Winter Lantern Festival in New York

Lighted giraffe and temple on the grounds of Snug Harbor
NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor
It might suprise some New Yorkers to learn that the must-see family event of the 2018 holiday season is in a charming neighborhood of Staten Island called Livingston.

Seven acres of the reknowned Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden have exploded into a spectacular fantasyland of dragons and fairies and sea creatures. From November 28 through January 6 The NYC Winter Lantern Festival is the crown jewel of the New York season.

Lighted by 40 LED installations, some up to 30 feet tall, the production literally glows with Panda Bears, Pagodas, and landscaped fantasies.
Giant lanterns grace the grounds of Snug Harbor
In addition to the eye-popping lighted architecture and animals, some of which have animated movement, there are cultural performances nightly, food trucks and enough photo opportunities for the whole family to enjoy.

The theme is primarily traditional Chinese symbolism, with an Alice-in-Wonderland glow-in-the-dark vibe. In recent years Snug Harbor has attracted a growing Asian following due to its magnificant Chinese Scholar's Garden, one of the finest in North America.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the NYC Winter Lantern Festival,” said Aileen Fuchs, President and CEO of Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. “Visitors will have the chance to explore our grounds in a completely different light—
Lighted dragon at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival
“I wanted to take a classic Chinese tradition and transform it into an unforgettable event in the United States. I think of the NYC Winter Lantern Festival as an immersive, creative and unique display of lights and art, an awe-inspiring place for everyone to enjoy,” says Conglin Miao, one of NYC Winter Lantern Festival Producers.

If you make the excursion from Manhattan or elsewhere, go early because the sprawling Snug Harbor is worth exploring before nightfall. The 19th century grounds, buildings, art galleries and museums, gardens, ponds and woods have made this a favorite destination for film and television production. Go at dusk and you might encounter some real deer wandering the landscape.

General admission tickets for the NYC Winter Lantern Festival are $23, and $15 for kids, seniors or military. There is a Groupon available. Tickets are also available at the box office on site.

Sponsors of the festival include Empire Outlets, the first outlet mall in New York City, opening in Spring 2019. Haitian Lanterns built the displays, and the NY Chinese Cultural Center provides some of the performances.
Peacock at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival
Underwater scene at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor
Lighted animals at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor
Magical forms at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor
Mushroom forms at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor
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