Magic of Lights Raleigh: A Dazzling Christmas Lights Show with a Little Bit Extra

The 2022 Holiday Season in Raleigh is kicking off with a dazzling drive through lights show at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, (3801 Rock Quarry Rd).

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
Entrance to Magic of Lights

This was our first time our family experienced the popular holiday lights show, called the Magic of Lights, which we had a special media preview before opening night.

We’re now writing this post to share it with you, which means we think it’s a great Holiday experience in Raleigh for 2022!

Since you only pay per-vehicle, it’s an affordable attraction. Of course, the bigger your car the better the value, so find a friend with a minivan and load up!

about the Magic of Lights

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
Giant Barbie

Magic of Lights, established in 2016 and produced by Family Entertainment Holdings, is an outdoor holiday light experience displayed at twenty one venues throughout the USA and Canada. 

Raleigh is the only location in North Carolina.

It’s a one-mile long drive through the parking area of the Walnut Creek music venue with light displays for your favorite holiday scenes and characters. 

It’s not just Christmas scenes, but also holiday displays for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and other random things like a larger-than-life Holiday Barbie, dinosaurs, and monster trucks. Younger kids will especially love it. 

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh

First, before you drive in, put your radio on to 98.3 to listen to Christmas music. We had ours tuned to our favorite Christmas spotify playlist, until we got to the Village and learned about 98.3.

That’s need to know information for when you get to the end of the drive (see below one of my favorite things of the Magic of Lights experience).

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
Giant elf

A giant lit up elf waves at you as you drive into Walnut Creek and begin the journey through the lights split into different themes such as Candy Cane Lane, the 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Night before Christmas, and the Prehistoric Christmas with life sized dinosaurs celebrating the season. 

I especially loved Santa ‘s sleigh being pulled by a team of Pterodactyls.

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh

Over one million LED lights are used to create the displays, with some of the scenes as high as 32 feet and several hundred feet long.

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
Enchanting Tunnel of Lights

I’m sure a favorite of many will be the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights, or Blizzard Tunnel – there are two of them – one where the lights kind of move in a wave, and the other which sparkles on and off. 

We hope you get to drive really slowly to appreciate it.

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
Singing head

My favorite though was the singing heads quite near to the end of the drive. This is where you need 98.3 – I’d hate for you to drive past those singing heads, not realizing what they are doing.

They are singing in sync to whatever Christmas song is playing on the radio when you drive by! So cool!

Watch the short clip below on our Instagram account:

Again, I hope you get time to drive slowly and appreciate it. If there is one thing the pandemic taught us all, it is that joy can be found in the simplest of things!

The Magic of Lights Holiday experience offers many little moments of joy! And of course, the other great thing about this holiday attraction is that it can all be done from the warm comfort of your car!

Until you step out… but don’t worry, there are s’mores and firepits ahead. 

The EXTRA Difference: The Elves’ Workshop

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
The Elves’ Workshop

At about three quarters of the way through the drive, you’ll come to a place where you can rest your legs and experience a little more magic than just the drive through lights. 

The Elves’ Workshop is a new addition to the Magic of Lights experience this year.

Stop by the gigantic Magic of Lights sign for a photo, before walking through a small tunnel of lights to enter which any Walnut Creek concert goers will recognize as the concourse area.

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh

This will be a gathering space with snacks and hot chocolate available – and the spicy kind for adults. There’ll be Christmas tunes playing, light up merch, and fire pits where you can roast s’mores.

Food and drinks are available for purchase – they are not included as part of the Magic of Lights ticket. But entry to the village is. 

We did not get to experience the Magical village in action – which will be opened for you – but we did get a sneak peak.

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh
Entrance to The Elves’ Workshop

We did learn all about it and it sounds like a lovely extra addition to a typical drive-through lights show, giving a more robust memory-making experience for families. 

We’ve done plenty of drive through holiday light experiences on our travels across the USA and we haven’t come across something like this yet. 

A few things to consider:

  • We didn’t know this, but you can turn off your headlights as you’re driving through. It will of course make the light show pop more vibrantly (we make the mistakes so you can avoid them and have a better experience)
  • Be aware that you will be sharing the drive with your Raleigh neighbors, so drive slowly and don’t tailgate anyone. 
  • You will want to take your time to see the different light displays, as will the people behind and in front of you, so pack your patience and sense of awe in the car as well!
  • As with any attraction in The USA, I always aim to be the early bird. This reduces any domino effect delays. You’ll want to arrive when it’s dark though to get the true vibrant light experience. So I’d aim for between 5:30 pm and 6pm. 
  • Weekends will be busiest so consider going during the week. 
  • Channel your inner road trip warrior to entertain yourselves in case of long waits and slow drives. I think the lights and Christmas music is enough, but best to be prepared!
  • The only restrooms available are once you get to the village.
  • Why not combine this experience with some other Holiday attractions? We visited the Dessertery at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts before this to fill up on Christmas sweet treats! 

Here is our list of things to do in Raleigh for Christmas.

Pop your name in the box below to get a free printable Holiday Bucket List PDF. Available to all members of our email community. 

Magic of Lights Ticket Price

Magic of Lights Christmas display, Raleigh

Event Tickets are $20 in advance when you purchase online, This price is available between Nov 2nd and Dec 8th. Tickets will be $25 at the gate. Pricing goes up to $25 after that and $30 at the gate. 

At the moment they have a $3 off code JINGLE. Get your tickets here.

That’s one price for one carload. So load em up…safely!! (Please follow all driving rules).

Watch our Video:

Magic of Lights Opening Hours

This festive holiday lights experience kicks off on November 18th and runs through to Dec. 30th. Gates open from 5:00pm-10:00pm. Note: that they are closed on Mondays in November!

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