Great Places to See Christmas Lights in San Diego


Are you ready to get in the Holiday Spirit?!  San Diego may not have snow but it certainly has plenty of spectacular Christmas light displays to help you get in the mood.

My favorites are the residential light displays. I love it when a whole neighborhood comes together to brighten up the holidays for the rest of us. Most of them string their own Christmas lights and they all endure a higher utility bill so we can get in the spirit. (Thank you to all those who put up Christmas lights for the holidays!)  Best of all, there is no cost for us to see them.

A few years ago, I came across a web site for Tom Chapman with Fidelity National Title. He updates it each year with a listing of all the neighborhood Christmas light displays in San Diego. I’ve checked out a number of them and have never been disappointed. Generally, you will find at least three or four streets in each neighborhood where almost every home is covered in lights.

My favorites are in Clairemont, Poway, and Rancho Penasquitos. The display in Rancho Penasquitos offers the added benefit of viewing giant Greeting Cards designed by its very talented and creative residents.

To enjoy the residential Christmas light displays, it is best to find nearby parking and walk through the neighborhoods. Many displays include Christmas music and handful of neighbors will have parties in their driveways. If you just want to drive through the neighborhoods, watch out for the following, especially on weekends:

  • Lots of stop-and-go traffic.
  • Lots of kids crossing the street.
  • Drivers only using their fog lights to help keep the neighborhoods dark.
  • Sudden stops by the car in front of you when you they see something that really catches their attention.
  • Sudden stops by you when you see something that really catches your attention.

If driving down neighborhood streets seems too stressful, you may want to check out one of the commercial displays instead. Tom Chapman’s web site also provides a list of the professionally created Christmas light displays in San Diego.

This will be the last year for one of the more notable professionally prepared light displays – the Festival of Lights at the Wild Animal Park. This is your last chance to enjoy the light displays in this beautiful setting. Next year, the Zoological Society will create a new holiday event to be hosted at the San Diego Zoo.

Many of the Christmas light displays are already up and running for your enjoyment. Expect the rest of them to be on and ready to get you in the holiday mood by this Saturday. Enjoy the holidays everyone!

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