Forget decking the halls, the homes in these neighborhoods have decked out every inch of their abodes, from inflatable Santas and plastic icicles to light-up flamingos and LED light shows that could rival the lights in Times Square! Are you a fan of fake snow? Then we have you covered; Some of these homes are LITERALLY covered in it.
Every year, we talk to Redfin real estate agents across the country to compile a list of the top 25 cities to see holiday lights in the U.S., identifying the top three destinations within each of those cities. This year, we decided to include some new cities on our list to highlight other U.S. holiday hoods using the same amount of extravagant energy to light up the blocks with holiday cheer. We also picked our favorites for the top five neighborhoods in the nation. Wondering about the list from last year? Here is our 2015 holiday lights report to quell that Christmas curiosity.
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 in 2016 are:
The top 25 cities to see holiday lights (and the top three neighborhoods in each) are:
Hampden: Hampden is home to Maryland’s very own Miracle on 34th Street, which is now in its 70th year. The street, 720 West 34th Street Baltimore, is one of the most popular Christmas attractions in Baltimore—and for good reason—the whole block is lit in twinkling lights for the occasion! The display has seen visitors from around the world and has been nationally recognized by The Travel Channel, Home and Garden and others.
Lights will be on every day until Dec. 31st from 5:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. Locals warn that it’s difficult to find street parking and suggest visitors park in the JHU Keswick garage on 37th and Keswick.
Federal Hill: The Federal Hill Holiday Decorating Contest is back for its 5th year! The creators of the contest, who call themselves Clark W. Griswold and Eddie, started it to build community spirit and foster friendship between neighbors. And it makes for a pretty spectacular sight for the rest of us! Contest categories include everything from “Slightly Classy” to “Winter Wonderland” to the “Clark W. Griswold Memorial Award” (which judges on impressive lights alone). If you can make it over to Federal Hill, you’re in for a treat. Just take a look at past light displays here.
Medfield: Another neighborhood where residents go all out for Christmas is Medfield. Many streets in this neighborhood have yards full of lights. Head north of Hampden and just south of Roland Park to admire the displays.
Vestavia Hills: This neighborhood at 2445 Chestnut Rd. has synchronized lights and music using 87.9 FM. 1221 Graylynn Drive and 2565 Mountain Woods Drive also have light shows tuned to music to make the holidays shine.
Strongsville: Crown Point Parkway Festival of Lights is the place you want to check out if you’re looking for a holiday display dressed to impress with lights and moving decorations. It is a walkable and drivable display which includes trains, lighted walking paths and a merry-go-round. It’s no surprise that this neighborhood made our top five favorites AGAIN this year. We also recommend checking out the City of Strongsville Winter Wonderland, which has a 40-inch Christmas tree and beautifully lit clock tower.
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.
Candy Cane Lane: This neighborhood goes all out for the holidays and attracts hundreds of visitors each year. In addition to having an illuminated block to drive through where all the neighbors get into the swing, the neighborhood also hosts a block party every year, with this year’s falling on December 17. Make sure to check their Facebook page for updates and more info. And while you’re on the lane, don’t miss the Appalachian Lights house, which will include some surprise appearances by Santa (stay tuned to their Facebook page for details on his schedule).
Victor’s Christmas Light Display: Make sure to catch Victor’s house while you still can — he says on his Facebook page that this year might be the last. His display is open from 5:30 p.m. – 12 a.m. from now through January 2, but he won’t turn the lights on if there is too much rain, so it’s your best bet to go on a good-weather day. It features a huge tree with 17,062 lights on it alone, and it took 16 days to set up.
Mr. Bill’s Christmas Wonderland: Go check out Mr. Bill’s house between 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. to catch one of Corpus Christi’s longest-running individual light displays — Mr. Bill has put up his holiday lights since 1999. In addition to hosting beautiful lights, Mr. Bill’s display also includes some nontraditional aspects, like a Reindeer Corral.
McAdenville: It’s no wonder that McAdenville, which is known as “Christmas Town,” made our top five places to see holiday lights AGAIN this year. All of the homes in the area really dive into the holiday spirit each year, bringing in droves of people to see this display.
The quaint town of McAdenville transforms into “Christmas Town” every year.
