SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It's a time-honored tradition among many families: Everyone hunkers together in the family car, maybe with some hot cocoa, and drives around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights.
And in San Diego, several neighborhoods stretching from the North County to South Bay give residents plenty of lights to watch sparkle.
Light displays can range in subtlety, but that's not where we're sending you. These neighborhoods are home to locals who throw the electric bill out the window in December and celebrate the season with brilliant illumination.
We've also included local attractions that will put on their best Clark W. Griswold impression with displays and events for families this month.
(Navigate the map above for more information on locations.)
Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights: Boats decked out with lights will parade through Oceanside Harbor on Dec. 14 at 7 pm. More info.
San Marcos: The lights kick on for "Christmas on Knob Hill" at Knob Hill Road from Nov. 28 to Dec. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Santa also pays a visit Dec. 13 - 23. More on dates and times of the display here.
Legoland: Legoland's holiday fun runs Nov. 23 through Dec. 31, with cheer around every turn. Santa and toy soldiers will spread fun throughout the park with photo ops for children, and Fun Town will decorate a 30-foot Lego Christmas tree with more than 400 Lego ornaments. More info.
Carlsbad: The "Carlsbad Christmas House" lights up with flamingos and penguins, animated window displays, dancing with Santa, and the Land of Misfit Toys at 7607 Romeria Street. More info.
San Diego Botanic Garden: Botanic Wonderland brings Holiday Nights in the Garden to town with thousands of lights and Santa from Dec. 3 – 8; 10 – 15; 17 – 23; and 26 – 30 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. More info.
Rancho Bernardo: Homes lining the cul-de-sac of Tristania Pl. are dressed top to bottom with lights, spelling out "hope," "joy," and "Noel" across homes plus much more.
Carmel Mountain: Homes in the Fairway Village area of Carmel Mountain will be decked out in lights! Check out the lights from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1 from dusk to 10:30 p.m. nightly, plus the public block party on the Saturday before Christmas. More info.
Poway: "Candy Cane Lane" covers Hickory Ct., Hickory St., Butterwood Ct., and Rockrose Ct. in Poway, beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving until at least Jan. 1. More info.
Rancho Penasquitos: "Christmas Card Lane" can be found on Oviedo St. off Black Mountain Rd. Homes create plywood "cards" with Christmas themes or cartoons and light displays from dusk until about 10 p.m. throughout December. More info.
Scripps Ranch: "Merry-tage Court" can be found at Stonebridge Pkwy and Merritage Ct. covered in bright holiday themes throughout December from dusk until about 10 p.m. nightly.
Lakeside: Homes on Paseo Palmas Dr. can be seen dressed up in lights this season, as lights string together each home on the street. There may even be a special appearance by The Grinch on the 21 (8 p.m.) and 22 (7 p.m.)... Visitors can see the displays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout December. More info.
Santee: "Starlight Circle" or "Sunburst Santee" covers Tomel Ct. off Magnolia Ave. Residents have their own schedule for how long lights will be up, but visitors can usually catch them from about 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. More info.
El Cajon: Homes on Pepper Dr. will be dressed up in festive holiday lights. The hilltop street becomes a neighborhood beacon every holiday season. More info.
Lemon Grove: Lemon Grove's "Santa Claus Lane" can be found on Sheri Lane.
Central San Diego
Tierrasanta: Visit 5306 Belardo Dr. for a decked out light display and nightly beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving. More info.
Clairemont: Clairemont's "Clairemont Christmas Park" on Lana Dr. & Jamar Dr.
Mission Bay: The Family Holiday Party and Parade of Lights hits San Diego on Dec. 14. Santa Claus and live entertainment will greet families before more than 100 boats light up the waters around Mission Bay. More info.
SeaWorld: The holidays kick off at SeaWorld Nov. 23 through Jan. 5, 2020. The park's new Sesame Street Christmas Village brings a glistening tree, holiday lights, and storytime to guests. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will have his very own Christmastown area and light the park's 40-foot Christmas tree every night. More info.
Balboa Park: December Nights will cover Balboa Park in holiday cheer on Dec. 6 and 7, bringing light displays, bands and performances, attractions, shopping, and delicious foods from the park's International Cottages to Spanish Village. More info.
San Diego Zoo: Check out "Jungle Bells" at San Diego Zoo from Dec. 13 — 23 and Dec. 25 — Jan. 5. The park will run daily light shows, live entertainment, and an all new "aurora" light experience blends 3-D projections with music and lights into a dazzling show. More info.
Bankers Hill: "The Forward House" in Banker’s Hill is located at Ivy St. and 1st Ave. and has been a neighborhood holiday tradition for years. The house will be lit generally from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. More info.
San Diego Bay: Boats dressed in lights and colorful decorations will glide along the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights on Dec. 8 and 15 before thousands of onlookers starting at 5 p.m. each night. This year’s theme will be Comic-Con on the Bay. More info.
Chula Vista: "Christmas Circle" is on Whitney St. and Mankato St. in Chula Vista. Homes along the streets will be lit up throughout December from dusk until about 10 p.m. each night.