The Best Spots to See Holiday Lights in the Bay Area

The Bay Area may not get much in the way of White Christmases, but the holiday cheer is all around. With festive community events, resident-organized light displays, and winter wonderlands, it’s clear Bay Area residents love celebrating the holidays. So grab your friends and family and take in the holiday cheer at these spots where the holidays are surely the best time of year.

Christmas in the Park - San Jose

Photo by Oleg Alexandrov / CC BY-SA

For more than three decades, Christmas in the Park has been lighting up Downtown San Jose during the holiday season. This free event features dozens of musical and animated exhibits, complete with singing mice and elf workshops. Local non-profit organizations and businesses showcase uniquely decorated Christmas trees, and restaurants set up food and drink stands with holiday-themed desserts. Santa Claus himself even makes an appearance every night of the event and greets the children. Plus, where else other than California could you skate under the stars in an ice skating rink flanked with palm trees? 

Christmas Tree Lane - Palo Alto

Courtesy of Christmas Tree Lane

Spectators from all around the Bay Area flock to Fulton Street in Palo Alto every year to check out the row of homes dressed to the nines with lights, wooden reindeer, and inflatable Santa Clauses. This tradition is nearly 80 years old, first starting in 1940 when a handful of neighbors decided over a game of bridge to decorate the street. Today, the street has become a must-visit destination for families all around the peninsula when the holidays roll around.

Deacon Dave’s Christmas Lights - Livermore

Courtesy of Casa Del Pomba

Every year, Deacon Dave in Livermore decks out his home and property with more than 100,000 holiday lights. Employing a different theme for the extravaganza each year, Deacon Dave has previously decorated his house in the theme of Elfland, Toyland, and Christmas Around the World. All those lights require true dedication, too, as set-up begins on Labor Day weekend. 

Fantasy of Lights - Los Gatos

Photo by Demetri Mouratis / CC BY-NC

Want to enjoy the wonders of the holidays without having to leave the comfort of your car? Check out Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos. The park is decorated in over-the-top light displays, and you’ll see everything from Christmas-themed pirates to Santa shooting basketball hoops. You can even play the accompanying music through the stereo in your vehicle. The line does get long, so head out earlier during the season if you can. The entrance fee is $15 per car. Don’t forget to pack hot cocoa and candy canes for the family! 

Tom and Jerry House - San Francisco

Photo by Chris Martin / CC BY-SA

In a neighborhood that doesn’t exactly go all out with decorations, the Tom and Jerry House in The Castro is a welcome sight. You’ll see a Christmas tree decked out in ornaments, complete with piles of presents underneath. Wreaths, lights, and gigantic stockings complete the festivity of the scene. The stockings are filled to the brim with Tom and Jerry stuffed animals.

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