When I think of Christmas, I think about snowflakes, hot chocolate, Santa Claus, and of course twinkling lights on trees and houses. When the Winter Wonderland light show at the Cuneo closed down a few years ago, I thought for sure that my children would never experience the magic behind driving around looking at night displays. However, I was wrong, as many neighborhoods offer just as good (if not better) holiday light displays, you just have to know where to find them.
We have rounded up a list of all of the best neighborhoods in the area to cruise around and experience the magic of the holiday season.
Best Holiday Light Displays Lake County
Best Neighborhood Light Displays
Hampton Reserve Neighborhood off of Midlothian Road, Mundelein
The entrance to this neighborhood is on a little street called Timber Ridge Road, off of Midlothian Road in Mundelein (just past the park district building). About 100 of the homes in the neighborhood have coordinated to make their trees look the same. I think they look a bit like palm trees.
Grayslake Heritage District
This drive was recommended by others on our Facebook page. Start by driving through the downtown on Center street while it’s all aglow in lights. Then meander around the side streets through the older section of town (south of Center Street) and enjoy the lights and the historic architecture.
Delany Road, Wadsworth
Delany Road between Adams and 21st Street in Wadsworth is another great neighborhood for wandering around and checking out the lights, as many of the houses decorate.
Golf Road and Dymond Road, Libertyville
This is my family’s absolutely favorite neighborhood to drive around in the winter. The whole neighborhood is lined with milk carton luminaries. While milk cartons may not sound very festive, when illuminated, they make a breathtaking site from afar.
Manchester Lane, Port Barrington
There are a group of about eight houses that orchestrate a musical Christmas lights show together in Port Barrington on Manchester Lane. The neighborhood is on the corner of Rawson Bridge Road and Roberts Road. We’ve heard you should bring canned food donations, as the houses have blue coolers set up collecting donations for the food pantry.
Painted Lakes Subdivision, Lake Villa
Located southwest of the intersection of Grass Lake Road and Deep Lake Road, you can enter the subdivision off either street. This is a large, newer development with a many homes that decorate. Our writer Holly’s family drives through the Tuesday before Christmas every year, then they head over to The Lake House restaurant for dinner and to see Magic Dave and treat the kids to $0.99 meals.
North East Corner of 9th and Kenosha Rd., Wadsworth
There is an old schoolhouse that has been converted into a home. Every year they put up an antique christmas display including Santa and reindeer that is second to none. This house is totally worth the trip, and is on your way to Christmas Tree Lane in Wisconsin. Even in the day time, it looks great yet evenings are best ! Their lights go on at dusk and are on until midnight.
Best Home Light Displays
The Tarkowski Family Light Show (Previously was Walnut Rd. in Wauconda)
1256 Bradford Lane, Antioch
You may have heard of the house on Walnut Road in Wauconda that goes crazy with Christmas lights; this is the same family. They recently moved to Antioch, but they still enjoy Christmas as much as they always have. The lights will be turned on daily until Christmas Day from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. (9:30 p.m. on the weekends). The family will also be passing out candy canes this year to viewers. Be sure to “like” the family’s Facebook page as they often post updates about whether their lights will be on or off on a particular night. They also do a wonderful Halloween light show yearly as well.
Christmas Lights on Poplar, Fox Lake
Come to 39 Poplar in Fox Lake to see this year’s Christmas light display. Tune your radio to 91.3 FM to get the full Christmas lights experience. Shows are every hour on the hour from 5:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. You might get lucky, every once in a while they have elves passing out candy canes
1100 Algonquin Rd., Fox River Grove
With their 99 blow-up decorations and thousands of lights this is definitely a house to see. The display is open for the public every night from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Corner of Savannah & Carolina, Round Lake
We stumbled upon this house’s display this year on our way to see the Herzog Family Christmas lights. You can see the house from blocks away it is so illuminated. Make sure you roll down your windows as they do have their own music playing for passerbys.
Santa Rescue Display
First block of Idlewild, between Courtland & Crystal Street, Mundelein
C0me see a unique rescued Santa display. This family saves Santa blow-molds from garage sales, shops, flea markets ,and out of peoples trash to have on display during Christmas time.
