I'll admit I'm a sucker for a good Christmas lights display. When my parents were not terribly interesting in stringing lights from the house, I made plans. I used graph paper to map out the entire house and figure out what lights would go where. This was a big deal in my world as a kid. Even today, I like stringing lights and looking at impressive displays by others.
While I may not light my house like Clark Griswold, I admire those who give it a shot. The neighborhoods on this list definitely go all out when it comes to lighting the holidays. So, pop on the all-Christmas station in your car (or do like I do, and make a mix of Christmas jazz) and take a drive to soak in some holiday cheer...and perhaps get a sunburn at night.
Honorable Mention: Tanglewood
This slew of upscale homes, while not covered in lights, usually has some beautiful decorations, so it warrants a mention.
5. Woodland Heights
This neighborhood in the Heights family of subdivisions seems to always have the most decor and is the epicenter of the Lights in the Heights celebration every year. In particular, drive around the north end and down Bayland with its beautiful overhanging oak trees reminiscent of Rice University. Bonus, this is where the dude with the duck hunting santa lives.
4. Pecan Grove Plantation
This suburb of Richmond in Fort Bend County has become well known for its neighborhood-wide displays. It has even boasted a house with lights synced to music. If you don't mind the drive, the view is worth it and they have hay rides and, apparently, Santa on a fire truck if you go at the right time.
3. River Oaks
Nothing says elegant beauty -- and "I had my lights put up by my yard day laborers" -- like River Oaks. Houston's home for old money is also home for some of the prettiest twinkling lights in town, most of them white and neatly organized around tree trunks and dripping from limbs. It's a great wandering drive to take on Christmas Eve.
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2. Shepherd Park Plaza
When I was growing up, one of my closest friends lived in this near north-side neighborhood and even then, 25-plus years ago, the neighborhood went bonkers around the holidays. Lines of cars would wind through the upper-middle-class subdivision gawking at the displays, which included entire cul-de-sac themes. It's a wonder to behold.
1. Prestonwood Forest
The mother of all Christmas light viewing spots is Prestonwood. Located near Cypresswood and
290 249 on the far northwest end of town, the lighting displays are a thing of legend. It is routinely on lists of the best Christmas displays in Texas let alone Houston, and its residents take great pride in the contest that makes Snoopy's doghouse in A Charlie Brown Christmas look like a pre-lit plastic tree in the drugstore display window.