With Thanksgiving now behind us, the Griswolds of the world are starting to deck the halls, and the garage, and the porch, and the lawn, and a little bit of the neighbor’s yard too. If you’re excited to see fake snow, trees dripping with icicle lights, inflatable Santas and scenes that could make the Grinch himself crack a smile, then we’ve got you covered.
Based on responses from Redfin real estate agents across the country, we compiled a list of the top 25 cities to see holiday lights in the U.S., and the top five neighborhoods within each of those cities. We also picked our favorites for the top five neighborhoods in the nation.
Redfin agents frequently drive through neighborhoods to meet clients for home tours and open houses, often spotting holiday light displays along the way, making them a great resource for local information. So grab your car keys, your coziest blanket and a mug of hot cocoa – it’s time to see holiday lights!
The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights are:
The top 25 cities to see holiday lights (and the top five neighborhoods in each) are:
Kennesaw: The Meckley Family Xmas at 4291 Edgewater Dr. has over 30,000 lights, and Riley’s Rockin’ Christmas at 2008 Palladium Dr. has more than 45 minutes of lights timed to music. The McGuire Family Christmas at 3120 Calumet Circle and 1010 Token Way are two more great displays in the area.
Dallas: Dallas has a lot of great homes to see, including Atkinson Christmas Lights at 18 Riverwood Landing, Felix Family Christmas Lights at 224 Oliver Overlook and Aubuchon Lights at 28 Southshore Pass.
Alpharetta: The Christmas in Castille display at 4220 Tivoli Way has thousands of lights synchronized to music — check out its Facebook page to view the schedule. While in the area, be sure to check out McMinn’s Christmas Display at 595 Flying Scot Way, the home at 311 Locust Grove Court and Blink MidWinter at 7020 Cole Ct. in nearby Cumming.
Brookhaven: Dr. Gary Gropper, a neurosurgeon in Atlanta, has over 150 inflatables in his yard on Winall Down Road to champion the holiday spirit. Other homes of note include 1819 Dresden Dr., 1873 Dresden Dr. and 4730 Harris Trail.
Decatur: Decatur has tons of noteworthy homes to see, including Christmas in the Grove at 1428 Oak Grove Dr. It has more than 115,000 lights and was featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.
Cedar Park: The neighborhood on Anna Court (1329 Anna Court ) is always a popular spot for holiday lights, and they’ve already got their 175,000-light display up and running! Check them out any night after 5:30 p.m. until midnight. Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy for the sixth annual collection drive for Blue Santa. Another great one in Cedar Park is Chinati Court. The neighborhood has been providing the community with captivating light displays for the past 15 years. They also have a roaring fire pit, and hot chocolate for sale on Friday and Saturday evenings. You can bring an unwrapped toy to this location and it will be donated to Brown Santa Williamson County.
Tarrytown: Mozart’s Coffee (3825 Lake Austin Blvd) is back with a stellar lights display this year. The dazzling, 15-minute light show starts at 6 p.m. and repeats at the top of the hour until midnight. And it’s free! Once you’re done there, grab a hot cocoa to go and wander over to the adjacent Tarrytown neighborhood to see even more lights.
Round Rock: If you’re in Round Rock, you have to see the Rock’N Lights tour, a drive-thru lights show featuring more than 2 million lights on a 1.5-mile trail! Family vehicles are $15. If you’re looking for a free display, check out Elvis & The Kringles at 3448 Tourmaline Trail. This year’s display kicked off on Dec. 5 and includes more than 20,000 LED lights. Tune in to 91.1 FM to hear the music, and don’t forget to bring an unwrapped gift. If your kids love the movie “Frozen” (or you’re a big fan, because who isn’t) you have to swing by the Frozen Medley Christmas Light Show at 16412 Rockgate Dr. The show features a medley from “Frozen”, including songs like “Let It Go”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”, “Love Is An Open Door” and more!
Georgetown: The Harlien Family Christmas at 400 Liscio Cove will have 40,000 synchronized lights this year. You can check them out from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. Then cruise over to the Spindler Family Christmas light show to see an all new light display for 2015 – it’s said to include 28,000 LED Christmas lights, 6 large dancing trees and 11 small trees! They’ll be lighting up the streets from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night until Jan 3. One last stop to make in Georgetown is the Shady Oak Christmas Display. Their impressive synchronized lights display is up and running from 5:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night. Tune in to 95.9 FM for music!
Hyde Park: We can’t talk about holiday lights in Austin and not mention 37th St. The neighborhood has attracted thousands of viewers each year, though many say the display isn’t quite what it used to be due to renters who aren’t able to keep up the tradition. If you’re adding this one to your list, we recommend having some backup options.
Hampden: No holiday lights list is complete without mention of the Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden. Otherwise known as the “Christmas Street,” the home owners on the 700 block of 34th Street deck out the street with lights and colorful, original displays. The neighborhood has made our top five list for four years in a row.
