Where are the best residential light displays in Atlanta?

This is only part of a house's display near the Smokerise pool in DeKalb County. Cars lines up to see this house.

This is only part of a house's display near the Smoke Rise Elementary School in DeKalb County. Cars line up to see this house.

There's so much voltage in this display they have to warn you not to touch!

There's so much voltage in this display they have to warn you not to touch!

Michael showing Lilina Rudolph in lights. I had to drive because Michael drives too fast to see the stuff!

Michael showing Lilina Rudolph in lights. I had to drive because Michael drives too fast to see the stuff!

This is the house off of Webb Ginn headed toward Loganville. It's blury but you can idea of the volume of lights.

This is the house off of Webb Gin headed toward Loganville. It's blurry but you can get an idea of the volume of lights.

Last Friday night, we piled into the car, threw a blanket on the kids to keep them cozy, listened to Christmas music on the radio and drove around looking at local residential light displays. We had the best time being together, marveling at the creative displays and talking about how much their neighbors must hate them!

The AJC recently had readers comment and vote on the best professional light displays around Atlanta, but I thought it would be useful to talk about your favorite residential displays and give folks ideas of the best neighborhoods to check out.

Our favorite house is in Smoke Rise in DeKalb County near Hugh Howell Road. The house is behind The Summit Swim and Tennis Club. (I believe that’s the name.) They’ve decorated it for years and literally have a trail of cars parading in front of the house. I can’t imagine what their electric bill must be!

The kids love all the lights, the Santa on the roof and all the different characters like Snoopy.  (We went into Stone Mountain from there just to see the lights and the kids declared it terrible.)

Michael had read on another site about a house off of Webb Gin Road so we went over there after Stone Mountain. It’s passed The Avenue at Webb Gin heading toward Loganville. The neighborhood is on the left. You can’t miss it from the street. I feel so bad for this guy’s neighbors, but the kids loved looking at the house. There was a trail of cars there too.

Where are some of your favorite light displays in neighborhoods? What houses do you visit every year? Tell us street names and neighborhood names if you know them. But at the very least give us some landmarks to look for.  (I’d really love to know some really big houses in the Buckhead area to see.)

46 comments Add your comment

MaryKay

December 18th, 2009
7:15 am

The best place? NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD!!!

I love looking at the lights too, but I feel so sorry for the neighbors that have to endure all of that traffic. The people with the elaborate displays should at least turn them off around 10pm (or so), so things will die down for the neighborhood. I’ve seen some of these elaborate ones on all night. I prefer the interesting, yet subtle ones.

I’m sure folks in the neighborhoods you mentioned will appreciate the extra traffic Theresa.

JATL

December 18th, 2009
7:31 am

A good friend of mine lives a few doors down from the Smoke Rise house.They’re not bothered by the extra traffic, and I love going over there at Christmas and seeing this place. I will NEVER forget the first time I went over there and turned into the subdivision. I was almost blinded! Evidently the guy has lots of older kids who he enlists starting in October to help decorate it.

I’m really proud of my street! It’s a short street with 5 houses and we all got out the day after Thanksgiving and went nuts with the lights. When you turn the corner onto our street it looks like a winter wonderland!

Katie

December 18th, 2009
8:20 am

We go to the Smoke Rise house every year..it is great! We actually drove thru before Thanksgiving … lights weren’t on yet, but the display was all set up! Kids love that one. We need to go back by this weekend. Last year on one of the several nights we went, they had Christmas carolling going on in the driveway.

JJ

December 18th, 2009
8:26 am

There’s three homes in Richland Creek Subdivision in Sugar Hill, off Sycamore road. Two brothers live across the street from each other, and they have THE MOST BEAUTIFUL displays…….Much better than the Smokerise display.

I was driving down Hamilton Mill the other night, and four or five homes all had inflatables in their front yards, with lights accenting them. Beautiful. People were slowing down to enjoy.

motherjanegoose

December 18th, 2009
8:27 am

This is what we plan to do tonight when my daughter is finished with her last finals, so I am interested in reading the suggestions.

My husband is good about putting up the decorations and we too have had our lights up since Thanksgiving weekend. I never had lights up as a child and I am delighted that my husband likes to put them up. They look so nice.

We just said, last night, that our block has some of the better lights in the neighborhood. More houses on our street are decorated than most others. The neighbors at the end of our block used to have a GIANT light show and cars would stream down the street but they have not done it in the past few years.

