One of my favorite things to do this time of year is drive around and see all the lights everywhere. As a child, we used to all get in my Grandparents’ suburban with hot chocolate and snacks, and my Grandfather would take us to see the lights. There’s at least one in every town – the neighborhood Griswold! You know, the one the kids beg you to take a drive by every time you’re out after dark? The one you love to see but are thankful you don’t live next door and even more thankful you don’t pay their electric bill this month! Please remember, particularly when cruising neighborhood lights, these are people’s homes, and they have neighbors. Please be respectful of their property, traffic laws, and your noise levels. Most turn on the lights daily from 5/6PM until 9pm or later. Many also collect donations for various charities.
Plan a trip to see the best Christmas lights in Connecticut with your kids… Here’s a list of our favorites, featuring both neighborhood Griswolds and professional displays!
100 Harbor Drive, Greenwich, CT 06830
Featured a few years ago by the WSJ as “How a Billionaire Does Christmas Lights”, this one is definitely worth a trip… and more Pro than Griswold! Off-duty police officers direct traffic, allowing drivers to line up eight at a time to view the five minute cycle. A soundtrack synchronized to the thousands of flashing lights plays over the radio on FM90.5.
Wonderland at Roseville
226 Roseville Terrace, Fairfield, CT
Wonderland is made possible through the vision of home owner Gene Halliwell, Wife Mary, their daughter Maryanne and her husband George Mulligan, with helpful dedication from Billy Frostick, Michael Fultz, and Michelle Brewster. They are a group of family and friends who simply love the holidays!! They have no corporate sponsorship and are not for hire. All donations made here go to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Kings Highway Christmas Lights
Kings Highway & Churchill Street, Fairfield, CT
Another home display just around the bend from Wonderland. They do take donations of non perishable food items and new unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.
Lights on Lovely
14 Lovely Drive, Plantsville, CT 06479
Lights on Lovley is a computerized Christmas light display, set to a number of seasonal songs, located in the Plantsville section of Southington, CT. To view the show just drive up and tune your radio to 96.1FM – you can stay warm in your car while enjoying this synchronized light spectacular of 45,000 dancing lights.
Holiday Light Fantasia
Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Ave, Hartford, CT 06114
Holiday Light Fantasia is a much loved Hartford tradition. The 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland of holiday spirit with a beautiful collection of over 1 million lights. Whimsical holiday scenes, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright in larger-than-life lighted scenes and 200 individual displays. Lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, New Years and Three Kings Day. Admission starts at $12/Car (up to 10 passengers). A full list of admission prices is available online. Holiday Light Fantasia is open through January 1.
New Haven County
That House in Milford
75 Meadows End Road, Milford, CT 06460
My favorite neighborhood Griswald’s are That House in Milford. They start putting up lights in October, and are still taking them down well into February. With upwards of 30,000 lights, you can see this one from more than a block away. They two time winners of “Best Decorated House in Milford” by Patch Milford Community and 2nd Place in the New Haven Register 2012 Holiday Decorating Contest! If you like what you see, please consider making a virtual donation to the Connecticut Food Bank via their website. Since 2007, That House has raised more than $12,500 for the food bank.
Meadowside Road, Between Meadows End and Silver Sands Parkway, Milford, CT 06460
Right around the corner from That House is another great display – Big M calls it “The Gingerbread House.” And it definitely looks like a life-size gingerbread house, with every edge lit in colorful lights, and gingerbread men all around.
360 Lincoln Road, Orange, CT 06477
Featured as one of 20 homes on last year’s nationwide reality TV show ““The Great Christmas Light Fight,” the Small Family’s light display is HUGE. The animated display now includes 80 such lighted figurines, a couple of inflatable figures and about 28,000 lights. They ask donations be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Habitat for Humanity. To learn more about the Smalls, check out their feature in the NH Register last year.
303 Old Tavern Road, Orange, CT 06477
Just around the corner from The Small Family is another great display in Orange. Toy soldiers line the yard, Santa is set to take off from the roof, and countless lit Christmas trees fill the yard. Definitely worth checking out if you are in the neighborhood!
66 Edward Street, West Haven, CT 06516
Just off I-95, 66 Edward Street has been going all out for more than 5 years now. Featuring 22,000 lights and 32 animated figures, this one won’t disappoint.
7 Peppermill Drive, West Haven, CT 06516
We received this submission from one of our followers… just follow the star to find this great light display in West Haven. The family has been putting on the display for 5 years now, with the lights set to music and a Grinch projection in the upstairs window!
St. Germain Christmas Light Show
198 Jersey St, Waterbury, CT 06706
The St. Germain family display features 28,000 lights synchronized to Christmas music. You can check them out on Facebook too! The family collects donations for the Salvation Army – canned food, a new toy or a donation in the kettle. Donators are personally thanked by the family and wished a Merry Christmas. There is also the option to text to donate. Check it out!
Fantasy of Lights
Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, CT
Check out over 60 attractions that include animated and LED light displays! Be dazzled by over 100,000 lights! Cost is $10/car, and proceeds support Easter Seals Goodwill Industries.
26th Annual Festival of Silver Lights
Hubbard Park, West Main Street, Meriden, CT 06450
A spectacular display with 200,000 white lights and more than 300 lighted characters throughout the Park. Displays in trees, on the ponds and nestled in the natural habitat. On display from now until January 2.
New London County
Mystic Aquarium & Olde Mistick Village
Friday, December 12th 5 – 8PM (Village until 9:30PM)
Let your holiday spirit shine on Friday, December 12th from 5 to 8 pm, with last admission at 7:30 pm. Paths will be illuminated by thousands of luminaria as guests enjoy seasonal entertainment, face painters, story tellers, hot chocolate and even a visit from Santa.
Admission is free with a non-perishable food item
To find the best home light displays near you, check out Tacky Light Tour, a directory of homes nationwide with more than 10,000 lights.
UPDATE: Thanks for making this our most popular most yet! Help us make it even better. Did we miss a good one in your neighborhood? Let us know!
Now that you’ve seen all the lights, don’t miss the full list of places to see Santa this year! If you enjoyed this post, join our community on Facebook to catch all the great family-friendly events and activities in South Central Connecticut, and find all our local content here.