The Galaxy of Lights is Huntsville, Alabama’s best and brightest holiday tradition. This incredible light extravaganza turns the Huntsville Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland with a trail lined by Christmas light displays. Find out everything you need to know about visiting the Galaxy of Lights here!
In the winter, hundreds of volunteers transform the Huntsville Botanical Garden, lining a trail with thousands of Christmas lights and unique displays.
Visiting the Galaxy of Lights is a holiday tradition for many Huntsville families, ours included. Even after 25 years, there’s still something new to enjoy every time we visit!
About the Galaxy of Lights
The Galaxy of Lights is an annual holiday tradition that takes place every November and December at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. The Garden is decked out with holiday lights and extravagant light displays to celebrate the holiday season.
This year’s Galaxy of Lights takes place from November 17, 2023 through December 31, 2023.
There are both Walking Nights and Driving Nights to allow you to enjoy the 2.5-mile-long lighting splendor. You’ll see light displays ranging from holiday characters to fairytales to your favorite animals (including dinosaurs).
The displays change a little each year, but you can usually expect to see traditional holiday scenes, scenes from popular Christmas songs, flowers and nature, dinosaurs, and lots and lots of rockets and space-themed lights, of course!
Driving through the Galaxy of Lights is the most popular way to experience the Galaxy of Lights. But you can also walk the lights (and with your furry friend on designated nights) or run and bike the lights on special race days.
Tune your radio to the special holiday music station (they’ll remind you what station at the gate) so you can jam along and learn about this year’s lights display, like how many strands of lights and bulbs make up the Galaxy.
Galaxy of Lights Dates and Times
The Galaxy of Lights takes place from November 17, 2023 through December 31, 2023.
Walking Nights take place November 17-26, 29, 30, and December 1-3 and 16-24 from 5:15 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. (closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). Dog Walking Nights take place every Monday and Tuesday during Walking Nights.
The Galaxy of Lights Driving Nights start December 4-15 and 26-31 from 5:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.
The Galaxy of Lights is open on Christmas Eve if you’re looking for your new holiday tradition.
Walking Nights admission costs $16 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-15 for pre-purchased tickets on non-peak nights; $20 for adults and $12 for children for pre-purchased tickets on peak nights; and $25 for adults and $15 for children when purchased at the gate on all nights.
Discounts are available for Garden member adult and child tickets, as well as Museums for All with EBT Card holders. Check their website for non-peak and peak dates.
Admission for dogs costs $5 on all Dog Walking Nights, whether pre-purchased or purchased at the gate.
Driving Nights admission costs $30 per car for pre-purchased tickets on all dates; tickets will cost $35 at the gate on non-peak nights and $40 at the gate on peak nights.
Tickets are good for one vehicle with up to 10 passengers; an additional charge of $3 per person will apply for more than 10 people.
Discounts are available for Garden members and on Mondays at the gate for military members with ID. Check their website for non-peak and peak dates.
Galaxy of Lights Driving Nights
Driving is everyone’s favorite way to seeing the lights. A drive through the lights with Christmas music playing is the best way to get into the holiday spirit. Tune in to 98.5 on your radio for a special playlist of your holiday music favorites along with fun facts about the award-winning light display.
It will take most people 30-45 minutes to drive through the entire light display, not counting the wait to get in. Depending on how quickly you drive and how crowded the event is, it can take you anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours for the entire process.
On weekends and the week of Christmas, you can expect a lot of traffic. These are the busiest times. If you want to avoid long lines, opt for visiting on a week night, early in the season, and close to when the lights open at 5:30 p.m.
The entrance to the Galaxy of Lights is off of Bob Wallace near I-565 on Phantom Road.
Restrooms are available at the beginning of the experience. Just notify the ticket booth operator and they’ll direct you to the restroom. There is no stopping or getting out of the car once you’ve entered the light display, so take this opportunity while you can!
Want to make the most of your admission fee? Grab a bunch of friends and pack them (safely) into the car! You can even bring a van, limo, or bus through! Driving Night tickets are good for one vehicle with up to 10 passengers. An additional charge of $3 per person will apply for more than 10 people.
Galaxy of Lights Walking Nights
Walking Nights feature an exclusive light experience that you won’t see on Driving Nights. You’ll walk along a special walking path filled with immersive experiences, bubble “snow”, special effects, and holiday music.
The path then opens up to the familiar Galaxy of Lights path. The main path is about 1 mile long with an additional 0.5 mile loop that you can take. The main path has holiday music playing throughout, but the additional loop had none; we played our own music on our phones since the Galaxy of Lights just isn’t the same without music!
Concessions are available in the middle of the experience, once you’ve exited the special walking path. There are sweet treats, hot chocolate for the kids and a version for the adults, as well as Chick-fil-A items for purchase on certain dates.
The paths are accessible for strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs. You will see a lot of strollers and wagons on Walking Nights. The special walking path easily becomes crowded with them, but once you’ve reached the regular Galaxy path it opens up and is much easier to navigate.
Galaxy of Lights Races
The Galaxy of Lights 5k Race and 3k Fun Run are a one-of-a-kind way to experience the displays. These races take place on November 28, 2022 at 6 p.m. and November 29, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. respectively.
The 5k is a timed race, but the 3k Fun Run will not be timed. The 5k will feature awards for the top Male and Female finishers in each age group. The 3k Fun Run will feature fun holiday music and drawings for prizes from Galaxy sponsors.
Galaxy of Lights FAQ
The Galaxy of Lights is located at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville, Alabama.
Depending on how fast you drive and how crowded the event is, your drive through the light display can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours. To get through the display quicker, opt for visiting early in the season, on a week night, and close to the opening time.
The radio station for the Galaxy of Lights driving nights is 98.5. Tune in for a special playlist of your holiday music favorites along with fun facts about the award-winning light display.
The Galaxy of Lights is a 2.5 mile long holiday light show.
Admission for Galaxy of Lights Driving Nights costs $30 per car for pre-purchased tickets on all dates; tickets will cost $35 at the gate on non-peak nights and $40 at the gate on peak nights.
Admission for Galaxy of Lights Walking Nights costs $16 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-15 for pre-purchased tickets on non-peak nights; $20 for adults and $12 for children for pre-purchased tickets on peak nights; and $25 for adults and $15 for children when purchased at the gate on all nights. Admission for dogs costs $5 on all Dog-Walking Nights.
Where to Stay in Huntsville, Alabama
Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Huntsville, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.
More Things To Do in Huntsville, Alabama
Just can’t get enough of the Rocket City? Check out these other things to do in Huntsville.
- Check Out This Christmas-Themed Popup Bar in Huntsville, Alabama
- How to Spend Christmas in Huntsville, Alabama
- Mother-Daughter Weekend in Huntsville, Alabama
Ready to visit Huntsville, Alabama? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Huntsville using Hotels.com.
- Get Familiar With the City: Check out my Ultimate Guide to Huntsville to help plan your trip!
- Finish Your Christmas Shopping: Still looking for the perfect gift for your travel-lover? Check out my comprehensive Gifts for Travelers gift guide.
Have you visited the Galaxy of Lights in Huntsville, Alabama? Let me know in the comments below!