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 created a list of all of the best neighborhoods in the area to cruise around and experience the magic of the holiday season. We also have information on some new light shows in the area, and a new scavenger hunt to make it even more fun!
Best Holiday Light Displays Lake County
How we make our list:
We ask! Over the last eight years our Facebook Followers and readers have told us. We love your help, so keep commenting! Some owners also self-submit information on their homes.
We have not verified that lights are up or on, meaning we haven’t driven to and past all these houses. If there is an online source for the house, we do check. However er acknowledge that people move, don’t turn them on, etc. If you drive by a location we have listed and there is nothing there tell us!
Share your pics with us! Tag #LTMLightTour if you are out and about thanks to our list!
We will update this all season so leave us comments and suggestions!
Christmas Light Displays Near You
Best Neighborhood Light Displays
Take the long way home and meander through these neighborhoods that are awash in lights and decorations.
Hampton Reserve Neighborhood off of Midlothian Road, Mundelein
The entrance to this neighborhood is on a little street called Timber Pass 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 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 absolute 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 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 daytime, it looks great yet evenings are best! Their lights go on at dusk and are on until midnight.
Best Home Light Displays
These homes give Clark Griswald a run for his money. With yards full of inflatables to computer controlled synchronization that make them dance to music your kids will be wowed by these displays, guaranteed.
The Tarkowski Family Light Show, 1256 Bradford Lane, Antioch
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. Please see this link for specific details on parking and traffic flow
Christmas Lights on Poplar, Fox Lake
39 Popular, Fox Lake
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
1010 Algonquin Rd., Fox River Grove
With their 99 blow-up decorations and thousands of lights this is definitely a house to see. In previous years the display was open for the public every night from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Start date and times are pending so follow them on Facebook (link above) to check before heading out.
Corner of Savannah & Catalina, Round Lake
We stumbled upon this house’s display this year on our way to see the now ended Herzog Family 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
Come 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. Display begins December 1.
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. This years show should start (weather dependent) November 25. 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.
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
Show starts on November 24 and runs through New Years. 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.
Drive-Thru Light Displays
No need to get out of the car! Drive thru these displays and ooh and ah as you make your way around surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights. .
Wisconsin Christmas Carnival of Lights
24 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 Cash Only
This 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.
Santa’s Rock ‘n’ Lights
November 29 – December 31
Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake
New for 2018 is the Santa’s Rock ‘n’ Lights show at the Lake County Fairgrounds. As this is the first year we can only tell you what we’ve seen online. Lights are synchronized to music and animated. Pricing is based on that date and number of people in your car. Early bird tickets will save you the most.
Worth the Trip
You’re already in the car, start at these a little bit farther than Lake County locations and work your way home.
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.
Kenosha Christmas Lights
6834 106th Ave, 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.
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.
Printable Scavenger Hunt
Print this off before you go to keep the kids engaged in the car!
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!