I always say that everyone should experience Christmas in New York at least once in a lifetime. It is not only about admiring the decorations around the city but also about a truly unforgettable experience of finding yourself in a holiday fairytale. One of these magical places is for sure Dyker Heights.
Planning Christmas in New York City? Read my Christmas In New York City – Holiday Guide.
What is exactly Dyker Heights?
Dyker Heights is a residential area located in Brooklyn. Since 1980s, Christmas in the neighborhood started getting brighter and bigger thanks to incredibly decorated houses. After a few years, the ornaments started getting massive. Some are done professionally costing as much as $20,000. There are rumors that the competition among homeowners is driving these huge and impressive lawn additions. Motorized displays make the experience even more spectacular.
I have personaly visited this place twice and I am always excited to go back during holidays. I can assure you that it is a „must-see” Christmas destination.
How to get to the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights?
There are many transportation options for you to choose from.
Subway – There are actully 3 subway lines – R, N and D that will take you to the neighborhood. Pay attention which line you take because each of them has a different stop. You will still have to walk about 15-20min (1.6 km) to the final destination. You can take a bus or grab a cab/uber as an alternative. I’ve done it once this way and it was a pretty good experience (I took R train to 86th Street Station in Brooklyn). Make sure to check the weather forecast. If it happens to be very cold this might not be the best option since there is much more walking around left to see all the lights.
Car – This is what I did second time and I found it to be the best experience. This is a lot more comfortable way of discovering amazing decorations. Keep in mind that the closer it gets to Christmas the more people show up resulting in bigger traffic and less parking spots. It might become challenging to see all the decorations and get up close. But at least you can stay warm when the temperatures are really low.
Bus Tours – If you don’t want to use public transportation or you are just visiting and don’t have a car this is a great way to experience Dyker Heights in a relaxing manner. Here are links with more details: A Slice of Brooklyn and Dyker Heights Christmas Lights. I haven’t done it myself so I am not able to provide you with personal account.
Where exactly are Dyker Heights Christmas Lights located?
For the best experience head over to 11th to 13th Avenues, also known as Dyker Heights Blvd, from 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. When you walk around these blocks, don’t forget to look at streets beyond the boundary. Every year there are more decorations popping up.
The most popular houses
The Spata House – located at 1152 84th St is probably the most known house in the area. The owner, Lucy Spata, started the trend about 30 years ago.The house features all sorts of Christmas ornaments from Santas and reindeers to toy soldiers.
The Polizotto House – the owner, Alfred Polizotto, started decorating his house more than 20 years ago. This happend when he got the news that his cancer had gone into remission.
Sam the Greek – on 71st Street and 14th Avenues is famous for being decorated with about 300,000 lights. Impressive right?
When is the best time to visit Dyker Heights Christmas Lights?
A week after Thanksgiving the area starts getting into a Christmas mood. The best time to visit it is mid-December or later when most of the displays are up. Just be aware that the closer to Christma it gets the more people will be walking around and I really mean „a lot of people”.
Regarding the time I would suggest to go between 5pm and 9pm. Most of the displays’ lights are turned of by owners around the time they get ready to go to sleep.
Anything else you should be aware of?
Yes! Don’t forget that Dyker Heights is a residential area which means that people live there. Be respectful – don’t litter, don’t get too close to take a photo, don’t scream or ring people’s doorbells to ask to go to the bathroom (yes, it happened before).
Also, you might want to bring change with you. Some of the families who decorate houses collect money for local charities.
Additionally, there might be a chance to buy choco and Christmas sweets in the street. If you get really hungry head over to 3rd, 4th or 5th Street where you can find some of the restaurants in the area.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights is always a wonderful and unforgettable experience. Let me know in the comments below if you are planning to go or have already visited it. I would love to hear about your impression.
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We are visiting nyc this weekend. Do you think Dyker Heights will have sone decorations up for Christmas? Or not much till after thanksgiving? We are a little early for holiday decor, we know. But hoping to find some put up early.
Thank you for your comment. I don’t think they will decorate houses that early but you can find many other places around the city that are already fully decorated like Rolf’s Restaurant or Papillon Bistro and Bar. Also, Radio City Hall has a tree lit and Hudson Yards holds “Shine Bright Only at Hudson Yards” starting from Nov 14th (make sure to check out this place). I hope this helps a bit. Have a wonderful time in NYC!