a cheap Denver hotel and cheap flights to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Cheap Denver hotel: Hotel Teatro is a boutique luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Denver. Named to Travel + Leisure's Top 500 Hotels in the World list, this four-star property doesn't feel like a cheap hotel — especially with touches like Frette linens and free Wi-Fi. But now you can save 35% on stays of three nights or more through July 7.

Cheap flights: American Airlines sale on Caribbean and Mexico flights makes it easy to plan a beach vacation. Sample fares include Los Angeles to Cozumel – $142; Boston to Cabo San Lucas – $300; Chicago to Puerto Vallarta – $210; New York to Cancun – $176. Cheap flights are valid for travel Monday through Thursday, through October 31. Sale ends June 16.

See these and more travel deals at our "Cheap of the Week" tab.

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Cheap denver hotels
By Kate Schwartz

Travel to Denver in February and experience seven days of culinary excellence. February 21-27 is Denver Restaurant Week, and this year, 198 of Denver’s finest restaurants are serving up a taste of mile-high cuisine. With multi-course dinners at a fixed price of $26.40 per person (not including tax and tip), you can eat 5-star meals without paying 5-star prices.

Plan your travel around Denver Restaurant Week and let food be your guide. Visit Denver’s “LoDo” neighborhood and try Corridor 44. For $26.50 you can begin with lemongrass seared diver scallop salad with fennel, ruby grapefruit and baby mâche; followed by “44” surf 'n turf plate with herb crusted filet mignon & grilled white shrimp; and if you have room, petite chocolate truffles. If you don’t feel like trying to catch a cab home, book a cheap Denver hotel room at the Hotel Teatro and enjoy a short two-block walk.

Travel to Denver’s Capital Hill neighborhood and check out Mizuna. For the same low price as Corridor 44, you can try the unique taste of this American-style, French infusion cuisine. Chefs at Mizuna are famous for altering their menu monthly to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients. For Denver Restaurant Week, the fixed-price dinner begins with chestnut cavatelli braised veal with wild mushrooms, and is followed by tilefish crispy calamari, jasmine rice and edamame with a Thai-lobster reduction. For desert, enjoy warm valrhona chocolate cake with macadamia nut brittle and malted ice cream.

From sushi to steak, Denver Restaurant Week is sure to please your palate. Pair a delicious meal with a cheap Denver hotel and create the perfect Denver vacation. February is right around the corner, so make sure to make your travel and restaurant reservations today.

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Kate Schwartz is a marketing coordinator for CheapTickets. When
she’s not searching for the best travel deals, she’s out taking
advantage of them!  From hiking the Rockies to lounging onthe beaches
of Barcelona, Kate is always looking for adventure.

Tagged: City, Events, Food & drink, FREE!