Gring’s Mill Recreation Area is a beautiful Berks County park in any season, but it really comes to life during the holiday season.
Known as Holiday Lights at Gring’s Mill, this holiday tradition has been held near Reading, PA for over 35 years, making it one of the longest-running walk-through light shows in Pennsylvania. After being on my list for many years, I was excited to finally have a chance to check it out in 2023.
The Holiday Lights at Gring’s Mill are centered around several of the park’s buildings, including the barn and the administration offices. There are also some beautiful lights along the bridge over Tulpehocken Creek.
It’s worth noting up front that the display at Gring’s Mill is definitely more spread out compared to other nearby displays like Koziar’s Christmas Village and Christmas on the Mountain. So, at first, you might be a bit underwhelmed.
However, while the lights aren’t super concentrated here, you are free to walk the grounds and get some close-up views of the giant lights they have on display in the fields. That makes a visit here a bit more like an adventure than some of the other displays that are a bit more structured.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to spend much time walking around the lights because it started raining during my visit, but that just gives me another reason to come back in future years.
My favorite part of the Holiday Lights at Gring’s Mill was the decorated buildings and bridge. These are located just downhill from the parking area, so it’s quite easy to visit this space.
These are all beautifully decorated on the outside, and it feels a bit like walking through a historic village covered in lights. Even better, the lights reflect in the water, making the entire scene even more magical.
Inside the park’s historic barn, there is a really nice setup with trees and even the chance to visit with Santa. There is also a small model railroad set up in the building on the opposite end of the bridge that’s fun to see.
Near the parking area, there is an area set up that features live music each night that the event is open to the public. This is really a nice addition, and I enjoyed taking a few minutes to enjoy the holiday music that was being played during my visit.
Next to the live music area, there is a small fire pit where you can warm up on a chilly evening. You can also often find food trucks here during the holiday season.
Overall. the Holiday Lights at Gring’s Mill is a fun spot to visit in the area. However, it’s not a huge display, so even though it’s free, it’s not worth going far out of your way to see as there isn’t a ton to it.
All that being said, this is a Berks County tradition and I really enjoyed my visit, and I’m sure you will too if you find yourself in this corner of PA during the holiday season.
Holiday Lights at Gring’s Mill is open Friday-Sunday nights in December from 5:30-8:30p. They also have an extended schedule the week before and after Christmas. Parking and exploring the display is free.