It’s the most wonderful time of the year: much mistletoeing, hearts a-glowing, matching family reindeer pajamas and magical Starbucks cups abound. Little minions are drafting letters to Santa to put legal contracts to shame while you begin checking off your family’s holiday bucket list, and like all good Americans, high atop that list is the holiday light tour.
We’ve put together a handy little guide to help you make the most of your Christmas light splendor. Rudolph cosplay is optional.
Before you buckle everyone into the family cruiser, you’ll want to gear up on vehicular merrymaking essentials. Be sure to zip up the fam in their warmest parkas, and don’t fret too much if they can’t put their arms down--you don’t want to miss some of the sweet Instagram photo ops on our list because of inclement weather.
Pack a thermos of hot cocoa and some travel mugs, a snug blanket or two for those back seat passengers, don’t forget your camera. Last, fire up that streaming holiday playlist--check out Big Band Christmas or Old School Christmas Soul for maximum wassailing experience.
Remember to turn off your headlights when you are cruising through some of the bigger displays and be cautious not to block driveways.
Begin with Chandler Park’s Lights on the Hill at 6500 W. 21st St. The park has several lovely levels for driving through and offers a fantastic view of the city in some spots.
Next, Downtown Tulsa will be lit once more in breathtaking cool purples and blues for GLOW Downtown. Drive or walk through the Blue Dome District, Deco District, Greenwood District, Guthrie Green, East Village and Arvest Winterfest at the BOK Center.
Next, head over to the IDL and Peoria for a drive around Maple Ridge and Sunset Terrace. This beautiful historic area is filled with oil baron-era architectural gems bedecked in breathtaking lights.
Utica Square at 21st and Utica has been a holiday staple for as long as many Tulsans can remember, boasting 700,00 lights, 175 lit trees, a satellite office for Santa, and those charming little animatronic Nutcracker vignettes.
While you’re in the area, take a drive around Swan Lake on the west side of 17th and Utica. Follow the loop around this charming pond or park and walk. Afterwards, drive past the Philbrook Museum, which will be aglow for its Festival of Trees, and drive through the adjacent neighborhood Terwilleger Heights, where some of Tulsa’s grandest homes reside.
Florence Park (north of 21st and Harvard) is home to some of the most festive neighbors in town for any holiday, and retro-chic Lortondale (26th and Yale) near the fairgrounds offer a subtler experience, with loads of houses decked in tasteful, pretty lights.
Drive southeast to 4142 S. Sandusky Avenue, where Sherry and Allen Tyler’s house offers a light show synced to holiday music you can check out by tuning into 107.1 FM on your radio. From there, head south to LaFortune Park Plaza, with a special trip down 58th street at about the 6100 block.
Head back west to 1550 S. 68th E. Avenue, where aspiring elf Steven Tucker hosts a LED light show every 15 minutes nightly until 11:30 p.m. set to synchronized music on 90.9 FM.
From there, cruise to the Oellien Design lights, where 14 large shooting stars dazzle the large oak trees on 101st from Riverside to Yale. Venture east a mile or so from there to Forest Park South near 104th and Sheridan, a neighborhood boasting Christmas cheer to put Buddy the Elf to shame.
For another magical display, take I-75 out south to Sapulpa to check out the Paragon Industries display at 3378 W. Oklahoma 117, with nearly 2 million lights on a ¾-mile stretch of road.
No self-respecting Tulsan would make it through the holidays without a stop by Rhema Bible Church at 1025 W. Kenosha in Broken Arrow with its magical display of more than 2 million lights. While you’re in BA, don’t miss the Bass Pro lights at 101 Bass Pro Drive and Battle Creek off of Highway 51 and Aspen, where you will find several charming displays. Stop off for a breather at the beautifully lit Rose District (100 S. Main), because after two hours in the car with your kids, you may need something a bit stronger than that cocoa.
For the next leg of your holiday light excursion, cruise by 1516 E. Granger Street, 2220 W. Louisville (91st and 145th) with its synchronized Mega Tree display, and 1613 Nyssa Place (91st and 129th), home of more than 60,000 lights and an official Toys for Tots drop site.
Drive north to 4412 S. 199th E. Ave. (41st and County Line), where you can find the Eberle home where a 40,000 light display is set to music on 105.7 FM.
For Griswold-level holiday magic, a short drive to Scott and Lisa Smith’s house at 26685 Duck Pond Lane in Claremore is worth the mileage. This retro display employs those old-school ceramic bulbs many a dad used to curse over from the rooftop every November, handmade Christmas cutouts, and all manner of splendiferous holiday gems.
We would love to hear from you. What amazing spots did we miss? Send us an email to eat0@eau0eav0eaw0 and let us know what we need to include for next year’s guide...and don’t forget to include some glorious family light pics for our edification.