Federal Hill: The Federal Hill Holiday Decorating Contest is on again this year. Take a walking tour of the neighborhood to see who you’d nominate for the Clark W. Griswold Memorial Award or the Winter Wonderland award for best overall block effort.
Dundalk: Many homes get in the holiday spirit in the Dundalk neighborhood. While every house isn’t decked out top to bottom, holiday cheer is on display throughout the community.
Glen Burnie: The Iorios Lights display, located at 528 Delmar Ave., includes thousands of lights, inflatables and visits from Santa every Saturday. The home at 200 4th Ave. also goes all-out with a variety of decorations, including Santa in a hot-air balloon.
Other: There are several well-known Griswold homes in the greater Baltimore area, including the home of Mr. Christmas at 22 Kitzbuhel Road in Parkton, Mamulaville off Ringe Drive and Burns Crossing in Severn, and the Yaglenski’s Dancing Holiday Lights Spectacular at 9056 Clendenin Way in Frederick.
McAdenville: It’s no wonder that McAdenville, which is known as “Christmas Town,” came in second on our list of the best places to see holiday lights. All the homes in the area get into the holiday spirit, attracting crowds each year. This year the town has been nominated by USA Today as one of the best places to visit for Christmas; you can vote for McAdenville each day until Dec. 21.
Indian Trail: There are quite a few Griswolds living in Indian Trail, including Fountainbrook Fallatts at 1028 Fountainbrook Dr., Nikitas Christmas Wonderland at 1417 Deer Spring Ct., Garden Oak Holiday Lights at 4026 Garden Oak Dr., Five Alarm Lights at 1001 Rosewater Ln. and Lake Park Lights at 4019 Lake Charles Way.
Huntersville: Several residents of Huntersville go all out with synchronized lights, including the Zimnowski Light Show at 15419 Hugh McAuley Rd. and Huntersville Christmas Lights at 13513 Melrose Meadow Ln.
Aurora: The holiday lights in this western suburb are so strong that one home, at 813 Cheever Avenue, has its own website. (Hello to the Parcell family!) The location is also an official Toys for Tots drop site, for those who want to donate to families in need. You’ll also find the 64th Annual Lehnertz Avenue Christmas Display, which kicks off on December 13th with the “blessing of the crib,” while the city puts on its free Festival of Lights in Phillips Park, making Aurora a most festive holiday location.
Naperville: Not to be outdone by its neighbor, Naperville has The Magical House on Hunter Circle. This home ‘dances’ – its lights are choreographed to music, making for an off-beat tribute to the holidays. For example, here’s We Wish You a Merry Christmas from 2011. Located at 1347 Hunter Circle, it’s across town from Kringleknoth Christmas House, which is at 630 Vicksburg Court – and also well worth a visit.
Lincolnwood/Sauganash: While old timers say the area is not what it once was, no list of Chicagoland holiday lights would be complete without mention of the Noonan family Christmas tree (hint: the tree is indoors, yet larger than their house), which can be found at 6601 N. Leroy Avenue. And plenty of homes nearby are also well decorated, of course.
Rosemont: That quirky suburb by O’hare goes all out. While you can catch a glimpse from the El or on the interstate, treat yourself to a stop. The town decorates every single tree in its parks. Really.
Logan Square: The only ranking in the city proper, this is about the power of one home: 2656 West Logan Boulevard, which is now on its 30th year of providing a neighbors and travelers alike with an incredible display. Frank Lopez, the man behind the decorations, was the former owner of Chicago Wire Design Company, explaining how he came into so many wonderful wire-based statues.
Strongsville: This city is home to the Crown Point Parkway Festival of Lights, a walkable and drivable display of moving decorations and lights that includes trains, lighted walking paths and a merry-go-round. This year the neighborhood came in at number five on our list of the best places in the U.S. to see holiday lights. We also recommend checking out the City of Strongsville Winter Wonderland, which has a 40-inch Christmas tree and beautifully lit clock tower.
Fairview Park: Resident Bill McVicker, continuing work his grandfather began more than five decades ago, leads the Seabury Avenue Light Display with close to 50 households participating in this holiday extravaganza. [UPDATE 12/22: We hear the display is even bigger and brighter this year, with up to 70 houses participating, and more streets in the neighborhood that are getting into the spirit!]
North Ridgeville: Bob Mangan’s home in North Ridgeville has had a bit of controversy surrounding it this year, but it’s still a must-see destination for holiday light fanatics. While in the area, visit 5867 Lee Ave, 34820 Lorain Rd. and 37464 Sugar Ridge Rd. for more great displays.
Canton: Walker’s Winter Wonderland has lights, magical displays and photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There’s also great light displays at 1557 Elberta Ave. SW, 5220 Grandvale Ave. NE and drive-thru holiday lights at Stadium Park.
