Lighted Boat Parade – More than 60 boats, each festooned with lights and holiday decorations, will parade along the San Francisco waterfront. Dec. 11. 5:30-8pm. FREE. Best viewing locations: PIER 39 or Aquatic Park. 415-673-3530. visitfishermanswharf.com.
Pier 39 – Pier 39 is aglow for the holidays with its giant tree and other holiday decorations. www.pier39.com/home/events/pier-39s-tree-lighting-celebration/
San Francisco Zoo Lights – Lights, snow, Santa, reindeer, food trucks, holiday shopping, entertainment and more are on tap as the zoo keeps its doors open late. Dec. 12-30 (not Dec. 24 and 25). 5-8pm. Admission fee required (members FREE). Sloat Boulevard at the Great Highway. 415-753-7080. www.sfzoo.org.
Tom and Jerry’s Christmas Tree – The owners of this home on Castro Hill decorate their live 65-foot tree and Victorian home in an over-the-top fashion. Look for Santa to stop by on some December nights for photos and candy canes. The owners ask visitors to park at the bottom of the hill and walk. FREE. 3650 21st St., San Francisco.
Union Street Fantasy of Lights – Thousands of holiday lights decorate the Victorians and trees along Union Street, where face painters, jugglers, ponies dressed as reindeer, elves and, of course, Santa himself make merry. Free carriage rides from 3-5:30pm. Santa arrives for photos at the Cudworth Mansion at 5:30pm. Union Street between Van Ness Avenue and Steiner Street, and Fillmore Street from Union to Lombard streets. sresproductions.com.
Union Square – Another favorite place to see holiday lights – and take that annual photo – is the giant Macy’s Christmas tree in Union Square. FREE. www.visitunionsquaresf.com.
Christmas Tree Lane, San Carlos – Nearby all the homes in a two-block stretch of Eucalyptus Avenue decorate beautifully for the holidays. A great place to park and walk to view houses. Traffic can be heavy and flows in one direction in December. 1900-2000 block of Eucalyptus Ave., San Carlos. FREE.
Parkway Estates – This South San Francisco neighborhood is well known for its holiday decorations. FREE. Woodside Court, Treeside Court and Chestnut Avenue, South San Francisco.
Mickey Mouse Christmas House – The Mize home has been decorated for more than 40 years, showing off a large collection of Mickey Mouse, Disney and holiday memorabilia. 417 Blackstone Drive, San Rafael. www.facebook.com/MickeyMouseChristmasHouse
Rombeiro’s Christmas House – This Novato home is packed inside and out with holiday décor. The family has invited visitors to walk through its home for more than 20 years. It takes them five months to decorate! FREE. 34 Devonshire Drive, Novato. rombeiro-christmas-house.com/
Casa Del Pomba – Walk through holiday displays and thousands of lights festooning this private home owned by Livermore legend “Deacon Dave.” Check website for dates and times. FREE. 352 Hillcrest Ave., Livermore. www.casadelpomba.com.
Christmas Tree Lane, Alameda – The residents of this street have gone all out with their annual holiday display since 1938. Nightly in December. FREE. 3200 block of Thompson Avenue. www.facebook.com/christmastreelane.
Oakland Mormon Temple – The grounds of the temple, including rows of palm trees, are lit for the season, starting Mon., Nov. 26. FREE. 4780 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. www.templehillevents.com.
Mountain View Cemetery Circle of Lights – Drive past reindeer, snowmen and more in this whimsical display of hundreds of Christmas lights. Santa visits Sun., Dec. 4 from 12-3pm in the Chapel Tower for free photos, plus music and complimentary refreshments. Dec. 1-31. 1. 5-9pm. FREE. 5000 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. www.mountainviewcemetery.org.
“Deck the Hulls” 40th Annual Lighted Yacht Parade – Watch decorated boats sail by on the estuary between Oakland and Alameda from Jack London Square or other public viewing spots. Sat., Dec. 3. 5:30pm. Rain or shine. www.jacklondonsquare.com/events/special-events.lightedyachtparade.com.
Livermore Lights – This Livermore home won $50,000 in last year’s nationally televised Great Christmas Light Fight with synchronized lights, music, water cannons, fire and more. Check website for dates and times. 685 E. Jack London Blvd. www.livermorelights.com.
Vista San Ramon Festival of Lights – A majority of the 161 homes in this development turn their neighborhood magical for Christmas. Residents encourage visitors to park their cars and walk and to bring canned goods for a donation drive. Across from San Ramon Central Park, off Alcosta Boulevard. FREE.
Widmer World – Synchronized lights, animatronic holiday displays and more draw onlookers every year to this walk-through holiday lights extravaganza at a private home. The home will be featured this year on a national television show. Dec. 1-31. 6-9pm. FREE. 3671 Chelsea Court, Pleasanton. www.widmer-world.com/.
Zoo Lights – Hundreds of thousands of LED lights will brighten Oakland’s night sky in this zoo-wide event. Highlights: a candy-cane-lane-themed rides area, a nighttime adventure on the train, rocking around the Christmas trees in the Children’s Zoo, and a light show with hundreds and thousands of LED lights. Dec. 2-Jan. 1, closed Dec. 24 and 25. 5:30-9pm. $8 adults, $7 children, under 2 and over 80 FREE (not included with regular zoo admission). Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Road. 510-632-9525. www.oaklandzoo.org/Calendar_Item.php?i=589.
Christmas in the Park – Walk through the lights and holiday displays in Downtown San Jose. Nov. 25-Jan. 1. FREE. Plaza de Cesar Chavez, S. Market Street, San Jose. www.christmasinthepark.com.
Christmas Tree Lane, Palo Alto – Since 1940, residents of Fulton Street have been decorating their homes for the enjoyment of others. From mid-Dec. 5-11pm. Parking and walking is recommended. FREE. 1700-1800 blocks of Fulton Street. www.christmastreelane.org/index.php.
Disney House – This home, elaborately decorated with a Disney theme, is a popular San Jose holiday display. FREE. 2056 Cirone Way, San Jose.
Fantasy of Lights – Drive or walk through this 1.5-mile-long annual display in Vasona Lake County Park to see lit-up dinosaurs, penguins, Santa shooting hoops and more. Drive through: Dec. 6-30, 6-10pm. $20 per vehicle (up to 12 guests), $50 per oversize vehicle (13 or more). Walk-though nights will take place Dec. 3 and 4 from 4-9pm. $10 adults, $5 child, 3 and under FREE. All tickets must be purchased in advance. No event parking at Vasona County Park; free shuttle available from Netflix, 121 Albright Way. 333 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos. 408-355-2201. www.parkhere.org.
Santa Cruz Lighted Boat Parade – Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club and including a canned food drive benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank, the Lighted Boat Parade features 50 beautifully decorated power and sailboats parading through the Santa Cruz Harbor. Charter boats available. This is a family event with hot drinks and snacks available at various locations through the south harbor. Dec. 3. FREE. Santa Cruz Harbor, Santa Cruz. www.santacruzharbor.org/events.html.
Willow Glen – Visit to see trees decorated by residents and businesses in this San Jose neighborhood. FREE. You can view the lights by cable car for $25 adults, $12 children, to benefit the Willow Glen Business Association on Dec. 10-11, 17-18 and 20-21. www.willowglen.org/holidays. www.willowglen.org/CableCar-Rides.
For more decorated holiday houses, visit www.californiachristmaslights.com