Spectacular Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Holiday Lights Near DC

Photo courtesy of Kristy Case, from the Marshall Pond Christmas Village Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Kristy Case, from the Marshall Pond Christmas Village Facebook page.

The DC area is brimming with professional holiday lights drive-thrus and Christmas lights shows that dazzle visitors of all ages. But sometimes, there's nothing better than loading the family into the car with hot chocolate, turning on holiday music, and driving around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights on houses. And the best part is, it's free!

Though DC itself offers a treasure trove of gorgeous holiday lights in public places, like Light Yards and Georgetown GLOW, we've found that the best neighborhoods to see Christmas lights on houses are in the suburbs. Luckily, there are many neighborhoods in Maryland and Northern Virginia that get way into the holiday spirit. Many of them host animated light shows that are synchronized to music played through car radios, so families can stay warm and cozy inside their vehicles.

Here are some of the best neighborhoods in Maryland and Northern Virginia to see over-the-top Christmas lights on houses. For more holiday fun, check out our Christmas Activities and Holiday Guide for DC Kids.

Crofton Christmas in Maryland
Six houses join together to create Crofton Christmas. Photo courtesy of Crofton Christmas, Facebook

Spectacular Neighborhood Christmas Lights in Maryland

1. Crofton Christmas — Crofton

Six houses on Urby Drive go all-out with Christmas decorations. Even the sidewalk is lined with lights! Young kids will especially love the giant inflatable Rudolph and Clarice and the inflatable snowmen, Santas, penguins, and more. There's a scavenger hunt on December 10 and a bake sale and hot cocoa on December 10 and 17, 2022.

2. Bel Air

It's worth a drive to this Baltimore suburb to see three amazing Christmas lights displays, all within a less than 15-minute drive from each other. The Cedar Lane Holiday Light Show at 1111 Cedar Lane includes two 22-foot mega trees, fountains, fog, and lights that are synchronized to holiday music that visitors can listen to from their cars on 107.9 FM. Meet special characters, including the Grinch, on December 17, 2022. The show is free, but the family asks for donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Less than 10 minutes away is the Spencer Family Holiday Lights Show at 3107 Nova Scotia Road, which includes nearly 200 blow molds (those old-school plastic holiday figures), inflatables, a mega tree, and roughly 5,000 lights.

You can then make your way over to the Christmas Festival of Lights at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, a drive-up display featuring more than 100,000 Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music. Tune your car radio to 107.1 FM. On Fridays through Sunday evenings from 6-9pm, families can also go inside the church to see the indoor train garden and enjoy hot cocoa. Donations of non-perishable food items or cash will benefit the church's food pantry. The Festival of Lights runs through December 31, 2022.

RELATED: Free Holiday and Christmas Events in DC for Kids and Families

Miracle on 34th Street in Baltimore
Families have been flocking to Miracle on 34th Street for 75 years. Photo courtesy of Miracle on 34th Street, Facebook

3. Miracle on 34th Street — Baltimore

OK, this one's not technically in the suburbs, but we couldn't not include it in this list. Since 1947, the 700 block of 34th Street in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood has put up over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations, with every house on the block participating. Visiting the street has become a holiday tradition for many families, who flock to see the musical trains, inflatable snow globes, Disney-themed displays, and more. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and kids can take pictures with Santa. The lights stay on through New Year's Day.

4. Ellicott City Lights

Every night through December 31, 2022, 4802 Red Hill Way puts on an extravagant holiday light display synced to music. Arrows on the street corner saying "This Way Santa" point families in the right direction. Look for fun touches such as light-up Baltimore Ravens and Orioles signs.

RELATED: Pictures with Santa Claus Near DC: Where to Take Santa Photos

Mamulaville in Severn, Maryland 
Kids will delight in the huge number of inflatables at Mamulaville. Photo courtesy of Mamulaville, Facebook

5. Severn

Mamulaville, a Christmas lights display at 1545 Ringe Drive in this Baltimore suburb, includes more than 70 inflatables, lots of light-up arches, and 1,900 feet of lights. About a 10-minute drive from there is the Lights at Elmhurst light show at 7881 Walnut Grove Road, which synchronizes thousands of lights to music played through 88.3 FM. Two playlists lasting 30 minutes alternate nightly.

