Here are some of the best San Diego neighborhoods to see Christmas lights
By Jennifer Liebthal
It is that time of year again.. grab a hot chocolate and get ready to smile as you drive through these fabulous San Diego neighbors which light up the night with their holiday displays!
NOTE - This not a comprehensive list but rather some of the more well known holiday light displays. Though the listings are of neighborhoods that traditionally "light up," dates and displays are subject to change. Full map of locations at bottom of page. BOLD highlight is verified lights for this year.
Downtown San Diego Christmas Lights
28th Street - Matthias residence in a North Park yard packed with light-up geese, penguins, Santas, reindeer and more than 40 Christmas trees, all of them flashing in time to pre-recorded Christmas tunes, . Map
The Forward House in Bankers Hill. Come by to experience the sights and sounds of the season at 108 Ivy St. (1st & Ivy). Built in 1905 for S.D. Mayor John Forward Sr, adorned with lights every season since 1998.
Nov 23 - Dec 31, 5 – 10 pm. MAP
South Park’s Luminaria Season. Trees, lamp posts, roofs and courtyards all decorated with lights. Along 30th St. and Fern St. from Juniper to Grape to Beech.
San Diego Coastal Christmas Lights
Mission Bay | Ocean Beach | Pacific Beach | San Diego Bay | La Jolla | Point Loma
4729 Newport Ave, The Olson family's gift to the community, their home's lights are synchronized to Music (FM 89.7). Even though this is only a few homes it is a very impressive synchronization of lights. Well worth a visit!
Monday - Thursday, and Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 6 to 11 p.m. Map
The Christmas House. On Gresham near Law Street. This Christmas Display features 18,000 + lights, over 220 different objects, figures, movable objects, etc. 65 + extension cords.
NOTE - The house will not be illuminated this year but keep this one on your list.
Online: The Christmas House Pacific Beach Facebook
3616 Garrison Street. There are many homes with lights on this street but this year 3652 and 3616 Garrison are the crowning jewels! The amount of displays at 3616 Garrison is impressive. Don’t forget to take second to check out the views of the city at the corner of Garrison and Liggett, they are spectacular!
Lights go on at dusk and off at 10 p.m. through December. MAP
Online: Facebook Page
San Diego Central Christmas Lights
Clairemont | Mira Mesa | Scripps Ranch | Sera Mesa-Mission Valley | Tierrasanta
Clairemont Christmas Park. Lana Dr. & Jamar - off Mt. Abernathy Ave. During the holiday season, this Clairemont community puts on a wonderful holiday light display for all to see. Walk or drive through and enjoy the 40+ decorated homes displaying your favorite Christmas and holiday characters. This tradition started in 1977 and people have been know to purchase homes in this community just so they can be part of this annual Christmas holiday event. Map
4760 Norwalk Ave. - off Clairemont Mesa Blvd./Moraga Ave. Map
5404 Mt. Burnham Dr. A computerized light show with 96 channels synced to music on 98.5 FM. Displays include North Pole village, train and animated figures display in garage.
Dec. 10-27, 6-10 pm. MAP
5348 Channing St. Light display to music. MAP
8866 Cassioepia Way. Decorated house with a snowman theme. MAP
11505 Elbert Ct. Decorated house with a Disney theme. MAP
Merry-tage Court. Stonebridge Pkwy & Merritage Ct. The entire street lit up with themes including Star Wars, Minions, Disney, Cars and more. MAP
Belardo Lights in Tierrasanta - 5306 Belardo Drive. This home light display is not only an amazing light display but the owners use the opportunity to raise money for children with disabilities. The many lighting displays will include the following additions this year.. Candy Canes and Stars, Musical Notes, Candles, animated Snow Girl and songs synchronized to music from FM 89.7.
Now through Dec 27, 6 - 10pm MAP
East County Christmas Lights
Campo | El Cajon | Lakeside | La Mesa | Lemon Grove and Lomita | Santee | Spring Valley
2434 Cypress Dr. 50 inflatables, lights, music and lighted yard decorations. MAP
Jingle Bell Hill (aka Pepper Drive Lights) - Solomon Ave./Pageen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 and Bradley. Features dozens of homes decked out for the holidays.
There are about 75 homes on the 3 blocks 0f streets that decorate each year. It can take an hour by car to inch your way through. Of note is the group on one street that has Santa and his sleigh on one house and then a reindeer on each roof of the next 6 homes, all connected! There is also a house dubbed Nightmare Before Christmas (here) at 11456 Pegeen Place complete with Jack, Sally, Zero, the Mayor & Oogie Boogie. Check out the livestream of the neighborhood lights here. MAP
1838 El Pico Drive. - off Hacienda Drive A most impressive 20 foot twinkling star on a tower 100 feet off the ground which overlooks El Cajon valley (25 square miles). Starting 12/14 all other decorations are lit including the tower which becomes a giant Christmas tree of 10,000 lights 80 feet high, a 55 foot long and 7 feet high train with smoking rising 30 feet up into the trees. All decorations including 40,000 automated lights creating a winter wonderland are automated
11/25/2018 Star only Dusk to 11PM, 12/14/2018 Balance of Christmas Lights Dusk to 10 PM, ends 12/31/2018 MAP
9777 Valley Ranch Rd. Two houses of lights programmed to 87.9 FM. Giant dazzling trees and a winter wonderland of computerized lights and music show. MAP
1552 Cajon Greens Pl. Thousands of lights, music and yard decorations synchronized to 97.7, plus projector with movies for the kids. MAP
3001 Golf Crest Ridge Rd. Nicely decorated house. Santa hands out candy canes and poses for photos. Donations accepted for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.MAP
EAST SAN DIEGO
1523 48th Street - off Federal Blvd. & 48th St. Arron Christmas Lane.
