Best Neighborhood Christmas Lights Displays and Holiday Lights in NYC

Enjoy the magic of Christmas in Dyker Heights as the neighborhood lights up for the festive season. Photo courtesy of Dyker Heights Lights
Enjoy the magic of Christmas in Dyker Heights as the neighborhood lights up for the festive season. Photo courtesy of Dyker Heights Lights
11/17/23 - By Rosalind Muggeridge

Every year it seems the Christmas light installations in New York City get more elaborate, making a visit to the top holiday lights displays a must-do seasonal activity.

We've rounded up the best holiday lights displays in NYC. Most of these attractions are in the far-flung stretches of the five boroughs, such as Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, the Rockaways and Howard Beach in Queens, and on Staten Island, but all of these holiday houses are worth the trip.

So, start your own holiday tradition this year by checking out these spectacular Christmas lights when dusk hits. To find more seasonal fun, visit our NYC Kids' Guide to Holiday Fun.


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The houses below light up around Thanksgiving, and displays come down around New Year's Day. Lights go on (and are best seen) after dark. If you want to avoid crowds and potential traffic jams, go early in the evening on a weekday. These places tend to get busy on weekends. If you're traveling on foot, please respect the homeowners' property and other visitors' space.

RELATED: Drive-thru Christmas Lights Shows near NYC for 2023

Best Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays and Holiday Lights in.NYC: Dyker Lights
Houses are decorated to the max in Brooklyn's Dyker Heights neighborhood. Photo by the author

1. Dyker Lights – Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Dyker Heights is famous for its Christmas lights displays. There's even a PBS documentary called Dyker Lights and countless videos on YouTube. Check out our full Dyker Lights review for the details on this over-the-top display that carries on for blocks and blocks.

How to get there: Displays can be seen throughout the neighborhood, but the hot spot is 11th to 13th Avenues between 83rd and 86th Streets. Be prepared for serious gridlock or take the subway. The D train to 79th Street is the closest stop, but it's still quite a walk.

RELATED: Must-do Christmas Events and Holiday Activities in NYC

Best Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays and Holiday Lights in NYC: Christmas lights in NYC: Modafferri home
Get festive and support the local fire department at the Modafferri home. Photo courtesy of the family

2. Modafferi Home – Howard Beach, Queens

97-03 165th Avenue
Tony Modafferi has been lighting up his corner lot for more than 30 years. The lights are on full display nightly from 5-10pm. Bring some extra cash to donate to the local volunteer fire department.

How to get there: Tony Modafferi's home is on the corner of 97th Street and 165th Avenue in Howard Beach. It's best reached by car, though the A train to the Howard Beach/JFK station is about a 20-minute walk from Modafferi's home.

Christmas lights in NYC: Little North Pole
The Little North Pole was created to spread holiday cheer in Rockaway and raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research. Photo courtesy of the Mure Family

3. Little North Pole – Rockaway, Queens

144-03 Neponsit Avenue
The home of Joe Mure turns into a sight fit for Santa annually, with a charitable mission to boot. Updates about this year's display are posted on its Instagram account. Usually, the Little North Pole's over-the-top decor stays on through the holiday season with two missions: to put a smile on visitors' faces, and, thanks to a collection box out front, to raise money for children with juvenile diabetes. On Saturday, November 25, stop by for live entertainment, tasty food donated by local vendors, and toys for every kid.

How to get there: Located at Neponsit Avenue and West 144th Street, a car is your only option.

4. 73rd Street, Upper East Side

East 73rd Street between Second and Third Avenues
While not a traditional holiday lights display, this is still an enchanting sight that's more convenient than other destinations on our list. Take a twinkly stroll along East 73rd Street, where neighbors band together each year to adorn the street's 22 trees with thousands of white lights. Afterward, wander the neighborhood to see other festively decorated houses.

How to get there: Take the Q train to the 72nd Street stop.

RELATED: Picture-Perfect Holiday Day Trips near NYC

Christmas lights in NYC: Lights 4 Life
In Staten Island, the DiMartino house, dubbed Lights for Life, raises funds to fight children's cancer. Photo courtesy of Lights for Life

5. Lights for Life – Charleston

107 Sharrotts Road
Joe DiMartino and his family transform their house into a Christmas wonderland annually in honor of DiMartino's wife, Debra Ann, who was killed on 9/11. The display covers every square inch of the property and allows revelers to gawk at tableaus like Mrs. Claus baking gingerbread, a nativity scene, and more. Donations are collected for Staten Island University Hospital's pediatric cancer ward.

How to get there: While a car is the optimal form of transportation on the island, the X22 bus drops you about 4 minutes from the house.

Got a car and looking for fun seasonal outings? Find the most decked-out holiday houses on Long Island, in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, and in New Jersey.

Originally published in December 2009.

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