Holiday light displays are aplenty in the City of Oaks, especially downtown where the Downtown Raleigh Alliance's Illuminate Art Walk, presented by Wake Tech, has transformed plazas, storefronts and other public spaces with large-scale, interactive, light-based art pieces. Read on about this exciting seasonal event—on display through Jan. 14, 2023—via press release content below, and see the rest of the Raleigh area's biggest holiday events here!

For a third year, Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) has lit up downtown Raleigh with Illuminate Art Walk, presented by Wake Tech! DRA commissioned more than 10 pieces from local, regional and international artists in an effort to create an eclectic, creative and inspiring holiday light experience. The majority of the pieces are located in the Fayetteville Street district with several along Glenwood South, all shining nightly through Jan. 14, 2023.

A highlight of this year's event is Sonic Runway, a light-art installation created by Rob Jensen and Warren Trezevant that converts audio signals into patterns of light that shoot down a long corridor of 20 LED-lined arches at the speed of sound. The tour production team is Creos and the installation is owned by Zamboom, LLC.

At the front of Sonic Runway, walkers see musical sound waves rippling away from them. Walking down the corridor, sound and light are always in sync. And looking back from the far end, walkers can see the sound waves coming at them and hear the music as the pattern reaches them. The installation can be found on S. Salisbury St. directly across from the Raleigh Convention Center.

"We are thrilled for the return of Illuminate to downtown Raleigh. This is an artistic city, full of creative people, and it’s the perfect place to bring a walkable light show that sparks imaginations," said Bill King, president and CEO of DRA. "We are grateful for Wake Tech, whose presenting sponsorship not only makes Illuminate possible this year, it brings energy and life to the project. Whether you’re sipping and strolling, shopping, dining or looking for something free to do with a family, Illuminate is essential to the holidays in downtown Raleigh."

"Small businesses and a thriving downtown are vital to Raleigh, and Illuminate Art Walk is a spectacular addition during the holiday season," said Wake Tech president Dr. Scott Ralls. "We are excited to partner with the DRA for a second year on this interactive, light-based, family-friendly art experience."

"Raleigh Arts is proud to partner with the DRA for the third annual Illuminate Art Walk. Illuminate is an innovative and creative program that invites visitors downtown to experience light-based public art and explore downtown in the evening during the winter season," said Sarah Powers, executive director, Office of Raleigh Arts at City of Raleigh. "The Illuminate Art Walk also supports local, regional and international artists by commissioning, installing and promoting their work to new audiences."

Illuminate Art Walk is free, self-guided and walkable. An interactive map and more information can be found at

Pro tip! Most of the installations are inside the Sip N’ Stroll Downtown social district, so you can enjoy a drink from a participating business while out and about exploring Illuminate.

More holiday light displays in Raleigh, N.C.

  • WRAL Nights of Lights at Dorothea Dix Park, through Dec. 24
  • Christmas Lights on Holt Rd., through Dec. 26
  • Magic of Lights, through Dec. 30
  • Lake Myra Christmas Lights, through Dec. 31
  • Piper Lights, through Jan. 1, 2023
  • North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival-Cary, through Jan. 8, 2023
  • THE RINK presented by UNC Health at Red Hat Amphitheater, through Jan. 16, 2023

Header photos via Downtown Raleigh Alliance

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