Silicon Valley's Best Holiday Light Displays

Nancy Dinshaw
November 26, 2021
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Celebrate this holiday season with the best of Silicon Valley's twinkling holiday lights! This year, Silicon Valley has plenty of events for get your into the festive season. Walkthrough brightly lit displays, ride a train past sparkling decorations, experience Christmas lights in a snowy landscape, or enjoy San Jose's drive-thru holiday lights event. Here are some of the many places to enjoy outdoor holiday lights around the Bay Area.

Who said Santa's not coming to town?

Malls through the Bay Area are bringing Santa back with new guidelines. Hint: he's socially distancing and wearing a mask! Save your spot here.


San Francisco Christmas Displays

San Francisco has many beautifully decorated homes. You can find a comprehensive list of them all at the415guy.com. He has also conveniently mapped them on a Google map to make them easier to find.

Price: Free

Holidays at Filoli

Start a new tradition with Holidays at Filoli! Enjoy a stroll around the winter garden, beautifully adorned with festive lights and decorations. Cozy up to the firepit, and sip on hot cider or mulled wine. You must make a reservation in advance since capacity is limited. Filoli’s historic house is open to visitors from 11am – 8pm.

Santa will be visiting the beautiful Woodland Garden Court on select dates. You are invited to take a selfie with Santa himself on his festive golden throne!

Address: 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA
Date: Nov 21st – Jan 2rd from 10am – 4pm (daytime) and 4pm – 8pm (evening)
Price: 
- daytime: $28 (adult), $15 (child 5-17 yrs old), Free (under 5 yrs old); members receive 20% off
- evening: $38 (adult), $20 (child 5-17 yrs old), Free (under 5 yrs old); members receive 20% off

Christmas Tree Lane

Christmas Tree Lane celebrates its 81th lighting this year! Get into the spirit of the season with a leisurely walk or drive through the Christmas displays, with the carolers, vintage lawn displays and thousands of holiday lights. Open to both pedestrians and car traffic. Pedestrians must wear a mask at all times.

Address: 1700 – 1800 Fulton Street, Palo Alto, CA
Date: Dec 11 – Dec 31th, 5pm – 11pm
Price: Free

Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade

An annual Los Altos tradition, this parade includes Marching Bands from local schools, plenty of floats like the Teddy Bear, Mother Goose and Ferris Wheel, plus dancing elves and last but not least Santa Claus himself. Can't make it this year? Watch the replay here.

Address: Downtown Los Altos
Date: Nov 28th, 6pm
Price: Free

Holiday Carriage Rides

Enjoy a fabulous carriage ride with your loved ones through the festive streets of Los Gatos! The ride includes homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Masks must be worn at all times, and riders should be from the same household. Advanced reservations are required.

Address: Downtown Los Gatos, Los Gatos, CA
Date: Select dates and times from Dec 9th - 23rd, 5pm+
Price: Regular carriage is $110 for four adults and two children under 8, and large carriage is $130 for up to six adults. 

Fantasy of Lights

The 23nd Annual Fantasy of Lights holiday is hosting both a walk-through and drive-through. Expect to be dazzled by the lights as you make your way through the winter wonderland. Tune your car radio to the indicated station to get the full effect of the show. You must purchase your ticket online in advanced.

Address: Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos, CA
Date: Walk-through: SOLD OUT; Drive-through Dec 7th to Dec 30th, 6pm – 10pm (closed Christmas day)
Price: $20 per vehicle, $50 for oversized vehicles (capacity 13+)

California's Great America WINTERFEST

Immerse yourself in some holiday cheer as California’s Great America is magically transformed into a winter wonderland and holiday festival. Take in the dazzling lights of the Bay Area's tallest Christmas trees adorned with thousands of lights; ice-skate on Snow Flake Lake in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia; sip on crafted hot chocolate while you marvel at spectacular live shows; ride one of the more than 60 rides or write a letter to the North Pole, check out Santa’s workshop and bake cookies in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen—WinterFest has something for the entire family. There is also a varied holiday menu to treat your taste buds, including savory mains, delicious desserts and irresistible snacks.

Address: 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 
Date: Select nights Nov 26th - Jan 9, 2022
Price: From $29.99

Santana Row Holiday Events

Explore the unique holiday decorations while partaking in one of antana Row's Holiday Events.

Chanukah Celebration at Santana Row: Celebrate with the Bay Area’ favorite Israeli Rock bank, THE PEATOT. Enjoy a menorah lighting celebration that also includes kids crafts, live music and more! Park Valencia on Sunday, December 5th from 4-6pm. Hosted by Chasbad S. Clara Jewish Community Center.

Holiday Makers Market in the Park: Support your local community! Shop from local artists, listen to great music and grab a drink or bite to eat at the amazing restaurants of Santana Row! Saturday, December 11th from 11am-6pm in the Street around Oak Tree Park and in Splunk Plaza. Find 60 vendors of everything from jewelry, organic body, CBD products, candles, plants, home goods, apparel, glass, and more!

Mommy & Me and Daddies Too FREE Kids Club: Snap a selfie with special holiday characters, enjoy live music and holiday story time, themed arts and crafts, face painting, balloon twisting, and more. Enjoy larger-than-life décor including glowing reindeer, camels, and giraffes and more on Tuesday, December 14th from 10am - 12pm!  