House sold this year not sure if new owners will put up lights. Map
8045 Stadler Street - Fairchild residence as featured in the Union-Tribune. Map
5475 Heidi Street - off Lake Murray Blvd. and Marengo, Map
6761 Jackson Drive - off Cowles Mtn. Blvd. Map
6266 De Camp Dr. 22-ft tree of light and more. Lights dance to Christmas songs. Accepting donations for Ronald McDonald House. MAP
7817 Quince St. House lit up. Donations for Humane Society accepted. MAP
LEMON GROVE, LOMITA (San Diego)
689 Meadowbrook Dr. - off Jamacha Rd., south of Lemon Grove. Many lights on home and occasionally, Santa and Mrs. Santa may be out to greet visitors. Map
2618 Sheri Lane. Cul-de-sac turns into Santa Claus Lane. Computerized light show at 6:30 pm and every 30 minutes until 9pm on 89.9 FM. MAP
9230 Wethersfield Rd., Sunwoodie Rd. - Very colorful nativity scene, Noah's Ark and many lights. Map
9239 Lake Country Drive - off Mast Blvd. Many lights. 16 & 17. Map
Starlight Circle (Sunburst Santee area), Tomel Court - off Magnolia. 75 homes lit up in an easy to walk circle with many of the displays follow a theme, from “Star Wars” and “Sesame Street,” to characters from Disney movies and scenes from Santa’s workshop. Cotton candy, kettle corn, and hot cocoa should be available on the west side of the Circle and there will be golf cart rides/tours available on the east side for a nominal fee.
Online: Facebook Starlight Circle
9325 Pebble Beach Dr. Full light display on home and yard set to music. MAP
9435 Saint Andrews Dr. Santee’s gingerbread house with over 15,000 LED lights. MAP
DB Christmas 9773 Roe Dr. 31,000 computer controlled Christmas lights, spiraling Christmas trees, lawn displays that read “HOPE” and “CURE,” and even holograms of Santa Claus projected on the windows of the home. Display is synced to holiday music played on 98.5FM. Donations of unwrapped presents accepted for Santee Santas and monetary donations for St.Jude’s.
Nightly 5pm - 10pm. MAP
4037 N. Bonita St. Lots of lights, music, penguins, Snoopy, Mickey, Minnie and Santa in the window. MAP
Enchanted Village at Noah Homes: 12526 Campo Rd. Walk at dusk, surrounded by brilliantly lit trees, magical cottages, live performers, “snow”, interactive exhibits and more to entertain guests of all ages on this beautiful 8-acre community. A brand new festival of trees and lights in San Diego.
Dec. 14-16 & 21-23, 4-8pm. Tickets Required $9.99-$14.99; Elves with credentials and children under 3 are free. MAP
South Bay Christmas Lights
Coronado | Chula Vista | Paradise Hills
Christmas Circle - Whitney St./Mankato. For over 60+ years homes in this neighborhood have decorated for the holidays. There are over 55 homes. Suggest to park and walk as cars are back up for blocks on most nights.
Dec. 11 through Dec. 26, 5 to 10 pm Map
Online: Yelp Christmas Circle
Eastlake Neighborhood - off Otay Lakes Rd. and Eastlake Pkwy. Evenings, Map
2160 Reo Dr. Lights and decorations. MAP
North County Inland Christmas Lights
Carmel Mountain Ranch | Poway | Ramona | Rancho Peñasquitos | San Marcos
CARMEL MOUNTAIN RANCH
Fairway Village, west side of Stoney Gate Pl. 100+ homes decorated in thousands of colorful twinkling Christmas lights and displays.
Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 5:30-10:30 pm. Map
Online info: fairwayvillagenews.com
The Griswolds. 12631 Stoutwood Street - off Twin Peaks Road & Deerwood Street. With over 12 thousands lights this house is not to be missed. The neighborhood has also stepped up with light displays that range from fixed lights to lights that move to music.
Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 5:30-10 pm weekdays, 11 pm weekends Map
Candy Cane Lane - Hickory Court, Hickory Street (includes Butterwood Ct. and Rockrose Ct). 15-20 homes on a cul de-sac is transformed into a twinkling wonderland. Some homeowners set up bonfires and little stands on their driveways selling hot cocoa, cookies and popcorn as visitors stroll through the area.