Highland Heights: The Scudellari Family Christmas Light Show at 641 Lander Drive has more than 5,000 LED lights, and the Rus Family Musical at 5649 Hawthorne Dr. has a giant blow-up Santa, twinkling candy canes and music playing on 96.3 FM.
Colorado Springs Area
Downtown Colorado Springs: Check out the displays along Tejon Street and also neighboring streets in the area. Dale St. and Monroe St. typically have homes adorned, and also Custer Avenue at Paseo Road.
Southwest Colorado Springs: Check out the Broadmoor hotel and the streets off Lake Avenue and Cheyenne.
Old North End: Make sure to visit homes between Wood and Cascade Avenues. There are also lighted fir trees on Culebra.
Briargate: Don’t miss the lights on Union Boulevard and Rangewood Drive, Briargate Boulevard and Research Parkway. Then swing by 2635 Clapton Drive and make sure to tune into 107.3 FM to watch the lights dance to music.
Rockrimmon: Feast your eyes on the homes along Tamarron Drive, Georgetown Lane and Saddle Mountain Road.
Arlington/Interlochen: Known as the Lights at Interlochen, each year more than 200 homeowners in this Arlington neighborhood go all out with extravagant lights, decorations and displays, earning it the number three spot on our list of the best neighborhoods to see holiday lights in the U.S. The entrance point is at the intersection of Randol Mill Rd. and Westwood Dr. A map and more information can be found at Arlington.org. They have official hours (Dec. 17 to 25 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and watch out for traffic the closer you get to Christmas. Bring snacks and have a bathroom stop before getting in line!
Plano: The Deerfield neighborhood in Northwest Plano, located between between Preston Rd. and Coit Rd., hosts a holiday decorating contest each year and the whole neighborhood turns into a winter wonderland. For the second year, visitors can vote on their favorite homes. You can walk or drive through the neighborhood. Visit DeerfieldPlano.org for more information and maps that highlight suggested routes.
Highland Park: The residents of Highland Park get into the holiday spirit with beautiful displays, many of them professionally installed. There are now several horse carriage tours through the neighborhood (for a fee). The entrance is at Armstrong Pkwy. and Preston Rd. Swing by the area south of Preston and Mockingbird for more light displays.
Kessler Park: The historic Kessler Park neighborhood has a group of volunteers who plan an annual Holiday Light ceremony and coordinate the holiday decorations on various traffic islands in the neighborhood. The brightly lit island at W. Colorado and Lausanne is professionally installed each year. In addition to the holiday lights, you can catch a great view of the Dallas skyline.
Lake Highlands: The 12 Days of Christmas come alive on Timberhollow Circle, where each home is decorated as one of the days, from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming. Several residents have moved over the years, but they’ve passed along the decorations to the new homeowners to keep the 22+ year tradition alive. The entrance is located one block south of Royal Ln. off Abrams Rd. on Moss Haven Dr. The lights stay on from dusk to 9 p.m. through the end of December.
Prestonwood Forest: Thousands of visitors from all across Houston descend on Prestonwood Forest each holiday season for the annual Nite of Lites, which takes place this year from Dec. 5-27. Neighborhood residents have been decking out their homes for 40 years, and their experience shows. To see a photo slideshow from 2014, you can check out their official website here. You can also find maps and other resources there, such as the online voting form for the 2015 People’s Choice Award for best home.
River Oaks: As one of Houston’s more upscale neighborhoods, River Oaks never fails to impress once the holiday season hits. Homes throughout the neighborhood feature tasteful and carefully coordinated lighting displays, and even the large oak trees lining the streets get the holiday treatment with bright cascading lights adorning their branches. As you tour slowly through the lane, make sure not to miss Inwood Drive and Bellmeade Street.
Sugar Land: This annual holiday lights contest gets the competitive juices flowing for local Sugar Land residents. Locals are asked to enter the #SweetLights contest by submitting a photo in a message to the city’s Facebook page, or by using the hashtag #SweetLights on Instagram. The last day to make your submissions is Monday, Dec. 21. Once the voting is finished, the favorites are posted on Facebook. Be sure to check out last year’s winning house – The Candy House in Covington Woods. The Stavinoha family has been decorating their home with a holiday treats theme for nearly 20 years.
Shepherd Park/Candlelight Park: These two neighborhoods join together every year for one of Houston’s most historic Christmas lights displays. The parks and surrounding homes are often decked out with arches over the streets and large inflatable decorations. It’s best to start north of West 43rd Street on either side of Ella Boulevard, but on your way make sure not to miss aptly named Bethlehem Street.