My husband’s sister lives in Denver. We went for Christmas about 8 years ago. She drove us over to a neighborhood that had an INCREDIBLE house! Each room was decorated to the nines and the windows were all wide open ( no blinds or drapery). The residents, of the house, moved to their basement the entire month.

Folks would get out of their cars and walk right up to the windows and walk all around the house. There were people everywhere. I felt weird walking all over the yard, in the front and back! If I lived on the block, I would not be thrilled as there were people everywhere with cars blocking all the driveways. That was something else…the best decorations I had ever seen but kind of weird too.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 18th, 2009
8:30 am

There’s a house on Hugh Howell right around the Smoke Rise Elementary School — I can’t remember if it was before or after the entrance and it was so lit up — It was back in the woods so you couldn’t see every detail but I nearly ran off the road it was so many lights.

husbandofmotherjanegoose

December 18th, 2009
9:09 am

Of course I have to put the lights up every year and take them down!Like I do every other darn thing that gets done around the house ’cause you are to busy responding to every article anyone writes in this RAG!!!

null

December 18th, 2009
9:34 am

Wow. iPhone-quality pictures. Stunning.

JJ

December 18th, 2009
9:43 am

A home down the street from me has some pretty lights, but they turn them off at 8:00 at night…….They spent three days putting them up around the house and in the trees……..

Another home on my street, has THE TACKIEST displays at Halloween and Christmas. They have about 10 of those inflatables, and they are usually limp and laying on the ground by the next morning and they lay there all day, until the husband gets home, then he goes out and blows them up again……..

I don’t decorate the outside of my home, but the inside is very nice. Each room has a little something christmassy in it. We put up 4 trees. The main on in the living room, one in the window at the top of the stairs (I have a split foyer, you either go up or down when you walk in the house), one in the basement room, and one in my daughter’s room.

I don’t take anything down until New Years Day.

motherjanegoose

December 18th, 2009
10:04 am

@ husband ( mine is here at home and *** I know for a fact***not on MOMANIA)…
either you are delusional or you have not read many of my posts!

I will agree that husband and housework do both start with the letter H but that is about as far as it goes around here. I have expressed this before. My husband does a few things inside the house but mostly adheres to outside projects.

I was just trying to give a few Kudos ( today) to my husband as he IS great with the decorations!

I am fortunate to work for myself and thus can spend any time I wish on my home computer. I am not working for these last 3 weeks of December AND not getting paid…translation: I have worked double time for many weeks in the past 12 months and I was able to save enough money so that I am just fine thanks. It is the nature of what I do and have done now for 12 years. We will see how things hold up.

Curious, what is different about this than my own Mom watching HOURS of soaps during the day while we were at school? She never had an outside job. I have always had one and if I enjoy the blog, so be it. I might watch 3 hours of TV per week …so what.

I try to post things early, to pitch in for Theresa. Today is kinda slow and it is FUN Friday, so who knows? Maybe everyone is frantically trying to get things done. Why read the blog if you do not enjoy it?

@ JJ…your house sounds wonderful. We mainly decorate our family room and then will put a tree in our formal living room. My daughter used to put one in the basement but our son is down there now, so not happening this year.

FYI…my daughter squeeked by with a B in Latin, as she crammed for the test…some of you may remember my post last week. I hated for her to get her only C in her Senior year but if she deserved it, oh well!

Newbie

December 18th, 2009
10:05 am

Is there an actual list with addresses anywhere? I am fairly new to ATL and kind of know the main arteries and some landmarks but I’ve never heard of “Flood Town, Smoke Rise, or Webb Gin.” I do have a GPS and if i had a few addresses it would guide me. Thanks!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 18th, 2009
10:24 am

Hey Newbie — I can tell you two of them —

This is the address for the Smoke Rise Charter School that is literally down the street from the Smoke Rise house — 1991 Silver Hill Road, Stone Mountain, Georgia 30087 — You should be able to follow the lights and cars further into the neighborhood to find it — after you see the pool turn right

