On the Bright Side

On the Bright Side: Close out 2020 with dazzling holiday lights
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Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum
Through January 10 » Asheville 

When faced with the challenge of how to keep a beloved tradition alive this year, The North Carolina Arboretum came up with a, well, brilliant idea: convert the annual Winter Lights into a drive-through show, complete with holiday tunes accessible via the radio dial. Lighting displays have been rethought and redesigned to be enjoyed from a vehicle. On this dreamy, mile-long drive through an enchanted forest, expect to see impressive nature-themed exhibits of winter wildlife and native butterflies, a special insect lantern array, and more. “The new format pushed us to think creatively about large-scale elements,” says Whitney Smith, marketing and public relations manager. “In a difficult year for many, we hope that Winter Lights will be an opportunity for families to enjoy the holiday season together, safely.” 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way; nightly, 5:30-10:30 p.m.; $25 presale per vehicle, $30 on-site if not sold out; (800) 514-3849; ncwinterlights.com

Festival of Lights at Chetola
Through January 31 » Blowing Rock

Chetola Resort is sparkling again this year, with even more lights than in the past. Take in the shimmering sights around Chetola Lake by car or on foot through Blowing Rock WinterFest weekend. The displays illuminate around 5 p.m. daily and remain on until late in the evening. 185 Chetola Lake Dr.; dusk-11 p.m.; free; (828) 295-5500; blowingrock.com and chetola.com

Waldensian Trail of Lights
Through December 24 » Valdese

The 11-acre Waldensian Trail of Faith outdoor museum shines with than 100,000 LED bulbs that are used to create luminous Christmas scenes telling the history of the Waldensian people. It takes volunteers an entire month to set up the spectacle. 401 Church St. NW; nightly, 6-9 p.m.; free; (828) 874-1893; waldensiantrailoffaith.org

Lights and Luminaries
December 4, 5, 11 & 12 » Dillsboro

On these Friday and Saturday evenings, the entire town of Dillsboro glistens and gleams with more than 2,000 candles. Shops and restaurants stay open until 9 p.m., and Santa will be there, too, taking gift requests—at a safe, six-foot distance, of course. Downtown; 5-9 p.m.; free; (828) 586-2155; visitdillsboro.org