There’s nothing like a festive array of twinkling Christmas light displays to get you in the holiday spirit. And when you combine the 600 illuminated, animated light shows at Hershey Sweet Lights with a town like Hershey, Pennsylvania, it adds up to a winning weekend getaway.

Christmas light displays at Hershey, PA

Christmas light displays in Hershey, PA
Credit: Shannon Entin / Roadschooling TravelingMom

The Sweetest Christmas Light Displays

Hershey calls itself the sweetest place on earth with good reason. As soon as we turned onto Chocolate Avenue, we rolled down our windows to breathe in the smell of chocolate that permeates the town. Hershey Sweet Lights drive-through Christmas light displays are just a couple minutes drive from the downtown area.

Setting the Holiday Mood

Upon arrival, you have the option to buy kettle corn and drinks, but we had already packed our own hot chocolate in travel mugs to set the mood. My kids were given special glasses, like the paper 3D glasses you get with movies, that produced a snowflake effect on some of the lights. But they also made regular car headlights look like they were surrounded by rainbow snowflakes. My daughter wore her glasses for the rest of the night, oohing and aahing happily.

We tuned the radio to the designated station to enjoy holiday music during our drive through, and giggled over the dated Christmas music being played. I certainly enjoyed singing along with Gene Autry’s original “Frosty the Snowman,” but the kids snickered and rolled their eyes. Still, I got them to sing along when Jingle Bells came on.

Christmas light displays at Hershey Sweet Lights in Pennsylvania

Over 600 Christmas light displays in Hershey, PA
Credit: Shannon Entin / Roadschooling TravelingMom

Two Miles of Festive Christmas Light Displays

The light displays were cheery and varied. The first section was traditional Christmas displays – wreaths, sleighs, Santa, reindeer, candy canes, and more. “Find Rudolph” was a recurring theme and you could periodically find the red-nosed reindeer popping out from behind a tree. Younger kids would love this scavenger-hunt idea. My kids loved the 12 Days of Christmas display. This is one song we always have fun singing, so it was lots of fun seeing it brought to life in lights with 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, and so on.

Holiday light displays at Hershey Sweet Lights in Pennsylvania

Light displays for all to enjoy.
Credit: Shannon Entin / Roadschooling TravelingMom

The next section of the two-mile drive was the Enchanted Forest where many of our favorite stories were showcased in dancing lights. It was a game trying to figure out what story was being portrayed. We saw the Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, Rapunzel, and more. Finally, the Victorian Village section rounded out our drive-thru. My daughter keenly observed that the scenes “looked like something out of that Scrooge movie.” As a homeschooling mom, I appreciated these subtle ways to weave in their reading and learning with holiday fun.

Christmas light displays at Hershey Sweet Lights in Pennsylvania

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Credit: Shannon Entin / Roadschooling TravelingMom

More to Do in Hershey for the Holidays

Hershey Sweet Lights is open every night between mid-November and January 1st and the cost is about $20 per car. And there’s a lot more to do during a holiday weekend in Hershey. I highly recommend the Hershey Lodge, where weekends are filled with Hershey character appearances, crafts, and frosty family bingo. They also offer “A Chocolate Avenue Christmas” – an elegant Christmas dinner and dessert followed by a theater production – on select dates in December. Hersheypark amusement park is open Fridays through Sundays with limited rides and even more lights. And there’s Hershey’s Chocolate World which offers lots and lots and lots of opportunities to taste, create, learn about, and buy chocolate. Just be sure you come hungry!

For more holiday lights displays, check out these lists of 2014 Holiday Lights Displays