Lights on the Lake in Syracuse, NY – A Finger Lakes Holiday Tradition

Nothing says Christmas to our family quite like holiday lights.  We love the bright displays, looking at reflections off the glistening snow, and admiring the work, effort and pride folks put into their shows.  Since moving to Rochester, NY, one of our favorite holiday traditions is visiting Lights on the Lake in nearby Syracuse.  The 23rd Annual Lights on the Lake display is now open, and we checked it out during a recent trip.  Continue reading for all the details and photos.

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Lights on the Lake, Syracuse, NY Photo by Scott Thomas http://viewsinfinitum.com/

Before we lived in Upstate New York, we drove from Vermont to Western Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with family.  We could see Lights on the Lake calling to us from the New York State Thruway.  Our eyes were drawn like moths to a flame, and we always wanted to stop and visit.

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Now that we’re semi-local, it’s become a yearly tradition for our family to see the light extravaganza.  Whether it was coming back from Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s in Ithaca, or driving over specifically from Rochester, we always made a point of visiting Lights on the Lake sometime during its Christmas run.

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Photo by Charles Wainwright © Wainwright Photography, courtesy Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

Lights on the Lake is a two-mile, drive-through exhibit on the shores of Onondaga Lake in the Liverpool suburb of Syracuse.  It’s open from 5pm to 10pm every night until January 6, 2013.  Keep in mind the display is very popular and can sometimes have a 60-90 minute wait to enter on the weekend.

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Photo by Charles Wainwright © Wainwright Photography, courtesy Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

During the drive, you see various scenes including a Victorian Village, Fantasy Forest, Wide World of Sports, Fairytale Magic, and even the Land of Oz.

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Land of Oz at Lights on the Lake, Syracuse, NY Photo by Scott Thomas http://viewsinfinitum.com/

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Land of Oz at Lights on the Lake, Syracuse, NY Photo by Scott Thomas http://viewsinfinitum.com/

 

Admission to Lights on the Lake is $10/car Monday – Thursday and $15/car Friday – Sunday.  Make sure you bring cash or a check for admission at the gate as credit cards are not accepted at this time.  On New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, the drive-through experience is closed for First Night CNY.  In addition to music, activities, inflatables, crafts, an “Orange Ball Drop” at midnight and fireworks, the event gives visitors the opportunity to walk through Lights on the Lake, savor the displays, and set up tripods to capture the great photos like those taken and shared here by Syracuse resident Scott Thomas of Views Infinitum.  Special thanks to Scott for sharing his wonderful photos of the event.

Lights on the Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Syracuse, NY

Lights on the Lake, Syracuse, NY Photo by Scott Thomas http://viewsinfinitum.com/

 

Have any of our readers been to visit Syracuse’s Lights on the Lake?  Do you have a favorite holiday activity or event in your home town?  Leave a comment below and let us know all about it.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

Disclosure: Complimentary admission to the 2012 Lights on the Lake was provided to Adventures by Daddy by the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau.  However, even if Syracuse didn’t host us for this event, I would have gone with the family anyway, and all opinions expressed are my own.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.