Dec. 3 through Jan.1, 5 to 10 pm . Map
“Happy Lights Ramona” 23542 Bassett Way. Eith 30,000+ lights animated to music on 106.9 FM using 996 computer channels to control the lights.
5:30-10 pm. MAP
"Christmas Card Lane" Oviedo Street - off Black Mtn. Rd. includes Twin Trails, Carmel Mtn. Rd.,Ellingham St., Renato St., Oviedo St., Twin Trails Dr., Barrymore St., Totherham Ave., Talca Ave., Talca Ct., Allenbrook Way, Davenport Ave., Amber Sky Ln. With its own Wikipedia page this display is no joke and one of the most popular in San Diego. School and scouting organizations often sell baked goods and hot chocolate and members of the local school bands play Christmas carols, while other organizations will rent horse-drawn carriages, double decker buses, or limousines and sing carols while driving around the neighborhood.
1145 Barham Dr. Festively decorated house with an electric train. Last year for Santa and Mrs. Claus. Nov. 22-Dec. 24, (weather permitting), 6:15-8:30 pm. MAP
Christmas on Knob Hill 1639 Knob Hill. Off Nordahl Rd. Between Tam O’ Shanter Dr. & Augusta Dr. 31st year of decorating. 100,000+ lights plus themed displays.
Nov. 22-Dec. 30, 5-9 pm. Visit with Santa Dec. 14-23, 6:30-7:30 pm. MAP
Online: christmasonknobhill.com and Facebook @christmasonknobhill
North County Coastal Christmas Lights
Encinitas | Carlsbad | Oceanside | Vista
Santas Mailbox, 6646 Elegant Tern Pl. For a truly charming experience, take your little ones to mail their very own letter to Santa at his real mailbox in Carlsbad. Santa actually writes back a free personalized letter to each kiddo (include your home address for a response)! “Christmas village, and a little vignette with snow friends. in the middle is the alleyway with the twinkling lights overhead, and then there is the sparkle castle, the Santa on the roof, the inflatable that snows inside, as well as giant candy canes. On the right is the angry birds inflatable and tree, a 6 foot tall camel, a banner with our family caricature, and in the back window are giant nutcrackers 4 feet tall with giant wreaths on either side. In the front of the house are the two wrapped trees and a big lighted Christmas village in a tank right on the sidewalk. Cookie monster always has a tin of cookies, the mailbox always has a tin of candy canes.”
Dec. 5th-25th, 6-10 p.m. nightly. Map
The “Carlsbad Christmas House” 7607 Romeria St. The “Carlsbad Christmas House” where it snows! Walk around to see Surfin’ Santa, Snoopy & Friends ice skating, Island of Misfit Toys, animals frolicking in the waterfall, animated window display, and more. Food drive donations accepted.
Dec. 2-31, 5-10 pm (closed rain days). MAP
3520 Corte Ramon. Different theme each year. Lights and characters coordinated to music. MAP
Reche Road just West of Green Canyon. Over 100,000 lights that are choreographed to music. There even are snow machines to add to the effect. Tune your car radio to 90.5FM. Also includes a food-drive, please bring canned or non-perishable food items (a collection bin is on site) that directly benefits the Fallbrook Food Pantry.
5:15pm - 8pm Map
2329 Snead Dr. Lots of lights, nativity scene, animated elves, Santa Village light display. Walk up to see Christmas scene in garage. MAP
1562 Peacock Blvd. Rudolph and deer family. Christmas trees and lights. MAP
746 Bonita Drive - off Olive Ave. Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, 6 to 9 pm. Large display of lights with an elf's house. Large manger scene. Santa may be there on weekends! Map
Via Vastago - off Olive, Bonita Dr., and N. Melrose Dr. Dec. 10 through 31, 5:30 to 9:30 pm. Little town of Bethlehem in lights, with a possible visit from Santa Claus! Map
"December Nights" will hit Balboa Park on Dec. 7 and 8. The park will be decked out in lights as well as holiday music, vendors, and food.
"Jungle Bells" welcomes the holidays to San Diego Zoo from Dec. 14 - Jan. 6. The park will run daily light shows and entertainment with zoo staff and animals.
"San Diego Bay Parade of Lights" brings out boats dressed in hundreds of lights to the bay, as they parade on the water Dec. 9 and 16.
"Garden of Lights" at San Diego Botanic Gardens showers the garden in more than 125,000 lights, and hosts marshmallow roasting, a musical light show, and more.
"Christmas Celebration" at SeaWorld San Diego runs from Nov. 17 to Jan. 6, bringing a 40-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s village, and delicious foods to the theme park.
“Skating by the Sea” returns to Hotel del Coronado for the 14th year. This spectacular ice rink is located seaside on Windsor Lawn and features stunning views of the Pacific and Coronado beach. The Del’s iconic Victorian Building, adorned with thousands of white lights, provides a magical backdrop as holiday music fills the air and guests enjoy hot chocolate and libations. Tree in the lobby is beautifully decorated plus 100,000 lights illuminate the resort from Nov. 30 to Jan. 1.