DON’T MISS: Must-See Holiday Lights!

DYKER HTSThe last two years, we’ve made a trip to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn to see the absolutely over-the-top spectacularly decorated houses–and I am not exaggerating. I know–Brooklyn seems like a trek but the one hour drive is totally worth it. It feels like a Brooklyn version of Disney with blinking lights, moving snowmen, your kids favorite characters walking the streets to take photos with, Santas and soldiers, food trucks selling hot cocoa…and it’s all free! Every year, the houses between 81st street and 85th put their hearts, souls and pocketbooks into decorating their homes with more lights than I have ever seen anywhere else in my life! It’s a pretty amazing endeavor and really shows the generosity and spirit of the neighborhood.

The best street to see is 84th Street. But also check out 81st to 85th around 11th and 12th Ave. Try to park if you can or stay in the car and circle. You can always let the kids jump out of the car with one adult at the beginning of the block and pick them up at the end.

Lights go up around Thanksgiving and through New Year’s Eve. It’s best to visit between 5pm and 9pm as some houses turn off their lights around 9-9:30pm.

Here are a few tips before you go:
1. Dress warmly.

2. Plan to stay for about an hour. On weekend nights, it’s crowded so you will be walking at a strolling pace.

3. Arrive no later than 9pm. Some homes turn their lights off around 9.

4. If you can go on Sunday or a weeknight when there are less crowds.

5. Parking: The best street is 84th Street but drive up and down 81st to 85th around 11th and 12th Ave too.  You can find parking along the streets a few blocks away.

6. Bring cash for hot cocoa to keep you warm while you walk.  There is a place to buy hot chocolate, hotdogs and cookies on 84th.

7. Make reservations if you’re planning to grab dinner in the neighborhood too because many of these restaurants are tiny. Or do what we did and head to Carroll Gardens and explore another hood. I used to live there and am a big fan of the Thai food Joya. It’s inexpensive, has a great atmosphere and delicious food. (I did have to smuggle in a bottle of ketchup for my kids)
Check out our ideas for where to eat.

Dyker Hts Christmas Lights

Photo by Liz Nixon

Photo by Liz Nixon

Where to Eat in Brooklyn

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life, Heather is chauffeur to 3 busy kids; the president of her Home and School Association; and VP of Marketing for TipsFromTown. And she's passionate about all 3!