Whether you're visiting the San Francisco Bay Area or have been living in the area for years, December is an exciting time to take your loved ones to see Christmas lights. These six places around the Bay Area are particularly good places to see lit-up decorations. Enjoy!
Visit These 6 Bay Area Places To See The Best Christmas Lights
1. Christmas Tree Lane, Palo Alto
The 70+ year old tradition takes place every year from mid-December to December 31st, and its tradition is as strong as its ever been. It all started in 1940 when neighbors on Fulton Street came together over a game of Bridge and decided to decorate their street for the holidays. Today, spectators from all over the peninsula to check out the consecutive homes lit up with Christmas lights, inflatable Santa Claus, and old-fashioned wooden cutouts of reindeer.
2. Devonshire Drive, Novato
The Rombeiro Christmas House on Devonshire Drive isn’t just a marvel of lights on the outside, the family also opens their home every year for visitors to come look at their decorations inside. Model trains, Christmas trees and holiday village displays are among the things visitors will find inside. Last year alone the Rombeiros opened their doors to over 41,000 visitors! As for the outside of the house, it’s not too shabby either. With over 140,000 lights, holiday figurines, illuminated angels and reindeer, and a full light-up sleigh on the roof, you won’t want to miss this house. In addition, neighbors also decorate their homes, although none quite as elaborate as the Rombeiro’s, and provide a nice place to stroll and enjoy the holiday spirit.
3. Tom and Jerry’s House, San Francisco
If you’re in San Francisco and don’t want to leave the city to see some Christmas cheer, you’re in luck. The Tom and Jerry House in the Castro is a sight for sore eyes, as it shines in a neighborhood that otherwise would give little indication that Christmas is near. It stands alone as one of the few houses in the area to go all out for the holidays, and its display shows its gusto for the special time of year. Expect to see an ornament-filled Christmas tree with huge boxes of presents sitting beneath it. Stuffed animals, wreaths, and lights are all hung from the slanted balcony above the garage. The humongous, life-sized stockings that also hang from the balcony contain Tom and Jerry stuffed animals, giving the house its beloved name. If you go, try to park somewhere a few blocks away, as the house is really on a slanted street and can be difficult to park on.
4. Eucalyptus Street, San Carlos
The folks in San Carlos go all out for the most wonderful time of the year. Head to Eucalyptus Street and you’ll find houses covered head to toe with colorful strings of lights. Most houses on the street participate, and an overwhelming number of them have displays on their front lawns. You may just see a Christmas alligator made of wire and lights, or you could come across a polar bear fixed in between faux pine trees. The houses range from timeless, simple displays to flashier, exuberant Christmas exhibits. Don’t forget a warm hot cocoa to sip on as you stroll along Eucalyptus Street!
5. Christmas Tree Lane, Alameda
In Alameda’s Christmas Tree Lane (technically between High Street and Fernside Blvd.) you won’t come across two houses that are decorated even remotely the same. The unique features of the houses make them each a sight to see. You may see Santa in his sleigh waiting for Christmas Eve to come so he can deliver gifts, or you might stroll across Christmas Snoopy hanging out with a snowman. This place is nothing over the top, but it sure is nice to see so many uniquely different interpretations of Christmas spirit.
6. Christmas in the Park, San Jose
Every Christmas for the past 35 years, Christmas in the Park in downtown San Jose brings the community together to celebrate the season. This wonderful, free event features 60+ musical and animated exhibits, plenty of strung lights, and Christmas trees uniquely decorated by local area non-profits and companies. There are also rides and carnival games, as well as food and drinks stands. Stop by the famous Mexican Hot Chocolate stand and grab a delicious, whipped cream and sprinkles-topped hot cocoa. Santa makes an appearance every night, and kids can get in line to meet him. Some of the event’s original decorations can even be seen, including the Lima Train, the decoration that got it all started. Another feature of Christmas in the Park is the ice skating rink. Skate under the stars as you make your way around the picturesque rink surrounded by palm trees. What could feel more like Christmas in California?
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.