I think I may be part Griswold. Or maybe its because my birthday is merely a week prior to the Big Day. Regardless, I LOVE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. I have fond memories as a child driving around looking at twinkly Christmas decorations and I thoroughly enjoy putting up my own lights and decorations every year as well. Full disclosure, I aspire to have my house on this list in a few years, but we’re not quite there…YET! There’s just something so magical about this time of year and I cannot wait for the season to get underway.
If you’re interested in starting your own family tradition of viewing Christmas lights or just want to continue your old one, here are some of our BMC contributors top recommendations to light up your night no matter what part of Birmingham you choose to explore.
Light Up Your Night :: Where to See Christmas Lights in Birmingham
Vulcan Park and Museum is hosting Vulcan’s Magical Nights again, and it’s better than ever! It has more lights, more music, more food, and more family fun! The holiday spectacular runs December 3-5, 10-12, 17-23 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each of those nights. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children. This includes access to the museum, the viewing deck, and all the live nightly entertainment! Purchase tickets at the park or online to avoid the line!
The Birmingham Zoo is bringing back Glow Wild this year. It runs from November 17 to January 17 on selected dates. Check out the zoo website for ticket purchase and full details. We went last year the night after Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Make a visit to “Santa’s House” in Trussville’s Peppertree neighborhood. While it has lots of fun lights for the family to enjoy, it’s Santa’s sleigh that’s the main attraction. If you’re lucky, you may catch jolly old St. Nick himself waiting to pose for photos in his sleigh.
We have it on good authority that the larger neighborhoods in the area, such as Longwood, Brentwood, Pinemeadow and Chapel Hills, have some solid displays every year. Also, the Gardendale Civic Center is hosting a Festival of Trees this year! Rocket Around the Christmas Tree Trail is an event supporting the Dick Lee Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Bama Lights on West Hill Road in Pinson has become a destination display in recent years. It’s a drive through experience beginning at 5:00 pm nightly, weather permitting. Lights go on Thanksgiving night and run through December 25. The property owners also collect donations for a charity each year.
Timber Trails and Burkwood Road in Fultondale, as well as Hampstead Drive and Doss Ferry in Kimberly have been reported to us as excellent opportunities for light viewing in the North Birmingham area as well.
Just Over the Mountain
Homewood’s Edgewood subdivision hosts lots of lights to brighten your night. Start at Barry Avenue to be dazzled with its light show. Then, be sure to also check out Edgewood Boulevard, East Hawthorne Drive, and West Hawthorne Drive for more fun lights and sights.
I love music and Christmas lights, so knowing that these neighborhoods found a way to combine the two definitely put them on my list of places to visit. Take a trip to the Biltmore Estates and Mountain Woods subdivisions of Vestavia to see some lights synchronized with music. Be aware some traffic from the display at Chestnut Road and Monterrey Drive may spill out onto Highway 31, so if you’re just passing through, have a little extra Christmas cheer or take a detour and check it out!
For those who love tradition, you’ll be satisfied with a visit to Lake Drive in Mountain Brook. As one of the first streets in the area to decorate their trees, you’ll enjoy seeing Santa and his reindeer. If their lights return this year, the Beech Hill subdivision is an Auburn fan’s Christmas delight. Finally, take a trip to Spring Rock Road for an abundance of blow-up decorations that your kids will adore. This area is sure to please every light viewer in your car!
The resort is decorated beautifully, but the neighborhood itself is fun and festive around the holidays. Start at the main entrance with all the new shops and restaurants to enjoy a treat. Then, wind your way around each area to see the white-lit trees on the terraces, inflatables, and more fun décor the residents display for all to enjoy.
If you enjoy Hallmark Christmas movies as much as I do, then this neighborhood is for you! Enjoy a small town feel as you cruise through the Preserve in Hoover. Better yet, have a date night with your honey at one of their two restaurants and take a festive stroll down the neighborhood sidewalks lined with lit trees.
Hoover Commons Chick-fil-A
If you don’t have time for a full light tour in Birmingham, then this stop is for you. Sure to be a crowd pleaser as you pick up dinner, this Chick-fil-A decorates their drive-thru with a light tunnel that will definitely keep your kids entertained.
North Shelby County
There’s always something festive and magical about a lit pathway. Throughout Meadowbrook’s neighborhood in Inverness, you’ll find luminary lined paths helping Santa find his way this season. Be sure to also visit Brookhill Drive for some lights synced to their own FM station.
The Richardson Family reminds others of the reason for the season as they use their holiday décor on Arrow Drive in Alabaster to host a canned food drive for those less fortunate. Don’t forget to bring your contribution when you come view their synchronized light show which runs from the day after Thanksgiving through New Years Day. As someone who has seen the show in years past, prepare for a long wait if you go on a weekend day. I would advise going in the middle of the week!
Located on 5703 Highway 39 in Chelsea, The Cloutier Christmas Lights are sure to please everyone in the family! In years past, their playlist has changed every night, so it is never the same show two nights in a row. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about this show is that the playlist isn’t always fully Christmas-oriented! There is limited driveway parking for those who might want to watch the show outside of their vehicles.
Christmas Wonderland is a walk-through Christmas lights display. Originally located in Calera in years past, this year is the first year that the display is on 309 Studdard Drive in Clanton. On select nights, meet Santa!
Christmas Fantasyland is located on 500 County Road 128 in Calera. Starting on opening night of November 25, visit Elsa’s castle, Whoville and the North Pole! Keep an eye on Facebook in case Santa and other characters make an appearance!
When all else fails, just drive around and see what lights you can find. Remember, some of the best adventures are spur of the moment and come unscripted. The most important thing is to enjoy the thrill of lights while making sweet memories with your loved ones.