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  • Writer's pictureMona Shah

The Sparkle of Holiday Lights in the Bay Area

As the holiday spirit takes over our hearts, join us as we chase some of the best holiday displays the Bay Area has to offer. Folks have pulled out all the stops to create some spectacular displays, so gather up your family, friends and hot chocolate, and head out to enjoy some twinkling lights this Christmas.

East Bay

802 Gray Fox Circle, Pleasanton

Animations that move to music that you can enjoy on an FM station or the outdoor speakers. There will be a sign posted with the FM frequency of the music. Lights are on daily from 6 to 10 p.m. until Jan. 1.

Widmer World, 3671 Chelsea Cr., Pleasanton

Big tree of red and green lights, a giant "Peace on Earth"sign, tunnel of decorated trees, life size Santas, reindeer and snow people and lots of cartoon character displays.

352 Hillcrest Ave., Livermore

If you only have time to visit one holiday-decorated home, make the trip to Livermore to Deacon Dave's house, which is most likely the largest home display in the Bay Area. This year, his home has 712,325 lights.

467 Knottingham Circle, Livermore

This mixture of old-school and modern lighting, Alex Dourov's display is celebrating its 30th year. A snow machine and numerous new interactive items for kids of all ages to enjoy and play with. You can even go on the porch and take pictures.

1234 Riesling Circle, Livermore

This U-shaped street in Livermore has 26 decorated houses and is walkable, with socially distanced hay bales to sit on. There will be outdoor movies projected on one garage for people to watch three classic cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s. People can watch and listen from the safety of their vehicle.

1 Woodview Court, San Ramon

Another walking neighborhood, 161 homes will be decorated in the Vista San Ramon neighborhood, which is known locally as the "Festival of Lights."

36040 Wellington Place, Fremont

Known as the Crippsmas Place for over 40 years, with more than 50 houses taking part.

Espada Court, Fremont

For over 20 years, this house with Victorian figurines has been part of a "walking neighborhood." There are some well-decorated homes in the immediate vicinity,

Emmanuel Family Christmas Village, 43344 Arkwood Street. Fremont 5-10 pm

3200 block of Thompson Avenue, Alameda

Known locally as "Christmas Tree Lane," this walkable neighborhood has over 53 houses south of High Street in Alameda.

78 Kilkenny Place, Alameda

This display, known as "Reflections of Christmas," is best viewed from the rear of the house, as it is reflected in the lagoon from 5 to 10 p.m. Drive or walk across the lagoon on Auginbaugh Way and cross the street to Baywalk Road. The lights are on until Jan. 5.

3732 Colonial Court, Antioch

Known as the "Disney House" around town, this house has over 35,000 lights. The homeowner makes all of the yard art displays. The lights are on from 6 to 10 p.m.

15 Phillips Court, Tracy

Lights are synchronized to music via Light-O-Rama. The light show lasts 45 minutes (last viewing begins at 7:45 pm) and runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

733 Solitude Drive, Oakley

A 19-foot singing tree, Mickey and Minnie riding on Santa's sleigh and ice skating penguins. Runs through Jan. 3., 5:30-10 p.m. Sun-thurs and 5:30-11 p.m. Fri and Sat.

6716 Fontaine Ave., Newark

Synchronized light show, Radio Broadcast music 88.1 FM, 4 Singing Christmas Trees, 33 Foot Inflatable Santa Clause, 20 Foot Inflatable Snow Man and a Giant Couch setup for photo ops. Through Jan 1 5-10 p.m.

32247 Valiant Way, Union City

The theme is Winter Wonderland, an arctic adventure with pesky penguins , a polar bear family surrounded by snowman and Christmas Pop culture favorites such as Rudolph and the Misfit toys, Snoopy and Woodstock, Thomas the Train and even Darth Vader with his army of Stormtroopers crash the party along with C3PO and R2-D2. Daily 5-10 p.m. extended hours (till midnight) Christmas week.

Queen Anne Court, Union City

A cup de sac with 20 homes that participate and deck out their front yards with lights and displays. Through Dec 25.

Ruth Bancroft Garden

Lights and more lasers astound as you stroll through the Garden’s 3.5 acres of mature cacti, succulents and trees that are transformed into magical colorful botanical sculptures by thousands of lights.

South Bay

Please note: The Mattos Orchard in San Jose has permanently shut off their display.

Christmas in the Park, downtown, Cesar Chavez Park, 194 Market Street

A beloved San Jose tradition, this is a must do for our family and friends. A 50-foot illuminated tree dominates with lots of gingerbread houses and displays with Santa and his elves. Surrounding the displays are various pine trees decorated by schools, community groups and local businesses. The nearby Bijan Bakery has some lovely cookies, hot chocolate and coffees.