Santana Row Snow Showers: It’s snowing on The Row! Santana Row brings the North Pole to San Jose for a fun, holiday celebration. Enjoy outdoor snow showers & holiday tunes every 30 minutes in Park Valencia in front of Maggiano’s. Every Wednesday & Saturday starting November 27 – December 18, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Every night from December 20 – 23, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Spirit of the Row: Dance, cheer, and sing during the holiday season on The Row. Enjoy guest performances by local community groups and schools including excerpts from The Nutcracker from The New Ballet & San Jose Dance Theatre. Performances will take place in Santana Row Park across from Left Bank each Tuesday evening starting November 30th through December 21st from 6-7pm.

Address: Santana Row, San Jose, CA
Date: Select dates to Dec 23th
Price: Free

Christmas in the Park

San Jose's most popular tradition is back to downtown Plaza de Cesar Chavez! Check out the festive holiday lights, community-decorated trees and so much more. New surprises include a brand new 65' tall walk through Christmas tree and Blinky's Tavern, an inflatable beer and wine garden! There is also an amusement park and plenty of food and novelty items for your enjoyment.

Address: History Park, San Jose, CA
Date: Nov 26th to Jan 2nd, 12pm - 12am
Price: Free

Last year's drive-through event was so popular, the hosts have decided to continue the holiday tradition this year with Blinky's Illuminated Holiday, a drive-through experience at Lake Cunningham Park. The "mile of smiles" features a synchronized light show illuminating twelve different themed lands with some of your favorite holiday music. On exit, a holiday food festival awaits! Purchase tickets in advance here.

Address: 2305 S White Road, San Jose, CA
Date: Select times from Nov 26th to Jan 9th, 5pm - 11pm
Price: Regular tickets are $30 per car, and limited VIP tickets are available for $75.

Also new this year, is the First Annual Gingerbread Build Off! Enjoy hearty appetizers, beer and wine, as you watch local bakeries and pastry chefs show off their gingerbread creations. After the competition, the creations will be auctioned off to the attendees and can be taken home that night. This event is for 21+.

Address: San Pedro Square, San Jose, CA
Date: Dec 8th, 5pm - 11pm
Price: $100

Dave's Christmas Lights Benefiting Make-a-Wish

For the last 17 years, this Willow Glen house at 1851 Cherry Ave has been displaying Christmas Lights to raise money to support sick children.  You're invited to see the Christmas display, and leave a tax-deductible donation at one of the curbside bins or online at Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Plan to make a night of it! Willow Glen is known for its holiday light displays and Christmas trees so take some time to tour this San Jose neighborhood. 

Address: 1851 Cherry Ave, San Jose, CA
Date: Until Dec 26th from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm daily
Price: Free

Roaring Camp Railroads

Get into the holiday spirit by taking the family on a 75-minute roundtrip ride on the Redwood Forest Steam Train. The trip starts at Roaring Camp depot in Felton, California and runs through Redwood forests to the top of nearby Bear Mountain, a distance of 3.25 miles. Greet Santa Clause while sipping hot cocoa. Enjoy winter themed activities while in town. Buy tickets in advance online.

Address: 5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton, CA
Date: Dec 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19
Price: $33 adult, $24 children (2-12 yrs old)

Alternatively ride the Holiday Lights Train from the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Enjoy train cars adorned with thousands of colorful lights, while rolling past Santa Cruz homes. There will be a visit by Santa, hot-spiced cider, live music and a holiday sing-along.

Address: Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA
Date: Dec 4-5, 11-12 and 17-23
Price: $35 adult, $30 children (2-12 yrs old); group tickets available.

Holiday Lights

Start a new Holiday Family Tradition at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds this holiday season. Imagine over a 1/2 mile of spectacular lighted Holiday displays all around you: giant Christmas trees twinkling with lights – Santa – reindeer – snowmen – lighted tunnels and many more magical moments. Stay in your warm car and drive through this holiday experience, with your car radio tuned to KDUB 99.9 FM to enjoy the Holiday Lights soundtrack in your car. 

After your magical journey, stop at the Holiday Food Stands and pick up your favorites for the drive home. Each week different fair food vendors will be available for your enjoyment. You can stay in your car and they will come to you. Food is at the end of the Holiday Lights Drive. Click here for this weeks food service offerings.

Tickets and reservations are on sale now.  Get yours here before they sell out! Holiday Lights WALK-THRU Evening including Holiday Fair – $6.00 per person (6 & under free) December 3 & 4 ONLY.

Address: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Watsonville, CA
Date: Select dates Nov 19th to Dec 26th from 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Price: $20 per vehicle (purchased online); $25 per vehicle at the gate

Holiday at Gilroy Garden

The magic returns to Gilroy Gardens! Start your visit with festive tunes at the new Winter Cabin, sing and dance along to the Peanuts gang in A Charlie Brown Christmas musical, take in the sparkling lights in the park's garden, visit with Santa, ice skate under the stars, and feast on holiday food found throughout the park. There is something for the entire family. Enjoy all your favorite traditions - and start some new ones - during Holiday at Gilroy Gardens.

Address: 3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy CA
Date: Select dates Nov 26th to Dec 31st
Price: General Admission: Online: $45.00 | Gate Admission Ages 12-61: $60.00, Child/Senior Ages 3-11 & 62+: $50.00

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