Be they religious or secular, outdoor holiday displays have wowed Californians in their cars for at least 65 years. Your neighbors (and maybe you) have made the effort to haul the decorations from storage and string up the lights. Now the rest of us can appreciate them as our calendars move toward the longest night of this year (Tuesday, Dec. 22).
Here’s our annual list of lavish holiday lights surely to knock your stockings off.
8213 Rockbury Way, Antelope (95843):
A 30-snowman village is staged among a North Pole scene, with a skiing polar bear, reindeer, candy cane tree and merry-go-round. The arrangement includes 10,000 lights.
7913 Eagle Peak Way, Antelope (95843):
Family has put up a vast variety of lights, blow-ups and illuminated signs.
6617 Golden Rain Court, Citrus Heights (95610):
The corner-lot home boasts a magnitude of lights: clear icicle lights hang around entire house; illuminated Christmas star on 15-foot pole; angel, Santa and reindeer, large inflatable penguin and duck on rooftop; multi-colored lights decorate windows, doors, garage, trees, and fence; Christmas scene projected on garage door; garage and front doors wrapped in red ribbons and bows; net-lighting draped over shrubs; Nativity scene; spiral trees and reindeer; snowflakes and candles displayed in windows; and more.
7001 Whyte Ave., Citrus Heights (95621):
Composed of 15 inflatables to include a Disney cast with Mickey and Minnie in a car, Olaf and Dave the, Santa and his pals with animated rides, Santa in a helicopter, Santa at the North Pole. The display takes more than 4,000 lights, and features a Christmas light show.
9720 Great Egret Court, Elk Grove (95757):
This house is a magnet in the cul-de-sac for sightseers, with its blow-ups galore, and laser light show projected onto the house. Here’s what you’ll see: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfwZdeJmDz0&feature=youtu.be.
3316 Lake Terrace Drive, Elk Grove (95758):
Experience a choreographed 100,000 LED light show extravaganza. Tune in to 104.7 FM. Here’s a sample: https://vimeo.com/55635382
9326 Marlemont Circle, Elk Grove (95758):
Revolves around a Disney theme, with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Minnie and Goofy skating, and an assortment of other Disney characters. Rudolph pulling Santa onto the roof, and Santa’s reindeer lined up in their stable, compliment the setting.
7780 Kanihan Court, Fair Oaks (95628):
Custom-designed holiday windows offer a peek at a village, and motion Santa and elves loading a sleigh. Revelers can’t miss the yard displays: castles, dragons, Cinderella’s carriage, Santa’s house, toy soldiers, candy canes, and rooftop display.
5640 Kenneth Ave., Fair Oaks (95628):
Aglow with more than 75,000 lights, in addition to blow-ups and Christmas scenery.
5412 Shire Court, Fair Oaks (95628):
Yoda is accompanied by Minions and SpongeBob. Santa plays golf, and sits in a race car. There are homemade candy canes, angels, doves, and an 8-foot Nativity scene.
1027 Hildebrand Circle, Folsom (95630):
A nod to Disney, with Disney princesses, sparkling carriage, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale, Donald, Daisy, sleigh and dalmatian puppy, 35-foot lighted tree with Mickey Mouse tree topper; and Mickey Mouse lights.
Ledgemont Court, Folsom (95630):
Encompasses 11 homes, elaborately themed.
Wild Nights and Holiday Lights
Pay a visit to the animals at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary during its sixth annual holiday event. Santa and zoo bear mascot Santa Paws will be available for photos. The zoo will be decked out in thousands of lights, and decorations. There will be carolers, musicians, treats for the animals, and the miniature steam train Startlight Express will run nightly ($4). Food trucks on site Dec. 16, 18-19, 22-23. Wild Nights is from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11-12 and 16-23. The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary, 403 Stafford St., Folsom. Admission is $5 general, free for children ages 2 and younger. 916-355-7285; www.folsomzoofriends.org.
104 Thorndike Way, Folsom (95630)
With 4,000 LED lights, this Folsom gem features illuminated dancing arches, a 10-foot Christmas tree of lights, and other figures throughout the display that’ synchronized to music on 97.5 FM. Canned food accepted for the Twin Lakes Food Bank. Sample: m.youtube.com/watch?v=t2tlRCRt26M.