4968 Prairie Oak Rd., Gurnee
The light display is set up by a young video programming student, who decorates with over 15,000 lights, a half-mile of extension cords and four light control boxes for his display each year. Drive by this impressive house and tune your radio to 87.9 FM to listen to the music that the lights are synchronized to. Any non-perishable food items can be dropped off in a box in their yard right by the donation sign. Donations will be given to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Grass Family Holiday Lights
39441 N. Circle Ave, Antioch
The Grass family hosts their light show animated to music on 88.1 FM daily from 4:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. from Thanksgiving day through January 1st. The show will not run if it’s raining. Their house is located on a cul-de-sac and its best to enter from the right (counter-clockwise). Due to the high amounts of viewers, they ask that you be respectful of their neighbors and keep the windows closed and radio at a respectable level.
Herzog Family Christmas Lights
23 N Durham Lane, Round Lake
Their light show runs every night from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and consists of so many different lights you could easily drive past several times and catch something new each time. While you are driving by, tune in to 88.5 FM for Christmas music synched to their light display and drop off a Toys for Tots toy in their bin.
Brandywine St. Libertyville
My family stumbled upon this house while driving around neighborhoods in Libertyville looking at lights. It was probably the coolest house we had seen all night and we will definitely remember it for future years.
Kolman Family Christmas Light Show
2 N. Brittany Lane, Hainesville
This family has been celebrating with lights since 2012 and impressing all of its neighbors. Lights are on nightly until 10:00 p.m. (11:00 p.m. on weekends), which makes this house a good one to drive past if your kids are night owls. Many of our readers have said that this neighborhood also has other very festive houses, which you can see while you are out in the area.
Lights on Magnolia
4504 Magnolia Dr., Rolling Meadows
Lights are on from 4:30 – midnight daily! Tune your radio to 98.3 fm to listen and watch the show from the warmth of your vehicle.
Christmas on Evergreen
145 Evergreen Lane in Winnetka
Christmas on Evergreen is an animated Christmas light display that began in 2012 as Christmas on Garland. Every year, Christian Tingle–now a senior in high school–designs, builds, and choreographs this display now consisting of over 75,000 lights. The lights are on daily until about 10:00 p.m. but see website for exact times.
Worth the Trip
Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights
25 November – 31 December, Sunday-Thursday: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 5:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Car (up to 8 people) $20
This is as close as to what we had at Cuneo as I can find. It is over a one mile drive with thousands of lights. All of the lights are unique and you will never see them anywhere else. Afterwards, visit Santa in his on site workshop and sip some hot chocolate.
Kenosha Christmas Lights, Kenosha, WI
This family’s lights are up from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Stop by to view 30,000 Christmas lights sequenced to music; tune into 101.3 FM when you arrive.
42nd Annual Electric Christmas Parade
2 December, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Williams & Marshall St., South on Broad St, West on Main St. and North on Cook St, Lake Geneva, WI
The 42nd Electric Christmas Parade is filled with imagination, joy, and amazing floats that will glide through Broad and Main Street in downtown Lake Geneva. This year’s Electric Parade theme is “Christmas in the Stars” and will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. It will be a joyous event bringing friends, family and residents of all ages together in a rousing display of community to celebrate the holidays.
Rosemont puts on a fantastic light display all throughout town in the month of December. All of the trees are completely lit up in colored lights. It truly is a sight to see.
Holiday Lights Bus Tour
13, 14, & 15 December, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Lake in the Hills Village Hall, Lake in the Hills
Pre-Registration Required, $5 residents / $6 Non-Residents
Travel around Lake in the Hills and see the sights and lights while serving as a judge for the Holiday House Decorating
Contest. Holiday Lights Decorating Contest participants cannot
participate in the judging, however they may join the tour. The
bus leaves promptly at 6:00 PM. This tour fills up quickly so
reserve your spot today! Both days will judge the same houses.
Hot chocolate provided.
Don’t be a Scrooge! If you know of another festive neighborhood tell us in the comments below and we will add it to our story!