I have been living in New York City for 11 years now and I had never heard of Dyker Heights Brooklyn until recently. Apparently, the neighborhood is famous for its Christmas Light displays, and for good reason!
The tradition started back in the 80s and it is rumored that some of the homeowners spend $20,000 on the displays. Now there are even organized Dyker Heights tours to take you to see the over the top Christmas decorations.
Whether you take Dyker Heights Christmas lights tour or go visit the area on your own doesn’t matter you shouldn’t miss these amazing holiday displays. Let me tell you more about what you can expect to see.
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- About Dyker Heights
- History of the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
- Dyker Heights Christmas Light Tour
- Seeing the Christmas Decorations in Dyker Heights Brooklyn
- How to Get to the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
- When Can You See the Christmas Lights in Dyker Heights?
- Is it Safe to Go to Dyker Heights at Night to See the Christmas Lights?
- Are the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Free to See?
- Is a Visit to Dyker Heights Worth it During Christmas Season?
- Expert Tips for Visiting the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
About Dyker Heights
Dyker Heights is a well-to-do residential neighborhood in the southwest corner of Brooklyn on a hill between Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, and Gravesend Bay. The unofficial boundaries of the neighborhood are 7th and 14th Avenues, 65th Street, and the Belt Parkway.
Dyker Heights is full of single-family or semi-detached homes, and there are very few apartment buildings. Most of the homes have driveways and private yards which is unusual in New York City.
Some of the most famous residents of Dyker Heights have been Scott Baio, Maria Bartiromo, and Rosanna Scotto.
History of the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
The tradition of the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights is believed to have been started by Lucy Spata, who house on 84th Street is one of the best decorated in the neighborhood. She began decorating in the 1980s to continue what her mother had started.
It took a few years for others in the neighborhood to start joining in with their own decorations. Now, it seems like it gets bigger and better every year. Over 100,000 visitors make their way to Dyker Heights to see the Christmas lights each year.
I love that they also decorated the gazebo!
Dyker Heights Christmas Light Tour
If you are not comfortable venturing out to Dyker Heights on your own, the Christmas lights there have become so popular you can now take a guided tour! The tours pick you up in Manhattan and take you to Dyker Heights to see all the Christmas decorations.
Viator has a few different Brooklyn Christmas Light Tours to choose from – click here to check availability and prices.
Seeing the Christmas Decorations in Dyker Heights Brooklyn
The first part of the walk around Dyker Heights was nice and quiet, not many people and there were still some nice light displays, some even had Christmas music playing. Then as I continued my walk, more Dyker Heights homes were decorated and I started to run into more people.
You do need to be careful crossing the streets as there are also people who drive to see the lights, and they may not be looking out for pedestrians! The most decorated block was closed off to cars, which was good because it was filled with people.
I spent a good hour looking at all the crazy Christmas lights, and I probably could have taken more time to appreciate the details and seen more. A lot of the displays are animated (I should have taken some video) and many play Christmas music.
I saw several nativity scenes and lots of reindeer and Santas. One house even had a “real” Santa for kids to visit and another had Elmo. Some houses were also collecting money for charities. I could definitely feel the Christmas spirit.
How to Get to the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
It is a bit of a trek to get to Dyker Heights. The best decorated homes are located between 83rd and 86th Streets, and 11th and 13th Avenues (Dyker Heights Boulevard).
I don’t recommend driving to Dyker Heights to see the Christmas lights as there is no parking. Trust me, you will want to get out of the car and get a closer look at all the decorations.
The closest subway stop is the D/M train at 18 avenue, which is about a 40-minute ride from Bryant Park. Then it is about a 20-minute walk to the area that has the biggest light displays (between 83rd and 86th streets between 11th and 13th avenues).
The walk is straight-forward so you don’t have to worry about getting lost and you will see a few nice light displays on the way. The subway will let you off at 18th Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets. So if you just walk northwest from the subway on either 84th or 85th Street, you will find the Dyker Heights Christmas lights. It really was easy!
If you are not a walker, you can always use uber. Alternatively, you could take a Dyker Heights Christmas Light Tour (see options here) and they will handle the transportation.
When Can You See the Christmas Lights in Dyker Heights?
Most houses in Dyker Heights put up their decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving and keep them up until the beginning of the year. If you want to avoid the huge crowds, plan to visit during the week or sometime between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
It’s best to plan your visit after dusk (i.e around 5 pm) so you can see everything lit up at night. Some houses will keep the lights on until midnight, but many turn them off around 9 pm so don’t leave it too later.
Is it Safe to Go to Dyker Heights at Night to See the Christmas Lights?
Yes. You may feel anxious about going to a new place at night, but the Christmas lights attract a lot of people and it is family-friendly. I have gone to see the lights in Dyker Heights by myself and never felt uncomfortable.
Are the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Free to See?
Yes. If you just want to walk or drive yourself around to see the lights, there is no charge. Some houses will be collecting money for charity, but there is no obligation for you to donate.
If you take a guided Dyker Heights Christmas Light Tour, they do charge a fee (check prices here) but keep in mind you may not have to pay separately for transportation to get to Dyker Heights.
Is a Visit to Dyker Heights Worth it During Christmas Season?
Dyker Heights is a bit out of the way for tourists staying in Manhattan, but if you want to experience Christmas in Brooklyn, it’s the place to be. Once you get there you will be walking around in the cold. You may be wondering if it is worth the hassle?
I was happy I went! The Dyker Heights holiday lights was the best residential Christmas display I have ever seen. I was impressed with how many houses participated and the size and quality of the displays. The Christmas music was an added bonus.
I know there is so much to see in the city during the holidays in NYC, but you really should also see the Dyker Heights houses all decorated.
Have you been to Dyker Heights Brooklyn or taken an NYC Christmas lights tour? What other areas do you like to visit to see the holiday decorations?
**If you are visiting NYC during the Christmas season be sure to grab my NYC Christmas Map for free here.
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Expert Tips for Visiting the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
- Dress appropriately for the weather because you will be outside for a while. Check out my winter essentials recommendations for more tips.
- You can bring the kids to see Santa.
- The best Dyker lights displays are a bit of a walk from the subway but it is not hard to find. If you don’t want to walk, you can uber if necessary.
- Don’t go too late as some homeowners turn off the lights when they go to bed.
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Last Updated on November 26, 2022
That reminds me of my childhood in northern Oh. It’s always like that. I had no idea that wasn’t normal. #christmasoverload
Nice!! Take pictures next time you go, would love to see.
Amazing pictures! Recently visited Vancouver, and the Christmas lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge were beautiful!
I bet! That bridge is beautiful even without any decorations.
Same here! I heard the neighborhood is well known for it’s decoration but my girlfriend told me that folks there would have competitions to see who decked their houses out the best. When they were younger, her parents would drive them out there to look at the lights. The weather is so nice, it’s definitely worth an evening out just to walk around and look at the decorations.
Going there one of these nights if it doesn’t rain 🙁
Nick! Yes you really need to go, it can’t be too far from you? I hope the weather will cooperate.
Literally in my backyard — 15 minute drive away. I’d take mass transit but only buses reach the location from where I live and they get tricky if you stay out in that area too late. And yes!! — An uber would be the perfect option for the subway warrior without a car.