Illuminate SF Festival of Lights

Now in its sixth year, this urban lights festival offers 37 eco-friendly displays that are all accessible by public transportation within San Francisco’s 49 square miles. Pick a neighborhood to explore and take the free guided tour to learn more about the artists that have brought these installations to life. Traveling over the holidays via SFO? Check out the six permanent light installations at the airport.

Throughout San Francisco
Dates: Nov. 22-Jan. 1 starting at dusk
Cost: The majority of installations are free to view.

Dave’s Christmas House Benefiting Make-a-Wish, Willow Glen

For many years this Willow Glen house has been decked out in thousands of lights, all in the name of sick children. Swing by to visit and leave a donation to support the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The San Jose neighborhood of Willow Glen is well known for its lights displays and Christmas trees in the front yard so make a night of it and drive around with a cup of cocoa.

1851 Cherry Ave.
San Jose, CA
Dates: Dec. 1-25, 6-9:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Holiday Circle of Lights, Oakland

Don’t let the fact this display is in a cemetery spook you, though it will take your breath away in a good way! Thousands of lights adorn the main buildings at Mountain View Cemetery. This year’s show also includes a train full of toys, giant nutcracker and a beautiful arch of lights.

5000 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA
Dates: Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 5-9 p.m.
Cost: Free

Widmer World, Pleasanton

This local display is so popular, it has been featured in a nationally-televised show! Because of this, lights started going up in October and they’ll probably offer a sneak peek around Thanksgiving. The tradition started in 1980 with a plastic Santa and some other run-of-the-mill decorations, but has since exploded into almost an acre of glittering lights, which includes a mini Christmas village, computer animated displays and over a dozen scenes. No two years are alike and this year promises plenty of new additions.

3671 Chelsea Court
Pleasanton, CA
When: Dec. 1–31, from 6-9 p.m.
Cost: Free

Marinwood’s Mickey Mouse Christmas House

When you take the most wonderful time of the year and combine it with the happiest place on Earth, you get this: The Mickey Mouse Christmas House. The Mize family started collecting Disney memorabilia in the 70’s and since then their collection has grown and grown. More than 10,000 visitors stop by their San Rafael home to gaze at the brilliant lights, beautiful decorations and unique displays.

417 Blackstone Dr.
San Rafael, CA
When: Nov. 22-Dec. 25
Cost: Free

Rombeiro House – Novato

Not only is this house decorated to the nines on the outside, but they also welcome visitors inside to see all the rooms decked out in different Christmas themes—trains, angels, candy canes and more. How many Santas can you spot? You may even get to see Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of your tour!

34 Devonshire Dr.
Novato, CA
When: 6-10 p.m. daily, Dec. 1-Jan. 6
Cost: Free