Holiday Favorite: WRAL Nights of Lights at Dorothea Dix Park
Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 9am by visitRaleigh
Ready to brighten your holiday season? The WRAL Nights of Lights drive-thru light show is making its way back to Dorothea Dix Park for the third year in a row in Raleigh, N.C.! Brought to you by WRAL/Capitol Broadcasting Company in partnership with the City of Raleigh, this new jolly Raleigh holiday tradition dazzles, shines and lights up one of the area's most beautiful public parks. Here’s everything you need to know to take part. Plus, get the scoop below on what's new this year!
When is WRAL Nights of Lights? What are the days and hours?
WRAL Nights of Lights takes place in Raleigh at Dorothea Dix Park, Fri., Nov. 25, through Fri., Dec. 24. General admission tickets are available in 30-minute time blocks, starting at either 5:30pm or 6pm depending on the day. The last time block available for each day is 9:30pm.
Do I need a ticket to enjoy WRAL Nights of Lights? How much do they cost?
Tickets are required for entry to WRAL Nights of Lights, and visitors must purchase them online in advance. Admission prices are as follows:
- General admission for vehicles is $20 and $30 for Christmas week nights, Dec. 16-Dec. 24.
- Fast Lane tickets are $40 and $50 for Christmas week nights.
- For Bike Nights (Nov. 30 and Dec. 7), admission is $10 per bike. A family four-pack is available for $30.
Fast Lane tickets will allow vehicles to enter through a special entrance to access the park, reducing wait-time. Pro tip: Have your tickets pulled up on your phone in advance. Save tickets to your photos for easy access, and set your phone brightness to high for easy scanning.
What's new this year?
2022's event will feature new showstopper displays in five themed lands, including a 250-foot, animated tunnel that wraps up the route!
Plus, two new, exclusive packages are being offered (tickets are going fast!).
- Igloo Experience (SOLD OUT): Includes Fast Lane access, a 45-minute reservation in an igloo, a snack box provided by Inter-faith Food Shuttle's Spinning Plate and a carafe of hot chocolate or hot apple cider.
- Holiday Outpost ($60-70, depending on date selected): Includes Fast Lane access and a stop at the Holiday Outpost at All Faiths Chapel with a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, access to an official Holiday Outpost photo booth with keepsake prints and festive photo ops.
What can I expect when visiting WRAL Nights of Lights?
Towering oaks, rolling hills and open fields throughout the park will serve as the magical backdrop for a dazzling light show. Come marvel at illuminated trees, festive light displays and local art installations along a 1.3-mile route that’s sure to delight visitors of all ages. Best of all, you can enjoy the experience from the comfort, warmth and safety of your vehicle!
Can I only experience the light show via car?
You can choose to walk or run through the experience by entering the Nights of Lights 5K Fun Walk/Run presented by Runologie. Enjoy the view on foot with no car traffic to distract you on Sat., Nov. 19, starting at 6:30pm. Kids are invited to the free 400-meter, out-and-back Kid's Fun Run, starting at 6:15pm and wrapping up before the 5K.
If two wheels are more your speed, hop on your bike and cruise through on Bike Nights, happening Wed., Nov. 30, and Wed., Dec. 7. The bike route winds through the park and clocks in at 2.6 miles.
Visit WRAL Nights of Lights on Sat., Dec. 10, and make a canned food donation to Food Lion Feeds in support of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Bring five or more cans and receive a $20 Food Lion gift card (limit one per vehicle)!
What else do I need to know?
To secure a preferred date and time, be sure to order your tickets early. Plan for traffic and wait times. General admission ticket holders should expect to wait up to an hour, but the average should be 30 minutes or less. Fast Lane ticket holders should expect a wait of 5-10 minutes.
Guests should arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before their ticket time and enter the park on Hunt Dr. and Western Blvd. for general admission. Fast Lane ticket holders have a dedicated entrance into the event via Western Blvd. and S. Boylan Ave. Be sure to have your tickets pulled up on your mobile device for easy scanning. Remain in your vehicle at all times on the route.
Once exiting the ticketing lanes, turn off your headlights to fully enjoy the magic of the experience. Allow passengers to take photos and video, so drivers can stay alert and safe. As you exit the park, make sure your headlights are turned on.
- North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival-Cary, Nov. 18-Jan. 8, 2023
- Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting, Nov. 18
- Magic of Lights, Nov. 18-Dec. 30
- 78th Annual ABC11 Raleigh Christmas Parade, Nov. 19
- THE RINK presented by UNC Health at Red Hat Amphitheater, Nov. 19-Jan. 16, 2023
- Raleigh Little Theatre presents Cinderella, Dec. 2-18
- Wendell Wonderland, Dec. 2
- Holiday Pops with the North Carolina Symphony, Dec. 9-10
- Theatre In The Park presents A Christmas Carol, Dec. 9-11
- The Justice Theater Projects presents Black Nativity in Concert, Dec. 10
- Happy Holly Days Christmas Parade, Dec. 10
- 51st Annual Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour, Dec. 10-11
- North Carolina Master Chorale presents Joy of the Season, Dec. 13
- Raleigh Ringers Holiday Concerts, Dec. 17-18
- Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker, Dec. 17-24
Header photo courtesy of Dorothea Dix Park
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