6. Kentlands Christmas — Gaithersburg

Each year the homeowners at 202 Little Quarry Road also put together a dazzling Christmas light show set to music, complete with a "talking" animatronic tree. Many of the songs in the show are from popular Christmas movies. The show has been featured on local news stations several times, so it's worth a visit. It runs nightly through December 31, 2022.

RELATED: Best Holiday Activities and Christmas Events Near DC for Kids and Families

Farmer's Christmas House in Alexandria
Just try to find an inch of the Farmer's Christmas House that's not decorated—we dare you! Photo courtesy of the author

Spectacular Neighborhood Christmas Lights in Northern Virginia

7. Farmer's Christmas House — Alexandria

Nearly every inch of this house at 2507 Fairview Drive—including the roof and the driveway—is covered with lights, inflatables, light-up sculptures, and more. Visitors can get out of their cars and walk through the displays in the front yard and on the porch, where kids will be thrilled to find a bevy of Disney, Star Wars, and other characters. It is the perfect free activity for families, though owner Kurt Farmer did set up a GoFundMe to improve and add to the display. Opening night is planned for December 11, 2022.

8. Herndon

Two houses on Brass Harness Court team up to present the Flintwood Holiday Lights, a light show that's coordinated with Christmas music that families can listen to through their car speakers. (Several nearby houses are done up, too). You can also head to the Fox Mill neighborhood, where the houses are trying to outdo each other to win the neighborhood decorating contest. Be sure to hit up Viking Drive! And at 12708 Kettering Drive, you'll find a working model train, a dancing snowman and Santa, and more that will dazzle kids.

RELATED: The Nutcracker Ballet and Other Holiday Shows for Kids Near DC in 2022

Old Town Alexandria Christmas lights
Head to Old Town Alexandria for postcard-worthy Christmas scenes. Photo by Chris Bridner, courtesy of Visit Alexandria

9. Old Town Alexandria

Want to feel like you're in a Hallmark Christmas movie? Head to Old Town Alexandria, where the trees lining historic King Street are covered with lights and the storefronts are decked out to the nines. Then, stroll along the red-brick sidewalks of the residential side streets, including S. Fairfax Street and Lee Street, to see the charming decorations on homes. Be sure to stop by the historic Carlyle House to see its dancing white lights and glowing garden oasis. You can also see the giant holiday trees at Triangle Park at the corner of King and Fayette streets and at Market Square at 301 King Street.

10. Marshall Pond Christmas Village — Burke

An entire pipe stem off Marshall Pond Road teams up to create Santa's Village. Nearly every house is covered with lights, inflatables, Christmas sculptures, and more. Families can park outside the pipe stem and walk through for an up-close look at the lights and decorations. They are truly a sight to behold.

RELATED: Where to Have Breakfast with Santa Near DC

You never know when Santa will drop by the Ni Family Lights show. Photo courtesy of Ni Family Lights, Facebook

11. Ni Family Lights — Vienna

This house at 2528 Drexel Street in Vienna puts on a 15-minute animated light show with a very unique feature—a giant tree with pixelated cartoons that dance along to the music. Visitors can tune their radios to 90.3 FM to hear the music from their cars, or get out and listen to the songs through the speakers in front of the house. The changing playlist includes some Christmas music, but kids will especially delight in the songs from popular movies like Aladdin, The Greatest Showman, and Wreck-It Ralph. The light show runs every night through December 31, 2022, regardless of weather.

12. Annandale

Tune your car radio to 88.1 FM to enjoy the spectacular light show at 3912 Lincolnshire Street. The house is covered with dazzling Christmas lights that blink and change colors along to the music. As a bonus, most of the neighbors' houses on the street are lit up as well. To watch a second light show, drive less than 10 minutes to 8505 Forest Street and change the radio to 101.5 FM. The lights that cover the house, the archways along the driveway, and the trees change colors as they "dance" along to a kid-friendly holiday playlist. The show lasts about 35 minutes and runs through January 10, 2023.

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