Green Tee: If touring neighborhood light displays via car isn’t your thing, check out the Green Tee neighborhood via bicycle. Green Tee Drive follows along the edge of Green Tee Terrace and features all varieties of holiday decorations and modes of transportation throughout. Keep Pearland Beautiful will be sponsoring its 22nd Annual Tour de Lites Family Bicycle Ride through the neighborhood on Saturday, December 12, with proceeds supporting hike-and-bike trails in Pearland. The tour starts at Independence Park in Pearland and travels northeast on Liberty Drive, meandering through the Green Tee Subdivision until looping back to end at Independence Park.
Las Vegas Area
Henderson: The City of Henderson is continuing their tradition of hosting an Outdoor Holiday Decorating Contest. This year’s theme is appropriately named “Light Up the Holidays.” Some of the 2015 contest categories include Best Holiday Theme, Most Innovative and a Children’s Theme. One must-see home in Henderson is Deck the Hall Lights, which is located at 1054 Desert Olive Ct.
Spring Valley: The residents at 7951 Home Light Street have a great display known as Christmas in Vegas, and their website tracks computerized light displays around the city. There are several homes with great displays nearby, including at 4088 Mita Way and at 4424 Flowerdale Ct. Show times run until January 3rd, 2016.
Paradise Valley: Marc Savard, a comedy hypnotist, has an elaborate display timed to pop music at 1420 E. Robindale Road. This holiday extravaganza, known as the Robindale Christmas Light Show, has even been given a 5 star review on Yelp.
Summerlin: The home at 4434 Rehoboth Bay St. is known as the Sin City Holiday Lights. This display boasts more than 25,000 lights and decorations accompanied by music. Stay up to date on the display by heading to the homeowner’s Facebook page, Sin City Holiday Lights… because the Strip isn’t the only thing that lights up in Vegas.
Winchester: Twisted Vegas, at 1941 Houston Dr., decorates all year round for all of the holidays. This holiday season, spectators will be sure to enjoy a lovely display of lights and some fantastic inflatables all paired with holiday tunes.
Los Angeles Area
Pasadena: Okay, Pasadena is not a neighborhood per se. But we have to include it as the best neighborhood for holiday lights in Los Angeles for the second year in a row because, well, it’s amazing! You get three neighborhood light displays in one. In one evening you can visit Upper Hastings Ranch in Pasadena, Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena and St. Albans road in beautiful San Marino. Be sure to check out the Balian House, located between Christmas Tree Lane and Upper Hastings Ranch. It does not disappoint!
Burbank: Norton’s Winter Wonderland, at 513 N. Florence St, is once again in full effect this season. Dick Norton’s display has been a Burbank institution since the 1970s and now he has fully entered the digital age. Be sure to check out his website, which comes complete with holiday music and live streaming web cams of the holiday lights if you just want to create some cheerful ambiance at your desktop!
Downtown L.A.: The DTLA revival is real and the holidays are just the time of year to celebrate our thriving city center. You can purchase tickets for a walking tour of all the best spots for viewing the lights ($15), but you don’t have to pay to play. Just grab a peppermint mocha around dusk and stroll over to Grand Park to watch the city the come alive with holiday cheer!
Woodland Hills: No list of of the best holiday lights in L.A. would be complete without a nod to Candy Cane Lane. Located at the intersection of Lubao and Oxnard, this is the place to see holiday lights in the Valley. While you are in the area skate on over to the Yolanda Lights display in Reseda — it’s just a snowball’s throw away.
New Orleans Area
Garden District: The opulent homes in the Garden District are stunning without lights, so seeing them with all their whistles and bows takes this neighborhood to a whole new level. Make sure to hit Napoleon Avenue for some impressive displays.
French Quarter: Stroll along Royal Street to see how historic homes, hotels and museums adorn their exteriors in fronds, lights and bows. On December 20 many French Quarter residences open the doors of their historic homes (for a fee) for all onlookers to witness the interior splendors too, during a guided historic tour of the Vieux Carre. For those who prefer to just to glimpse through the windows while walking with a hot chocolate, the outdoor self-guided walking tour is free.
Lakeview: Walk on the lakeside of Robert E. Lee Blvd., between St. Bernard & Paris and you’ll notice that most homes have a Christmas tree lit up in their front yard.
Metairie: Drive by 5105 Avron Blvd and make sure to tune your radio dial to 88.9 FM. Residents there have not only decorated their yard, but they also have tuned that station to Star Wars music and vintage Christmas songs to go along with the luminescent display.
Kenner: Homeowners in two north Kennar subdivisions often compete to win the title of best holiday decorations. Drive through Chateau Estates or Driftwood Park to see how the neighbors’ holiday cheer lights up compared to the competition.
New York Area
Dyker Heights: Dyker Heights in Brooklyn topped our list of the five best neighborhoods for holiday lights for a third year in a row, and it’s no surprise why! The neighborhood draws thousands of visitors every holiday season, and we are sure that this year will be no different. We hear the best lights are on 11th avenue between 83rd and 86th street. Stay up to date on everything going on at this holiday spectacular at the community’s Facebook page, Dyker Heights Christmas Lights. Plan ahead, the traffic can take anyone out of that holiday cheer!
