It’s the most wonderful time of year – hot cocoa, cold winter evenings, hot-baked cookies and the most glorious light displays you can find! One of our family traditions is to bundle up and go around the Sacramento valley searching for the best lights. Luckily, we don’t have to travel far to find some neighborhoods that go “all out” and decorate their homes for the season.
Growing up, I can always remember Candy Cane Lane (or more accurately, Dovewood Court.) It was the one night of the of year that my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all got together to drink hot cocoa, stay up late and walk down the cold (and sometimes rainy) court.
Year after year, we have been going to view the spectacular lights at Dovewood Court in Orangevale and once you take a walk down this memorable street and see all the lights and holiday trimmings, you will also be transformed into another world. As a kid, I remember walking down this street in amazement to see all the lights and displays. And as an adult, I’m even more amazed that the entire street can all pull together to make something so magical and amazing for everyone to see.
Now, this isn’t the only place to see a fantastic light show. Many areas around Sacramento have become family favorites and people drive many miles to view the light spectaculars. Here is my quick list of places not to miss this holiday season:
North of Sacramento in Rocklin, the community on Pebble Creek Drive has also put together a wonderful light show. Kids will love this area as almost every house has characters of one of their favorite Disney movies. My kids were especially excited when they spotted Olaf!
The “Fab 40’s” in East Sacramento. The homes in this area are worth the drive to just view their fantastic landscaping and architecture. But every year, they come together to give the neighborhood a light display that really helps put everyone in the holiday spirit! You can walk down any of these streets—but I would suggest beginning on 48th Street and Folsom Boulevard.
Bayside/Adventure Church in Rocklin has transformed their parking lot into a mile-long, drive-through light display. This is worth the drive, but be prepared for quite a wait to get through. This is the first year of the display, and it seems that everyone in Sacramento wants to take a peek and we don’t blame them. The display is quite the sight, with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker battling it out, jolly elves and an incredible light tunnel all set to the tune of great Christmas music. If you are willing to pack up some hot cocoa and wait in line, it’s well worth the wait.
Global Winter Wonderland at Cal Expo has become a family favorite for many. Gorgeous light displays, exciting carnival rides and even ice skating! This is an event not to be missed. Runs through January 8. Admission $16-18, not including the cost of rides and concessions.
Folsom Zoo’s Wild Nights and Holiday Lights is an event for anyone who wants to combine the beauty of holiday lights with the fantastic animals at the zoo. This is an annual family holiday event with thousands of colorful lights and decorations, train rides, carolers and even a visit with Santa! December 16-23 from 5 pm-8 pm. Admission is $5
Old Sacramento’s Theater of Lights is one of my favorite traditions. Bringing the classic “The night before Christmas” to life with music, lights and dramatization- it’s a wonderful way to experience Old Sacramento and celebrate the holiday season. There are two shows nightly, through December 23, 6:15 and 7:45pm. On December 24 there will be onlyshow at 6:15pm.
For a detailed list of where some great houses are to see, check out this website for more information.
A few tips for viewing the light shows around town. Dress warmly and prepare to walk (weather permitting of course), as some of these streets are very popular and sitting in a traffic jam with antsy children is NOT my idea of a good time. Bring hot cocoa for sipping and some canned foods for donating. Most of these areas are accepting donations this holiday season. And most important, cherish these precious moments with your loved ones. Happy Holidays!
By Heather Crivellone