If you want to see some of the most extravagant Christmas light displays, you should make the trip to the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Many of the Christmas light displays are done professionally, and they tend to evolve each year in an unspoken effort to "outdo" each other. In addition to over-the-top Christmas lights, there are large inflatable Christmas decorations and even motorized Christmas displays.
The neighborhood tradition first began in 1986 when Lucy started decorating her house. Although her neighbors weren't thrilled, many of them started decorating their houses as well and this neighborhood tradition was born. Dyker Heights welcomes 100,000 visitors each December who come to bask in the glow of these amazing Christmas decorations.
While some homeowners decorate their own houses, many are done by two competing companies: Mr. Christmas and B&R Christmas Decorators. In addition to installing, serving and removing the decorations, they also store everything during the off-season, which might just explain the roughly $3000-6000 that homeowners pay for their services (this is in addition to the actual cost of the decorations and electricity). Rumor has it that some houses run up a $10,000 electric bill during December!
Photos: Dyker Lights Holiday Decorations
Getting to the Dyker Lights:
- Dyker Heights, Brooklyn: 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street
- Nearest Subways: D/M trains to 18th Ave
Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour:
If you're visiting from out-of-town and want an easy, fun way to experience the Dyker Heights Christmas lights, consider A Slice of Brooklyn's Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights. Offered nightly from November 30-December 30, the 3.5 hour tour takes visitors from Manhattan to Dyker Heights to experience the Christmas Displays.
The tour also visits some other Brooklyn neighborhoods with notable light displays and takes the stress and hassle out of seeing the lights for out-of-town visitors, since Dyker Heights is located a distance from the nearest subway, which makes it harder to visit on your own.
Dyker Lights Tips:
- Some displays go up right after Thanksgiving, but for the best viewing visit in mid-December
- Displays on weekends tend to be better than on weeknights
- Visit between 5-9 p.m. for the most intense lighting, before folks turn off the lights for the evening.
- Please Note: it's almost a mile from the subway to the densest areas with lights, so you might want to take a car or drive for the easiest viewing options
- If you're driving to the area parking is easiest along the avenue blocks.
- Dress for the weather or prepare for slow-going in your car as folks ogle the lights while they drive
- The two blocks with the densest decorations are 83rd and 84th Streets between 11th and 12th Avenues.
- If you're visiting with young children, hold their hands and be prepared for crowds. This is a popular place to visit and it can be easy to lose a kid in the crowd (or have them wander off to examine a favorite character or display on view.)
- Depending on the weather, there are vendors selling trinkets, snacks, drinks (& even ice cream one unseasonably warm holiday season!) You'll see this more prominently on weekend evenings that during mid-week visits.