Pelham Gardens: The Garabedian Family home at 1605 Pelham Pkwy N is the Bronx’s own holiday tradition. The family has been decorating the home every year for the past 29 years. This isn’t any ordinary holiday display, though. There are over 200 animated figurines dancing to holiday music.
Whitestone: One must-see display is on the corner of 166th Street and 23rd Avenue. Known as “Santa’s Corner,” the home includes thousands of lights, hundreds of figurines and plenty of families who come out to see it every year. In 2013 it took home the top prize on the ABC reality TV show “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
Jamaica Estates: 80th Drive and Chevy Chase Street is where you want to go if you’re in the area of Jamaica Estates this holiday season. The home is enormous and owner Anthony Gurino covers it all with holiday decorations every year. Gurino even sets up the front yard so that spectators can actually walk through the display, sit on benches and take advantage of all of those amazing selfie-photo ops!
Westchester: If you’re in Westchester, cruise over to 21 N. Kensico Ave. to check out more than 10,000 computerized Christmas lights set to music. The family has been running the North Kensico Christmas Light Show for seven years, and claims it to be the best light show in all of New York. Lights will be on from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night until Jan. 2. If you want to catch even more lights in the area, head over to Westchester’s Winter Wonderland, just three miles away.
Orange County Area
Newport Beach: This year the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade tops our list for the best holiday light displays in Orange County. Beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 16 and sailing through Sunday Dec. 20, Newport Beach’s “Christmas card to the world” can be enjoyed for five full nights of holiday fun. The parade kicks off with a fireworks display at Newport pier and closes with another fireworks show at Balboa pier.
Mission Viejo: The South County town of Mission Viejo pulls out all the stops for the holidays. The city sponsors a holiday home lighting contest, there is a holly jolly lights tour and Santa’s workshop is open in the civic center plaza on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through December 20. Santa even promises to answer every letter that is left in the mailbox next to his workshop!
Brea: The word is out about the spectacular holiday lights displays in Eagle Hills. Head due east on Birch St. from downtown Brea and trust us, you’ll know when you arrive! Be sure to check out John McQuade’s house – the man who started it all more than 30 years ago!
Laguna Niguel: Travel down to Elder Ct. in Laguna Niguel where every house on the block bands together to create a winter wonderland of lights. Tune your radio to 87.9 FM for holiday music that’s also coordinated with the twinkling lights.
Fountain Valley: So this is just one house, but it’s a pretty big deal. Visit the “56,000 lights house” at the corner of Stanislaus St. and Apache River Ave. to see one of the most spectacularly decorated homes in all of Orange County. This light show is also coordinated to music you can pipe in on your FM radio. Tune your dial to 91.3 and enjoy!
Lake Nona: What started as a dream of rivaling the light show at Walt Disney World has become a slightly less magnificent, yet still impressive private holiday light show featuring 25,000 lights. Due to its dazzling display and corresponding crowds, the 4th annual Lake Nona Lights has been featured on Better Homes and Gardens and garnered over $5,000 in donations for a local Orlando charity. The home is located in the East Park Subdivision off of Narcoossee Road at 9800 Old Patina Way in the Lake Nona area of Orlando.
Winter Park: The Winter Park neighborhood near the intersection of Aloma Avenue and Lakemont Avenue is consistently viewed as one of the best holiday lights displays in Orlando. The vast majority of homeowners turn out year after year to decorate their houses with colorful lights and coordinated displays. This year the city even shut down Park Avenue for a block party in the neighborhood.
Kissimmee: Once again, the home of Ron Lister at 1642 Sunburst Way is plastered with lights and figurines to celebrate the Christmas holiday. The home, referred to as “Christmas Wonders” this time of year, has its own website and has been featured in Reader’s Digest. Another major attraction is Christmas in the Shire, located at 14645 Grand Cove Drive in Hunter’s Creek. The lights and cheer don’t stop at the doorstep with this house – homeowners welcome the public to register to attend on their Facebook page and see the equally decked-out interior.
Mount Dora: Come late November, the holiday lights come on in Mount Dora and the entire town is illuminated by two million lights for the annual Christmas Lights Festival. The lighting event in November draws crowds who get to enjoy not only the lights and decorations, but entertainment provided by the chamber of commerce.
Winter Springs: Once again, the Bivona Christmas Lights Show is back in action. This spectacular show is timed to music and runs nightly from 6 – 11 p.m. through the New Year. You can find the festivities at 1601 North Wind Court in Winter Springs. Don’t expect just holiday hits from this home – the organizers play a variety of music, including Christmas-themed dubstep.
