Despite all the busy-ness that can come with the holiday season, one of my favorite things about this time of year is just soaking in the spirit of the holidays. And what’s a better way to do that than to spend some time admiring Christmas lights?
Here in the Fresno area, we’re lucky to have several options for fantastic light displays, whether you want to enjoy them on foot or warm and cozy in a car. I’ve compiled some of my favorites here, and I hope you take the time to enjoy at least one of them before the season is over.
Christmas Tree Lane
Christmas Tree Lane is the classic standard, of course. This 95-year-old tradition on North Van Ness Boulevard in Fig Garden attracts families from all over the valley. According to the Christmas Tree Lane website, around 140 homes and 300 trees are decorated along nearly two miles.
The event is free, and although the annual walk-only nights have already passed, visitors are always welcome to walk, bring their leashed dogs or ride their bikes alongside the cars that will be cruising along the lane. The displays run through Christmas, closing at 11 p.m. on Dec. 25. Directions can be found here.
Cindy Lane, aka Candy Cane Lane or Holiday Lane
This next one has several aliases, but I’ve always known it as Candy Cane Lane in the many years I’ve visited. The official name of the street is Cindy Lane, and the entire neighborhood surrounding it on the northeast corner of Alluvial and Peach in Clovis has been decked out since 1993. In addition to fabulous light displays, you can often find visits from Santa, a horse-drawn wagon ride and, my personal favorite, a place to write down your holiday wishes.
Drivers, dogs on leashes, and walkers are all welcome. Since Candy Cane Lane runs in several directions, I find this one to be less crowded for walkers and easier to navigate. Candy Cane Lane will be open through Dec. 25. More information can be found on Facebook.
Santa Claus Lane
Santa Claus Lane is the newest and arguably most spectacular entry into our local light displays (check out the video above, posted by Santa Claus Lane/Clovis Festival of Lights). In its third year, the musically coordinated, multi-home light show is bigger and better than ever. What started as a project for one couple, Terry and Deb Toews, turned into an undertaking for their whole cul-de-sac, and this year, spans their street and the neighboring one, with 34 houses in total. The resident-run non-profit organization Clovis Festival of Lights now raises money to keep the free show going in the Ladera Ranch neighborhood on the southeast corner of Gettysburg and Locan.
Santa Claus Lane truly has become a can’t-miss light display for me. There is something so completely enchanting about watching the lights and animation dance in time to holiday classics. The constantly changing songs means there’s always something new to see at each house. Walking it is the best way to ensure you can stay in front of your favorite displays as long as you want, but if you would like to drive, you can tune into the music on a specially dedicated radio station. Information can be found on the Santa Claus Lane website.
Finally, ZooLights at Fresno Chaffee Zoo provides a full night of fun for the whole family. Stroll through the grounds and enjoy animal-themed light displays amidst the zoo exhibits, along with any animals who may be awake in the evenings. Plus, get complimentary hot chocolate and cookies as well as free photos with Santa.
And when I say fun for the whole family, I mean adults as well. One of the great things about the opening of African Adventure a few years ago was the addition of the Kopje Lodge. You can enjoy a great meal with your family while overlooking the savannah, and have an adult beverage or two as well. Just for ZooLights, the lodge has created two specialty drinks: the Mrs. Claus Special Hot Chocolate with Fireball Whiskey and whipped cream vodka, and the Jingle Bells Eggnog with whipped cream vodka and brandy.
Tickets for ZooLights are $9 for adults and $7 for children ages 2-11, with zoo members getting a $2 discount per ticket. They can be purchased online in advance. ZooLights runs from now through Dec. 30, but is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
So those are some of my favorite places to see Christmas lights around Fresno. I hope you find some time to enjoy the beauty of the season this year. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!