Big Christmas light events where you buy tickets to drive through tunnels, walk through mazes, and raise a cup of cocoa with Santa are fun. But sometimes you just want to pour your own thermos of hot chocolate and hop in the car for a drive around the neighborhood.
Where to point your car for the best and brightest lights around?
The following residential neighborhoods and individual homes are lighting up with choreographed shows, music, and over-the-top displays that would make Clark Griswold proud. (And this list will grow as more and more flip the switch.) Remember to be considerate of other cars and homes in the neighborhood — pack some patience, don't hold up traffic and don't block driveways.
Burkman Holiday Home of Frisco, now-December 26
Fresh off their appearance on ABC’s The Great Christmas Family Light Fight, the most famous "Christmas light family" in DFW has lit up its over-the-top display for the public. The interactive display of 70,000 LED lights includes a 400-piece train village in the garage, a gingerbread house that looks and smells like real gingerbread baking, and many selfie stations. They encourage people to get out of their car, walk around, and take photos. They're also collecting donations for their new foundation and other charitable causes. The lights are on 6-11 pm nightly. Parking can be tight, so be prepared to park and walk a block or two. The home is at 3809 Hazelhurst Dr., Frisco, on the Frisco/Little Elm border. Follow their Facebook page for updates, special photo opps, charity info, and more.
The Browne Family Holiday Light Show, Parker, now-January 5
This family has a tradition of turning their home into a destination. The Browne Family Holiday Light Show is a full light show synchronized with music taking place throughout the Christmas season. While the show is free, it is an official drop-off point for Toys For Tots; visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate. The show runs from dark to 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and dark to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, at 2701 Dublin Park Dr. (in Dublin Park Estates), Parker.
Lights on Oak Bluff, Sachse, now-December 31
This fantastic lights display consistently wins awards from the City of Sachse and the neighborhood HOA. Expect over 14,000 individually computer-controlled lights, a 13-foot Megatree, Singing Faces, snowflakes, yard decorations, and much more. The Christmas show is synchronized to music; tune to 92.9 FM to enjoy from your car. It's free to visit, but they welcome donations to the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation to help a neighbor's son and other children with the disease. The show runs nightly from 6-10 pm, at 4310 Oak Bluff Ln., (in the Woodbridge subdivision) Sachse, 75048. Follow their Facebook page for updates.
Deerfield neighborhood, Plano, now-December 30
The Deerfield neighborhood of northwest Plano hosts a holiday decorating contest that yields magical results: a top-rated winter wonderland you can walk or drive through. You can even book carriage rides in advance. Deerfield subdivision is located between Preston Road and Coit Road. Check the website for maps and important information about traffic flow and parking. The free event officially runs 7 pm-10 pm on weekdays and 7 pm-11 pm (but most homes turn on their lights at sunset) on weekends through December 30.
Biscayne Drive, Plano
While in Plano, head over to Biscayne Drive off Independence Parkway and the George Bush tollway (75075). Three consecutives homes have joined together for a massive display of lights and characters. They call it the Biscayne Winter Wonderland.
Timberhollow Circle, Lake Highlands, now-late December
On this Lake Highlands street, "The 12 Days of Christmas" come alive on Timberhollow Circle. The display has been a tradition for more than two decades. Each home is decorated as one of the days, from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming. Several residents have moved over the years, but they’ve passed along the decorations to the new homeowners to keep the tradition alive. While you drive by, tune in to 87.7 FM to listen to different versions of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The entrance is located one block south of Royal Lane off Abrams Road on Moss Haven Drive, 75231. The lights stay on nightly until 11 pm through the end of December. And while you're meandering through Lake Highlands, be sure to hit Lake Highlands Estates — specifically the streets from Vistadale, south to Church Road — to see some amazing trees decked for the holidays.
Santa House, University Park, now-late December
Once hailed "the single best Christmas light display in Dallas," this perennial favorite fills the front lawn with hundreds of lighted blow-mold decorations that homeowner Wayne Smith has amassed over the years. But look up — way up to the roof — and you'll find his distinctly "Dallas" touch: the head of the State Fair's very first Big Tex, restored to his original form as St. Nick in 1949 and donning a Santa hat. Find it nightly at 3629 Southwestern Blvd., Dallas.
Interlochen Lights, Arlington, December 17-25
The Interlochen neighborhood will present Interlochen Lights for just one week and weekend during the holiday season. Known as the best neighborhood light show in Texas, the event allows guests to drive through the neighborhood and pick out favorite displays while they tune into holiday music on radio stations 102.1 FM or 98.7 FM. This is one of the busiest spots in Dallas-Fort Worth during the holiday season, and it's free. The route will be the same as previous years; find the map here. Watch for updates on their website and Facebook page.