Smedley: The “Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular” is another South Philly street not to be missed. If you’re planning a visit, head to the 2700 Block of Smedley Street, between 16th & 17th, Moyamensing and Oregon Avenues.
Levittown: The neighborhoods of Levittown have many festive homes. One display that often draws crowds is the home of Neil J. DiSpirito, located at 1 White Spruce Ln. Another great display is “Stonybrook Lights,” located at 56 Stonybrook Dr.
Reading: The West Reading Borough hosts a holiday lights decorating contest, encouraging residents to participate. And one elaborate display is worth the drive to Wyomissing. The home known as “Christmas on Lincoln” is at it again this year with a stunning display.
Scottsdale: If there’s one Scottsdale family that goes all out for Christmas, it’s the Rubino family. For eight years, the family has adorned their home at 5327 E Grandview Rd with nearly 50,000 Christmas lights. Sadly, this will be their last year, so check them out while you can. We suspect their final display will be a doozy. A non-residential display that is lots of fun for kids is the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park at 7301 E Indian Bend Rd. A train ride takes you through a display of more than 100,000 lights. The train runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and costs $4 per person.
Gilbert: One Gilbert neighborhood that never fails to impress is The Islands, located just West of Cooper Rd. on Warner. Take a left onto South Islands Dr. if you’re coming from Cooper, and then follow all the cars. There’s one cul-de-sac in particular that puts on a jolly-good display. The Islands also hosts two holiday boat parades, and you can often see lights on the boats up until Christmas. Another great Gilbert spot is Val Vista Lakes’ Holiday Mountain. More than half a million lights decorate the hill adjacent to the community clubhouse. You can’t miss it when you’re driving north on Val Vista toward Baseline. We can’t forget the impressive Christmas on Comstock display at 3650 E. Comstock Dr. It features a 13-house computer-animated Christmas light show. You can tune into 93.9 FM to watch the lights dance along to Christmas music.
San Tan Valley: Loop of Lights is another must-see Christmas lights display in Phoenix. Approximately 95 to 110 homes participate in the lights event – with decorations ranging from small to over the top. The ultimate goal of their effort is to raise money for 104.7 Kiss FM’s John Jay & Rich’s “Christmas Wish” program.
Glendale: If you call the West Valley home, Glendale Glitters is the place for making spirits bright. The 1.5 million-bulb display lights up 16 blocks of downtown Glendale and goes until 11 p.m. every night until Jan. 9. It’s the largest free holiday light display in the state of Arizona. If you’re in the area, you should also swing by 4237 W. State Ave where you can see a display that includes 50 Christmas trees, 6,000 ornaments and more than 70,000 lights inside and out.
Anthem: On the list again this year is the Festival of Lights in Anthem. The Anthem Community Council encourages community members to decorate their homes, and even have a form where residents can submit their homes for a Holiday Lights map. Check their site to plan your route.
Portland, Oregon Area
Sunnyside: Peacock Lane, between SE Stark and SE Belmont, has made our list of the top five best places to see holiday lights in years past. The lane is lined with classic Tudor-style homes all dolled up for the holidays. Strolling through the lane has been a holiday tradition for Portlanders ever since the 1920s, when Peacock Lane residents first started decorating. For more information, visit PeacockLane.net or Facebook.com/peacockln.
West Hills: Fans of the Portland Trail Blazers will want to look up to the West Hills, where one of Jerome Kersey’s best friends, Ron Sloy, has paid tribute to the basketball player, who passed away earlier this year. Sloy has constructed an enormous light display that spells out “JK 25,” an ode to Kersey’s initials and jersey number. According to the press release, the display features 3,800 lights and took six weeks to construct. It is visible from downtown and southeast Portland.
Keizer: The Keizer Miracle of Christmas Lights Display, located at 1718 Mistwood Dr. NE, puts on a great show every year. The entire neighborhood gets involved to raise money and food donations for Marion-Polk Food Share, so if you go, be sure to bring something to contribute.
Gladstone/Milwaukie: If you don’t want to fight the crowds at Peacock Lane, head on over to SE Ridgewood Dr. The homeowners are known for putting on great displays every year. Check out the area around 7435 Ridgewood Dr.
Colton: Pack some hot cocoa, turn on the holiday tunes and head out to the country to see the Aspen Meadow Celebration of Lights at 24232 S. Upper Highland Rd. Once again the homeowners will be putting on a free display that includes 50,000 lights, carolers, an interactive children’s area, a miniature train village, videos, multiple indoor and outdoor displays, and warm refreshments.
East Sacramento/Fab Forties: A perennial must-see, this area is from 40th to 49th Streets, between J Street and Folsom Boulevard. The ornate homes in this historic neighborhood are always decked out. While you’re in Sacramento proper, it may be worth the drive over to South Natomas to see Rick’s Lights at 2973 Mendel Way.