4826 Independence Lane, North Highlands (95660):
Includes lights and blow-ups, but the window displays are the real showstoppers. Each window is themed. Visitors will see snow people, Santas and a movie playing.
4113 Schofield Way, North Highlands (95660):
Now in its 26th year, with a life-size sleigh, lights, reindeer and lighted figures.
5217 Butterwood Circle Orangevale (95662):
Glowing lights and candy-canes outline the brightly lit yard. Lights hang from the tree and span the entire landscape – all designed by a man and his three grandchildren.
Dovewood Court (95662):
This popular cul-de-sac never disappoints. The annual holiday spectacle draws a large number of vehicles.
446 Canal St., Placerville (95667):
To mark the the 57th year of holiday decorations at this home, there are more than 70,000 lights and a 13-foot Santa.
2975 Five Mile Road, Placerville (95667):
More than 24,000 lights with a computer-controlled circuitry to sync them with music on 95.1 FM. The giant Santa can be seen from U.S. 50.
10625 Lambrusca Drive, Rancho Cordova (95670, near Aramond Drive):
Staged on the porch is a welcoming baby LED polar bear; multi-colored LED icicles hang from the eaves; a blinking snowman and reindeer pull a sleigh; there’s a laser snowflake show; lit LED deer family and tree. Another home is themed “Santa’s Toyland,” with inflatables, including the Grinch and toy soldiers. Neighbors have light displays with synchronized music.
5620 Onyx Drive, Rocklin (95677):
A family effort, including wood figures crafted by Mom. It includes 40,000 lights, Santa and his reindeer, snowman, leaping arches, gingerbread men, and more. Tune in to 104.7 FM to hear Christmas music choreographed to the light show, which begins at dusk and runs through 10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, and until midnight Fridays-Sundays. It takes 16 computers to control 256 extension cords to put together these 30-minute shows. For a sample of the show, go to:
Pebble Creek Drive and Strand Road (95765):
This Rocklin neighborhood has been delighting carloads over the years. Clusters of folks mill around.
591 Grider Drive, Roseville (95678):
Can’t miss the colossal-sized illuminated N-O-E-L letters.
2214 N. Cirby Way, Roseville (95661):
Has grown to 20,000 lights choreographed to music. Running 6-10 p.m.
1624 Eighth Ave., Sacramento (96818):
Giant ornaments twirl in the breeze from front yard trees while light displays brighten the lawn area. This display has things to see during the day as well. Neighboring houses have displays, too.
279-299 Ainger Circle, Sacramento (95835):
Multiple houses are all dressed up for the holidays, complete with Nativity scenes, candy canes and a luminary display around a full block on Christmas Eve (weather permitting).
3961 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento (95864):
A pageant of holiday splendor, featuring thousands of lights; six 60-foot themed Christmas trees; a snowy meadow setting, complete with deer and dancing lights choreographed to music; Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying across the night sky; life-size Elk on The Shelf, who moves nightly; gingerbread house with smoke billowing out from its chimney; Nativity scene; angels; and Nutcracker soldiers. New and unwrapped toys accepted for Sutter Children’s Center in memory of Rosie Carollo. More information on Facebook at Rosies Toy Drive.
53rd and S streets, Sacramento (95819):
This neighborhood found off T Street always gets a lot of buzz. It’s ideal for those who want to take a stroll under the illuminated hoops lining the sidewalks and walkways.
Fab 40s, Sacramento (95819):
From 40th to 49th between H Street and Folsom Boulevard, a majority of the majestic homes of this East Sacramento neighborhood are ablaze with lights. Residents of some streets (such as 42nd-45th) coordinate with lights strung across the street or shrubberies with similar motifs. White lighting seems to predominate, but plenty of color is still to be found. Traffic gets heavy with private cars, minivans, horse-drawn wagons and, this year, multi-person party bikes. Many revelers park to walk the neighborhood.
6293 Grangers Dairy Drive, Sacramento (95831):
A polished gingerbread house theme.
Land Park Drive between Broadway and Vallejo Way (95818):
A majority of the homes are lighted on this route, which makes for a festival drive. Icicle lights show off the gables of many of the homes, while wreaths and decorated lamp posts dress up the street during the daylight hours.
