Christmas is too sparkly… said no one ever!
Amy P Photography – Birmingham Photographer
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these 3 things…A rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Maybe that’s why most trees come pe-lit now but twinkling Christmas lights are still a source of joy and fun for everyone around the holidays.
This isn’t quite the Clark Griswold edition but keep scrolling for some of our favorite places to check out exterior illuminations during this festive season:
- The Birmingham Race Course is home to Lights of Noel. This is Alabama’s largest drive-through animated light show. Open from 5-midnight every evening with ticket prices ranging from $25-$50 depending on vehicle type as well as day of the week. Check their website for specials also. We haven’t visited this one yet but it’s on our list of to do’s this season for sure.
- Wacky Tacky Light Tour hosted by Fresh Air Family is a fundraiser for a scholarship fund for their Gross Out Camp and what is more Chirstmasy than giving? This is a 2 hour bus tour Decemnber 13, 15, 20, and 22 that starts at Cahaba Brewing Company. Individual tickets for purchase or you can invite some friends and book a party bus to visit Santa’s Trailer Park, The Dueling Neighbors, or even Christmas Star Wars style.
- Glow Wild is back at the Birmingham Zoo and it is the best time. These are lantern displays featuring wild animals and sea life. It is so beautiful to see and the creativity on display is next level. You need at least 1 full hour to see every lantern/display. Tickets can be purchased through the zoo website directly.
- Vulcan’s Magical Nights opens this weekend at Vulcan Park and Museum and it’s full of good views, good food, good music, and phenomenal light displays. I suggest purchasing tickets online ahead of time but you can also purchase them at the park when you arrive.
- Wonderland Under Warrior at Rickwood Caverns is located in Warrior and they have a great setup, both outdoor as well as in the caves. Enjoy a hike down into the caverns to check out some of these beautifully done displays but there is a warning…Rumor has it that the Grinch lives here and if you make it all the way into the caverns he’ll grumpily pose for a picture with you and your fam before he makes you climb all the way back out to the Earths surface again. Such a good time. They also have a village for Santa and a cute little meet and greet photo op area. If you have mobility issues, I would advise against this one just because there are lots of narrow steps and passage ways down to the cavern and about a mile walk to the end before you are turned around to go back out. But fortunately there are so many good driving options as well.
- Christmas at the Falls is located at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden. With millions of lights set up all around the park everyone is sure to feel a little extra Christmas cheer while enjoying these displays and decorations. They even have several options for a train ride which is a little quicker but you need to buy your tickets online and pay close attention to your time slot. Yummy food available every night and there are a few evenings Santa makes a quick stop too.
- Galaxy of Lights is located at the Huntsville Botanical Garden making it a little bit of a drive but it’s so worth it. A full botanical garden full of nothing but flowers and Christmas Lights. It is spectacular and truly brings out the kiddo in me overtime we’ve been. Walking nights and driving nights are both options so be sure to check out their schedule. There are even certain nights when your 4 legged friends can get into the “howliday” spirit as well.
- Lights at Sportsman Lake in Cullman is another one on my ever growing list of to do’s this year. Millions of lights, trains, horse and carriage rides, snow machines, photo booths, hot chocolate, and so much more. I just informed my husband of this one and he didn’t even argue about it so it has to be good right?
A few neighborhoods worth mentioning:
- Peppertree in Trussville has their very on Santa’s House and sleigh for all of your viewing and photo op pleasure…Sometimes Santa is even there.
- Bama Lights located in Pinson on West Hill Road is a drive thru light display starting at 5 PM every evening weather permitted. If your feeling charitable, just know that the property owners do collect donations for charity here as well.
- Beech Hill subdivision in Mountain Brook is full of all things orange and blue for my Auburn fans and also pretty close to Spring Rock Road where the entire yard is covered with 100s of inflatables that you can walk through with your family. Both of these we just happened to stumble across last year but our kiddos have already asked if we can go back.
- Ross Bridge is perfection in every sense of the word. I could write for days about their decorations, lights, displays, etc but the bottom line is this…Go to Ross Bridge.
- The Preserve is as picturesque as they come. Lights adorn everything you see from houses to restaurants and the trees are spectacular. It doesn’t matter if you walk or drive, just go.
- Rushing Park in Hoover is home to my personal favorite family Christmas tradition. The Mellows have a house on the left once you pull into this neighborhood, and while I can’t tell you the exact address, just trust me when I say you’ll know it when you see it. We have made this a kiddo included date night for 8 years now and I look forward to it every year. Tune in your radio, cut your lights off, and enjoy the most wonderful light show.
- Warrior River Coffee Company – They have something on their menu for everyone from fruit smoothie bowls and teas to a menu for kids. I have 2 favorites here so you get to choose if you want hot or cold. If you want hot try the toffee and butter pecan latte. If cold brew is where it’s at for you then look no further than the campfire cold brew which is basically a smores in a cup and it’s even served with a real toasted marshmallow.
- Santos Coffee – With 4 locations currently open and more coming soon (rumor has it Gardendale is next on their list of expanding locations) you’ll understand why after your very first sip. My favorite beverage of choice from Santos is not necessarily a “Christmas flavor” but it’s full of sugar and spice and everything nice. Stop by any location and try the Snickerdoodle latte. It’s a delightful blend of cinnamon and white chocolate that will have you coming back for more. Bonus…It isn’t a seasonal drink so you can enjoy it anytime day or night, hot or iced, which is really just the icing on the sugar free bundt cake, also available at Santos. And in case you need another reason to visit Santos, I have just 2 words for you…Espresso Martinis. They’re the best in town.
- Karma’s Coffee House – This fun and funky spot sits right in the heart of downtown Cullman. My all time favorite drink to order is called the Kurt Cobean and it’s perfectly crafted with the right amounts of white chocolate, toffee nut, and an extra shot of espresso. We’re talking seasonal here though so it must be said that the gingerbread chai is even more delicious than it sounds. They are also featuring a sugar cookie latte, snickerdoodle latte, apple cider, winter cranberry latte, and in case you guys didn’t know how obsessed I was with gingerbread, they also have a white gingerbread latte. If you need me I’ll be at Karma’s trying all of these.
- O.Henry’s has 8 or 9 locations here in Alabama and I frequent them all. Not only do I love the atmosphere in each and every O. Henry’s but I love that whenever a new seasonally appropriate coffee is released, they pair it with a perfectly complimentary food of choice. I wait eagerly all year for the Christmas blend and it’s always worth the wait! Not only is it available in your favorite latte or coffee of choice but it’s also available to purchase as a bagged blend or K cup as well.
Amy P Photography
Birmingham Newborn & Family Photographer
My studio is located in Fultondale, Alabama (see the space)
firstname.lastname@example.org | 205.540.0224
Amy P Photography offers custom newborn portraiture to all Birmingham, and surrounding areas Maternity, Newborn and Family sessions are also available!
Bookings are limited per month, advanced scheduling is advised to guarantee your baby’s session.
Please contact me today for more information and to book your session!