This post is about how to visit the Christmas lights displays in Dyker Heights Brooklyn, whether on your own or on an organized tour and has been updated for 2018. When people think about holiday decorations in New York City, they usually think of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the lavish store window displays of Midtown Manhattan. But some of the best sights to be seen are actually in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Starting in the 1980’s, Christmas started getting bigger and brighter out in Brooklyn with each passing year. In 2017, expect to see massive, professionally-done light displays (some costing upwards of $20,000!). (en espanol)
There is an unspoken competition among the homeowners in the neighborhood, so some have added huge lawn ornaments and motorized displays, making for a lavish holiday spectacle. Dyker Heights has truly become a “must-see” for many people during the holidays. You will see visitors walking through the neighborhood as well as people in their cars rolling by at a few miles per hour all around the area. View this post as a PDF to download to your smartphone.
You may also be interested in On Location Tours Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Bus Tour. Receive an online discount here.
HOW TO GET TO THE DYKER HEIGHTS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
The best lights are on 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street. The closest subway is the D/M trains at 18th Avenue. From Times Square, it’s 1 hour travel time to the neighborhood. This includes approximately 20 minutes of walking up and down some moderate hills. There are actually several subway lines that can get you to the neighborhood. It’s just that the listed option below is the easiest from Times Square. Be sure to use our Google map for directions to the Dyker Heights Christmas lights from anywhere in NYC.
IMPORTANT:Our walking tour meets at a different location (see below), but you could also start from there and get a coffee or hot cocoa.
The Dyker Heights lights start the weekend after Thanksgiving, but the best time to see the most lights is in mid-December or later, when most of the displays are up and running.
The best displays are usually on weekends.
Try to go between 5 and 9 pm. Most owners turn on lights when it gets dark and then start shutting them down before they go to bed.
Look for the Spata house (with Santa outside, played by family members) and the Polizzotto house (with 29-foot motorized wooden soldiers). They were among the first families to begin the tradition of elaborate decorations in the neighborhood in the 1980’s.
The best lights are located quite far from the subway station. You will be in for about a mile walk (20 min), so be prepared!
Consider making a stop for hot chocolate or warm drinks. Several reviewers suggest that hot drinks can help to keep you warm while seeing the holiday displays in this neighborhood. You could also bring something warm to drink in a thermos if you don’t feel like stopping at a store.
Bring a camera with you and prepare to take some fantastic pictures!
Several visitors recommend stopping at some of the restaurants located on 3rd, 4th or 5th street for a quick bite to eat either before or after your walk around the neighborhood.
As you can probably imagine, there will most likely be a large crowd in the area. Walking from one house to the next might take a bit longer than you expect. Be prepared for stop-and-go foot traffic.
The Dyker Lights have been the subject of both a Conan O’Brien special and a PBS documentary.
Most of the displays are not actually done by the homeowners, but rather by local professional decorating companies.
The Dyker Lights are always wonderful, but for a really fantastic (and easier!) experience, there is an organized bus tour that takes visitors out to Dyker Heights and shows them around. This is a good option for anyone who is worried about finding their way around. Plus, it is always great to get a little extra information on a tour! Of course, our pay-what-you-like tour is the best way to go.
We are happy once again to offer our very own walking tour of the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights Brooklyn. Meet your tour guide in Brooklyn, just a 12-minute walk to the main light displays. There, your tour guide will show you all the important light displays and tell you the history behind each of them. It’s a great experience and a great way to make some new friends. Our tour begins at Mocha Mocha Coffee, where you could pick up a hot cocoa, coffee, pastries as well as dinner. We also offer, on average, 12 other walking tours each day.
We are also partnering with our friends at A Slice of Brooklyn Tours and Tour America to offer a guided bus tour of the Dyker Heights Christmas lights displays. This is part bus and part walking, but the tour is guided throughout. Meet your tour guide in Midtown Manhattan for the bus ride out to Dyker Heights on the subway. There are several bus companies offering tours out to Dyker Heights.
NOTE: A Slice of Brooklyn has few spots left this season. A good bus tour alternative is Tour America.
