Must-see displays make for fun and socially distanced driving tours.
If you’re up for some holiday cheer that’s safe, fun and free, plan an after-dark tour of one or more of these neighborhood light displays. Load family or those in your social bubble and maybe some holiday snacks in your vehicle, turn on some Christmas tunes and enjoy the sights. In some cases, it’s OK to park and walk, but remember to stay conscious of COVID-19 safety and neighborly etiquette.
Burkman Holiday Home
For 20 years, members of the Burkman family have been perfecting the holiday display at their Frisco home, which this year is aglow with 70,000 lights. Visitors are encouraged to not only drive by but also walk through the lighted winter wonderland. You’ll see a 400-piece train village in the garage, a post office to mail letters to Santa and assorted selfie stations, including one for pups. The lights are on nightly through Dec. 31, weather permitting, from 6 to 11 p.m. at 3809 Hazelhurst Drive in Frisco. Admission is free, but monetary and gift card donations support family services at Hackberry Elementary school as well as two families with special-needs children. facebook.com/burkmanholidayhome.
The music is rockin’, lights are flashing and animated Santas and Grinches are swaying throughout this northwest Plano neighborhood, undoubtedly one of the most popular spots in Collin County for viewing over-the-top Christmas displays. All the buzz means there may be long lines, especially for vehicles entering from Legacy Drive. The Deerfield Homeowners Association suggests planning your visit on less busy weeknights and using the back entrance from Quincy Lane. Unless it’s raining, lights are on nightly through Dec. 30, on weekdays from 7 to 10 p.m. and weekends from 7 to 11 p.m., though some homeowners may turn on their lights earlier. If you’d like to tour Deerfield by horse and carriage, visit dfwcarriages.com for reservations. Rides for four to six adults start at $165. For more tips and a map, go to deerfieldplano.org.
Head to the heart of the city for bright lights, big trees and countless photo ops around every corner. Giant red Christmas ball ornaments are stacked on the lawn in front of the Omni Dallas Hotel on Young Street, and you can view the 35-foot-tall holiday tree at City Hall Plaza. You’ll find more beautiful trees at Main Street Garden, Klyde Warren Park, the AT&T Discovery District and inside luxury hotels such as the Adolphus, Fairmont and Hyatt Regency. If you’re looking for a quirky photo, strike a pose beside the Neiman Marcus Car Tree, made of classic car parts, at Pegasus Plaza. You’ll find maps and more tips at downtowndallas.com.
Fairmount/Southside Historic District
Drive through this charming Fort Worth neighborhood any night in December to take in pretty lights and sights. For extra fun, visit during Fairmount’s Festivus celebration on Dec. 12. For a small donation, you’ll get a map of participating homes that will be decorated with a Festivus theme. Seinfeld fans will get a holiday kick out of seeing aluminum Festivus poles, feats of strength and other “Festivus for the Rest of Us” kitsch. Festivus starts Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. from One Safe Place, 1100 Hemphill St., Fort Worth. Find a map of the district at historicfairmount.com.
Grapevine Santa house
Louie Murillo has been preparing for his Clark Griswold Christmas decoration moment since April. After months of preparation, the front of his house is covered with Christmas decor. Specifically, Santa figures that light up. Murillo says he hasn’t counted the number of Santas but estimates it’s between 500 and 1,000, and he’s adding more each day. There is no charge to visit, but Murillo encourages donations to the local nonprofit Grace. The organization’s Christmas Cottage makes unwrapped gifts available for those facing financial issues. The house is at 3373 Spruce Lane in Grapevine and is open for viewing daily from 5 to 10 p.m. To donate, search “Christmas Cottage” on gofundme.com.
The swanky homes throughout Highland Park are dressed to impress for the holidays. Think wrapped trees, twinkling lights, Santas, reindeer, red bows and Christmas angels. There are several entry points, including Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road, or near Highland Park Village at Preston Road and Mockingbird Lane. For those who want to tour in style, horse-drawn carriage rides are available from several companies, including brazoscarriage.com.
Swiss Avenue Historic District
Step back in time as you take in this historic neighborhood in Old East Dallas. The elegant, early 20th-century houses that line Swiss Avenue are tastefully decked out for the holidays in picture-perfect style. Streets in the district include Swiss Avenue, La Vista Drive, Bryan Parkway, and Bryan and Beacon streets. For a map, visit sahd.org.
Each year, the neighbors on this Lake Highlands cul-de-sac coordinate their holiday decor to bring “The 12 Days of Christmas” to life on their front lawns. The homes are bathed in white lights and yard art depicting the verses in the traditional carol, from a partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming. Singalongs in the car are recommended. You can also tune your radio to 87.7 FM to hear different versions of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Lights are on nightly until 11 p.m. From Abrams Road, just south of Royal Lane, turn west onto Moss Trail, left on Moss Haven Drive, then right on Timberhollow Circle.
University Park Santa house
Hundreds of vintage holiday blow molds — including scores of Santas, snowmen, Nutcracker toy soldiers and quirky characters turn this University Park home into a holiday wonderland. And watching over it all from a perch on the roof is the head of the original Big Tex, which has been restored to his 1950s Christmas roots by homeowner Wayne Smith. (If you don’t know, the State Fair icon started out as a West Texas Santa.) Last year, Smith told his story to KTVT-TV (Channel 11). “If it’s cool or unusual or if it plugs in or lights up, it’s probably going to make it in my yard,” he said. “During the day it looks like a plastic factory exploded, but at night it looks really nice.” The house is at 3629 Southwestern Blvd. Expect a lot of traffic, but you can enjoy the beautifully decorated homes on Southwestern and surrounding streets.
Mary Grace Granados contributed to this story.