13 Christmas Light Neighborhoods Worth The Drive in San Diego
Public Disclosure: An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. Changes and Closures happen frequently so check directly with each site before you head out to know if it's open or not and what their policies are.
--> This year all of these neighbors are asking everyone to enjoy the lights & sights from INSIDE YOUR CARS. Please don't get out and walk around this year. Pedestrian traffic is discouraged.
Twinkle Twinkle Christmas lights, where can I find you shining so bright? See below for some neighborhoods that are worth the drive. 🌟
The list below only includes neighborhoods with lots of houses lit up. That makes it more worthwhile to pack up the kiddos. It's usually better to get out and walk around, but since this year is different than all the rest, it's best to stay in your car and drive around. Please watch out for pedestrians who may be out walking around since it'll be dark. 🌟
🛑 Note that some of you have reported to me that not as many houses are participating this year and those have been updated at the bottom. Please let me know how else it looks out there this year and I'll update accordingly. 🌟
👉 Plan your visits between 5-9pm. GO EARLY in the month AND evenings before 6pm. The car lines get really long after 6pm and the closer it gets to Christmas.
👉 Bring cash as some neighbors sell cookies and hot cocoa for $1 or so. We hit up Starbucks on our way over to grab some vanilla steamers and hot chocolate. 😉
👉 Bring a kids potty or a *pee bag with you or put your kiddies in a pull-up because there are NO bathrooms. 😲
*Amazon affiliate link
👉 Dress your kids in their pj’s & pull-ups because they may even fall asleep on the ride home. Hopefully you can just carry them to bed. 😴
👉 Print Out this CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SCAVENGER HUNT to add a little extra fun to your night.
(the following times & dates are from last year 2019, but should be similar to this year)
🌟 CLAIREMONT: “Christmas Park”
📍 Lana Dr. & Jamar Dr. off Mt. Abernathy
This is a circular street so you can drive around the circle a couple times to see the lights on both sides. Santa is usually in front of one of the houses sitting in a chair and will gladly take free Santa photos with the kids. (Not sure about this year in 2020 though...)
Many houses offer treats & hot chocolate for sale
40+ homes. Dec. 1-25
If you're nearby, you may want to check out:
Candy Land House
📍 4005 Mount Albertine Ave.
They create a life-size game of Candy Land with activities & lights.
🌟 SOUTHPARK: "Luminaria"
📍 Along 30th St. + Fern St.
You'll find a small-town vibe tucked away here along the tree-lined streets with brightly decorated shops, restaurants & homes.
🌟 SANTEE: “Starlight Circle”
📍 off of N. Magnolia Ave. and Tomel Ct.
This is an easy circular drive around to see.
Many houses offer treats & hot chocolate for sale
75+ homes. Dec. 1-31 from dusk-10pm
1. Skip the long car lines and turn right on El Nopal to use the back entrance on Josie Jo Lane!
2. If you want to walk around it, park across the street at the church and walk over.
🌟 EL CAJON: “Jingle Bell Hill” (aka Pepper Dr. Lights)
📍 Pepper Dr. to Solomon Ave. and Pegeen Pl. off 67 and Bradley
75+ homes w/ various themes
Dec. 7-26 from 6-9pm on Mon-Th, 6-10pm on Fri-Sun
🌟 POWAY: “Candy Cane Lane”
📍 Twin Peaks Rd. + Silverset St.
All the cul-de-sacs are lit up along Hickory St., Hickory Ct., Butterwood Ct., Rockrose Ct.
3 large cul-de-sacs participate every year.
🌟 RANCHO PEÑASQUITOS: “Christmas Card Lane”
📍 Oviedo St. + Black Mountain Rd.
Can also enter from Twin Trails Dr. + Carmel Mtn Rd.
(Other years you can park at Sunset Hills Elementary and walk over)
Over 200 houses!
🌟 SCRIPPS RANCH: "Merry-tage Court"
📍 Stonebridge Pkwy + Merritage Ct.
👍 Good reports this year! Creative lighting displays includes Disney, Frozen, Star Wars, Cars, The Grinch and other pop culture icons.
🌟 CARMEL MOUNTAIN RANCH: “Holiday Magic/Fairway Village”
📍 Fairway Village on the East and West sides of Stoney Gate Pl.
👍 Good reports this year! 100+ homes. Dec. 16-Jan. 1 from 5:30-10:30pm
🌟 UTC: “San Diego Temple”
📍 7474 Charmant Dr.
has 130,000+ lights & nativity scenes, FREE.
Dec. 1-Jan. 1 from 5-11pm.
📍 Marisa Lane, Encinitas
Has 3 cul-de-sacs all lit up!
📍 Ammonite Court, Carlsbad
🌟 ESCONDIDO: "Harmony Grove Village"
📍 Starry Night Dr. + surrounding roads, Escondido
This is a fairly new neighborhood and they seem to dress up for every holiday. Halloween is really fun here too! For Christmas there are lots of cute light archway tunnels to walk through that make great photo ops and fun for kids to run through.
🌟 VISTA: “Jingle Terrace Park”
📍 Brengle Terrace Park, Vista
Has a nightly drive-thru light experience from 6-10pm thru Dec. 28th
Donations are accepted of canned food or unwrapped toys
🌟 TEMECULA: “Bainbridge Falls”
📍 Bainbridge Circle cul-de-sac
👍 Good reports this year! 30+ house syncronized to music that broadcasts on 88.5 FM.
🤷🏼♀️ ONLY A FEW OF THESE NEIGHBORHOODS ARE LIT UP THIS YEAR👇
🤷🏼♀️ LAKESIDE: “Tinsel Town”
📍 nearby 10248 Paseo Palmas
20+ houses. Dec. 7-25 from 5:30-9pm
🤷🏼♀️ CHULA VISTA: “Christmas Circle”
📍 Along Whitney St. + Mankato Circle, between First and Second Ave. off H St. and 1st Ave.
This is a small but mighty circle drive so it gets pretty jammed with cars the closer it gets to Christmas.
55+ homes. Dec. 9-26 from 5-10pm
🤷🏼♀️ PT. LOMA: “Garrison Street Lights”
This neighborhood used to be a great spot, but over the last couple of years reports indicate they don't decorate like they used to.
📍 Garrison St. & Chatsworth off Rosecrans St.
20+ homes. Dec. 1-31 from dusk-10pm
🤷🏼♀️ CARLSBAD CHRISTMAS HOUSE
📍 6646 Elegant Tern Pl.
This is just ONE house, but it's transformed into Santa's Village complete with a letterbox to drop off your letters to Santa and you'll even get a reply from him!! (Not advisable this year....Every year on Dec. 14th they host a community party with hot chocolate, mulled wine and other holiday treats!)
🚫 SAN MARCOS: “Christmas on Knob Hill”
CANCELLED THIS YEAR
📍 on Knob Hill Rd.
85,000+ lights all solar powered! Santa can usually be found here the week of Christmas from 6:30-7:30pm.
Dec. 1-30 from 5-9pm.
I can't be everywhere all the time so your input is greatly appreciated. If you have any updates to this place or post please send me a message or a DM here.
If you like a place that I've suggested please share it and tag me on Instagram @famdiego 🤗 I always LOVE to see everyone getting out to enjoy all the fun in our wonderful city and making special memories together with your kids. 💕 I put a lot of time and work into all that I share and it truly helps me if you can spread the word to others. That will keep partnerships coming in so I can share new updates, host fun giveaways and help you discover fun new places. Thank you so much. 💛