Elk Grove: This suburb doesn’t skimp, as many homes get in the game with elaborate decorations. (Map available here.) The Weiss-Welch Family’s home at 3316 Lake Terrace Drive has previously been named one of the best in the area. This year they have over 100,000 lights and an amazing decorated 50-foot tall Redwood.
Rocklin: Along Pebble Creek Drive and Strand Road, you can find some of the best neighborhood lights, centered around 5813 Pebble Creek Drive, including handcrafted lawn ornaments. But don’t forget 5620 Onyx Drive, which has 40,000 lights that flash in sync with music. Tune into 104.7FM when you get there to listen along.
Rancho Cordova: The Street of Christmas Dreams can be found in the 10600s of Lambrusca Drive; 12295 El Portal Way features a life-size Nativity scene and enough inflatable decorations in the yard to populate a small town.
Citrus Heights: The home at 6617 Golden Rain Court is a highlight in the neighborhood, with candy canes, icicles and a Nativity scene. But 7001 Whyte Avenue has commissioned a special projection video for their home, while 7053 Westchester Way goes with a 49ers theme – though this year fans may not want to be reminded about the (football) season.
San Antonio Area
Downtown: The River Walk is a tourist attraction that is also enjoyed by locals, and that’s true during the holiday season, too. The River Walk lights are a must-see for anyone in San Antonio during December. More information can be found on the official website. According to the website, throughout the 2.5 mile stretch, there are four or five boats that float on the river each night, carrying a different group that performs live Christmas Carols each hour. More than 185 schools, churches, companies and civic choral groups participate each year.
Windcrest: Known as the annual Windcrest Light Up, the decades-old tradition of residents decorating their homes with elaborate light displays continues in 2015. Thousands of visitors from San Antonio and the surrounding area come to see the free lighting event every year, which is in its 57th year. The light up is set for Dec. 12 and lasts through New Year’s Eve.
Mahncke Park: Another popular drive-through display is the “Light the Way,” which runs from Nov. 22 to Jan. 6. During this time, nearly a million twinkling lights illuminate University of the Incarnate Word. Stop by Central Market on Broadway to get some hot chocolate and then drive the streets of the campus to enjoy the beauty. Lights are available to see Nov. 21 to Jan. 6.
Cuero: The beautiful display at Cuero Municipal Park, at U.S. Hwy. 87 S. (Broadway), is open nightly through New Year’s Day, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This tradition started 15 years ago and has grown each year. It now includes over 130 displays of Victorian, Western, Train, Gingerbread House and other scenes. Highlights are the 17-piece Nativity on the Lake Island, the 85-foot Paddlewheel Boat, “Sassy” the Sea Serpent, “Peace on Earth” Globe, the 30-foot U.S. flag and Penguins. Santa and his reindeer fly over Lakeview Knoll while his elves are busy with gifts in other scenes. Their website includes a map of the key features.
Windgate Ranch: We couldn’t possibly leave off the Johnson Family Light Show. The Johnsons, who were featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”, illuminate their far West Side home (Windgate Ranch off Culebra, four miles outside 1604) every year. This year, the theme is dubstep. More info about their unique program can be found here.
San Diego Area
Rancho Peñasquitos: Still the best neighborhood lights experience in town, Christmas Card Lane takes it one step further with giant holiday-themed greeting cards adorning many of the front yards. The fun begins on Oviedo St. at dusk and viewers can either park and walk or cruise the neighborhood. Of course you can also break out your mufflers and mittens and take in the sights from a horse-drawn carriage if you wish!
Point Loma: The spectacular homes on Garrison St. in Point Loma become even more spectacular this time of year. They take their lights so seriously here that they began the countdown for the next light show on their Facebook page in January of 2015! The good news is the wait is over!
Fairway Village: This community is consistently recognized as having one of the best neighborhood light displays in the San Diego area. Be sure to stop by if you’re in the area on the Saturday before Christmas when they host a neighborhood block party that is open to the public.
Lakeside: Make a day of holiday cheer by traveling out to the east county community of Lakeside, a.k.a. “Tinseltown.” Enjoy an afternoon drive around the lake, pick up your tree and then take in this dazzling display on Paseo Palmas way.
Poway: No list of San Diego light displays would be complete without Candy Cane Lane. The actual Candy Cane Lane is Rockrose Ct., a cul de sac spangled corner to corner, but the surrounding three blocks participate as well.
San Francisco Area
Noe Valley: There aren’t many holiday light displays that also include a 65-foot tree, but that’s what you’ll see if you visit the home at 3650 21st St. The Christmas spectacle is known as Tom and Jerry’s Christmas Display. The homeowners, Tom and Jerry, have been doing it up BIG with holiday cheer for the community for more than 20 years. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for more information.
