family fun

Holiday Tradition: Looking at Christmas Lights with Kids

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Growing up, it was a tradition in my family to drive around town on Christmas Eve and look at homes decorated with Christmas lights. Despite the fact that there was a myriad of organizations charging people to see elaborate light displays, my parents opted for the less crowded, more cost-effective route of piling us into the car with a thermos and cookies and hitting the road. Since these hidden gems are not as widely publicized, it can be difficult to find a good-old-fashioned (and free) neighborhood light display.

Redfin surveyed its real estate agents, who spend their days driving throughout their city taking clients on home tours, to discover the best neighborhoods to see holiday lights. Below is the list of the top five in the nation. The homeowners in these neighborhoods go all out with lights, decorations, statues, inflatable characters, and music. As a resident of Philadelphia, I’ve been taking my kids to see the South 13th Street lights every year. My kids love seeing characters like Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman, and I enjoy keeping the family tradition alive.

Redfin also identified the best lit neighborhoods in 17 major cities, so if you don’t live in one of these top five cities, you should check out the full list on the Redfin blog.

The Top 5 Neighborhoods to See Holiday Lights

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY

Each year, the displays in Dyker Heights get bigger and better. Many of the homeowners pay to have their homes decorated professionally, and there’s a bit of rivalry going on with who can have the most elaborate display.


Miracle on 34th Street, Baltimore, MD

The 700 block of 34th street is known as “Miracle on 34th Street” due to its extravagant holiday displays. The homes include traditional decorations such as nativity scenes, Hanukkah menorahs, and reindeer on the roof, as well as more unconventional decor, like a hubcap Christmas tree and metallic crab Santa.



Peacock Lane, Portland, OR

Since the 1920s, each house in this quaint southeast Portland neighborhood has been decorating for the holidays. Most of the homes are Tudor-style, which makes it feel like a neighborhood full of gingerbread houses.



37th Street, Austin, TX

The residents of 37th Street have been decorating for the holidays for the past 20 years. Austinites are fond of the phrase “Keep Austin Weird,” and a few residents have aimed to do just that, using furniture, appliances, cars and even a toilet to decorate their yard.



South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Another must-see holiday lights destination is the 1600 block of South 13th Street, in South Philly. Known colloquially as the “Miracle on South 13th Street,” the lights stretch across the street, forming canopies that connect the neighbors in this diverse community.

Do you look at Christmas lights with your family during the holidays? Where is your favorite place to go?

Blakely Minton is a Redfin real estate agent based in Philadelphia. She is the proud mama to two daughters, Harper and Emrey. Blakely's career started in real estate advertising, working with agents to help market their high-end listings. She obtained her real estate license in 2005 and went to work for a family-owned agency, eToro Recensione, where she was able to study closely under the broker. She left to join Redfin, which was bringing its real estate revolution to Philadelphia. Redfin's mission to create a consumer-focused, instead of a commission-based, real estate company was a perfect complement to Blakely's belief that a buyer should know the ups and downs about a home before making one of life's biggest purchases. For more information on Redfin, visit the Redfin blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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