Indian Trail: There is no shortage of holiday spirit 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.
Deerfield: Located in Plano, Deerfield is a hidden gem for holiday lights. It’s a beautiful neighborhood with gorgeous homes. Every year, this neighborhood transforms into a winter wonderland. This festive location is easily accessible. You can walk, drive or ride a horse and carriage with DFW Carriages to see the lights.
Arlington/Interlochen: This display of holiday cheer is 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. 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. Watch out for traffic the closer you get to Christmas. Bring snacks and make a bathroom stop before getting in line! The King makes an appearance at one Interlochen display. Photo via Facebook.
Highland Park: The residents of Highland Park get into the holiday spirit with extravagant displays and many of them are installed by professionals. The entrance is at Armstrong Pkwy. and Preston Rd. Swing by the area south of Preston and Mockingbird for more light displays.
Grosse Pointe Shores: Drive a bit Northeast of Detroit to Grosse Pointe and you’ll see house after house covered in over-the-top lights displays. Lake Shore Drive is the most popular destination, but Jefferson is a great spot as well. The affluent residents go above and beyond to make their large homes stand out–even more than they normally do. One house that’s sure to impress is at the corner of Lakeshore and Moross.
Livonia: One of the best lights displays in Livonia is Livonia Lights at 34836 Bridge St. The synchronized display has more than 50,000 lights and this year includes Dudley the talking dog and a 15-foot tree. The light show was named one of the top 12 best light displays in MI by OnlyinYourState.com and has been featured by many news outlets throughout Southest Michiagn. Tune to 88.5 FM to watch the lights dance to the beat of the music. The next home to visit in Livonia is 29718 Robert Dr, just south of Plymouth Rd. and West of Middlebelt. The homeowners call their display Bazillion Lights and have been decking their halls since they moved into the home in 1996. You can expect to see more than 50,000 lights, lit characters and a giant Christmas tree. Tune in to 88.5 FM to watch the lights dance!
Rochester: If you’re heading to Rochester to admire Christmas lights, a great place to start is downtown. Every business is painted in lights and comes to life during The Big Bright Light Show, which runs from Nov. 29 to Jan. 2 from 6 p.m. to midnight. Kristi Trevarrow, the Executive Director of Rochester DDA, says the 1.2 million-light display takes two crews working seven days a week for eight straight weeks to set it up.
Mills College (Oakland, CA): Everyone knows about Christmas Tree Lane in Alameda, but the lesser known locale of Picardy Drive in Oakland is just as spectacular and a little less crowded. Most of the homes on Picardy were built in the 1920s in the Tudor style and thus already have a whimsical storybook quality about them. Add millions of twinkly lights, a little hot cocoa and some carolers and the Grinch’s heart would grow at least four sizes after experiencing Oakland’s version of Whoville.
Fairlands and Pleasanton Meadows (Pleasanton, CA): This East Bay ‘hood makes our list because of one home so spectacular, so unique and so over the top with holiday cheer that it’s not just a decorated house, it’s a world — Widmer World that is. There’s a state-of-the-art animated light show, incredible sculptures and figurines, an interactive walk-through display and a scavenger hunt that challenges onlookers to locate the harder-to-spot aspects of the experience. Best of all, Santa is there! Be sure to check the website for dates and times and don’t forget to bring your wish list!
Jensen (Livermore, CA): Each year Deacon Dave strives to outdo himself by topping the number of lights he strung the year before. This year, at Casa del Pomba (House of the Dove), the Deacon has done it again! Decked out with over 500,000 twinkling lights, this historical home in the easternmost part of the East Bay also has a theme each year. This year the House of the Dove has been transformed into a giant gingerbread house and dubbed “Gingerbread Division, North Pole.” There’s plenty of other light shows to take in while in Livermore. Another must see is located at 467 Knottingham Circle in the Portola Glen neighborhood. New for 2016 is a a coin operated (25¢) on-demand snow machine!
Sans Souci: The Sound of Lights home display is synced up to music and features 60,000 lights and 40,000 channels, and this year they updated their system to include their nine huge oak trees wrapped in pixel bulbs, which put off some special effects. Tune your car radio to 92.1 FM to listen to the synchronized show, featuring 25 different songs through the season. The show runs from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. each night, but make sure to check out their Facebook page for more info, as they will not run the show if there is heavy rain.