DFW Christmas Light Show — Araujo Family, Grapevine, now-January 1
After taking the year off in 2020, the Araujo family of Grapevine is back and bigger than ever. There's a choreographed light show in front and a new, extra surprise in the backyard: a "birthday party" setup with dozens of vintage animatronic characters and even more lights. Visitors are welcome to get out, explore, and take photos in front and back. The whole display is on, with different songs playing, from 6-10 pm nightly. Find it at 4341 Woodglen Dr., Grapevine, 76051. Follow the Facebook page for updates.
Wisdom Way Lights, Haltom City, now-January 1
The "Selena house" that debuted as a sensation last year is back. The Gonzalez family's 10th annual choreographed show of 8,300 LED lights features a six-minute tribute to pop icon Selena. Clips of Selena concerts are projected on an LED screen while music and snippets of interviews are played over speakers and lighted Christmas trees on the lawn "dance" along. Then, an eight-minute light show features characters from The Simpsons. Visitors can view both shows from from their cars and listen on radio channel 89.7 FM. Wisdom Way Lights runs nightly from 6-10 pm, and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturdays. Find it at 4521 Wisdom Way, Haltom City, and follow Wisdom Way Lights on Facebook and YouTube for updates.
Curry Christmas Chaos, North Richland Hills, now-January 1
Three houses collaborate to present a lights show synchronized to music that's anything but the "chaos" that the name implies. From start to finish, it's just over an hour long, and features a mix of pixels and standard LED lights "dancing" to music. Visitors can tune in to 89.9 FM to listen as lots of Christmas trees light up on the lawn. The show runs every night (unless mother nature decides differently), 6-11 pm, through January 1. Find it at 3506 Reeves St., NRH. Follow the Facebook page for more information and updates.
Diamond Loch, North Richland Hills, now-January 1
This North Richland Hills neighborhood has dressed up for the holidays for decades. Drive through the cul-de-sac slowly to check out adjacent houses that join forces to present a massive computerized show. The rest of the street decorates nicely to make an enchanted "Whoville" Christmas experience. They grow the show every year, and The Grinch himself may actually pop in occasionally; follow their Facebook page (and search #nrhgrinchlights) to keep up. It's open daily, 5:30-11 pm. To find it, navigate to the address 6217 Windsor Ct., NRH, 76180.
Rushing Meadow Court and Harder Drive, Dalworthington Gardens, now-January 1
Homeowner Dave Kulesz started a neighborhood tradition when he lit up his property with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. Surrounding homes got into the fun and now attract visitors from miles around. Kulesz uses the exposure to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease, to which he lost his mother. A sign in his front yard encourages people to make gifts to the Alzheimer's Association. See the lights every night from 5:45-11 pm. Find it on Rushing Meadow Court in Dalworthington Gardens.
Miracle on West Fork at Alesio Urban Center, Las Colinas, now-December 30
Each Christmas, the Gonzales family in the Penthouse at Alesio Urban Center, an upscale residential community on Lake Carolyn, goes big. This holiday season, they are hosting the second annual of Miracle on West Fork "Winterland," a holiday drive-thru light show that will showcase festively decorated windows and balconies. The spectacular light display is left on at the penthouse daily from 6-10 pm. They play an outdoor light show with Christmas music, and it even "snows." The Grinch will stop by the balcony at 7 pm December 10 and 11, and Santa will stop by from 6-8 pm December 18. Miracle on West Fork will host their annual toy drive under the balcony. Find the community at 387 West Fork, Irving.
The Park Cities
The gorgeous homes in the Park Cities neighborhoods of Dallas shine with beautiful light displays, many of which are professionally installed; pick just about any street where you see houses lit top to bottom in twinkling lights, and there are bound to be a dozen more. Be sure to check out Highland Park Village and its 1.5 million lights while you're in the area, and don't pass by SMU without driving down the campus' main drag, Bishop Boulevard, toward the fountain and back.
Historic Kessler Park goes all out, with lots of holiday lights on homes and trees against a backdrop of the Dallas skyline. The holiday decorations are coordinated on various traffic islands in the neighborhood each year. From downtown Dallas, go west on Interstate 30. Take the Sylvan exit, turn south on Sylvan, drive about a half a mile, and turn west on Colorado. You can't miss some of the most majestic oak trees in Dallas, shining bright for the holidays.
Elderoaks Lights, Oak Cliff
A Dallas tradition over 30 years strong, Elderoaks sees 96 percent of the homes in the neighborhood participate in a dazzling display. Located along three streets just south of the old Oak Cliff Country Club (Elderoaks Lane, Elderleaf Drive, and Elderoaks Place), the neighborhood scenes celebrate Christmas with homemade decorations that span medieval times to present day. Don't miss the streaming show of Christmas carols. There's no fee to watch, and lights go on at dusk each night.
Know of another spectacular lights display in DFW? Email email@example.com. Please include a website or link to social media page with your recommendation.