Decorating the home for the holidays is a tradition that brings families together. Finding those houses that really outdo themselves every year is a traditional family activity to look forward to every Christmas.
While organized light displays from farms are delightful, there's something really special about checking out some awesome houses around the neighborhood. And there are quite a few neighborhoods that really go all out. The best part is, they're all free! We've rounded up some of the best residential light displays to check out.
Here are some private homes and neighborhoods in the Philadelphia area that are definitely worth a visit.
The Miracle on 13th Street
A neighborhood that decorates together, stays together. This is the case for The Miracle on 13th Street in South Philly. It was started in 1998 and continues to delight Philadelphia families year after year. To walk or drive this stretch fills you with holiday cheer. It is located at 1600 S. 13th St. (Between Tasker and Morris streets) and claims to be THE Christmas Block in South Philadelphia. Catch the lights every night from 5 PM-1 AM November 28-January 1.
Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular
Smedley Street is bringing Christmas back with their holiday light display that transforms their neighborhood into a winter wonderland. You can visit them at the 2700 Block of Smedley Street between 16th and 17th streets and Moyamensing and Oregon Avenues.
Light Up A Life
Acteon Networks, LLC President Jack Yoast is passionate about hosting the light show at his home every year. Donations collected on site are split between two fabulous youth organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County and The Villa (formerly St. Mary’s Villa for Children and Families). It is located at 1320 E. Butler Pike in Ambler. Weather permitting, the light show runs Monday-Thursday: 6-9 PM; Friday and Saturday: 5:45-9:30 PM; and Sunday 5:30-9 PM. Catch the lights November 24-December 30.
As always, Santa visits this light spectacle, so check the website for updated listings of when to catch him. Light Up A Life posts different displays to search for and count at the property on its website each week starting November 24. The people who count and enter the correct number on the site for each week are entered into a drawing to win a gift card. New this year, those with mobility issues can book a tour of the lights aboard a John Deere tractor.
Greeby Street Christmas
For 20 years, the 4200 block of Greeby Street has been lighting up Northeast Philadelphia for the holidays! Every rowhome on the Tacony block gets into the spirit, with elaborate displays, inflatable lawn decorations and lights strung from one side of the street to the other. Christmas music plays throughout the season, and there are also frequent opportunities meet Santa and donate to local toy drives. The lights stay on until December 31.
The West Chester Griswolds
The Wallingford "Griswolds" moved to West Chester, but their annual display is still an amazing spectacle! This is a Christmas light display that you can see from space. Don't worry about finding this place in the dark; with 42,000 lights, most of which are LED and computer-controlled, this display will blow your mind and make the kids 'oooh' and 'ahhh.' The West Chester Griswolds start building the display in early October and regularly update on their site what is happening. This year's display has over 66,000 lights, of which 99% are LED. When you visit, be sure to tune your radio to 87.9 to hear information about the display. They are located at 304 Dutton Mill Road, West Chester, PA.
The Smith Family Christmas Display
Brothers Tom and Jim Smith are behind the dazzling display of 300,000 bulbs, 70 extra circuits, and hundreds of hours of planning and hanging lights all over their property in Wilmington. Brother-in-law Ralph Thompson is the engineer and installer of this over-the-top holiday display, which starts its process on Labor Day and is finished by Thanksgiving, though we weren't able to verify details about this year's event. Santa typically makes an appearance at the house every evening from 6-9 PM until December 23. The Smith Family display is located at 1900 Prior Road in Wilmington, DE.
The Faucher Family Christmas Light Display
The Faucher family's home boasts a grand total of 1,000,000 lights! For nearly 30 years, the family has kept alive this tradition, which draws people from near and far to be dazzled by the holiday lights at 1054 Red Lion Road in New Castle, DE. The lights turn on at 6 p.m. Black Friday.
That's a Lot of Lights
This Levittown home is 100% wind-powered, and the roof alone has 8,000 lights! Enjoy the opening-night festivities starting at 5 PM December 2 at 1 White Spruce Lane, with free refreshments and live music. Santa turns the lights on at 5:55 PM, and they will be on every night from 6-10 PM through Christmas. This is the 25th and final year for That's a Lot of Lights so don't miss your chance to see this amazing spectacle.
Colonial Drive Lights
At 155 Colonial Drive in Langhorne, tune your car radio to 92.1 FM and watch as the music and lights dance in unison. The show runs nightly, starting at 5:30 PM, from December 1-January 7.
If you still can't get enough of the holiday lights in the Delaware Valley, be sure to see our list of the top professional light shows in our area. For even more holiday lights, head across the bridge to New Jersey!
Originally published on December 2, 2016.