‘Tis the season for enormous collections of colorful lights.
From now until New Year’s Day, arrays of glowing bulbs will be popping up across the Valley as everyone gets into the spirit of the season. And we mean pretty much anywhere and everywhere, from the houses and nearby businesses in your neighborhood to popular locations like the Phoenix Zoo.
Lighting up the night in festive fashion is a big part of the holiday season, and everyone wants to get in on the fun. Some folks will keep things relatively simple with a few strings of lights. Others channel the spirit of Clark W. Griswold and cover their entire property
You'll find many examples of the latter in the following list of the best, biggest, brightest, and most unique light displays around the metro Phoenix area.
Although a couple of the bigger holiday displays won't be operating this year (most notably, the famed display at the home of Lee and Patricia Sepanek, which they nixed recently due to issues with the city of Phoenix) there are still plenty of lights to see in the Valley.
We’ve assembled a rundown of 20 of the best displays of holiday lights seen decorating homes around town (and a business or two), all of which are worth checking out when you’re not busy wrapping packages or trimming the tree.
Our list includes biggest and most impressive efforts in the Valley, including a couple of locals – Chad Richins of Gilbert and Chris Birkett of Scottsdale – who will be featured on the new season of ABC's popular show The Great Christmas Light Fight, which premiered this week.
Read on for a lowdown on all the pretty lights.
Candy Cane Lane
2801 East Pinchot Avenue, Phoenix
Every holiday season since 1988, the two-block stretch of Pinchot Avenue between 26th and 28th streets transforms into a glittery wonderland that comes alive with color and illumination after dark.
Neighborhood residents adorn the towering palm trees that line this quiet side street north of Thomas Road with more than three dozen different candy cane-shaped multicolored light displays. Meanwhile, a glowing star and peace symbol both hang from the tree canopy overhead.
Stop by the street on certain weekend nights and you might encounter Pinchot Avenue homeowners holding a street party of sorts, including outdoor screenings of holiday movies or giving visitors rides on a motorized cart wrapped in lights.
Dates and Times: On display nightly until January 1, starting at 5 p.m.
1146 North Quail Lane, Gilbert
Call us sentimental, but the innocence and heartwarming nature of the holiday season will forever be associated in our minds with the Peanuts gang, owing to the fact we were weaned on the 1965 animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s one of the reasons why this charming Peanuts-themed display located in Gilbert stole our hearts.
Laid out like an airport, complete with a runway and control tower, it features an inflatable version of Snoopy as a World War I ace bringing his Sopwith Camel in for a landing while cutouts of Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus, Lucy, and other characters are waiting to greet him. It's playful, amiable, and fun, just like the classic comic strip itself.
Dates and Times: On display nightly from 5 p.m. until midnight through January 1.
A Molar Christmas
8252 West Camino De Oro, Peoria
Much like Hermey the Elf from the beloved Rankin/Bass holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer local dentist Charles Gatti has a yen for both proper tooth care and Christmastime.
Every year, the Peoria resident transforms his four-bedroom home into his own personal Christmastown featuring around 70,000 individual lights, four leaping arches, a 25-foot-tall tree, and a video screen in an upstairs window.
A low-power FM transmitter broadcasts a mix of 18 different holiday songs that are synched up with the animated light display and Gatti is known to hand out candy canes to visitors, albeit with a reminded to brush after they enjoy the sweet treat.
Dates and Times: Operates nightly, 5 to 10 p.m., from December 3 to December 31.
South Park House
7734 North 41st Avenue, Phoenix
It isn't hard to figure out the cartoon of choice at Emilio Palacio's house after spying his monument to South Park dominating the front of his West Valley home near Northern and 43rd avenues. Close to 100 different characters from multiple seasons of the Comedy Central show are recreated in cutout form (which is true to the toon's animation style) and that rests upon a field of white lights.
There are many favorites present, such as Big Gay Al, Mrs. Crabtree, Terrance and Phillip, Uncle Jimbo, Timmy, Jimmy, Officer Barbrady, and the Satan-worshiping Woodland Christmas Critters. In a nice touch, Cartman's alter-ego The Coon and his faux superhero sidekicks are perched
Dates and Times: On display nightly from December 1 through January 1 starting at dusk
6060 West Charter Oak Road, Glendale
Christmas is sort of a big thing in the Sirakis family. Siblings and Arizona residents Joe, Chickie, and Roy spend countless hours during the buildup to each holiday season creating and hand-painting colorful and cartoonish wooden cutouts of various fictional characters to adorn each of their front yards.
This year's version of the display at Chickie Sirakis' residence in Glendale features a Star Wars theme with cutouts of Darth Vader, Yoda, R2D2, C3PO, Captain Phasma, and various stormtroopers and clone troopers. There’s even a Death Star hanging over the front door with a lightsaber on either side.
And since you're on that side of town, consider checking out Joe Sirakis' home, 7914 West Dahlia Drive in Peoria, which is adorned with 19,000 lights and a number of Disney and Pixar characters, ranging from the emotions from of Inside Out, a few Mickey Mouses playing Santa Claus, and characters from Moana and Wreck-It Ralph.