This is the address for the Avenue at Webb Gin — when you hit the Avenue you want to continue down Webb Gin toward Loganville — you’ll pass a Sunrise Senior Center and you’re on the right track — it was a few miles down the road and on your left — it’s pretty bright from the entrance – sorry that I don’t know the subdivision’s name — We found it just knowing it was off of Webb Gin.
1350 Scenic Highway, Suite 356
Snellville, GA 30078
United States

gpkbsin

December 18th, 2009
10:33 am

house on hurt bridge road in cumming. they put up one or two new things every year. its not fancy and the house isn’t fancy.. but its best in our area. we wait every year for them to put up the lights.. its just not christmas without those lights :)

jdrobbins

December 18th, 2009
10:50 am

How about locations of NEIGHBORHOODS that have the best collective display? I’m not sure I want to drive so far for just one or two houses. I like to see a group of neighbors that all get into the spirit and decorate their houses. JATL? Can we come see your street?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 18th, 2009
10:56 am

I think that’s a good idea — we want bang for our mileage!! the other houses in smoke rise aren’t that fantastic — other than that other one on Hugh Howell that I nearly crashed looking at —

Becky

December 18th, 2009
11:05 am

There is a house in my neck of the woods (Douglasville) that goes ALL out for Christmas..Last year, they were letting people get out and walk around to look at them..There are quiet a few houses that have really gone all out..

We have lights around the feence, doors, windows and the hedges..Inside, every square inch is decked out..The boy has a large collection of village houses, so he has a town set up with 2 trains going around it..The girl has an entire “village” of girly stuff..All of my furniture has somthing Christmas on it..

Both of my bathrooms are Christmas..I even have a Santa shower curtain in one..The kitchen is all Christmas..At my office, we have every inch of the office that I work in covered with Christmas..We have stockings hanging off of the file cabinets..I have a hat that plays music and a coffee cup that plays music..

In my opinion, you can’t have to much Christmas…

Karyn

December 18th, 2009
11:12 am

Santa’s House at 6951 Vaughn Road in Canton. Santa and Mrs Claus open their home to visitors every night at 5:30pm from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, except for a few nights when he is out making appearances. Santa is available for the children to visit so they can sit on his lap and share their list with him. Even the inside of the house is decorated to the hilt, including one room dedicated to a very large train set and another room dedicated to every kind of animated Santa. These people are amazing! You can call them at 770-345-6314 to make sure they are open before you visit.

wmsmommy

December 18th, 2009
11:18 am

There is an awesome display of lights at a house across the street from Lewis Elementary School in Kennesaw/Acworth. Take 41 North to Jim Owens Road (turn left onto JOR), it will be on the right after quite a ways down. Right before Lewis Elementary/intersection of Acworth Due West Road.

DB

December 18th, 2009
11:26 am

There’s a house on the corner of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and one of the Brookhaven side streets, maybe two or three blocks north of Peachtree Road, that must have at least 100, if not more, inflatables, all crowded in together on the southeast corner lot. There’s always a pretty steady, but well-behaved, line of cars going by, and people occasionally park and walk up to the curb to see everything. It’s very kitschy and fun.

TwinMom07

December 18th, 2009
11:42 am

Walker’s Ridge subdivision off John Ward Road in West Cobb. There is a street off of the entrance closest to Macland Road that is always done up to the nines (you can even see the lights from John Ward). I wonder if they ever have a contest or something.

If you ever venture down to Savannah, there’s a house off of Windsor Road that has been operating one of the most impressive light displays I’ve ever seen for over 25 years now. Just ask anyone from Savannah about “The Roddenberry’s” and they’ll know who you’re talking about (because their name is part of the display in two-foot-high letters every year).

Reds

December 18th, 2009
11:46 am

When I drive past a home that has a beautiful Christmas light scene (I’m not talking a few strands of light, I mean the all out), I try to put an envelope in the mailbox with a few dollars in it. I know that I’m gambling on it actually getting to them, but i feel that they take all this time and spend a ton of money for the sake of enjoyment, that I can contribute a little to the electric bill. I usually only do this on streets with not a lot of traffic, and usually not when anyone else is around. Just my way of saying thank you for the beautiful lights.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 18th, 2009
11:53 am

Reds that is the nicest — we should do that for the Smoke rise house — we go every year to see it — that is sooo nice!!!

