During the most magical time of the year, there are many ways to get your holiday light fix. Houston has beautiful public lighting displays, but nothing beats driving the family around a neighborhood in your Christmas pajamas. For those evenings when you want to enjoy the beauty of the holiday season at your own pace, it's helpful to know which Houston neighborhoods go above and beyond in the decoration department. We've rounded up the neighborhoods with must-see lighting displays, so all you have to do is gather the family into the car, turn on some holiday tunes, and explore the Bayou City on your own time. However, many neighborhoods prefer visitors between 6-10 p.m. Lights are typically up from Thanksgiving through New Years. Also, for all things holiday in Houston - from free events to shows - check out our holidays guide.
This post is currently being updated for 2017.
River Oaks - Enter River Oaks from Kirby at Shephard or Westheimer and begin winding your way through this elegant Houston neighborhood that boasts grandiose and traditional displays of white lights. You will discover enclaves of beautifully wrapped trees, glowing deer, and lights dripping from large branches creating stunning landscapes.
Houston's Shopping Districts - Post Oak Boulevard, Highland Village, and Uptown - These shopping centers offer lovely lighting displays and are a quick 10-minute add-on to the River Oaks neighborhood lights. From Loop 610, take San Felipe west into Post Oak, then turn left onto Post Oak and drive south toward the Galleria, where you can catch spectacular white lights on the Christmas trees lining Uptown's main holiday thoroughfare. Take a left on Westheimer and cross under the Loop to head towards Highland Village, where you will see palm trees with white lights lining the road. Take a left onto Kirby to make your way into the heart of River Oaks described above.
Woodland Heights and the Heights - Known for its Christmas lights and its famous Lights in the Heights event, which is 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, this is an easily accessible neighborhood with many award-winning light displays. Drive within the area bordered by I-10, Heights Boulevard and 19th Street to I-45 making sure to cruise the streets of Bayland and Highland, and you will be sure to find many eye-catching and magical holiday scenes.
Shepherd Park and Candlelight Park - Start north of West 43rd Street on either side of Ella Boulevard to find many giant inflatable characters, arches over the streets, large cutouts, and dioramas.
Spring Shadows - At the end of Kemp Forest (off Gessner) you will find colorful and fanciful Christmas light displays along the 3000 block of Quincannon Lane including traditionally decorated homes, large wrapped trees, and entire lots filled with whimsical holiday cheer.
The Woodlands - Most neighborhoods in this area will have decorated homes and streets that are show-stoppers but start at the Panther Creek and Alden Bridge neighborhoods for over-the-top Christmas light displays set to music.
Prestonwood Forest - Start at Prestonwood Forest Drive, just off Highway 249. This neighborhood in Northwest Houston is known to be the top area to experience extravagant Christmas lights with themed streets and even a chance to see Santa. Since the 1980s, neighbors have competed in several categories including best house, best block, and even best lamp post. Visit during Prestonwood Forest's annual Nite of Lites event from December 10 through 31, 2016 and you can vote for your favorite lights online for the People's Choice Award. Plan for this trip to take an hour and a half to two hours in order to have time to see all the complex displays and to park and get out of your car for some of them.
Franck's Christmas Light Show in Copperfield - Located at 15923 Viney Creek. The Franck family has shared their neighborhood lights tradition with visitors since 2008. Lights are synchronized with music broadcast on 89.7 FM. The light show runs nightly from 5:30-1 p.m. Sunday through Thursdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Cleveland Christmas Ranch - Located at 14651 FM 1725 in Cleveland, TX. For 32 years, the owners of Christmas Ranch has invited the public to drive through their complex and beautiful Christmas light display with 285,021 lights now located in Cleveland, TX. You will see many glowing scenes and decor including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas bears, and even dinosaurs with Santa hats. Santa will be there to visit and take photos with all the good girls and boys on Dec. 3, 10, 17, and 23 from 6-8 p.m. It is free, but the Christmas Ranch accepts donations to St. Mary's Catholic Church to help those in need in the community. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Schultz Holiday Lights in Spring - Located at 19827 Rose Dawn Lane, Spring. The Schultz family has invited visitors to its animated holiday lights display since 2010. Colorful trees and other seasonal decor are synchronized with a playlist of lively holiday tunes. The show is on from Thanksgiving to Dec. 31, and the hours are 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Christmas Katy - Located at 24603 Stoughton Court off I-10 and Pin Oak in West Houston. This home celebrates its tenth year of synchronized lighting. It features more than 50,000 LED lights, a 32-foot tree, 10-foot Nutcrackers, and a Christmas show with 17 songs broadcast on 89.9 FM. The whole street is lit up and beautiful as neighbors are also a part of the show. The show is open from Thanksgiving weekend through Dec. 25, hours are 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and till 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and on Christmas Day.
Dickinson Festival of Lights - This is a walk-through, not a drive-through, lights display at Paul Hopkins Park in Dickinson. Lights will be on every evening from 6-8:30 p.m. from November 26 through December 30. In addition to large light displays, food and drink concessions and photos with Santa are available. There is free parking at Dickinson Plaza Shopping Center and free shuttle buses.
Bufkin Christmas Wonderland in Pasadena - Located at 2731 Lilac in Pasadena 77503. This stunning lights display fills front and backyards with more than 165,000 lights. Hours are 6:15 PM - 9:30 PM daily.
Edwards Family Lights in Scarsdale - Located off Blackhawk and Astoria close to I-45 and Scarsdale at 10014 Citruswood Lane, Houston 77089. The Edwards family is passionate about their Christmas lights, featuring 45,000 lights, a 20 foot mega tree, singing Christmas trees, a 6 foot Bethlehem star, and a 40-minute long Christmas show of nine songs on a loop, available on 95.5 FM. The family selects a different charity each year and has a donation box for those who wish to contribute, this year the donations will be split between Texas Children's Hospital- Childhood Cancer Center and the local chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation. Hours are November 25 - January 1, Monday through Thursday 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM and Friday through Saturday 6:30 PM - 10:30 PM. Santa will be in the driveway for photos on Saturday, December 17 starting at 6:30 PM.
Green Tee Terrace Subdivision in Pearland - Located off FM 518 and Country Club. This is a neighborhood with a long history of gorgeous Christmas light displays. The annual Tour De Lites is a one-and-a-half-hour bike ride (and hayride) through the area to see the lights, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.
Winter in Pearland - Located at 11206 Misty Morning Court in Pearland, this home goes all-out with a 20 foot Ferris Wheel and a 24 foot Mega tree. The red, blue, and green LED lights are synchronized to music on 99.7 FM. Hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Christmas Eve 5:30 p.m. to midnight and 24 hours on Christmas Day.
Pecan Grove in Richmond - This Fort Bend neighborhood is known for its Christmas lights. Kids often get to see the lights on hayrides through the streets.
Candy Cane Court and other neighborhoods in Atascocita - Located in the Pinehurst Subdivision, you will find Evening Shades Court which residents turn into Candy Cane Court each Christmas. Giant candy canes, candy cane trees, a life-size dancing Santa, a mailbox for letters to Santa, music, a homemade train that travels around the cul-de-sac, and lights upon lights transform the street into a Christmas destination complete with friendly neighbors passing out candy canes to visitors. Other planned communities to check out nearby include the Walden, Eagle Springs, and Summerwood neighborhoods.
Photos courtesy of ChristmasKaty.com