Blinky's Illuminated Holidays Drive Through, 2333 S White Road, Lake Cunningham (near Raging Waters)

Enjoy a fantastic light show programmed to music by Pentatonix, Michael Bublé, Luis Miguel, and more! Nighty through Sunday, Jan 1, 2023. $30

Fruitdale District lights, Thornton Way at Downing Ave., San Jose

Great neighborhood spirit with lots of Christmas light displays. you can drive through and listen to the music on 92.9 FM. Nightly through Jan till 10 p.m.

1851 Cherry Ave., San Jose

Dave's puts on 60,000 lights to raise money for Make-A-Wish foundation. Nightly throughout Dec. 27, 6:30-9 p.m.

1450 Emory St., San Jose

A new edition they will have music broadcasting on an FM radio from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly. There will also be snow from 5 to 8 p.m., when it’s not raining.

1419 Lamore Dr., San Jose

Epic amount of lights in its display. There’s also two different light shows that happen every 15 minutes. Stay on the lookout for the penguins playing hockey with candy canes!

108 Seaview, Santa Cruz

Farley’s Christmas Wonderland is very traditional: lots of Christmas trees, garland, sleighs, an elf village, miniature villages, a log cabin, and a fairy land. 5:30 to 8:30 every night. They also serve ($3) the best piping hot hot-chocolate with lots of toppings!

Deerfield Drive, Scott’s Valley

The street is lit up and they have great lit up arches, and snow mach

2580 Bean Creek Rd., Scotts Valley

Some joke that the display can be seen from Silicon Valley. 48 channels of lights synchronized to Christmas songs. Up until Jan. 2, and can be seen from 5 to 10:30 p.m. daily.

750 Harriet Ave., Campbell

Tune your car radio to 92.9 for the music to go along with the show.

Estate Drive at Grant Road, Los Altos

Capturing the spirit of Christmas in the neighborhood with the festive display of lights and decorations.

Fantasy of Lights, Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos

This delightful drive-through holiday lights display has been making spirits bright for 23 years now with its whimsical displays. Purchase advance tickets and enjoy the over 1.5 miles of lights nightly, from December 7th through 30th, excluding Christmas day, from 6 pm - 10 pm.

West Hills Community Church, Morgan Hill

16695 De Witt Ave., Morgan Hill

Climb the hill at the church to get a bird's eye view of a synchronized musical light display. Explore lighted tunnels, illuminated trees and several displays. Through Dec 23 from 6:30- 9 p.m.


1716 to 1881 Fulton Ave., Palo Alto

These blocks are known as "Christmas Tree Lane," with each house on the street decorated. Each home also has matching live Christmas trees lining the road, each lit with colored lights. Lit each night from 5 to 10 p.m.

Après Village – A winter wonderland at the Palo Alto Four Seasons, 2050 University Ave, East Palo Alto

With a holiday sweet shop, private fire pits, photo ops, gourmet s’mores, and more.

Bethlehem 1300 Middlefield Road, Redwood City

Rise City Church hosts a recreation of Bethlehem on the first night of Christmas. A village with live camels and llamas. The highlight is the Nativity scene, complete wit flying angels and with three wise men visiting Jesus. Dec 21-23 6-9:30 p.m.

411 Topaz St., Redwood City

Foster local "holiday guy" puts on quite he show!This year he has 35,000 lights, decorations, music, snow machine, inflatables and a letter to Santa box. Through Jan 6, 6-10:30 p.m.

1963 Eucalyptus Ave., San Carlos

Another walking neighborhood, the 1900 and 2000 blocks of Eucalyptus Avenue are on nightly until Dec. 25. Almost every house on those blocks is lit up with holiday cheer. Birch Street, which is the next block over, also has many decorations.

1260 Rainier Ave., Pacifica

This Pacifica house has 35,000 LED lights programmed to music broadcast on 90.1 FM. There are also speakers in the yard. The family recently added two 18-foot RGB pixel trees.

Holidays at Filoli Make a reservation to experience Woodside's Filoli Historic House and Gardens. All lit up for the holiday season, you can stroll and enjoy the beauty of the winter garden adorned with lights and colorful decor or cozy up to a fire pit under twinkling lights.

Main Street, Half Moon Bay

The very lovely downtown is decked up making it even lovelier! 6-8 p.m. Fridays through Dec 16.