Dates and Times: Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 5 to 11 p.m. from December 16 until January 1.
The Coach House
7011 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale
This renowned Scottsdale dive is a virtual home away
Every year, Coach House gets gussied up with colored bulbs, cheery wrapping paper, bulbous ornaments, and shiny tinsel every single holiday season. It's been an annual tradition of the Bower family, which owns the rustic-looking landmark, for more than 30 years and includes 12,500 individual lights, 25 strands of garland, 100 square feet of wrapping paper, 50 candy canes, and more than 200 ornaments.
Dates and Times: Daily through February 1, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is free but only those of legal drinking age can enter the bar.
541 East Mountain Sky Avenue, Ahwatukee
Tucked away in the shadow of South Mountain, this quaint and kitschy display in the front yard of Frank and Dianne
It’s the centerpiece of the couple’s annual Christmas display in the Valley for going on 30 years now and also includes an illuminated volcano, a rooftop display with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer trying to hoist Santa up to the chimney using a rope and pulley, a Ferris wheel with stuffed animals as passengers, a candy cane carousel, and a life-sized interactive Saint Nicholas that sings and dances.
Dates and Times: Operates nightly until 11 p.m., through January 1.
Loop of Lights
Pecan Creek Drive and Carolina Avenue, San Tan Valley
It's a bit of a drive to get to this neighborhood attraction located on the edge of the southeast Valley, but one worth an extra tank of gas.
A majority of the residents in this San Tan Valley subdivision of Pecan Creek South Waverly participate in the annual Loop of Lights, as more than 80 homes are festooned with intricate arrangements of lights and enough other decorations to practically fill a Wal-Mart.
Domiciles aren't the only things getting decorated,
Dates and Times: 6 to 9 p.m. nightly, from December 1 until December 25
Benson Family's Christmas Spectacular
8535 South Stanley Place, Tempe
The gorgeous home of Stanley and Andrea Benson in south Tempe becomes even more eye-catching when the couple rolls out their animated Yuletide array of more than 100,000 lights.
Strewn throughout the branches of three enormous trees and arranged practically everywhere else
Things are made even more lively by an enormous animated Santa measuring 30 feet tall that stands over the scene as various elves deliver gifts, decorate trees, and frolic on a teeter-totter. An actual Kris Kringle visits on weekends and passes out candy and cocoa to kids of all ages.
Dates and Times: On display nightly, 5 to 11 p.m., through January 1
663 West Natal Circle, Mesa
More than a dozen houses situated around this Mesa cul-de-sac sparkle with scores of glowing bulbs, illuminated inflatables, and other electrically powered decorations and knick-knacks this time of year.
It's been a holiday tradition that the residents of West Natal Circle gleefully participate in, and each home offers its own lighting scheme and
Dozens of inflatables are also viewable, including one humorous blow-up with Santa and his sleigh getting busted by a cop.
Dates and Times: Running nightly, 5 to 11 p.m., through January 1
1610 East Hermosa Vista Drive, Mesa
The home of Dr. David Kipp becomes an enormous canvas on which bright lights and vibrant colors dance about during synchronized displays set to Christmas carols and holiday songs. The shows are quite fanciful and feature a gigantic screen broadcasting pixel-style videos.
Kipp, a local pediatrician, created and programmed everything himself using a Raspberry Pi computer, various audio and video controllers, a rear projection HD TV, multiple Christmas trees, and approximately 30,000 individual lights. (More info about the display can be found here.)
Dates and Times: Nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through January 1.
Christmas in Scottsdale
8543 East Avalon Drive, Scottsdale
This beautiful animated display created each year by married couple John Slade and Caroline Leon at their Scottsdale home — which features more than 50,000 LED lights, a 25-foot-tall tree, and a singing snowman and Santa Claus — is a collaborative effort between the two.
He programs the hour-long sequence of swirling, flickering and flashing lights that
Plus, they’ve also got free hot chocolate and candy canes to boot. Your inner child will have a blast.
Dates and Times: Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 6 to 11 p.m., through January 3.
10526 North 119th Street, Scottsdale
Brothers Kyle and Sammy Pratt might’ve picked up a thing or two about rock ‘n’ roll-style showmanship from their pop, legendary local rock radio deejay Dave Pratt.
We’re sure daddy-o couldn't be prouder.
Dates and Times: Operates from 7 to 9 p.m. on weeknights, and 7 to 10 p.m. on weekends through New Year’s Eve. (Note: The display is located within a housing community. Visitors are asked to press "031" to enter through the main gate.)
1001 East El Freda Road, Tempe
Thanks to the fact it centers on both Halloween and the yuletide season,
Just ask local couple Francis and Jessica Brown, who decorated their posh Tempe home with a massive display inspired by The Nightmare Before
Dubbed “Nightmare Town,” it features multiple characters from
As a matter of fact, the entire front of the house resembles an enormous beast with second story windows that look like eyes and the porch resembling a toothy maw. It’s both frightening and festive, just like the film that inspired it.
