Manhattan Festival of Lights (Manhattan Lights)


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Manhattan Festival of Lights (Manhattan Lights) is the perfect holiday event for you and your family. If everyone missed the fun and magic last year, ensure to attend the festival of lights in 2023.

This annual Christmas light show offers the best epitome of fun and excitement beyond imagination. The light exhibition introduces you to different Christmas lights, such as LED curtain lights, icicle lights, net lights, meteor shower lights, and rope lights. So, people undoubtedly make this light show part of their Manhattan itinerary.

Manhattan Festival of Lights
Festival highlights

About Manhattan Festival of Lights

Manhattan Festival of Lights also introduces you to beautiful fairy lights, blinking Christmas lights, and twinkle light trees. You can bring your family and friends to witness the different interactive exhibits, illuminated trails, and spectacular light installations. 

This 2023, the captivating festival of lights will celebrate its 11th year, continuing to capture the imagination and delight the hearts of many. The light exhibition with thousands of twinkle lights will also let your dance with the popular holiday jingles.

Manhattan Festival of Lights Dates (2023-2024)

Manhattan Festival of Lights is ideal for visitors of all ages. Whether you love joining Christmas light exhibitions with your loved ones or you enjoy exploring alone, there is no way for you not to enjoy all the activities and light displays. 

This Christmas light show will make the whole place magical. The lights display starts on Friday after Thanksgiving and ends in New Year. In 2023, you will get mesmerized by thousands of twinkle lights from November 24, 2023, to January 1, 2024

Manhattan Festival of Lights is organized by Whoville Inc., a group of community leaders and local business owners in Manhattan who love to give back. The people behind this group have formed a non-profit collective to bring the Manhattan Festival of Lights to everyone.

Whoville’s mission is to bring the community closer through magical displays and curated events that everyone can access throughout the holiday season. Since 2013, the light exhibition has been embraced not just by the locals but also tourists.

The festival of lights has become an anticipated event every year that creates family traditions. It also builds lifetime memories. The festival is fully funded by generous local businesses and locals each year. You, too, can donate to keep the joy and fun.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There 

Manhattan itself is already an incredible place to discover beautiful attractions, but the Manhattan Festival of Lights adds more life to it. If it is your first time visiting the festival, it is recommended with the festival venue and how to get there. 

The light festival takes place in Blue Earth Plaza, situated at 315 South 3rd Street, near Flint Hills Discovery Center. It serves as Entertainment District’s centerpiece. The space features a large water structure displaying music-synchronized laminar jets, a seasonal shade structure with three large triangular sails, an event plaza, and monumental warming fireplace.

This plaza is not only suitable for picnics but also a perfect venue for events like the Manhattan Festival of Lights. This beautiful green space is adjacent to Candlewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Blue Earth Place, and Flint Hills Discovery Center.

From the downtown of Manhattan, you can ride a taxi to reach Blue Earth Plaza. The distance is around 3 km and will take a few minutes of drive. 

If you liked Manhattan Festival of Lights, you will surely love these enchanting lights festivals as well:

Madrid Christmas Lights Festival

Frankston Lights Festival

Festival Hours 

A lively and enchanting light display indeed brings different joy and beauty to the holiday season in Manhattan, Kansas. Aside from colorful, blinking Christmas lights and festive colors, the festival of lights is also an ideal event to meet new people and share hope, unity, and the spirit of Christmas. 

Typically, the light exhibition starts at exactly 5:00 PM and ends at 10:00 PM. These festival hours are ideal to ensure everyone can witness the magic and beauty of lights. Plus, the festival starts on Friday, so it is can also be a fantastic weekend bonding for the whole family. 

Whether you would bring your family, friends, or colleagues to the light show, everyone will surely enjoy the entire experience. It is recommended to arrive at the entrance to ensure you will not miss anything.

How Much It Costs to Visit Manhattan Festival of Lights

Local and tourists have endless things to do and enjoy in Manhattan, Kansas. However, the Manhattan Festival of Lights remains the most anticipated event of the year, especially during the holiday season. 

This family-oriented event allows you to unwind, enjoy beautiful moments with the people you love, and forget about worries in life. In short, it also serves as a beautiful escape during holidays. 

What’s more, you can enjoy all the exquisite displays and festive activities for FREE. This makes the festival a go-to event for everyone. So, see you there! 

Weather and What to Wear

Are you excited to see the twinkle light trees or the meteor shower lights? Before you get too excited, ensure to pack the proper clothing. That way, you can ensure a comfortable visit in Manhattan, whichever corner you reach.

The festival of lights happens in November, and visiting Manhattan during this month will bring you pleasant temperatures to feel the Christmas season. On average, overnight temperatures are single digits below 0 C (low 20s F). 