JATL

December 18th, 2009
12:02 pm

@jdrobbins and others -I find that Grant Park, Ormewood Park and Boulevard Heights all have lots of houses with pretty lights. For those new to the area, these are neighborhoods right around the zoo off of Boulevard and between Boulevard and Moreland (Boulevard Heights is between Boulevard and Confederate). Centennial Park’s lights are lovely too, so you could drive around some intown neighborhoods and then go over there and walk through all the lights and go ice skating. I’m not going to publish my actual street since it is small (not that I think most of you are psycho, but a few I’m not so sure about ;-)

teach1

December 18th, 2009
12:15 pm

We have a small display but definetly like to come home to the lights. It took just a couple of days to get them all out. The sad part is taking them down. I need more addresses on the south side. 1136 Hargrove ct, Locust Grove if you are in the area.

New Stepmom

December 18th, 2009
12:23 pm

This is such a fun topic. My best friend and I go every year and have dinner together and go ride around the neighborhods in Duluth that we rode through as kids ( we have been friends since we were 15).

There is a neighborhood off of 120 in east cobb near the Kroger/water plant on the same side of the road that has beautiful lights. If I remember correctly, one family decorates and has a sign out that says they do the lights in honor of breast cancer survivors as the lady of the house is a breast cancer survivor. Those are some of my favorites.

PHR

December 18th, 2009
12:23 pm

Oh Theresa! We used to drive around looking at the lights every year when I was a kid. Do you remember that house on Hwy 29 almost in Tucker that used to go all out? I was always impressed with the amount of lights on that small house.
Thanks for all of the tips on where to go this year! I haven’t really seen a great over the top display this year near when I live.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 18th, 2009
12:30 pm

Hey PHR — are you coming over this way at all over the next week or so?? We’d love to see you guys!! keep me posted — we’re pretty flexible!!

catlady

December 18th, 2009
2:31 pm

Drive north to Eton, Georgia. (if you get to TN you have gone too far). Go past Eton and turn off to the right and follow all the cars to a most unusual display. Every outside item in the area that is not alive is outlined in white lights: a dump truck, a wire fence, old bedsprings, every type of discard possible. I have not gone for several years, but I am guessing it is still quite a sight. Each of the trailers is unique, but there is a unifying theme. I won’t say what it is, but you will know it when you see it.

gpkbsin

December 18th, 2009
4:50 pm

@Reds — I was thinking about the same for the house in cumming. it must be expensive for them to light up everything. am glad somebody else does it.

new mom

December 18th, 2009
5:48 pm

Hey guys, I absolutely remember that house on 29 too! It was always one of the highlights of going ‘out to the country’ to see my grandparents who lived off Rockbridge road. That house was over the top!!!
And PHR I bet I know who you are… ;)

motherjanegoose

December 18th, 2009
8:46 pm

Just back from dinner and looking at the lights off of Collins Hill Road in the Colonial Woods (?)subdivision. They have their lights synchronized to an fm radio station and they all twinkle with the music. If you are out in Gwinnett, it is fun!

butch

December 19th, 2009
7:02 am

i knew those folks in the house inm TUCKER both adults w/ a kids heart in mind GREAT PEOPLE

butch

December 19th, 2009
7:05 am

HOUSE IN WALDEN SUBDIVISION OFF JODECO RD HENRY CO. 3RD STREET ON THE LEFT @ END OF CULDESAC

Chris Broe

December 19th, 2009
11:51 am

Christmas Lights. They’re the fastest way to get in the holiday spirit. At night. When it’s cold. The touchstone to your childhood just smacks you in the face. I love to tour the well-lit neighborhoods with my family. Funny, but nobody ever drives by my house to look at the display we set out. It’s just a broken wire reindeer that stopped nodding it’s head years ago, but the lights still work. Oh, and there’s a flat wooden santa with an outdoor spotlight on it. If any wind blows, Santa falls over. The neighbors have even stopped righting the fallen figure, and their dog has been dissing it too. (How disrespectful can a dog get?)

Our lawn figures are a vestige of a much more elaborate display that has disappeared, one-by-one, over the years through theft. It got so bad one year that I set up a motion-triggered camera. It worked, but I didn’t have the heart to turn in the kid who was filmed stealing Rudolph. Funny, it was the same kid I suspected of stealing my newspaper on Saturday mornings.

Anyway, no matter how old you’re lucky enough to deny being, the effect of christmas lights on a wonderful home is pure magic!

