You may show your age if you look at a house decked out with dazzling lights for the holidays, true works of art that took someone (or a team) hours of dedication to put up, and think, “They’re going to have some electric bill this month.” But for those less grinchy, these homes and sometimes entire streets, known as “Candy Cane Lanes,” bring the joy. Get out to take a gander or peer in wonder from the warmth of your car – either way these displays are sure to wow.
Christmas Street, Baltimore
Also known as the “Miracle on 34th Street,” this strip in Hampden has been featured on “Nightline” and the Travel Channel. It started 71 years ago – yes, you read that correctly – and has grown into a much-anticipated event that lights up holiday nights and hearts. Check the website for a map on where to park.
Where: 700 block of 34th St., between Keswick Rd. and Chestnut St. (Baltimore, Md)
When: Daily from dusk to 11 pm (through Dec. 31)
The home known as the Bishop’s House has been impressing onlookers since the 1960s. Well, maybe not at first. When Bishop Walter McCollough of the United House of Prayer for All People first suggested decorating the house, he defined that as hanging up a few strands, according to American University’s WAMU. Now it takes more than a month and half a million lights to set up the display, which a team of 15 to 20 volunteers handles.
Where: 1665 N. Portal Dr., NW (Shephard Park)
This area is a hot spot for holiday happiness. Several homeowners in this neighborhood break out their extension cords to create twinkling presentations. Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights recommends swinging through nearby Sterling Boulevard and side streets off Juniper such as Coffee and Elm Tree, particularly the musical light show at 112 Elm Tree Lane. While you’re in the area, stop at 21244 Millwood Square, a townhouse that has packed a lot into a little space.
Where: East Juniper Ave. (Sterling, Va)
Homeowner Bill Vaughan began decorating his house more than two decades ago, but when a worker at a retirement home across the street told him how happy the display made the residents, he realized that “this was bigger than decorating the house for the whole family.” Today, it is the largest animated residential display in Virginia, according to his website.
Where: 1601 Collingwood Rd. (Alexandria, Va)
When: 5 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. weekdays; 5 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. weekends and Christmas week
This adorable, historic town is worth a look during the day. At night, take a drive along Henderson Road to look at the lights at one house in particular that has been doing it up for years, according to Holly’s Tacky Lights. Check the next year for the Holiday Homes Tour, an annual December event during which residents open their homes to the public, and local eateries and stores offer specials.
Where: 11610 Henderson Rd. (Clifton, Va.)
When: 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., through Jan. 5
More than 200,000 white lights cover this lovely home and its landscaping on the corner of Stones Throw Drive. The homeowner uses the display to accept donations from onlookers for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Other homes in the area also go all out, so leave yourself some time to drive around.
Where: 11303 Stones Throw Dr. (Reston,Va)
When: Nightly, through Jan. 7
Where do you go to look at holiday light displays? Tell us in the comments section below.