Pleasanton: The home at 3671 Chelsea Court is a well-known holiday display in the community of Pleasanton, known at Widmer World. The family started the decorating tradition in the 1980s with a much smaller display but has since made plenty of upgrades. The holiday cheer at this address has exploded into much more than just a few lights and now has a mini Christmas village and several computer animated displays.
San Rafael: What’s better than a house covered in Christmas lights? A Mickey Mouse Christmas House covered in Christmas lights! The family at 417 Blackstone Dr. are obviously big fans of both Mickey Mouse and Christmas, and so are the 10,000 visitors who stop by the home to get a glimpse of the Disney-Christmas magic.
Alameda: If you’re looking for a holiday display with some serious history, you’ll want to check out Christmas Tree Lane, which has been lighting up the Alameda community every year since 1938. Take a walk down the 3200 block of Thompson Ave. from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. to catch brilliant light displays and a bit of holiday spirit.
Livermore: The House of the Dove Christmas display is a well-known destination for anyone looking to check out an impressive display of holiday lights and cheer. This year, The House of the Dove added even more lights to the scene, taking it above the total light count from last year, which was 403,462! The theme of the display and light count are always kept secret until the unveiling at the Opening Ceremonies.
St. Louis Area
St. Louis Hills: This neighborhood has the classic Candy Cane Lane along the 6500 block of Murdock Avenue, but it’s much more than that. Everyone gets into the act (last year only two homes didn’t participate), so it feels like a true holiday ‘hood, with decorations galore.
O’Fallon: There’s Never Enough Lights in this suburb, or so says the owner of 607 Calamar Court, who openly thanks his wife for her tolerance of his hobby. Visitors will find 63,732 lights synchronized to music playing through 107.1FM. Playlist available here. While in O’Fallon, also visit the Celebration of Lights at Fort Zumwalt Park. (Admission $10)
Overland: For fans of model trains, it doesn’t get much better than Dan’s Emerald Forest, a Christmas-railway mash-up that the whole family can enjoy. (It’s running, even if the website isn’t updated.) Candy canes and hot cocoa are offered for free. The city also holds a Christmas Light Display contest, so be sure to check out all the entrants!
Glen Carbon: Chris Ipanis over in Illinois has bedecked his home at 401 Chadwyck Drive with over 125,000 lights. Dim your headlights, tune to 90.5FM, and remember to bring an unwrapped toy, as the home is also a Toys for Tots collection site.
Florissant: The town’s second annual “Deck the Doors” contest betokens its holiday spirit. There are both residential and business categories, so check out the commercial strip as well. If you venture into the neighborhoods, Mullanphy Road near Aspen Drive turns into “Santa Clause Lane” for the season.
Tampa, Florida, Area
St. Petersburg: The Oakdale Christmas House, located at 2719 Oakdale Street S. in St. Petersburg, includes 500,000 lights and has been featured on the TODAY Show, People Magazine and HGTV. Driving past the twinkling lights has been a holiday tradition for many local families.
Seminole/Largo: Once again, the residents of Lake Park Estates, Wieker, Lakeside Estates and Lake Seminole Village will be putting on a display called The Lights of Lake Park Estates. You should start at 109th Avenue N. and Bryan Dairy Rd. and follow the signs from there. Be on the lookout for the Suncoast Hospice Cart, where residents will be collecting donations.
Palm Harbor: The homes around 2456 Indian Trail West go all out with lights every year, and some of them are synchronized to music. Residents have been known to collect donations for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, so consider bringing cash for donations.
Brandon: The gated community of Barrington Oaks opens up for the holidays, allowing people to drive through and see the elaborately decorated homes. It all started as a friendly house-decorating competition more than 25 years ago, and is now a holiday tradition for residents. The neighborhood is located off Lumsden Rd. between John Moore and Bryan Rd.
Pinellas Park: For another year of beautifully decorated homes, check out Candy Cane Lane near 82nd Ave N and 58th St N, where neighbors get into the swing of the holiday season and put on elaborate displays, sometimes even coordinated with music. Make sure to check in on their Facebook page and share your photos.
Washington, D.C., Area
Alexandria: An evening stroll through Old Town Alexandria will offer plenty of holiday cheer, as many residents and local businesses decorate for the holidays. Further afield are the must-see Collingwood Lights at 1601 Collingwood Road and 6412 Joyce Road. [UPDATE 12/13/15: We hear the lights aren’t on at Collingwood this year!]
Fairfax: There are quite a few Griswolds in Fairfax. Must-see homes include 3308 Prosperity Avenue, 3522 Chain Bridge Road, 9804 Kirktree Court, 9806 Sharon Court.
Garrett Park: Each year, the Garrett Park Women’s Club sponsors a holiday decorating contest resulting in a brightly lit and festive neighborhood.
What did we miss? Are there other displays in your area that you recommend checking out? Let us know in the comments below, or hit us up on Facebook!