Rob

December 19th, 2009
8:03 pm

http://christmas.bronners.com/2007/house/584.html
It’s off Hurt Bridge Rd, which is west of Cumming (exit 14 on GA 400). This is incredible. Hundreds of thousands of LED’s, all tied to a music show. On some Saturdays, he does an open house-just about every room is decorated, and he may have hot chocolate:-)

This year, his neighbors have joined in, so several homes on the road are synchronized. You can sit and watch as the trees light, one after the other, to the music, it’s GREAT!.

May take some time to go through, because it’s a cul de sac, not a throught street, but it’s seriously cool!

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2009
8:34 pm

Not sure what Bronner’s has to do with the link Rob ( and thanks for sharing) but I ordered some lovely personalized ornaments from this company and they are precious. I had never ordered from them before. The ornaments will be treasured for years to come. They ship from Michigan, I think.

To me, those who selflessly share Christmas through these spectacular light shows are the ones who share the spirit of love and joy that is meant to be! Truly knowing that others will enjoy what you can give.

EastCobber

December 20th, 2009
7:26 am

Theresa – I seem to remember the AJC doing a ‘Google-mashup’ of neighborhoods with good lights a couple of years ago (users put in addresses and it builds out a map of good places to go). You should see if you could get some technical support for that.

Northampton (near Lassiter High) has about 425 homes and 75% of them have lights, including a couple of ‘Griswold’s’. Takes about 45 minutes to drive through the whole neighborhood but worth it.

Tucker

December 20th, 2009
7:35 am

There is a second house in the vicinity of Smokerise Elementary, on Hugh Howell Road near the entrance to Kanawha, which you cannot miss on your way to the one featured in this article. It is a fantasyland of lights as well.

tara

December 20th, 2009
6:24 pm

The Forest Hills subdivision in Smyrna (off Atlanta Rd and Concord) has one of the best, if not the best, group light displays ever. This is the 4th year for Sound of Lights, but they went all out. Bill Learning not only decorated his house with 80,000 lights synchronized to music, but also decorated 6 others! When you drive down Dunn St. you can be amazed at this show brought to you entirely by Bill’s good will and love for his neighbors and others. They are an official Toys for Tots collection site, and also take donations for the Furkids Animal Shelter of Atlanta (a no-kill shelter). Every night until January 6, 2010 you will be greeted by a smiling face who will answer questions and hand you a candy cane. You gotta go there!

Becky

December 21st, 2009
8:20 am

@Tara, thank you for your info..I work very close to there and also have a sister that lives in the neighborhood..Will have to go by there..

Dancing Lights

December 21st, 2009
9:43 am

Small house at 249 Big Oak Dr in Canton with around 65,000 lights dancing to music while it’s transmitted on a radio station. The beam of light from the star hitting the nativity scene looks great… Show plays everynight between the hours of 5:30 to 10pm.

Tim

December 21st, 2009
3:33 pm

In Buford there are a couple of houses on Richland Creek Trail off Sycamore, near Sycamore Elementary.

bec

December 22nd, 2009
9:01 am

take a look at tackylighttour.com
there’s a few listed there for the ATL area.

HoHoHo

December 23rd, 2009
8:18 am

Thanks to the comment on here I was able to ride by the small house on 249 Big Oak Dr in Canton. WOW what a show.. I did talk to the owner and he gave a tour of how it all works. You know it takes a lot of work to make things like this happen. It danced in step to the music and it all programmed while transmitting it on the airways. The show lasts about 20 mins and well worth my trip. Jeff, Thanks for taking the time to show our family. We will be back!!!

Erica

December 24th, 2009
1:21 pm

Since no one has posted the ones in my area, Johns Creek, here’s a few…We first drive through the Emory Johns Creek Hospital lights, who have a great display. Then off of Sargent Road (just after McGinnis Ferry), there will be Cambridge Subdivision. 75% of the houses in there have some kind of decoration and it is great. Further along Sarget is another neighborhood. Can’t remember the name, but google Gladewood Drive (may pull up under Alpharetta or Johns Creek). That street has about 15 houses and it is a competition. Lights dancing to music, archways over the driveway and street. Our kids LOVE it. Several other good streets in that neighborhood, too.

carol stream

December 25th, 2009
7:03 pm

tasteful holidsay displays in the buckhead area..check out habersham and valley (the old Kenny Rogers home ) and continue thru habersham..some nice displays and shoot up down west paces toward the buckhead city limit and across from the history center at 135 west Paces is a home that is tastefully done with several focul points..good job done there