Victor Mills: The Lindsey’s Christmas House is the place to head to for some holiday cheer. Even in the cold, wet weather Greenville has been having lately, visitors flock to the Lindsey house to see what new displays they’ve come up with. They’ve been setting the home up since October, including new props and pieces along the way. They turn on the lights nightly from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., and remind visitors on their Facebook page to keep their children with them at all times, and to also be courteous to neighbors by not blocking their driveways.
Simpsonville: Christmas on Kwikaway is up and running despite a bit of a delay this year. Due to an issue with their main controller, this holiday favorite was off to a slow start and unable to launch their lights display. Fortunately, by Thanksgiving night they had the system up and running for neighbors and locals to see. They will be open from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. each night, weather permitting. Make sure to check their Facebook page for the latest information.
Waikele: You might recognize this street because it was a contender on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”, but even if you have, it’s worth seeing it in person! Multiple homes on Anapu Place participate in a coordinated light show complete with holiday-themed music.
Kane’ohe: The homes situated on Namoku Street, also known as Christmas Lane, feature a wide variety of larger-than-life holiday decorations. Every year there’s an array of themed homes and styles ranging from a Where’s Waldo-themed home decorations, to a home with a gigantic teddy bear amid a plethora of candy canes.
Aiea: A more modest version of Candy Cane lane, this neighborhood also features some beautiful displays along with some cute and quirky decor. Make sure to visit Hoʻolauae Street where you’ll find Hello Kitty, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and even characters from Sesame Street.
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. 10 to31. Neighborhood residents have been decking out their homes for 40 years, and their experience shows. You can find maps and other resources here.
River Oaks: River Oaks never fails to impress during the holiday season. Homes throughout the neighborhood feature elegant and tasteful lighting displays with large oak trees lining the streets dressed in beautiful cascading lights. Don’t forget to check out Inwood Drive and Bellmeade Street.
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.
Meridian Street: Start at Monument Circle at the State Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, decorated to look like the world’s tallest Christmas Tree, also known as the Circle of Lights. From there, head north along Meridian Street, which runs through a historic district full of old, large houses and impressive holiday lights. The lights go on and on, all the way up until 86th Street.
Sharpsville Lights: Take a drive north to Kokomo and you’ll find the Sharpsville Light Display, which boasts 120,000 lights, a 45-minute show synchronized to music, free hot chocolate and cookies (weekend only) at the church down the street, and a large veterans memorial display with 50 flags. It’s worth the drive!
Fishers: The famous (and free) Reynolds Farm Equipment Light Display is in Hamilton County, as is the well-decorated Nickel Plate District. There are also some nice residential decorations, including a 40,000-light display at 11720 Gatwick View Drive, and an award-winning display at 12625 Rams Court.
Chino: The holidays are here and Chino is here to celebrate. 12605 Cypress Avenue features hundreds of holiday lights. Another must see is Operation Christmas Lights. This holiday extravaganza has been going since 2011. It’s only one house, but it’s worth the drive. With thousands of lights and choreographed carols, this house is the definition of festive.
Alta Loma/ Rancho Cucamonga: The Thoroughbred Christmas Lights display on Thoroughbred Street takes holiday lights to a whole new level. Each house is decked out in lights, animations–you name it. This festive tradition started over 20 years ago and still holds strong today. One house worth checking out is 8258; they even have their own facebook page.
The Plaza Lights: How can you miss this? With fifteen blocks decorated to the nines, this tradition is classic KC. Also, don’t forget the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center, with its 7,200 bulbs and the display splashed across the 22-story Downtown Marriot Hotel’s exterior.
Olathe: On the way out to Christmas Card Lane in the Mission Ridge Subdivision, stop by the Simpson Family Christmas Lights, at 1085 S Wcykford Street. Santa pops by for a “surprise” visit between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, while viewers are treated to a synchronized 20,000-lights program. Another unique Olathe tradition is Paulie’s Penguin Playground, which is an inflatable holiday ornament extravaganza that delights small children, while raising tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
Leawood: Not to be outshone by larger (and neighboring) Overland Park, Leawood has Wright’s Lights, a two-home tandem with 48,871 total lights, blinking to an eight-song program. There’s also the Trossen Family Christmas Display at 12716 Pawnee Lane, which has an eight-foot tall Santa, and the homes along West 127th Street, particularly the Hager’s computer-controlled display at 2801 West 127th Street.
