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 got your ticket to 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—South Philadelphia
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. Santa himself will be there on December 8. But even if you miss him, you can catch the lights every night from 5 PM-12 AM ;November 24, 2018-January 1, 2019.
Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular—South Philadelphia
Smedley Street is bringing Christmas back with the 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.
Get into the Christmas Spirit with help from Smedley Street in Philly. Photo from Dante Fratto on the Smedley Street Facebook page
South Colorado Street—South Philadelphia
If you have already made your way for the Smedly Street Christmas, don't miss the displays at nearby 2700 block of South Colorado Street. Residents at Colorado Terrace have been putting up elaborate lights displays during holiday seasons for more than a decade and it's a delight to behold.
Mayfair Annual Residential Decoration Competition—Northeast Philadelphia
On the 3500 block of Oakmont Street more than 100 residents in this Mayfair street compete in some friendly Christmas fun, with a a Christmas-decorating contest that lines the street with lights and sprinkle blow-up decorations in their front yards.
The Corrado Family Lights Display - East Bradford
Tucked away on Nobb Hill Drive in East Bradford, PA is a house that really shines. Each year, Jerry Corrado spends months decorating for Christmas and it really shows. On weekends through the first week of January, visitors who drive by can see Santa who passes out candy canes to carloads of visitors. For anyone wanting to give back, the family hosts a toy drive in their front yard. Collected toys are delivered to children at Chester County Hospital each Christmas. To visit, use the address 1102 Nobb Hill Drive, West Chester, PA.
'Tis the season at the Corrado Family home. Photo courtesy of C. Mooney for Mommy Poppins
Light Up A Life—Ambler
Acteon Networks, LLC President Jack Yoast is passionate about hosting the light show at his home every year, and this year is set to be bigger and better than ever. The display, at 1320 E. Butler Pike in Ambler, is so large you can even see it from space! New this year is a 3-D carousel, which will join popular returning features like the Cinderella carriage. Donations collected on site are given to the Kevin From Heaven Foundation, which supports local kids in need. Weather permitting, the light show runs Monday-Thursday: 5:45-9:00 PM; Friday and Saturday: 5:45-9:45 PM; and Sunday 5:15-9:00 PM. Catch the lights November 22-December 30, 2018.
Greeby Street Christmas—Northeast Philadelphia
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 to meet Santa and donate to local toy drives. The lights stay on until December 31, 2018.
The West Chester Griswolds—West Chester
The West Chester "Griswolds'" annual display is 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. When you visit, be sure to tune your radio to 87.9 to hear information about the display. This year they have a new mailbox where you can send letters directly to Santa (and hear back from him if you leave your address!! The "Griswolds" are located at 304 Dutton Mill Road, West Chester, PA. Lights go on at 4:45 PM each day and go off at 9:45 PM Monday through Thursday and 10:15 PM Friday through Sunday.
The Smith Family Christmas Display—Wilmington, DE
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 up until December 23rd. The Smith Family display is located at 1900 Prior Road in Wilmington, DE.
The Faucher Family Christmas Light Display—New Castle, DE
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 6:00 PM Black Friday.
Colonial Drive Lights- Langhorne
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, 2018-January 6, 2019.
If you still can't get enough of the holiday lights, 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!
This article has been updated with 2018 information.