Dyker Heights Christmas Lights – How to Get There

This post is about how to visit the Christmas lights displays in Dyker Heights Brooklyn, whether on your own or on an organized tour.  When people think about holiday decorations in New York City, they usually think of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the lavish store window displays of Midtown Manhattan. But some of the best sights to be seen are actually in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.  Starting in the 1980’s, Christmas started getting bigger and brighter out in Brooklyn with each passing year. In 2016, expect to see massive, professionally-done light displays (some costing upwards of $20,000!). (en espanol)

Be sure to check out our guided Dyker Heights Lights Tour.


Tips for Your Visit

Bus Tours

Christmas in NYC

On Your Own

Walking Tours

Notable Homes


 

 

There is an unspoken competition among the home owners in the neighborhood, so some have added huge lawn ornaments and motorized displays, making for a lavish holiday spectacle. Dyker Heights has truly become a “must-see” for many people during the holidays. You will see visitors walking through the neighborhood as well as people in their cars rolling by at a few miles per hour all around the area.  View this post as a PDF to download to your smartphone.

And if after reading this post you don’t want to do it yourself, there is an organized bus tour.

  • You may also be interested in On Location Tours Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Bus Tour. Receive an online discount here.

 

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
HOW TO GET TO THE DYKER HEIGHTS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The best lights are on 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street.  The closest subway is the D/M trains at 18th Avenue.  From Times Square, it’s 1 hour travel time to the neighborhood.  This includes approximately 20 minutes of walking up and down some moderate hills.  There are actually several subway lines that can get you to the neighborhood.  It’s just that the listed option below is the easiest from Times Square.  Be sure to use our Google map for directions to the Dyker Heights Christmas lights from anywhere in NYC. Consider taking a taxi or an Uber from the subway station, if the walk sounds unappealing.

 

How to get to Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

 


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TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT

  • Even though some owners have their lights up the weekend after Thanksgiving, the best time to see the most lights is in mid-December or later.
  • The best displays are usually on weekends.
  • Try to go between 5 and 9pm. Most owners turn on lights when it gets dark and then start shutting them down before they go to bed.
  • Look for the Spata house (with Santa outside, played by family members) and the Polizzotto house (with 29-foot motorized wooden soldiers). They were among the first families to begin the tradition of elaborate decorations in the neighborhood in the 1980’s.
  • The best lights are located quite far from the subway station. You will be in for about a mile walk (20 min), so be prepared!
  • December in NYC can be very chilly and you will be outside for awhile. Dress warmly!  Read our post on December weather in the Big Apple.
  • The Dyker Lights have been the subject of both a Conan O’Brian special and a PBS documentary.
  • Most of the displays are not actually done by the homeowners, but rather by local professional decorating companies.
  • The Dyker Lights are always wonderful, but for a really fantastic (and easier!) experience, there is an organized bus tour that take visitors out to Dyker Heights and show them around. This is a good option for anyone who is worried about finding their way around. Plus, it is always great to get a little extra information through a tour!

 


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We are partnering with our friends at Visit New York Tours to offer an affordable guided walking tour of the area. Meet your tour guide in Midtown Manhattan for the ride out to Dyker Heights on the subway.  There, your tour guide will show you all the important light displays and telling you the history behind each of them.  It’s a great experience and a great way to make some new friends.

GUIDED WALKING TOUR OF THE LIGHTS

Reservations: Required.  Book here.

Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours.

When: @6:45 pm (18:45) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from December 2.

Cost: $15 Adults

Where: Tour begins in front of Best Buy in Union Square at 52 E. 14 th Street (map).

 

Dyker Heights Tour Meeting Point

 


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We are also partnering with our friends at A Slice of Brooklyn Tours to offer a guided bus tour of the Dyker Heights Christmas lights displays.  This is part bus and part walking, but the tour is guided throughout.  Meet your tour guide in Midtown Manhattan for the bus ride out to Dyker Heights on the subway.  There are several bus companies offering tours out to Dyker Heights.  The reviews for this company are excellent and we feel that they offer the best experience.  So, if you prefer the comfort and convenience of a bus, then consider this tour.

GUIDED BUS TOUR OF THE LIGHTS

Reservations: Reservations are required.  Book here.

Where: Tour begins from Union Square.  Exact location and directions are provided upon booking.

Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours.

When: 6 pm, 7 pm and 8 pm daily.

Cost: $50 Adults/$40 Children under 12.

Purchase your tickets here.

 


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WHERE ARE THE MOST LIGHTS

The single best block to visit in Dyker Heights is 84th Street between 11th and 12th Avenue (map).  One of the most interesting houses on this street is the Saita House, an architectural gem that is listed on the National List of Historic Places. The house is one of the few original houses still remaining when the neighborhood was designed to be a wealthy suburban enclave.  Below, get a peek of the Saita House and the rest of the homes on 84th Street without lights.  Near 12th Avenue there are often people selling hot cocoa and Christmas sweets for the tourists and 3 of the most elaborately lighted houses in the area.

The Spata House, 1152 84th St (map) – Lucy Spata started it all roughly 30 years ago.  You could call her a legitimate Christmas junkie. She decorates her house (well, her half of a duplex) with all sorts of holiday objects, from rheindeers to toy soldiers to Santas.  Click on the video below to get her story.

 

 

The Polizotto House – Alfred Polizzotto first decorated his house more than 20 years ago as a way to celebrate some pretty great news: Polizzotto’s cancer had gone into remission. He hired a Brooklyn local to deck out his lawn in thousands of lights, several one-ton mechanical horses, and automatronic toy soldiers. Though he succumbed to cancer several years ago, Polizzotto’s family has kept the tradition alive. The holiday lights have not only brought joy to family and neighbors, but they also deliver happiness to the thousands of children that visit each season. And the patriarch’s contribution to the hood was not forgotten: The year Alfred Senior passed away, all the Dyker Lights went dark for one night. Visitors can make donations to the National Cancer Society by way of donation boxes set up all over the Polizzotto’s lawn. Watch the video below.

Sam the Greek, 71st Street and 14th Avenue (map).  Located about 10 blocks from the Spata home, Sam Livos (Sam the Greek) owns a 3 story house decorated with approximately 300,000 lights.

 

 

A few houses down are giant Nutcrackers. Let us also not forget about the twin houses, one decked out in red and another in green with lighting completely enveloping the homes and even running 20 feet into the air into the trees. Oh and depending on the day and time, there is a DJ spinning Christmas music right at the corner of 84th Street and 12th Avenue.  It’s a fun time even for the tour guides.

 


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