Dates and Times: Operating nightly from sunset to 10 p.m. through December 31.
396 West Liberty Lane, Gilbert
The annual light display created by Gilbert resident Chad Richins is quite massive. So much so that it not only encompasses his own two-story home but also four neighboring houses.
“They don't mind me putting up lights, as long as they're not the ones that have to do this,” Richins says. “They let me take over their yards.”
The display features more than 100,000 individual lights that sing with color while glittering and flashing through an impressive choreographed audio and visual sequence that lasts for 13 songs.
Richins, who’s been creating light displays for a decade, programs everything himself and it requires a lot of man-hours for each song.
“It takes me about 100 hours per song,” he says. “It’s a lot of work.”
The display has earned plenty of attention, both from Valley residents (who flock to the display) and from the producers of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight, who featured it in an episode that aired earlier this week.
And while Richens couldn’t give us any behind-the-scenes info about the filming of the show, he said it was a “fun experience.”
Dates and Times: Operated nightly from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., through December 31.
Phoenix Winter Wonderland
4237 West State Avenue, Phoenix
Practically every single inch of space at David Chuchla's west Phoenix home is occupied by something Christmas-related, and we mean both the inside and outside. The exterior goes full-tilt boogie with more than 70,000 lights, 50 different trees, and hundreds of animatronic and inflatable characters while each room inside (save for his bedroom) brims with models, miniatures, and ornaments. It can be overwhelming at times, but those who think too much Christmas is never enough will definitely dig it.
Chuchla puts plenty of time, effort, and money into this monument to the “most wonderful time of the year,” spending almost six months unpacking several storage sheds worth of decorations and ephemera before meticulously arranging it as he preps for another season. In total, Chuchla spends 450 man-hours assembling everything and drops more than $1,000 on the electricity bill and just as much on new ornaments every year. The Grinch he is not.
Dates and Times: Open every night
Chris Birkett's Winter Wonderland
8414 East Valley Vista Drive, Scottsdale
Chris Birkett's enchanting Winter Wonderland experience that he creates every year at his North Scottsdale home isn't so much a holiday display as it is a snow-covered, multimedia extravaganza filled with charm, color, and fun.
A synchronized series of choreographed light
The facade of a gigantic Disneyesque holiday castle looms overhead atop the roof while a sea of snow-covered hills and a variety of green, red, and white lights glow in the front yard, including one arrangement spelling out the message "Believe in Magic."
Around the corner are other displays along a path that winds its way past a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and through a miniature mine filled in lights and decorations that leads to his backyard where an "Island of Misfit Toys" from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is faithfully recreated around his pool. It's definitely magical.
Birkett's display has been a popular destination during the holiday season that's viewed by countless Valley residents every holiday season for more than a decade. And this year, it'll be getting even more famous when it's featured
Dates and Times: Nightly, 6 to 10 p.m., from December 6 through December 31.
3611 East Kachina Drive, Phoenix
Almost every single square inch of Kim Taylor’s Ahwatukee home is covered with lights and decorations during the holidays. No joke. Besides 300 different wooden cut-outs of various Disney and other kid-friendly characters, there
So impressive is Taylor’s yearly display, which he and his family start arranging months in advance, that he was a contestant on ABC’s popular reality show, The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2016. And while he lost out to a house in New York, Taylor and his house will always be tops in our book.
Dates and Times: Nightly from 5 to 10 p.m., through December 31.
8211 South 63rd Avenue, Laveen
There's absolutely zero chance you'll miss Mel and Patti Tasker's sprawling display out among the farms and ranches of Laveen
Oh yeah, and there's also the fact they've got upwards of 300,000 lights covering a majority of their property.
It's so big that you can drive a car through it, as the display is arranged along the Taskers' circular driveway. Be sure to take it slow, however, both for safety and to give
Dates and Times: Monday to Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, 6 p.m. until 1 a.m., through January 2
Christmas on Comstock
3642 East Comstock Drive, Gilbert
There are a few reasons why this neighborhood display in Gilbert tops our list. First off, it's enormous, encompassing more than 110,000 lights, 50,000 feet of wire, 300-plus strobes, and various snow machines and other attractions spread out among 13 adjacent homes along Comstock Drive in Gilbert. It's also one of the most popular displays in the Valley, with upwards of 400 cars packed with people driving through every hour it's operating to view its illuminated majesty and synchronicity.
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And then there’s the fact it reigned supreme on a 2015 episode of The Great Christmas Light Fight, the ABC reality
As a result, the crowds of people hoping to roll through are likely to be even bigger this year, when the display lights up starting on December 1. As such, organizers recommend patience or even parking a short distance away and walking through. At the very least, it will allow you more time to check things out as opposed to having a bunch of impatient drivers behind you.
Dates and Times: 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 to 10:30 p.m. on weekends from December 1 until December 30.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version, which first appeared in December 2015.