Each holiday season, residents of these seven communities come together to create the most spectacular Christmas lighting and decoration displays in the country.
By: Alyson McNutt English
Photo By: Visit Baltimore
Peacock Lane: Portland, Ore.
Residents of this southeast Portland neighborhood make sure their holiday light displays live up to their street's colorful namesake. A tradition since the 1920s, Peacock Lane's decor definitely has glimmer and glitz, but it also strives to be different, with rotating Christmas trees and lifelike replicas of Santa and Frosty the Snowman. You can safely stroll down Peacock Lane on "pedestrian only" nights, or pick up a ride in a horse-drawn carriage that will deliver you to the neighborhood and back to your car in style.
34th Street: Baltimore, Md.
Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood hosts its own miracle on 34th Street every year when this famously named block lights up the night with their Christmas spirit. This is a true homegrown Christmas effort: You won't find professionally styled lighting or corporate-sponsored displays here. Rather, the residents of 34th Street create their own look for their own lawns, and everyone pitches in to create a miraculous holiday show. The neighborhood's row house-style homes feature loads of lights as well as other fun decor, including inflatable snow globes, a hubcap Christmas tree with a bike-rim snowman, and overhead Christmas trains.
Dyker Heights: Brooklyn, N.Y.
They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but Christmas lights take center stage in the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. Year after year, the competitive New York spirit drives homeowners in Dyker Heights to outdo one another, which makes for a fantastic show for Christmas-decor devotees. Make it a night by trying the "Christmas and Cannoli" bus tour that offers a comprehensive tour of Dyker Heights, as well as a pit stop where you can warm up (and fill up) with hot chocolate and cannolis from a local pastry shop.
37th Street: Austin, Texas
What you'll find on 37th Street in Austin isn't exactly your average Christmas lights display. Then again, what else would you expect from the city that prides itself on "keeping it weird"? During the Christmas season, lawns on 37th Street are adorned with festively lit lawnmowers and funky homemade holiday art. And the residents don't stop there: holiday lights span rooftops and light poles, making 37th Street's Christmas show a shimmering sight to behold.
Snug Harbor Estates: Cocoa Beach, Fla.
One of the biggest holiday tourist draws in south Florida doesn't have anything to do with the beach: It's the Christmas lights display in the Snug Harbor Estates neighborhood in Cocoa Beach. The brilliant displays are widely known in the area, and you can expect to find long lines at peak light-cruising hours in the early evening. (The streets leading into the neighborhood are even patrolled by the police on super-busy weekend evenings).
Christmas Lake Village: Santa Claus, Ind.
When you live in a city called "Santa Claus," people expect you to get pretty excited about Christmas. The residents of this Indiana town's Christmas Lake Village neighborhood take on the Christmas challenge with aplomb. For a few days each December, the neighborhood opens its gates to the public and thousands flock to see the dramatic decorations and luminous light shows organized by residents.