You have to pack various clothing and footwear when visiting Manhattan, including warm pants or jeans, heavy socks, sweaters, heavy jackets, and gloves. You should not forget to bring cold weather footwear, waterproof snow boots, a windproof umbrella, and a waterproof jacket.

Where to Sleep – Hotels nearby Manhattan Lights

Aside from preparing your clothing, you also need to find a comfortable place to sleep after visiting the festival and other attractions. You can easily find nearby accommodations from the festival venue.

Here are the top recommended places to stay near the festival:

  • Parkwood Inn & Suites 

This accommodation offers comfortable and clean rooms. Plus, breakfast is already included. The staff is very welcoming and will handle all your needs professionally.

  • Holiday Inn at the Campus, an IHG Hotel

This hotel is about 0.9 km from the center. You can book a queen room with comfortable two queen beds. It offers a modern vibe while giving a cozy atmosphere.

  • Hilton Garden In Manhattan, Kansas

This inn is approximately 1.3 km from the center. No prepayment is required, and it offers a free cancellation. Plus, the amenities and facilities are wonderful.

Where to Eat 

When visiting Manhattan, Kansas, focus not only on what you can see. You should also satisfy your taste buds. Fortunately, the city offers a wide variety of delicious food options. You can try different food destinations before or after you join the festival.

Here are some of the top picks:

  • Little Apple Brewing 

This destination is about steakhouses, pubs, cocktails, beer, and wine. They offer great beer and steak. This is where you can find a perfect mix of high-quality Angus beef and hand-crafted ale.

  • CoCo Bolos 

CoCo Bolos is the perfect place to visit if you love Mexican cuisine. They also offer American, cajun, vegan, and vegetarian food options. The restaurant is decorated by famous local mural painters. It also features “spicy music,” a mood-lifting playlist.

  • Bourbon & Baker 

This restaurant serves Southern and Midwestern cuisine. They have a unique menu paired with plenty of bourbon options. The attached bakery offers cookies, cakes to orders, and other sweet treats.

  • Rock A Belly 

This bar was inspired by the visuals, sounds, and foods of the mid-2000s. The neon decor and diner-style booths deliver a nostalgic vibe. They offer casual lunch options, such as bagels, salads, and sandwiches.

More Things to Do in the Area 

The fun and excitement should not end at the Manhattan Festival of Lights. You should visit other attractions near the festival area. 

Here are the top picks you might like to consider:

  • Konza Prairie 

Konza Prairie is the best hiking spot to explore Flint Hill. This attraction also acts as a research station. Each trail offers incredible views. 

  • Wildwood Adventure Park 

This adventure park features seven zip lines above the treetops. The longest zip line is around 1,400 feet long. In the end, you can try the 40-foot free fall jump.

  • Mariana Kistler Beach Museum of Art

This museum houses the art collection of Kansas State University and Kansas’ widest variety of artworks. Aside from the Kansas art, it also introduces art and artists across the globe. What’s more, you can witness beautiful art pieces for free.

  • Midwest Dream Car Collection 

This destination offers a unique collection of over 60 vehicles. You can find classics, exotics, customs, muscle cars, and more in the collection.


1. Where can visitors park for the Manhattan Festival of Lights?

Answer: The Manhattan Festival of Lights typically offers designated parking areas in proximity to the event. Due to its popularity, spaces might fill up quickly, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early or consider local public transportation options.

2. Is smoking permitted during the festival?

Answer: To maintain a pleasant and family-friendly atmosphere, smoking is generally restricted to designated smoking areas away from main event spaces. Visitors are urged to respect this guideline to ensure everyone’s comfort.

3. Can I bring my pet to the Manhattan Festival of Lights?

Answer: Pets are usually welcome at the festival, but they should be leashed and under control at all times. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and ensuring they don’t disrupt other attendees.

4. Will there be food and beverage stalls available?

Answer: Yes, the Manhattan Festival of Lights often features an array of food and beverage stalls, catering to a variety of tastes. From local delicacies to international favorites, there’s something for every palate.

5. Are there any specific items prohibited at the festival?

Answer: For the safety and enjoyment of all attendees, items like alcohol not purchased on-site, drones, and potential weapons are generally not allowed. Always refer to the festival’s guidelines for specific prohibitions.

6. What facilities are available for attendees with disabilities?

Answer: The Manhattan Festival of Lights is dedicated to being accessible to everyone. There are accessible pathways, seating areas, and restrooms. If special assistance is required, it’s advisable to contact the festival organizers ahead of time.

7. Are there any children’s activities or zones at the festival?

Answer: Absolutely! The festival is family-oriented and often features special zones or activities tailored for children, ensuring a memorable experience for attendees of all ages.

8. In the case of unfavorable weather, will the festival be rescheduled?

Answer: The festival typically proceeds rain or shine. However, in the event of extreme weather conditions, certain activities or the entire event might be postponed or rescheduled. Attendees should check the Manhattan Festival of Lights’ official website or social media channels for updates.


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