Sherwood: Sherwood’s Enchanted Forest Trail of Lights is a mile-long trail of holiday lights synchronized with trains, motion lighting and, of course, Santa and his reindeer. There’s also free candy canes for all!
Crossett: There are many great homes to see in Crossett, but be sure to catch Sam Finney’s Winter Wonderland–the winner of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight! There are over one million lights, two bubble machines, two snow machines and a laser projector to help spread the holiday cheer.
Hot Springs: Swing through downtown Hot Springs to see its annual light display along Bathhouse Row. Be sure to check out the gigantic gingerbread house in the Arlington Resort Hotel, as well. Garvan Woodland Gardens is also a can’t-miss for any holiday-light enthusiast.
Central Gardens: The residents in Central Gardens in Midtown light up the sky with holiday cheer. Central Gardens is an accredited arboretum by the state of Tennessee, so there are tons of decorated trees and wreaths to see!
Hickory Withe Estates: Just a bit outside the city limits on Shady Oaks Dr, there are many homes decorated for the holidays with snowmen, lights synchronized to music and reindeer stables. Santa will also be in Hickory Withe visiting on December 10 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.–a great photo opportunity for friends and family alike.
Lebanon: Chad’s winter wonderland has been going on for decades! Chad Barnard is known for this explosive display of lights each year. Visitors can enjoy the 2 million plus lights at this spectacular eight-acre drive-through holiday light display. This visual experience will run you $15 per vehicle and $20 for passenger vans. Be sure to check out the official website for more information.
Hendersonville: Gill’s Bright Lights is an incredible display of over 50,000 synchronized lights, about a dozen Christmas trees and one ENORMOUS tree. Visitors are encouraged to bring a canned food donation, which benefits Second Harvest. Be sure to check out the website before heading over to this attraction as bad weather could impact the light display.
Brentwood: BJ’s Christmas lights on Sunnyside Dr. in Brentwood covers eight-and-a-half yards and includes over 135,000 lights and more than 300 holiday figures! You can catch this display anytime between Thanksgiving and December 31st. Check out the map to make sure you don’t get lost on your way to the display!
French Quarter: This historic neighborhood goes all out every year with beautiful lights and decorations. Make sure to take in the sights on Royal Street to see how homeowners ornament their brightly lit homes. While in the area, check out the Roosevelt Hotel’s lobby, which is adorned with ice-covered trees and over 1,000 twinkling lights transforming it into a true winter wonderland.
Garden District: Every year the historic homes in the Garden District are a sight to see. For one week in December homeowners even open up their doors for guided home tours and live music. In case you want to do your own drive-by (free of charge), check out the houses on First, Second and Pleasant Street.
Lakeview: Lakeview gets a famous rap for Christmas Lights predominantly because of the huge Celebration in the Oaks that takes place every year in New Orleans City Park, but stroll the neighboring park streets and you’ll find some of the most finely decorated homes in the Big Easy!
Dyker Heights: Dyker Heights in Brooklyn topped our list of the five best neighborhoods for holiday lights for a fourth year in a row, and it’s no surprise why! This neighborhood never fails to impress with their holiday light displays, which draws thousands of visitors every holiday season. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without lights in Dyker Heights! 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, so you don’t have to worry about traffic dampening that holiday cheer!
And if you happen to be in the market for a new home, Redfin has a home in the area currently on the market! You can check that out here.
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 30 years. This isn’t any ordinary holiday display, though. There are over 200 animated figurines dancing to holiday music. It’s a must-see if you’re in the Bronx.
Whitestone: This is one display you probably already know about if you live in this area. The home is on the corner of 166th Street and 23rd Avenue and it is 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.”
Gilbert: The Islands within the Gilbert neighborhood is one display that you can’t miss. It is 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. 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 totally covered in lights. This display will be open from December 9 to December 25.
