You know it’s the holidays when roofs become bright enough to guide airplanes and lights dangling from houses are synchronized with music.
Ready to see lights near and far? We’ve got smaller displays that can hold their own and blocks that have become seasonal favorites. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there. Here are the best bets to drive and walk through to soak in the magic of the season:
Here in Coronado:
Illuminated with 100,000 glittering white lights, the Hotel Del Coronado becomes a winter wonderland each night at dusk. You can check out the hotel’s 30-foot Christmas tree, adorned by 15,000 lights, 2,000 ornaments and hundreds of other decorations. See the display through Jan. 2.
Other impressive neighborhoods:
Rancho Peñasquitos, Christmas Card Lane: Oviedo Street, just off Black Mountain Road. Over the years, Christmas Card Lane has grown to include some 200 families, lighting up the area surrounding Oviedo Street and turning it into a twinkling Christmas paradise. Visit from Dec. 10-31, dusk to 10 p.m.
Santee, Starlight Circle: Take Tomel Court off North Magnolia Avenue to West Glendon Circle. Starlight Circle is more than just bright lights, colorful displays and nativity scenes this year. The neighborhood is holding a Food Drive for the San Diego Food Bank on Dec. 17. Bring a non-perishable item and drop it off to help feed the hungry in San Diego County. See the light action 6-11 p.m. through Dec. 26.
La Mesa, Bob's Christmas Wonderland: 7171 Cornell Ave. In the past, Bob's Christmas Wonderland has featured over-the-top animated decorations, trains and even a mini drive-in theater. Sip hot cocoa and cider and much on popcorn as you take in the sights and lights. Visitors are asked to donate a canned food item for his Salvation Army holiday food drive. Visit Bob’s from 5-9 p.m. in December.
El Cajon, Jingle Bell Hill: Solomon Avenue and Pageen Place. A holiday tradition for more than two decades, Jingle Bell Hill attracts thousands of visitors. From 6-9 p.m. weekdays, and 6-10 p.m. weekends through Jan. 1.
Chula Vista, Christmas Circle: Whitney Street and Mankato Street. A scaled-down version of the grand "Candy Cane Lane" of past years, Christmas Circle has also gained a name for its beautiful displays and abundant lights. 5-10 p.m. Dec. 11-26.
Poway, "The Griswolds:" 12631 Stoutwood St. off Twin Peaks Road and Deerwood Street. The Griswolds (of the famed Family Vacation movies) should hide in shame after they see this neighborhood. See why this attraction has earned the infamous name from 5:30-10 p.m through Jan. 4.
Poway, Candy Cane Lane: Hickory Court, Hickory Street, off Twin Peaks Road and Silverset Street. Includes Butterwood Court and Rockrose Court. The cul-de-sac is lit up like a street on the North Pole through Jan. 1 from 6-9 p.m.
The annual Garden of Lights at the in Encinitas features more than 100,000 twinkling lights, a poinsettia garden stocked with several varieties of the Christmas plant, live music (including carolers!), wagon rides, a nutcracker display, food, children's activities and crafts, and visits with Santa. Weather permitting, there will be snow at the gardens from Dec. 9-16 and again Dec. 26-30. Open from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 8-23, and 26-30. Tickets, $12 general admission, with discounts for seniors, military, students and children. Children 2 and younger are free. Tickets for members are $6.
At the Del Mar Fairgrounds, view the lights from the comfort of your car at the . This seasonal tradition is the largest lighted holiday display in the county, featuring festive music and 400 sparkling and animated displays set up on a 1.5 mile route around the racetrack. A trip around the track takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Holiday of Lights is open from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Jan. 2. It is closed Dec. 13. Admission is $14 per car with up to five people; $19 per vehicle with six or more people; $49 per bus. Motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles are not allowed.