With an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say that this company offers excellent bus tours. Reviews for their Dyker Heights trip are especially positive, as most customers agree that the experience was wonderful. Guests appreciated their fun and informative tour guides, indicating that they provided a lot of significant details about the light show and the neighborhood. Couples appreciated this outing much more than other audiences. Be sure to also read our comparison and review post on NYC bus tours.
GUIDED BUS TOUR OF THE LIGHTS
Reservations: Reservations are required. Book here.
Where: Tour begins at Union Square. The exact location and directions are provided upon booking.
Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours.
When: 6 pm, 7 pm, and 8 pm daily.
$48 Children under 12.
$68 Adults/priority seating (1st 4 rows)
$58 Children under 12/priority seating
Blackout dates – Dec 24 and Dec 25 as well as Dec 31st, 2018 and January 1st, 2019.
In addition to the services listed above, this company also provides a Dyker Heights Christmas Lights bus tour. Clocking in at roughly 3 ½ hours, this outing should give you plenty of time to see the beautiful holiday lights in this Brooklyn neighborhood. As you drive past notable sites, a tour guide will provide narration and point out some of the more magnificent displays. Once you reach the area, you’ll be given 45 minutes to walk around and see the lights up close. At the end of your trip, you’ll have the option to stop at Rockefeller Center and join the ice skaters in front of their iconic Christmas tree. They also offer a tour en Espanol.
Ticket Prices: $60 for Adults | $45 for Children
Duration: 3 ½ hours
Availability: Nov 24th – Jan 3rd | 4 PM/5PM/6 PM
45 minute stop in Dyker Heights for a closer look at the lights
Stop by Rockefeller Center and join the ice skaters
Overall ratings for this bus tour are very positive (read reviews here). Most customers agree that Tour America runs an excellent service, indicating that they actually provided a lot of useful information about the city while driving toward their destination. Guests were especially happy that they had the opportunity to hop off for 45 minutes and walk around Dyker Heights to see the lights up close. This outing was popular among both locals and visitors from around the world.
The single best block to visit in Dyker Heights is 84th Street between 11th and 12th Avenue (map). One of the most interesting houses on this street is the Saita House, an architectural gem that is listed on the National List of Historic Places. The house is one of the few original houses still remaining when the neighborhood was designed to be a wealthy suburban enclave. Below, get a peek of the Saita House and the rest of the homes on 84th Street without lights. Near 12th Avenue, there are often people selling hot cocoa and Christmas sweets for the tourists and 3 of the most elaborately lighted houses in the area.
The Spata House, 1152 84th St (map) – Lucy Spata started it all roughly 30 years ago. You could call her a legitimate Christmas junkie. She decorates her house (well, her half of a duplex) with all sorts of holiday objects, from reindeer to toy soldiers to Santas. Click on the video below to get her story.
The Polizotto House – Alfred Polizzotto first decorated his house more than 20 years ago as a way to celebrate some pretty great news: Polizzotto’s cancer had gone into remission. He hired a Brooklyn local to deck out his lawn in thousands of lights, several one-ton mechanical horses, and automatronic toy soldiers. Though he passed away several years ago, Polizzotto’s family has kept the tradition alive. The holiday lights have not only brought joy to family and neighbors, but they also deliver happiness to the thousands of children that visit each season. And the patriarch’s contribution to the hood was not forgotten: The year Alfred Senior passed away, all the Dyker Lights went dark for one night. Visitors can make donations to the National Cancer Society by way of donation boxes set up all over the Polizzotto’s lawn. Watch the video below.
Sam the Greek, 71st Street and 14th Avenue (map). Located about 10 blocks from the Spata home, Sam Livos (Sam the Greek) owns a 3 story house decorated with approximately 300,000 lights.
A few houses down are giant Nutcrackers. Let us also not forget about the twin houses, one decked out in red and another in green with lighting completely enveloping the homes and even running 20 feet into the air into the trees. Oh, and depending on the day and time, there is a DJ spinning Christmas music right at the corner of 84th Street and 12th Avenue. It’s a fun time even for the tour guides.