It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…especially in the communities where all of the neighbors unite together and really do it up big for the holidays. You know—they give their houses the full Clark Griswold treatment. Hoping the holiday cheer will rub off on you, you decide to gather up the fam to visit one of these overachieving neighborhoods…but where do you go? If only there was some kind of map of California’s best neighborhoods and streets for holiday home viewing…
Well, let’s just say Santa read your mind because we’re about to take you on a tour of some of our state’s most Christmas-y streets. From East Drive Lights in Los Altos to Christmas Card Lane in San Diego, you just might end up jingle-belling all the way.
Christmas Tree Lane – Palo Alto
Dating all the way back to 1940 when a group of families on Fulton Road came together in Christmas cheer, this Palo Alto Christmas Tree Lane lights up about one week before Dec. 25 through New Years Eve. It’s one of the Peninsula’s “unrivaled” strips of lighted trees and decorated homes, according to the Palo Alto Times. Bundle up the kids in the car and park on one of the adjacent neighborhood streets for a memorable “stroll” down Christmas Tree Lane, complete with candy cane pathways and Santas caught in the act of shimmying down chimneys. (If you’re driving down Fulton, make sure to turn off your headlamps to “park” and drive slowly down the street.) Lights are turned on at 5:00 pm and turned off at 11 pm nightly through New Year’s Eve.
Estate Drive Lights – Los Altos
Even the most hardened adults with a case of the “Bah, humbugs” will find it impossible to see reindeers perched on rooftops, Santas waving from front lawns and hundreds of twinkling lights on Los Altos’ Estate Drive without flashing a smile at some point during the night. The residents of this quiet street near Grant Road and Fremont Avenue have been happily turning the Ebenezer Scrooges of the Silicon Valley into cheerful believers by transforming their yards into a holiday wonderland for over 20 years now, and they’re not going to stop any time soon.
Vista San Ramon – San Ramon
Over in Contra Costa County, San Ramon has its own “Festival of Lights” in the Vista San Ramon neighborhood. Now in its 27th year, the neighborhood’s holiday display features over 152 homes in full Buddy the Elf mode. We are told that you should not miss the animated nativity scene at the corner of Woodview Terrace Drive and Overlook Court…but the entire neighborhood is worth a viewing.
Casa Del Pomba – Livermore
Casa Del Pomba is not a neighborhood or even a street — it’s a house, one house and it’s a true wonder to see. Deacon Dave Rezendes, who lives at 352 Hillcrest Avenue in Livermore, has made it his annual tradition to decorate his home with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights. This year (his 33rd), Rezendes has officially outdone himself by having workers set up 495,890 lights — quite possibly a world record and quite possibly a feat that puts anything Clark Griswold did to shame. (The lights are powered by a special amp set up by PG&E, and the workers start setting up in mid-August!) Tens of thousands of visitors turn out each year to see Casa Del Pomba in all its holiday glory, and you should too if you happen to live in Alameda County.Rezendes changes the theme every year, so he always has something surprising up his sleeve! Kind of like someone else we know who lives in the North Pole…
Candy Cane Lane – Woodland Hills
Centered on the intersection of Oxnard Street and Lubao Avenue in Woodland Hills, this is the place to see lights in the valley. Covering 8 square-blocks, the area is transformed into Candy Cane Lane with a celebration of lights, figures and artificial snow for the ultimate stay-in-your-car holiday adventure.
Robolights – Palm Springs
Artist Kenny Irwin Jr. has created a whimsical holiday spectacular that claims to be the “largest residential light display in the country.” A statement show since 1986, new displays include a dozen nutcrackers mounted on toilets and a monster-sized snake made of 3,000 repurposed tiles.
Balboa Island – Newport Beach
Even though the Newport Beach Boat Parade ended last weekend, there is no shortage of holiday spirit on Balboa Island. Bayfront homes, docks, and yards are all decked out in their Christmas best with elaborate light displays, animated scenes, and decorations. Rent a Duffy, book a chartered tour, or simply tool around the Island for some festive fun. Don’t forget to stop by charming Main Street for a hot cocoa!
Christmas Card Lane – Rancho Peñasquitos
One of the best neighborhood lights experiences in San Diego, the fun starts on Oviedo St. at dusk. Break out your muffler and mittens and take in the giant holiday-themed greeting card displays that adorn many of the front yards.
Is there a “Holiday Lane” in your neighborhood that we missed? Let us know in the comments!