The Best Christmas Lights in and Around Philadelphia

Put aside the gift-buying and soak in the holiday spirit at one of these happy light displays.

Shady Brook Farm

931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley

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You haven’t seen the Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa or Great Wall of China until you’ve seen them made out of Christmas lights. Weave your car (or let a tractor pull you) along the two-mile path past the Seven Wonders of the World and through tunnels made of twinkling lights as you view more bedecked trees, snowmen and toy soldiers than you can possibly imagine. You’ll end up at the farm market for hot chocolate, s’mores by a bonfire, and, if you want, the perfect tree to haul home. $20 per carload during the week; $25 on weekends.

Go here for: Family tradition; the Flemings have been running this farm for generations and the holiday show for 20-plus years.

Lovely Christmas Lights

2 Patricia Drive, Gilberstsville

The story — a heartbreaker involving an organ transplant that saved his wife’s life — is the stuff of Christmas miracles. So Ken Lovely honors the occasion by creating the happiest thing he can, a Disney-quality holiday light show that he’s been running since 2008. This year’s theme is Frozen, so expect the lights lining his roof, draping his trees and twirled on his lawn to flash in synch with “Let it Go.” The show runs every 15 minutes. Free; donations go to Help Hope Live.

Go here for: The stats: 40,000 lights, 3,500 feet of extension cords, one regular dad who seriously loves Christmas.

Longwood Gardens

1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

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With topiary swans, fountain shows, strolling carolers, cascading snowflakes and elegantly adorned trees, Longwood is the sophisticated older sister to other, more cartoonish displays. More than half a million lights make the already magnificent grounds glow, but you don’t want to miss the conservatory, which, besides being heated, has thousands of poinsettias and an 18-foot rotating peacock tree to go along with this year’s aviary theme. Regular adult admission is $20; advance tickets suggested.

Go here for: Tree-trimming inspiration on a grand scale.

South Philly

13th St. between Tasker and Morris streets| 2700 block of Smedley St.

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Rowhomes in South Philly are known for getting all dolled up for the holidays. Worthy of its title, the “Miracle on South 13th Street” (0:51 to 1:22 in the video above) is a neighborly effort whereby illuminated reindeer are strung from rooftops across the street, stoop Santas are in constant motion, and a rainbow of colors wink and blink all over the place. Smedley Street (a.k.a. “The Christmas Street”) has Nativity scenes, inflatables and lots of Philly pride.

Go here for: The seven-mile South Philly holiday lights bike tour, hosted on December 18th by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Expect 100-plus riders peddling past the best spots.

Light Up a Life

1320 East Butler Pike, Ambler

When Jack Yoast bought a home right on Butler Pike, he knew it was the perfect canvas for a glowing spectacular. Nine years later, his sprawling front lawn holds a legion of animated LED Santas — playing basketball, in a helicopter, pulling reindeer — that attracts 4,000 visitors on a weekend. Toss a few bucks in the donation bins for the effort (it takes more than 1,000 man-hours, a staff of about 25 and a $2,000 electric bill to run); this year the money goes to several local charities. Free.

Go here for: The up-close experience; park across the street and walk among the displays.

Read original article by Ashley Primis for phillymag.com here

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