Glendale: Glendale Glitters is another location known for making spirits bright. The 1.5 million-bulb display lights up 16 blocks of downtown Glendale. 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.
West End: West End has lots of noteworthy homes to see, none more than the Phifer family display at 9604 and 9606 Asbury Court. 9213 Holbrook Drive is another not-to-be-missed home with scenes that visitors can explore on foot. Pine Grove Drive offers a double whammy with extravagant displays at 2503 and 2511. 9215 Venetian Way is a stunner with 100,000 lights twinkling in the reflection of the lake behind the home. This display can be viewed from Maybuery Drive.
The Fan: Many of the iconic mansions along Monument Avenue are dressed for the holidays. While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss the standouts at 1510 Grove Avenue and 2814 W. Grace Street.
Glen Allen: Local favorite, Christmas on Wendhurst is a labor of love for Al and Esther Thompson, who build all of their decorations and displays by hand. Don’t miss 9328 Coleson Road a colorful home that has been lighting up for 15 years. According to local reports, The Grinch will be making appearances on select Friday and Saturday nights at 1411 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Penfield: Every year, the Wright family puts on an impressive FREE light show with accompanying music in their front yard. The show is on a loop and features songs by Mariah Carey, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Elmo, as well as songs from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “The Polar Express,” broadcast through 97.1 FM. The home is located at 9 Burning Tree Lane, Penfield. The display is open from 5:15 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; and 5:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Head to their Facebook page for more information about the show.
Irondequoit: One fantastically decorated house is great but Irondequoit has an entire street of residents dedicated to decking out their homes each year in the best and brightest displays. The families on Endicar Drive put in tons of effort (and cheer!) into their Christmas Lights display each year, so be sure to take that drive to check it out. You can get to this display from HWY 590 or RTE 104.
Webster: If we are talking about holiday light displays in Rochester, we simply have to mention 151 Yorktown Drive in Webster. This home is decorated to impress even the Grinchiest Grinch.
Orangevale: This little burgh nestled just across the river from Folsom makes our list this year primarily because of one special street: Dovewood Court. The Dovewood Ct. Christmas Lights Yelp page boasts an impressive 5-star score. All 18 houses here participate in this whimsical winter wonderland. You can either walk or drive the nightly show, but many of the displays are very intricate so walking is best. Don’t forget to bring your non-perishable food items, which the neighborhood donates to local charitable organizations. During the holiday season, this street should be dubbed Turtle-dovewood Ct.
Elk Grove: If you live in the Sacramento area and choose just one neighborhood to take in the holiday cheer, Elk Grove is it. Although there are over a dozen homes in neighborhood that go all out for the season, 3316 Lake Terrace Drive is the must-see of the season. Yes, there are over 100,000 lights. Yes, there’s a 50-foot tall redwood tree covered with 25,000 lights. But the star on top of the proverbial tree can be experienced this year on December 17th and Christmas Eve when the hot cider will be flowing freely and the snow machines will be working overtime because everyone deserves to experience a white Christmas at least once.
Fab 40s (East Sacramento): Any Sactown holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the historic Fab 40s neighborhood, the erstwhile home of Ronald Reagan while he served as governor of California and one of the most architecturally significant spots in the Capitol. Most of the lights can be seen from 40th to 49th Streets, between J Street and Folsom Boulevard. But a word to the wise: this is the most well-known holiday lights display in Sacramento, so be prepared to enjoy the season’s spirit with many festive folks that come from far and wide.
Pilot Mountain: Rachel and Larry Carpiat’s Pilot Mountain Christmas display is celebrating it’s 50th and final year. The family decorates four acres with over 750,000 lights. They have numerous trails and animated light shows throughout their property.
Mount Airy: The Christmas Family Lights at 3420 Shiloah Church Road is a sight to behold. The massive display features over 45,000 LED lights, a computer animated light show and a 24 ft tree covered in lights.
Sunset Hills: This charming neighborhood is home to a time honored tradition of hanging large “Christmas balls” throughout the neighborhood. Drive between Ridgeway and Greenway drive to see all of the trees illuminated with these lovely holiday lights.
What did we miss? Are there other displays in your area that you recommend checking out? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook!
Written by Alanna Finn on December 12, 2016