2973 Mendel Way, Sacramento (95833):
Intricately synchronized light shows run on the hour from 5 to 10 p.m. Music transmitted on 98.9 FM. For more information on directions, description and video archive, go to http://www.rickslights.com.
4008 Vosburg St., Sacramento (95826):
The poem submitted described a candy house, gum drops placed by a “cute little mouse,” a snowball fight by the snowmen outside, gingerbread boys and girls holding hands, Santa in flight with gifts, and a manger scene.
973 Swanston Drive, Sacramento (95818):
The bright collection of red, blue, white and green lights stands out from a block in each direction on this house, which decorates for each holiday season. Nearby be sure to see the twinkling fairy lights in the trees.
26th and Q streets, Sacramento (95816):
Houses on both sides of the street, between Powerhouse Alley and Q Street, decorate with multicolored lights that show off the lines of their porches and gables, and make this midtown corner festive.
Snow flurries and dazzling lights decorate the storybook park. On weekends, find Victorian carolers, holiday marketplace, hands-on activities and Santa visits. Hours: starting at dusk; snowfall at 7 p.m., Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 10-13, and Dec. 17-20. 7 p.m. daily snowfall. $5.50 park admission, free for children ages 2 and younger. For more information, go to fairytaletown.org.
Global Winter Wonderland:
Discover illuminated pumpkins larger than cars, and watch dazzling acrobats on ice at this one-stop holiday amusement park sprawled out on the Cal Expo grounds. Hours: 4:30-11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18; 3-11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, 25-26, 31; 3-10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, 20, 24, 27-30; 4:30-10 p.m. Dec. 21-23. Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento. $18 general; $14 seniors and children; free for children ages 3 and younger. $25 unlimited ride wristband (does not include admission). www.globalwonderland.com.
Macy’s Theatre of Lights
Old Sacramento’s holiday staple production, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” is performed on the balconies above K and Front streets. Shows continue at 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, Dec. 11, 17-18, 21-23; 6:15 p.m. Dec. 24, 7 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 31. www.oldsacramento.com.
4601 Doe St., Shingle Springs (95682):
Whether you’re willing to drive near or far, this should be on your radar. Immerse yourself among the Disneyland of inflatables. Some 300 blow-ups are spread out over the property.
The Biggest Show on Snow
Walk through 450 feet of sparkling lights in Santa Land, take a spin on the ice rink and tube down the ice slide when The Biggest Show on Snow takes over Raley Field through Jan. 3. Snow falls in Santa Land 6-8 p.m. daily; skate time varies. Raley Field, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento. Tickets are $10-$20. Parking is $10. For more information, go to http://biggestshowonsnow.com.
3850 Silverwood Road, West Sacramento (95691):
The modest display by day becomes alive each night with a dramatic, synchronized show. Tune in to 88.5 FM. Donations accepted to help fight type 1 diabetes. Catch the show before 10 weeknights, and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For a sample, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J4lhdo-r7E
Holiday in the Park – Vallejo:
Play inside a giant snow globe, walk under a canopy of candy canes and lollipops, and don’t miss the nightly synchronized light show. Holiday in the Park is open weekends through Dec. 11, and then daily Dec. 18-Jan. 3. The park will be closed Dec. 24-25. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 31. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo. https://holiday.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom.
ZooLights – Oakland:
Dozens of animal-themed structures are lit up. Featuring nightly light shows, starlit pathways leading visitors through a candy cane lane themed Adventure Landing, and the Outback Express Adventure Train. ZooLights is open 5:30-9 p.m. daily, through Jan. 3, except Dec. 24-25. Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland. Admission is $8 general, $7 children. $1 discount for Oakland Zoo members. www.oaklandzoo.org.
Zoo Lights – San Francisco:
San Francisco Zoo’s nightly forecast: light snow flurries, nightly shows and costume characters, and visits with Santa’s reindeer. Zoo Lights is from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays-Sundays (except Dec. 25), and Dec. 28-30, through Jan. 3. Admission is $8 general, $6 children ages 4-14, free for children ages 3 and younger. Parking is $5 after 5 p.m. Discounts for SF Zoo members. www.sfzoo.org/announcements/zoolights.