Map: Where to see holiday lights in San Diego County in 2023

We’ve mapped out 14 jolly, local displays that truly dazzle.

Starlight Circle 2022 SD

One of the beautifully detailed light displays at Starlight Circle.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

The glow of holiday lights makes this time of year feel especially magical. In San Diego County, many neighborhoods and attractions truly dazzle with elaborate light displays, typically up through Christmas Day. Here are a dozen of the brightest standouts.

Starlight Circle | East + West Glendon circles, Santee | Free | Find dozens of homes decked out in lights and themes, typically by early December. Sometimes, residents set up stands selling hot cocoa, cookies, and kettle corn. You can walk through the neighborhood or drive slowly.

Candy Cane Lane | Hickory Street, Poway | Free | This is the ultimate place to get into the spirit in this neck of the woods; drive through the neighborhood slowly or park along Carriage Road or Saddlewood Drive and walk around.

Starlight Circle 2022 SD

You can’t miss it — Starlight Circle in Santee is best enjoying by foot, but you can also slowly drive through the neighborhood.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Christmas Card Lane | Ellingham, Oviedo + Renato streets, Rancho Peñasquitos | Free | This RPQ neighborhood is famous for its detailed, dazzling displays — also enjoyed by car or foot. This tradition is typically up and running by the first or second week of December.

Clairemont Christmas Park | Lana Drive | Free | This neighborhood has been showcasing festive displays for more than three decades, and it all began at the home of local Donna Park.

SD Forward House Bankers Hill Holiday lights display

The Forward House on Ivy Street is a Griswold-inspired sight to behold.

Photo via Eric Olaes + American Security Mortgage

The Forward House | 108 Ivy St. | Free | This Bankers Hill home was built in 1905 for San Diego Mayor John Forward Sr. Today, it’s home to American Security Mortgage and makes spirits bright with its over-the-top, Griswold-style lights display. Pro tip: American Security Mortgage tells SDtoday Santa will make his annual visit to the rooftop Saturday, Dec. 2, 5:30-8 p.m., with his singing elf.

Belardo Lights | 5306 Belardo Dr. | Free | Tierrasanta residents Randy and Brandon Schimka light up this gorgeous home display each year, usually just after Thanksgiving. Pro tip: Tune your car radio to FM 106.1 to hear music synced up to the display.

Christmas Circle | Whitney + Mankato streets, south of H Street, Chula Vista | Free | This South Bay neighborhood has been decking itself out in holiday lights for the past six decades, with displays typically up and running by mid-December.

SD Lightscape San Diego Botanic Garden 2023

We can confirm: The flowers section at Lightscape is spectacular.

Photo via Lightscape

Lightscape | Through Sunday, Jan. 7 | 5-10 p.m. (last entry at 9 p.m.) | San Diego Botanic Garden | $13-$29 | Reimagined for its second season in SD, this attraction features dozens of dazzling art installations set to festive music along a 1-mile trail. Pro tip: Linger at the hanging poppies — so pretty.

Jingle Jets | Through Saturday, Dec. 23 | USS Midway Museum | 5:30-9:30 p.m. | $18-$25 | The aircraft carrier decked out for the holidays — from bow to stern — with thousands of twinkling lights. Pro tip: Visit on a Thursday for discounted admission; kids under 5 get in free.

Lights at the Lakes | Friday, Dec. 1-Thursday, Dec. 28 (select dates) | 5:45-8 p.m. | Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve | $20-$30 | Load your family and friends into the car and take a slow drive through this glimmering light show with displays synchronized to holiday songs that you can listen along to from your car radio.

Holiday Nights | Wednesday, Dec. 13-Sunday, Dec. 17 + Wednesday, Dec. 20-Saturday, Dec. 23 | 5-9 p.m. | Bernardo Winery | Free | The winery twinkles with lights, carolers, and holiday vendors.

SD Coastal Christmas Del Mar 2023

The Coastal Christmas event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds has an entire area dedicated to holiday lights.

Coastal Christmas | Thursday, Dec. 14-Saturday, Dec. 30 (select dates) | 4-9 p.m. | Del Mar Fairgrounds | $15-$20 | Don’t miss the festive village’s “Holiday Light Spectacular” featuring millions of shimmering lights.

Enchanted Village at Noah Homes | Friday, Dec. 15-Friday, Dec. 22 | 5-8 p.m. | 12526 Campo Rd., Spring Valley | $12-$20 | Park at Steele Canyon High School and then walk over to this neighborhood to enjoy more than one million lights strung on trees, cottages, tunnels, and more. There’s also live entertainment and photos opportunities with Santa.

SD Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

“Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” will roll into the San Diego Civic Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 28.

Photo via Matt Christine Photography

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” by Chip Davis | Thursday, Dec. 28 | 7:30 .p.m. | San Diego Civic Theatre | $39+ | With its iconic sounds and dazzling multimedia effects, this longtime holiday staple could be a great place to see lights this year.

More from SDtoday