Having kids has made me see the holidays in a different light. I find myself thinking about my own childhood and all the stuff I used to look forward to each December so I can do those same things with my own kids. Like when my dad would pile us all in the ’78 Caprice Classic and we’d cruise around to find the best—and most ridiculous—Christmas light displays in town. I know I know, not a very eco-friendly ritual; but most of us are gonna do it anyway. So last week on Facebook, I asked you where your favorite local light displays were. You answered. And I’ve begun mapping them all out in one convenient location so you don’t have to spend countless hours (and fuel) driving around Rochester trying to find them yourself…
Just visit RochesterSubway.com/lights to find all the biggest and brightest holiday light displays in Rochester. Best of all, this map is open for collaboration. Simply sign in with your Google/Gmail password and click the ‘Edit’ button to add a location. And be sure to bookmark it too so you have it handy next year!
Without further ado, here’s a look at some of the lights my family liked best…
15 Academy Drive in Henrietta is a choreographed light show synced up to a song list that’s transmitted directly from the house to 91.1 FM. This house is pretty well-known among Rochesterians. It’s been featured on the news a few times already and it’s got its own web site with videos and FAQs. That’s pretty serious stuff.
Colony Lane “Circle of Lights” also in Henrietta is a similar deal. Tune in to 91.9 FM and enjoy the concert. There’s a food donation box here too so bring some canned goods to leave behind. This display also has a web site .
Stonebridge Lane in Pittsford is quite a winter wonderland. The entire neighborhood hires professionals to decorate every house on the street. Classy.
16 Beauclaire Lane in Fairport is the only Christmas display that has ever made me drop an F-bomb out loud. Thankfully I don’t think the kids heard me. But if you visit, you’ll understand.
28 Manor Hill Drive , also in Fairport. This is another rock-and-roll style display—like the one at 15 Academy in Henrietta—all synced up to music. But the music here is piped thru lawn speakers so you’ll have to roll your windows down. Or get out of your car and hang out with this family – they were all standing around a little bon fire (shown on the far right) in the driveway when I stopped by.
151 Yorktown Drive in Webster. Lights! And lots of ’em!
Endicar Drive . This cul de sac in East Irondequoit has several large homes all decked out with lights from top to bottom. This street should be on your hit list. My camera didn’t quite capture all the festive insanity going on here.
169 Orland Road , also in East Irondequoit, has over 15,000 lights (according to the owner) and they’re all choreographed to Christmas music. You’ll have to roll down your window to hear the music. No radio simulcast here.
231 Wahl Road , also in East Irondequoit, is another feast for the eyes and ears. Tune in to 106.5 FM and the lights will be synced to the holiday tunes coming out of your radio.
124 Rahway Road is just off of Spencerport Road in Gates. It was a little difficult for me to find—I drove right past the street three times—but it was well worth the trouble. Nearly every holiday decoration you’ve ever seen your life exists here. The glass-enclosed side porch room was also illuminated and filled with life size Santa’s and other Christmas paraphernalia. There’s plenty more stuff off the right edge of this photo. And there are several other decorated houses in this neighborhood. And no, I don’t have GPS or a fancy smart phone. Deal with it.
2 Wheat Hill . This one may be off the beaten path for most of you. But if you’re in Chili or Gates or Gates-Chili (if that’s even a place) drive down Archer Road and you’ll find this sprawling display on the corner of Archer and Wheat Hill. Lots of stuff going on in the front, side, and rear yard to keep your eyeballs busy for a while. There was no way I could fit it all into one shot. So you’ll have to go check it out for yourselves.
95 Harvest Drive . This house sits on a quiet street just around the corner from the chaos of the Greece Ridge Mall. My camera didn’t do a very good job picking up all the lawn ornaments that are just beyond the reach of the spot lights. A word of caution if you have small kids or a heart condition… there’s a somewhat creepy life-size Santa Claus lurking in the shadows (not shown). Maybe he’s not so creepy in the daylight.
4009 Lake Avenue . Not too far from Charlotte High School, this house packs the most holiday cheer per square foot. The tiny 20×30 foot patch of lawn is an animated Christmas carnival. A father and his two young boys were out snapping pictures of this one when I visited last week to get this shot. They had a good time.
686 Grand Avenue is worth a slow roll-by if you happen to be in Rochester’s Beechwood neighborhood.
50 Wilmer Street in Rochester’s Park Ave Neighborhood boasts a wonderful classic look. If you find yourself anywhere between Monroe Ave and Park Ave, take a walk down Wilmer Street and catch the devilish red glow of this great looking house. It’ll warm you up.
86 Saint Casimer Street in the 14621 neighborhood. No freaky Santa’s. No lawn inflatables. No music. Just pure, unadulterated, epileptic, fun.
281 Weaver Street is also in the 14621 neighborhood just south of Norton St. This house attracted me because it sits in the middle of a very dark street. Many of the homes around it have been boarded up and families here are probably most concerned with putting food on the table let alone lights and inflatable lawn decorations. So this kind of holiday spirit in the face of adversity deserves some respect.
122 Barry Road . This house in West Irondequoit gets the gold star for creativity. The whole Peanuts gang is here. And it looks like they are all hand-painted too. As Linus reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas, it just goes to show you don’t need to blow the bank (or a fuse) to get into the spirit of the holiday.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got. Did I miss any good ones? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Or go to RochesterSubway.com/lights to plan your tour of lights, and add your own favorites to it. Maybe next year we’ll have enough to roll out version 2.0!
A terrible event shook Rochester as we awoke this Xmas eve morning. A senseless act of violence against people who risk their lives every day to protect us. So I wanted to share this with you… A local firefighter, John Joseph, shared this photo with me over the weekend while I was searching for these Xmas light displays around Rochester. He said, “Its not much compared to many houses, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a firehouse decorated better than ours. The lights and decorations for the fire engine are all paid for and put up by all of us that work there. We even put our company patch on the big apparatus bay door. While I think we are the best come Christmas time, there are several firehouses that do a great job planting flowers out front come spring. The guys pool money to buy the flowers and often come in on their off time to plant. We really take a lot of pride in how the firehouse looks… Happy Holidays.”
John, we love you guys and what you do for us. You and your brave brothers and sisters at all our firehouses are in our thoughts and prayers this holiday, and always.
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