Holiday Lights in Metro Phoenix:12 Must-See Displays in 2016

Get ready for lots of lights.
Get ready for lots of lights.

‘Tis the season for big displays of colorful lights.

From now until the holidays wrap up on New Year’s Day, joyous 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 in enough lights, inflatables, and motorized attractions to make even the grinchiest of grinches smile.

You'll find many of the latter examples in the following list of the best, biggest, brightest, and most unique light displays found around the metro Phoenix area, including a few that are as charming as one of the many specials you'll see on TV this time of year. We’ve assembled a list of a dozen of the best holiday lights displays, most of which will be up and running by Thanksgiving weekend throughout the Valley, from Glendale to Gilbert, that are worth checking out when you’re not busy wrapping packages or trimming the tree.

Holiday Lights in Metro Phoenix:12 Must-See Displays in 2016EXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

Candy Cane Lane
2801 East Pinchot Avenue

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 from Thanksgiving through January 1, starting at 5 p.m.

Holiday Lights in Metro Phoenix:12 Must-See Displays in 2016EXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

Emilio Palacio's South Park Tribute
7734 North 41st Avenue

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 along the edge of the roof while Jesus and Santa Claus are posed at the very top of the house, which harks back to South Park's origins as a short entitled The Spirit of Christmas. A mix of audio clips from the show and songs from the album Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics play over a sound system, albeit in heavily edited form, probably because not everyone in Palacio's neighborhood shares his appreciation for the profane cartoon.

Dates and Times: On display nightly from December 1 through January 1 starting at dusk

Holiday Lights in Metro Phoenix:12 Must-See Displays in 2016EXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

Chickie Sirakis’ Superhero Display
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. And each family member does his or her own thing. Joe, for instance, is more into Disney and recreated Olaf from Frozen and all the emotions from of Inside Out at his home in Peoria. Chickie went in an even geekier direction with her display, which includes a retinue of legendary comic book characters that currently stand guard outside of her Glendale residence. Both the Marvel and DC universes are represented, as it includes Batman, Superman, Wolverine, and Spider-Man, among others. There's also most of the characters from summer blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron as well, including the titular villain and fantastic-looking version of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Armor.

Dates and Times: Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 5 to 11 p.m. from Thanksgiving until January 4

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 (especially with prices being what they are right now). 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, as fire trucks, vehicles, and even a horse-drawn carriage also get a festive makeover of the glowing variety.

Dates and Times: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. nightly, from December 1 until December 25

Holiday Lights in Metro Phoenix:12 Must-See Displays in 2016EXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

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 on their house and in its yard, the property is a happy hullabaloo of color. 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.

Dates and Times: On display nightly, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., from Thanksgiving weekend through January 1

Holiday Lights in Metro Phoenix:12 Must-See Displays in 2016EXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

Natal Circle
663 W. Natal Circle, Mesa

All 14 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 particular theme. For instance, one yard features Christmas at Bikini Bottom with Spongebob SquarePants characters, while another boasts a hallowed religious theme complete with cutouts depicting the birth of Jesus. More than a dozen 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., from Thanksgiving weekend through January 1

Read on for more holiday lights.

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