One of my favorite holiday traditions since having a family is driving around looking at Christmas lights. We’ve done this the last three years and have seen some outrageous, wacky and flat out bizarre displays.
Dyker Heights – Brooklyn
Last night we visited Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, and this is by far my favorite Christmas lights destination. It’s house after house of insanity! We parked our car and walked around several blocks and were in awe of how over-the-top the displays were. It’s unbelievable to see how many families participate in this extreme hobby. I’m so glad they do because it’s really quite something to see.
These displays are so spectacular and over-the-top there are actually tour buses that shuttle groups here. Dyker Heights is in southwest Brooklyn, it took about an hour for us to drive there from upper Manhattan. We parked on 83rd street between 11th avenue and 12th avenue and walked a couple blocks in each direction. The most magical street is probably 84th street, police officers actually had this street blocked off to vehicles protecting all the spectators on foot. We made this trip on a weekday so its possible it’s harder to find parking and more streets may be blocked off on weekends. Regardless, it’s worth it. We saw lots of families walking around sipping hot chocolate. Kids were running around in pajamas under their coats. Some houses were piping Christmas carols…it was as night to remember. This is such a destination even apple maps and waze has it as a navigation point.
Santa’s Corner – Queens
Last year our holiday lights adventure brought us to the famous Santa’s Corner in Whitestone, Queens. This is a truly remarkable display. We even saw it featured on TV prior to our visit so had an appreciation for what was involved in this spectacular production. This home is designed with kids in mind and you are allowed to walk on the lawn, up onto the porch and really marvel at the thousands of details that have gone into this piece of work. This house allows for more interaction than any other we’ve visited. The homes surrounding this one are also well decorated, but nothing in comparison (at least not last year). You won’t be disappointed if you make this schlep. But this one house is the destination in this area. We parked our car, spent about 15 minutes at the house, then drove around the neighborhood. It was a special evening which happened to also be Christmas Eve.
Garabedian Christmas House – Bronx
The Garabedian Family’s Christmas House is the third well-known Holiday Lights destination we’ve visited. We made this adventure back in 2013, this is the one that falls into the truly bizarre category. The family that puts on this display fills their yard with mannequins in a variety of costumes, ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Elvis.They are in the fabric business and make all the clothing for the mannequins themselves. Rumor has it they have been setting up this display since 1974 as a ‘gift to God’ for a secret religious miracle they have yet to disclose.
A few other homes are decorated, but again this house is the destination. We parked nearby and peered through the chain-linked fence surrounding this property to see this strange ‘gift’. I’m super bummed I don’t have any good pictures, I have two of my boyfriend and daughter looking at the property but you can’t see much. But they’re not hard to find online if you google it. I’ll try to update this post with current photos if I can make it there next week.
How to get there:
- Dyker Heights Christmas lights are in southwest Brooklyn, they are seen throughout the neighborhood but the best spots are 11th to 13th Avenues between 83rd and 86th Streets. If driving be prepared for lots of traffic. By public transportation you can take the D train to 79th Street but it’s a long walk. There are also tours available which can be find online.
- Santa’s Corner is located in Whitestone, Queens at the intersection of 166th Street and 23rd Avenue. It’s not easily accessible by public transportation, best to drive or rent a car.
- Garabedian Christmas house is in the Bronx at 1605 Pelham Parkway North at Westervelt Avenue. It’s not easily accessible by public transportation.
All of these locations are really impressive, it’s impossible not to get wow’d unless you’re a scrooge…or a neighbor who doesn’t celebrate the Holidays. If you can’t make any of these but still want to participate, check out the TV show on ABC Great Christmas Light Fight. It’s really cute and enjoyable from your home…without traffic 🙂