Visiting Dyker Heights over the holidays is a cultural phenomenon that's part of the lifeblood of Brooklyn's remarkable slew of traditions.
Every year, local residents in Dyker Heights outdo one another with over-the-top Christmas light decorations. It is estimated that every year, more than 100,000 tourists come to see this neighborhood's outpouring of creativity and fun, as light displays spill over their homes, roofs, and gardens. Kids will be awed by the sheer amount of holiday decorations that typically include brightly lit rooftop Rudolphs, Santas on the lawn, and entire homes ablaze with lights.
It's not a wealthy or particularly ostentatious neighborhood, but Dyker Heights—adjacent to Bensonhurst and a bastion of the Italian American community—takes Christmas seriously. Not only are the area's displays beautiful, the experience is memorable, and really worth a visit—especially if you love getting excited about Christmas festivities, folk art, and have little kids in tow.
Where to Go
Check out the dazzling holiday lights displays from 11th to 13th Avenues, and from 83rd to 86th Street. Note that 13th Avenue in this neighborhood is also called Dyker Heights Blvd.
When to See the Christmas Lights
The neighborhood's light displays typically go up after Thanksgiving, but it's up to each individual home when to start decorating. The best time to go is in mid-December when all the lights will be up. Decorations tend to stay up until New Year's Eve. For the best experience, go on a weekday around dinner time, when locals are settled in after work. Lights are usually turned on from around 5 to 11 p.m., depending on the home.
When traveling to the area, keep in mind the lights do go off around bedtime, otherwise, the entire neighborhood would be sleep deprived!
How To Get to There
Because the media has touted this grassroots attraction, there have been traffic jams along the streets of Dyker Heights during the Christmas season. If you're driving or taking the bus, you will need to be patient and allow for extra time to see the sights should you choose this route. For this reason, the wisest option is to take the subway. You can take the D Train to 79th Street and Utrecht. From the station, it's a 15- to 20-minute walk to Dyker Heights. To cut down on walking time, take the B4 bus to Bay Ridge Parkway/12th Avenue.
Brooklyn's Christmas Lights Tours
Depending on the weather, one of the best ways to see this stunning display of festivities is by taking a walking tour or bus tour of the holiday lights. There are several options to choose from:
- A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours: The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour is available every night in December (except for Christmas Eve and Christmas). Tours are three and a half hours long start once per hour from 5 to 8 p.m.
- Dyker Lights Christmas Lights Tour: This four-hour bus tour starts at 4 p.m. every night from December 1, 2019, to January 3, 2020.
- Brooklyn Unplugged Tours: This Brooklyn Christmas Lights tour is shorter than the others at an hour and a half long, but it is also more cost-friendly. Tours are held almost every day from November 29 until December 30, 2019, each one starting at 5:30 or 7:30 p.m.