Oakland, Berkeley, Vallejo

Bob and Linda Taylor’s iconic Christmas house to shine in one last time. 817 Old Glen Cove Road, Vallejo

The couple who own it put up nearly 1 million lights every year to honor their daughter who died in a plane crash in 1999. They are so spectacular that you can see the house from the freeway, so just follow the lights. It features everything from carousels to ferris wheels and sometimes even a visit from Santa.

Tilden Park Carousel, intersection of Central Park Drive and Lake Anza Road

the carousel is all lit up and they have Santa and his elves visiting, making it a lovely winter wonderland. 4-8 p.m. (weekdays) Noon-8 p.m. (weekends). Tickets: $4

Picardy Drive, Oakland

Between Seminary Avenue and 55th Avenue, these neighbors illuminate their Tudor-style houses with an unbroken string of lights. The display is a holiday tradition that dates back over 80 years, and it's meant to symbolize warmth, friendship and unity.

Glowfari at Oakland Zoo Walk through a mile-long journey and be dazzled by hundreds of larger-than-life animals lit up by lanterns in this unforgettable holiday lights display! Ride the gondola to the Land of Bugs, hop on the Express Train through Winter Wonderland and finish the evening with a visit to Santa!

Christmas Lights at Oakland’s Temple Hill, Temple Hill, 4770 Lincoln Ave., Oakland

Enjoy a large-scale holiday lights installation, city views and scheduled theatrical, dance and live musical performances, including productions of “The Nutcracker,” “Scrooge” and more.

6-9 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Through Dec. 31.

San Francisco

Please note: The Tom and Jerry house, is not lit up this year.

49 Eagle St., San Francisco

As this two-story house sits on top of a hill, you look up at the holiday display from street level. The display includes a polar bear, Santa, a garage decorated as Santa's coat, and a magical tree on the sidewalk covered in blue and white icicle lights. The display runs nightly, weather permitting, from 5 to 11 p.m.

1779 Hayes St., San Francisco

This home has been displaying the holiday spirit with neighbors for the past 17 years. The lights celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. The garage looks like a giant gift-wrapped package.

68 Castro Street over near Duboce Park

Lots of decorations and details. Great photo ops, specially at dusk.

Fairmont San Fransisco's Giant Gingerbread house,950 Mason St. (Nob Hill)

It’s a two storey house made out of real gingerbread cookies and candy. You can even make a reservation to have a dinner inside the gingerbread house!

The Westin St. Francis San Francisco sugar castles

A 12-foot, rotating French chateau made of sugar.

The holiday swing located on the corner of Cherry St. and Jackson St., San Fransisco

Multiple trees around the swing are decorated with lights and the neighbourhood itself is also very pretty.

Rainbow Christmas tree at 18th & Castro in the Castro District

The current decorations reflect the six colors of our rainbow flag and a large banner at the corner of 18th and Castro lists the merchants and individuals who make this tradition possible each year with financial contributions.

Festive Houses & Streets that Light Up for the Holidays in San Francisco:

  • 1960 10th Avenue

  • 1929 7th Avenue

  • 363 Wawona Street

  • 515 Crestlake Drive

  • 488 Gallert Drive

Festive Trees in San Francisco:

  • Palace Hotel – A stunning lobby with three colorful and ornate Christmas trees.

  • Thrive City – Blue and gold tree dedicated to the Golden State Warriors is the tallest in the Bay Area.

  • Uncle John’s Tree in Golden Gate Park – This Monterey Cypress dates back to 1880 and makes for a gorgeous and unconventional Christmas tree.

  • World Tree of Hope at Grace Cathedral – The largest origami Christmas tree in the world.

  • Pier 39 – A 60-foot live tree with shifting light patterns and colors.

Glow, Discover the Art of Light: SF’s Exploratorium

They have brought back the popular exhibition of light art, through Jan 29, 2023

Union Square Ice Rink is also very festive with the Gian Christmas tree nearby and vendors selling chestnuts.

Illuminate SF Festival of Lights Kicking off its 9th year, this urban light festival offers 44 eco-friendly displays that are all accessible by public transportation within San Francisco's 49 square miles. Pick from 17 neighborhoods to explore and take the free guided tour to learn more about the artists that have brought these installations to life. Nov. 25-Jan. 1.

"Entwined" in Golden Gate Park

Transforming Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest of otherworldly shapes and ever-changing light. Created by San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken.

I have listed the one’s that we have visited, but if you want more, this is an excellent resource. California Christmas Lights offers an extensive list of the best holiday-decorated houses to safely explore in the Bay Area this year.


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