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Touring The Christmas Lights

During the holidays season, it is a tradition of many families to venture out and find the very best Christmas lights out in the bay area. You used to find light displays by word of mouth back in the day, but now there are whole websites dedicated to this cause and even Yelp pages! Here are a few of my favorite places to see the lights in the city and beyond. You won’t be disappointed.


Thompson Ave, aka “Christmas Tree Lane”, in Alameda is comprised of an entire block of houses dedicated to dressing up for Christmas. Bring a few dollars: the kids sell cupcakes, cookies and hot chocolate along the way.  It’s a family outing for sure, but there’s plenty of festive and fun for a Christmas detour if you find yourself in Oakland for cocktails or a dinner party. Make a drive out of it and cruise through Thompson Lane, then head to 78 Kilkenny Pl for a waterfront home display of Christmas light reflections on the water. End your tour with 2612 Calle Reynoso, an Alameda classic in its last year of Christmas light production. More info here.

San Francisco

For a row of festively decorated Victorians, stroll down Union Street in the Marina for a Christmas light tour. Enjoy the brightly lit architecture and candy cane meters while out and about holiday shopping on this busy thoroughfare.


Tom and Jerry’s house on 3650 21st Street in the Castro is an all-time city favorite. There’s a huge very-adorned Christmas tree, gift-wrapped boxes and lots of stuffed animals. It’s a short walk up from Dolores Park.


1779 Hayes is coming up as a Christmas light landmark in San Francisco. In its 14th year of Christmas light production, it’s worth taking a look after gift shopping on Hayes Street.

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