Out of oodles of holiday traditions associated with this time of year, none may be as beloved as loading the family into the car in search of the best neighborhood light displays and shows. There are even entire network reality shows dedicated to the tradition – in fact, one Fairfax County couple took home the top prize on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2018 (though the family will be taking a well-deserved rest in 2019 and will not have a display this year. Don't worry, there are plenty of other Christmas light displays in Northern Virginia to check out!).
But where can you find the best neighborhood Christmas lights in Virginia for 2019? We spoke with local expert Holly Zell, the owner of the resourceful website, Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights, to get her take on the best of the best in Fairfax County. Here are the top 5 light shows for Fairfax County in 2019 to add to your must-do list.
Editors note: We, like Holly, lovingly refer to these displays as "tacky" in the most endearing sense of the word - truly these displays are pieces of art and are testaments to the owners' hard work and dedication in an otherwise very busy season! Also, as a reminder – these are private properties, so please respect the owners’ homes and stay out of the light display and yard when visiting and do not block driveways.
The Ruth Home
3912 Lincolnshire Street, Annandale
Dec 7 – Jan 1, 5-10pm (10:30pm on Friday/Saturdays)
Lights are off during any wet/humid conditions. Tune to 88.3 FM.
Multi-color lights and figurines cover every square inch of the property, backed by music and animation. Gazers can tune in to 88.1 FM to listen to the show. Tip: You may walk up the sidewalk steps and if able to park, you may walk up the driveway to the fence to view the backyard displays.
The Ritters Home
5700 Claret Place, Centreville
On through Jan 5, 4:30-11:30pm. Animated to music 6-10pm on 105.7 FM.
This highly animated display in a corner lot is home to many vintage blow-molds, an authentic Santa film in the window, and a two-story light tree. The family holds a food drive to benefit the WFCM Food Bank and they have been featured on The WETA Guide to Christmas program.
The Bestebreurtje Home
6226 Stonehunt Place, Clifton
Dec 14 – 31, 6-10pm on weekdays and 6pm-12am on weekends.
Lights are off during rain.
A picturesque web of multicolored lights brilliantly displayed in a way that you need to see to believe. Will your eyes know which way to look first!?
The Pfadenhauer & Buck Homes
6530 Heather Brook Ct, McLean
Nov 30 – Dec 31, 5pm-12am.
Lights are off for rain, wet, and windy conditions.
This may be your last chance to see this animated beauty of a light display so make sure you swing by during the season. The display features a Start button for the 10-minute show set to music and strands of lights even crisscross the road to mark the end of the cul-de-sac. Guests can leave donations for the American Cancer Society in the donation box attached to the “start show” button.
The Labs Home
10203 Lawyers Rd, Vienna
Nov 24 – Jan 6, 5-11:30pm
Lights are off during rain.
Stunning layers of multicolored lights and large decorated trees make up much of this beautiful display. Be on the lookout for the “zoo” of approximately 100 lighted animal figures of all types (can you count the number of polar bears?) and a flowing waterfall scene. Tip: Park on Galloping Way and carefully cross Lawyers Rd for the best views.
There are many other homes to explore, and Holly has a great map to highlight the best of the best, some honorable mentions, and even locations outside of Fairfax County. Most importantly, keep in mind some of her best viewing tips:
- Respect the owners’ properties and please stay out of the yards and light displays. This also pertains to your safety and the safety of the owners’ homes. Similarly, don’t touch any of the displays and be considerate to the neighborhood and other light viewers around you.
- Rain, snow, and wind can all influence the light displays. Check Holly’s site or Facebook page for hours and weather closings.
- Overall, the best time of day for viewing lights is between 6pm and 8pm.
Do you know of other spectacular light displays in Fairfax neighborhoods or at Fairfax County businesses? Tell us in the comments below or tag us on social media using #FXVA and @VisitFairfax.
*All photos credit to Holly Zell; FairfaxChristmasLights.com.