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In the dark hills west of Reading, Koziar’s Christmas Village lights up the night. It has been described by various magazines and TV shows as the Greatest Christmas Display in America and the Best Christmas Display in the World. That’s a lot of hype to live up to, but there’s no denying that Koziar’s is something special.
In the era of drive-through Christmas displays or attractions filled with blinding-but-generic prefabricated LED displays, Koziar’s is something different. It is a walk-through display laid out like an actual village. Visitors of all ages get to see how Christmas might have played out in various settings (such as at the Valley Forge encampment or at a fire station).
Koziar’s feels Old School…and in a good way. It feels completely authentic. The lights are those screw-in bulbs you grew up with. And there’s a lot of them! There’s over a million lights throughout the eight-acre property. This makes Koziar’s one of the best light displays in the greater Philly area.
As you follow the arrows along the paths, you can explore the lights that adorn storybook illustrations, garden railroad displays, glass-enclosed buildings showing different aspects of village life (like historic sleighs), a kissing bridge, a wishing well, and so many other things.
Over 500,000 visitors can’t be wrong. A visit to the Koziar’s Christmas Village is an important holiday tradition for tens of thousands of families, including ours.
After the challenges of World War II, William Koziar adorned his dairy farm with Christmas lights beginning in 1948. Word spread in the community, drawing neighbors who enjoyed the spectacle and the festive spirit William created.
The family has kept up the tradition over the years, including expanding it year after year and adding new elements. After 75 years, Koziar’s is still going strong and has delighted generations bringing them to this little hillside outside of Bernville for the light display.
Koziar’s Christmas Village makes a nice outing from the greater Philadelphia area. It is located about 15 miles northwest of Reading, PA and Blue Marsh Lake in the heart of Berks County. The Christmas Village is well marked in Waze, Google Maps and all navigational apps.
The address is 782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, PA 19506-8810. Phone: 610-488-1110.
If you are planning to visit from Philadelphia, plan about 90 minutes to drive to Koziar’s, then another 2 hours to visit and another 90 minutes home. Our trip was about 6 ½ hours, which included stopping for a brief dinner and hot chocolate along the way.
Food and Drink
There are a couple of places to get food and drink in Koziar’s. As you walk through the village, the first refreshment station (the Olde Village Store and Snack Shoppe) serves popcorn, the famous chocolate chip cookies, and hot chocolate.
As you continue walking, there’s a second building near the bridge and central square. This station serves popcorn and hot chocolate.
The final refreshment station is in the red barn building, which is the last stop before the exit. Here, you’ll be able to buy a range of offerings: pizza, burgers, hot dogs, as well as popcorn, cookies, and hot chocolate.
A word of caution about the hot chocolate: it comes out nearly boiling. Please consider waiting before giving it to young children who may spill on themselves.
Food and drink offerings are more like snacks. We recommend eating dinner either before or after you visit. If you are looking for a restaurant, there are a number of options off the Broadcasting Road exit of Route 222 in Reading (15-20 minutes away).
Dates and Hours
Koziar’s opens the first Saturday in November and is open weekends (Friday-Sunday) only until Thanksgiving. Hours are: Friday 6-9pm, Saturday 5-10pm, and Sunday 5-9pm.
Beginning Thanksgiving weekend, they are open every night and all holidays. Hours are: Monday-Thursday 6-9pm, Friday 6-9pm, Saturday 5-10pm, and Sunday 5-9pm.
Koziar’s closes January 1st. Yes, they are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Please note, some nights are “prime nights” (Friday-Sundays, plus the week before Christmas and also Christmas Day) which means increased ticket prices and the potential for traffic delays/temporary closures (see above for details).
As Koziar’s is a walking light display, prices are per person (not per car). Prices for ages 11-64 are $13.00, children age 4-10 are $11.00, children ages 3 and under are free, and seniors (65+ and active military) are $12.00.
They operate a peak pricing model, or what they call “Prime Nights.” Prime Nights are all weekend evenings (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), as well as the week before Christmas, and Christmas Day. For Prime Nights, the price is an extra $4.00 per ticket.
Payment is accepted via cash or credit card (Visa, Mastercard and Discover only – no American Express). There’s an ATM located onsite just outside the ticket booths (next to the barn) if you need one. Pro tip: There are multiple ticket booths and the cash line moves faster.
Parking is free.
If you don’t like crowds, try going early in November or during a weeknight early in December.
Bring your patience. On weekends in December, it can take over an hour to drive the 1.9 miles from the Route 183 turnoff to the village. During peak times, the local sheriff also manages traffic so it doesn’t get too crazy.
Go early and get there right when the village opens for fewer crowds. OR, go late and get there closer to closing time.
The parking lot is MASSIVE. Remember where you parked! Count row numbers and use the light poles as a reference point. Knowing where you car is in relation to the white fence can also be helpful.
If you need an ATM, there is one located just outside the entrance. Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards are accepted for admission as well as food and beverages.
Allow about 90 minutes to walk through Koziar’s Village, and about 2 hours in total with parking, paying for admission, etc. If you plan to visit Santa or take a lot of pictures, you’ll want at least 2 hours or longer.
Dress warmly! You will be out in the elements for nearly the entire time. It can be very cold and windy. Also, Koziar’s is open if it rains or snows, so bring weather appropriate gear for you AND your kids!
The bathroom is located right near the entrance. There are a couple of porta potties in the village, mostly in the second half as you follow the pathway (including one located just after the transportation building).
Given the crowds and all of the beautiful things to look at, children can become excited and get separated. Keep a close eye on your kids and talk to them in advance about what to do if you should become separated.
If you are looking for the postcard perfect view of the village, it’s actually taken from outside of Koziar’s along Christmas Village Road. As you leave Koziar’s farm and turn right, you’ll go about 100 yards, cross a small bridge and there is a small pull-out on the right side of the road (with a giant Road Closed sign). Make sure you are pulled completely off the road and not blocking traffic. There’s room for about 2 cars. There’s also a pretty significant ditch, so be very carful pulling off the road and where you walk. From here, you can take the perfect photo of Koziar’s. If your lucky and there is no wind, the pond can serve as a reflecting pool.