Gardens Aglow takes top spots in 2023 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest

Noted for Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights and in US News & World Report for Best Christmas Light Show
Fri, 12/08/2023 - 1:00pm

    Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is glowing this week in more ways than one. After a month-long readers' choice contest with USA Today 10Best, Gardens Aglow has been named the third-best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights. Gardens Aglow has appeared in the USA Today 10Best top four ranking for the past five years. The complete list of worthy winners for 2023 is below: 

    1.  Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights 
    1. Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden 
    1. Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens 
    1. Illuminations at Botanica 
    1. Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens 
    1. Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum 
    1. Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens 
    1. Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens 
    1. Holiday Lights at Florida Botanical Gardens 
    1. Lightscape at The Arboretum 


    This news comes on the heels of the top feature in the US News & World Report November article honoring the top 25 Best Christmas Light Displays + Tours for 2023. Celebrated alongside the Bronx Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, and Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Gardens is proud to represent Maine in this distinguished lineup.  

    “We are honored to be included in the US News & World report article and to be once again voted as one of the best botanical garden holiday light experiences by our visitors,” said President & CEO of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Gretchen Ostherr. “We're on pace to welcome 120,000 people to our Gardens this year for Gardens Aglow. It’s a treat to meet folks from around the nation and share a little piece of Maine winter with them.”   

    With more than 750,000 LED lights woven through 14 acres of central gardens, guests will experience illuminated trails, nature-inspired sculptures, themed areas, and swaths of light and undulating effects, all conspiring to create an immersive experience.  

    There is nothing quite like winter in Maine, and Gardens Aglow, together with Boothbay Lights, a celebration of signature seasonal events in Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor, has become a firm tradition in Maine’s seasonal calendar. With six weeks of festivities throughout the peninsula, there is always something happening. For a complete calendar of regional offerings, events, dining, and lodging options, visit

    At nearly 325 acres, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the largest public garden in New England. The nationally recognized public garden features over two miles of hiking trails, 58 acres of ornamental and themed gardens, a children’s garden, a sensory garden, and so much more. The mission of the Gardens is to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through horticulture, education, and research. To learn more, visit